Members’ Contributions

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Members are invited to send in any articles about fishing trips/holidays or venues that they have enjoyed. Information about fishing venues can be of help and interest to other members so it  doesn’t matter whether  it is somewhere local or across the other side of the world, share it.

Any photographs add to the enjoyment and are welcome.

Submitted by Tim Thompson

Grafham, as we all know, is a fantastic venue and one of, if not, the top trout fishing reservoir in the UK. Sometimes however, the weather conditions can also make it one of the most daunting and challenging places to fish either from  a boat or the bank, particularly to the less experienced angler.

When conditions are such, there are alternatives. No, not golf!

Just down the A14 is Ravensthorpe, a little gem. It’s a 100 acre Victorian reservoir set in some beautiful Northamptonshire countryside. In tough weather conditions it’s the polar opposite to Grafham in terms of size and approachability, particularly to novice anglers.

In my opinion the venue deserves more attention than it seems to get.

I first heard about it from Alan Briggs who recommended it during a chat one Tuesday evening club night at Grafham. He’d been there with his nephews and fished dry fly only, to great success.

I was fishing with Johan that night and we decided to give Ravo a go later that week and fish just dry fly. We had a cracking day and the reservoir pretty much to ourselves.

With the venue being relatively small and sheltered, when the wind is blowing and the “white horses” are gallop[ing across Grafham, Ravo can offer more sheltered and less demanding fishing from either boat or bank. Also there’s  plenty of opportunity to explore most areas of the lake in one day.

I’ve been advised that early season is normally best and that the fish can “switch off” when the weather warms. Therefore it’s worth ringing the lodge prior to paying a visit if in any doubt. The fishing is currently good. Sue and Neil Potts had a dozen or so to the boat last Saturday and I had a good few hours (caught 4, lost 2) from one of the landing stages the Weds before. My first session using blobs and bloodworm below “the bung”. I’m a convert!

The fishery offers a relatively small fleet of boats but there rarely seems to be more than half a dozen or so on the water at any one time. Having said that, it’s always wise to book. Most methods seem to work well and Ravo has the reputation of being particularly good on the dry fly.

Bank fishing can also be productive and there are a number of landing stages that give plenty of room to cast a line. The weed can become a challenge as the weather warms so again, early season works best.

Carp fishing has recently been introduced at Ravensthorpe and time will tell if this has any detrimental effect on trout fishing. Having said that, it is currently fishing well both from bank and boat.

I’d recommend giving Ravo a go in the Bob Ayres Trophy dry fly only competition in September but why wait until then?

So, if you fancy something a little less daunting than battling a stiff North Westerly at Grafham, I’d recommend you give Ravensthorpe a go. You won’t be disappointed.

Submitted by Chris McLeod

We all have days when things don’t go well, sometime it is several minor hitches and very infrequently things can get worse……. sometimes much worse.  For me it was such a day, this is an account of my Draycote nightmare.  

Mr Bean goes fishing

Submitted by Bob Ayres

Bob giving some thought on the new Dry Fly Competition and Trophy bearing his name.

The Bob Ayres Trophy

Submitted by David Moore (an updated version)

David gives some useful tips on checking your equipment before the start of each season:

Winter maintenance and pre-season checks

Submitted by Bob Ayres

Peter Reeves – A tribute – November 2022

We were sad to hear that ex-Invicta member and Secretary Peter Reeves had died in hospital on 19th August.  Peter was a member for 23 years, resigning in 2011 due to ill health. He had been a committee member and regularly attended Club trips, meetings and dinners but was not really interested in competition fishing.

He edited the Newsletter and produced 19 profiles on various club members. He was Club secretary for 4 years and also initiated a fly-tying group which ran for a few years, as well as providing support to our junior members at that time.

He enjoyed grayling fishing in UK and in Europe and with his partner Glynis he fished the lochs and rivers of Scotland for brown trout.   He was a very dedicated angler and club member.

Bob Ayres

Submitted by Chris McLeod

It is refreshing to know that even an angler as experienced and reliable as Chris McLeod can have days when it doesn’t all go to plan. In his unmistakable style Chris tells us about his Carr Cup day at Grafham.

Another Disastrous Outing

Submitted by Chris McLeod

We all have off days, even Chris with his 30 plus years of fly fishing shows us in his usual humorous manner that occasionally nothing goes quite right.

A comedy of errors
Postscript to my day at Ravo

Submitted by Bob Ayres

On the occasion of Invicta Fly Fishing Clubs 45th Anniversary, President Bob Ayres pays tribute to David Jones, who is a founder member and still very active within the club.

David Jones tribute

Submitted by David Moore

David has been keeping a fishing diary for many years and finds it a useful tool for measuring his improvement and referring to when returning to venues.

David Moore Fishing Diary

Submitted by Rob Edmunds

Rob writes about a 3 day break to Clywedog in Wales. An excellent read with details about the fishing and accommodation:

Rob Edmunds -Fishing Clywedog

Submitted by Peter Brewer

Peter tells us of his experiences fishing for coarse fish on the fly.

Summer on the Fly

Submitted by Bob Ayres

Bob pays tribute the Arthur Sexton

Tribute to Arthur Sexton

Submitted by Mac McDonald

Mac reports on the recent Invicta Grayling fishing trip to the river test.

Invicta 2019 Grayling trip to the Test

Submitted by Davey Jones

David reminds us of an early Invicta meeting nearly 40 years ago with guest speaker Davy Wooton who has gone on to become one of America’s leading anglers and instructors from his base in Arkansas.

An Invicta meeting with Davey Wooton, a voice from the past.

Submitted by Chris McLeod

Chris McLeod on Fishing for Barbel on the Fly in Spain.

