Among my library of books on Fly Dressing is one by John Veniard (yea – I know the name is familiar to many of you) titled “The Fly Dressers Guide”.  To be honest this copy is a bit of a collectors item – it is one of the first editions of the book and is signed personally by the author – as is usually the case, I digress.  This book was published in 1952 (I had just passed the 11 Plus and was heading for Grammar School – Snob, not to mention “Old Codger”), take into consideration if you will the time taken to collate all the facts, figures and photographs and coloured drawings within its covers and God only knows how long it took to decide to write the book in the first place, one becomes a little surprised that included in the text are details of flies recommended for use when fishing for Chub, Roach, Rudd and Dace, and also the mention of flies for Pike fishing.  The authors’ interest in Pike flies was brought about by the gift of some flies by a friend from America, so prior to this date the Americans had been using them for the Great Northern and the Muskie.  This it would appear would re-ignite the interest for fly fishing for Pike on this side of the Atlantic.  Here the author makes reference to the largest Pike to have been landed on rod and line, again on the fly, and though it was never weighed, estimates made from the size of the skull (here we must assume that the fish was eaten) that it was somewhere in the region of 70lbs (Pounds to you youngsters – if you want it in “foreign” go check your conversion tables).  So here’s a word of advice from this “Old Codger” – on these balmy afternoons (we may not have many left) try taking a fly rod and some flies as back up when your float is just sat there like a spare twig and the Chub, Roach and Rudd are topping all around it, switch to the whippy stick.  If you are tempted the recommended flies are as follows (all dry flies so no expertise required (apart from getting it to the right place).


Whickhams Fancy


Black Gnat

Red Tag

Brown Palmer

Red Palmer

Oliver Quill



Oh!  And by the way, what is good for the Pike will also attract the Perch (You may need a smaller version)



Your own privately owned, tame Old Codger

AKA Game Fishing Officer





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