I once had an evening on a Southern chalk stream at the end of June. There were still the odd mayfly hatching but the legendary 'duffers fortnight' was over leaving the fish fairly full. However, some fish could still be seen taking the odd mayfly.
As I walked around before setting up, I could not fail to notice the number of mayfly the trout were completely ignoring. Other anglers were still using various mayfly patterns and meeting with little success. Sitting back, I noticed that the same fish that had ignored a mayfly took a sedge. I observed more closely and found that the trout were taking nearly all the sedges on the water whilst ignoring most of the mayflies. Perhaps they were sick of gorging themselves on mayflies during the previous two weeks.
I set up an 8ft rod with a DT4F line with a 7ft leader of 31b b.s. line to a size 12 Kimbridge sedge. I could see a fish rising at the top end of a weed bed and cast the fly to land about 3ft in front of it. The fish took almost immediately and I was playing my first fish. It turned out to be a nice 2lb 4oz brown trout. Naturally I was very pleased with it, particularly as it was on my first cast.
I continued to work my way upstream taking two brown trout of 1lb 12oz and 21b 1oz but the light was now failing very fast. I decided that I would only cover any big fish that I saw on the way back to the car as I had not got a torch with me. Then I heard and saw a good rise that was obviously from a much bigger fish at the bottom of a run under some trees. It was now fairly dark making it difficult to see but I had to have a try. By luck rather than judgement my fly fell perfectly behind the tree where the fish was lying. The fish took the fly in a terrific rise and I made a slow yet firm strike. The fish was on. It gave a fantastic account of itself, stripping nearly all my line off of the reel. After a long hard struggle I eventually netted it, a 41b 9oz brownie. I had no camera with me so photographed it the following day.
Dry sedge patterns are not only for river brown trout. They work well on still waters for both rainbows and brownies. I have had plenty of fish on this fly from still water. However, I was surprised to find that still water salmon also take sedge patterns off of the top! At Hazelcopse on the Surrey-Sussex borders salmon are fairly regularly caught on dry flies, particularly sedges. The salmon can rise freely to take sedges off the top and they provide terrific sport. The problem often is landing them, as Wilf at Hazelcopse does stock with salmon running well over thirty pounds. Even fish of this weight have been observed taking sedges off the top. Certainly food for thought.
Materials for the Kimbridge Sedge
Hook: Scorpion D/E dry fly size 12
Thread: Unwaxed professional brown
Body: Veniards seals fur substitute white
Ribing: Fine silver wire
Wing: Hen pheasant
Tying the Kimbridge Sedge
Step 1: Attach tying thread behind eye and wind down to the bend of the hook.
Step 2: Catch in the ribbing
Step 3: Dub on body material and wind back to eye
Step 4: Tie in hackle and wind in palmer style to bend
Step 5: Now take ribbing through hackle.
Step 6: Tie in two hen pheasant wing slips wet fly style
Lee Kitchen can be contacted for all your fly Tying requirements at;
Caraway Cottage, 11 Midgham Green, Midgham, Reading, RG7 5TT
or by phone on 01189 713962