Spanish Barbel on the fly

Submitted by Mark Mathieson

Mark Mathieson gives us his tips on fishing ‘The Bung’

Fishing under the Bung- Mark Mathieson

Submitted by Steve Middleton

Steve reflects on the Pilgrimage match. This match is a significant part of Invicta’s history and continues to be an important of our annual fixtures.

The Annual Pilgrimage,

Submitted by Chris McLeod

A matrix showing the sink rate for different lines.

Submitted by Peter Thomas

Tips Gleaned from Steve Cullen

Peter Thomas picks out some useful tips from Steve Cullen on improving hook ups.

Useful Tips gleaned from a Trout Fisherman article by Steve Cullen

Submitted by members of the fishing party

A Club trip to the River Dee at Llangollen.

River Dee trip

Submitted by Bob Ayres


Graham Williams and John Gale

Following the deaths of two very well respected Invicta members Bob Ayres has written tributes which can be viewed by clicking on the links below.

Graham Williams tribute

John Gale tribute

Submitted by Peter Oldham

Trout at the Top of the Country

Our Northern Invicta Representative Peter Oldham experiences catching beautiful wild browns on the equally beautiful River Tees.

Click on the link below to read the article:


Submitted by Martyn Sharp

First Time Fly Fishing a Reservoir

Experienced river angler Martyn Sharp on his first experience at fishing for rainbows on a reservoir. Significant that one of his first questions after an hour or so was “How much is a boat seat”!

Click on the link below to read the full article:

First Time Out on a Reservoir

Submitted by David Moore

A Day with a World Champion

David Moore recalls a memorable day in the 2017 Bob Church Classic on Rutland Water when he was drawn with World Loch-style champion Ian Barr and learnt some  valuable lessons.

click on the link below to read the full article

A Day with a World Champ 

Submitted by Peter Thomas

Observations on the Killer Shrimp

Click on Link Below to read article:

Observations on the Killer Shrimp
Submittted by Paul Heavens.

Grayling Society Symposium and Fishing Trip

The Dee at Carrog

Several anglers from our region made the trip across to Wrexham for the Grayling Society Symposium on Saturday 21st October. It also gave us the opportunity to meet up with Invicta member Peter Oldham who moved to Cheshire last year. We had booked in for the whole weekend in the hope of some decent fishing on the river Dee on the Sunday; this had been arranged by the society and we were told about our beats and supplied with maps.

Dave Southall

The symposium had some good speakers and in particular Dave Southall gave an excellent (and impressive) demonstration of Italian style casting and Tenkara. He was casting very light lines 1, 2 and 3 weight into a strong breeze and still getting distance and accuracy.

For the ‘centre pin’ enthusiasts Alan Roe gave a tutorial on using the ‘Wallis cast’, a method of casting at distance with a centre pin reel. Very impressive and he made it look much easier than I’m sure it is. It needs practice and requires the skill of getting your timing correct with different hands doing different things – much like the skill required for the double haul.

Chaps from our area: Martyn Sharp, Mac McDonald, Ray Storer, Bill Knights, Paul Heavens and Peter Oldham

Sadly, during the afternoon ‘Storm David’ made its way across Wales and hourly river reports were showing a rapid rise in levels and wind speed. By Sunday morning we were advised not to attempt fishing as it was up by 1.06m which was a big disappointment, however some of us decided to familiarise ourselves with some of the beats and see what we were missing.

One of the chaps from our area Martyn Sharp from Peterborough is a very experienced all round course angler and had taken his trotting gear. He decided it was worth a try and positioned himself near Glyndyfrdwy bridge on the Llangollen to Corwen stretch and took 4 grayling and two brownies. He was probably one of the only people to take a fish from the Dee that day. I told him that he needs widen his angling to include the fly rod and plans a day Grafham before too long. He was very interested in the fly casting clinic that Invicta are planning in the New Year.

So, a very enjoyable weekend in good company (at times we got a bit thirsty and had to do something about it) and next year it will be held in the North East.

Submittted by Peter Oldham.

No 5lb Rainbows Here! …The River Dane 

The River Dane originates on the western slopes of the Pennines, springing from
numerous underground waterways and aquifers together with run-off from the hills.

Click link to read article:  No 5lb Rainbows here!

Submittted by Steve Middleton.

Memories of the annual Pilgrimage Match

Click link to read article:  Pilgrimage Memories

Submittted by Graham Williams.

Fishing the Discovery Passage between Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia

Click link to read article: Fishing in Canada

Submitted by John Reynolds.

Wild Trout in Cambridge

River Granta trout - John Reynolds

Invicta member John Reynolds has been fishing using the Tenkara method for three or four seasons and shows that he has perfected his this style of fly fishing  by being rewarded with a fine wild brownie.

The fish was  taken on a ‘daddy’ just a short distance from the Cambridge city centre.

Submitted by John Caldwell.

One for the List

Driffield BeckI recently made the trip to East Yorkshire to fish the Mulberry Whin beat of Driffield West Beck which has been described as one of the finest stretches of Chalkstream fishing in the UK

Andrew Dixon and family own the fishing which is

Nice Brown caught by John

Nice Brown caught by John

single upstream dry fly or nymph, barbless or debarbed hooks maximum size 12. The Yorkshire chalkstream has brown trout, grayling and the occasional rainbow (you are asked to remove any rainbows caught). There is B&B accommodation at the farmhouse for a price.

The river is delightful and you may see kingfishers, otters and water voles if you are lucky, Canada geese and cormorants if you’re not. There is a maximum of four rods per day and this time of year a day rod costs £60.00 (range £50 to £70 depending on season). Winter Grayling fishing from 1st October costs from £20 to £30.

I had two nice brownies on a day which was torrential rain when they left Lincoln but sunny by lunchtime.