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Fantastic Fishing in Cuba

23 June 2017 12:37:35 BST

Our store manager Julian Shaw recently spent two weeks in Cuba. As well as doing the usual tourist visits, he managed to find time for a spot of fishing (what a surprise!) and by the sound of it, he had a good time!

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Posted in Fishing Fishing Stories Fly Fishing By Richard JNoP

Our Top Tackle For Trout Fishing In 2017

18 March 2017 10:25:48 GMT

It's that time of year again! The new salmon and trout fishing seasons are officially upon us, and it's time for us all to be brushing up our gear ready to get out on the waters again - if you've not already done so.

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Fishing in April: Top Tips

4 April 2016 15:51:47 BST

Here we are, already in April. The clocks have changed giving us more evening light, and the temperature is slightly warmer. The spring salmon season has had an exciting start, especially on the Tweed, Tay and Dee. Its been great to see lots of big fish being caught around the 18lb+ mark. If you haven’t already, this is the month to sort through your fishing tackle, fishing clothing and waders to make sure you have everything you need and all is in good order. The most productive time for fishing at this time of year is generally the central 5 hours, 10am – 4pm. Insects are more likely to hatch around this time due to it being the warmest part of the day. John Norris Pro Team veteran Julian Shaws shares his early season checklist and expert advice.

1. Safe Wading

After this winter’s storms and flooding, the substratum of many river beds will have changed - pools that you have always waded in safely may not be so now. The best way to check these changes it to visit the beat, especially in low water. Wear your chest waders and use your wading staff to safely check the depth of the water. Remember new gravel is unstable so be careful at all times. For extra peace of mind why not invest in one of the England life jackets? They are excellent value for money, very lightweight and available in automatic and manual inflation. Julian recommends: Simms Aluminium Folding Wading Staff in 51” or 56” - £99.00

Durable wading staff

Guideline Folding Wading Staff - £59.99

Foldable wading staff

Snowbee Telescopic Wading Staff - £28.99

Retractable fishing wading staff

Attach your wading staff to a Gear Keeper wading staff retractor, which will keep your wading staff out of the way until needed. It attaches to a jacket or vest D ring with snap clip. (£19.99)

Wading staff retractor

Englands Survivor Braces life jackets – Manual £62.00 – Automatic £67.00

England's Survivor life jackets

2. Check and sort your fly box.

Now is the time to sort through your fly boxes and see what flies are in need of replacing due to loss and general wear and tear. Alternatively, you may want to try some new patterns this season. We have a large selection of trout, salmon, sea-trout and many other flies, and our Pro Team can even advise you on what patterns to use where and how to fish them. John Norris Fly Range We also do a wide range of fly boxes in various shapes, sizes. John Norris Fly Box Range

3. Check your waders.

If you didn’t wash your waders at the end of last season then give them a wash now; it aids in the breathability of the fabric and helps the waders perform better. It also ensures they are comfortable to wear – dirty waders can get stiff with grime. And, of course, it keeps them (and you) hygienic and smelling nice! Gore-tex and breathable waders should be washed at least twice a season. It’s also important to wash and dry your waders before any repairs are done.

1. Machine Washing

When washing waders in a washing machine, there are some very important things to remember: • If possible, take off any loose parts such as shoulder straps or wading belts. Alternatively, fold them inside a zip lock bag to prevent them getting caught inside the machine. • Always use cold water with a cold rinse. • Never use powder – instead you should always use a non-bio liquid detergent. Grangers Wash-In Cleaner or Revivex High Tech Fabric Cleaner and Nikwax are a gentler option, specifically designed for waterproof wader fabric. • Do NOT use any fabric softener. • Hang the waders inside out and let them drip dry. If you want to store your waders, it is VERY IMPORTANT that they are completely dry. Folding up damp waders can cause mould to form, or cause the tape on the seams to loosen and fade.

2. Hand Washing

You can also wash your waders by hand in a bath or a large sink. To do this, simply follow the steps below. • Dissolve washing solution in cool water and soak the waders. • If they are particularly dirty, just scrub them lightly with a soft brush. • Ensure you rinse the waders thoroughly. • Hang your waders up inside out and leave them to dry completely. • Remember to make sure they are COMPLETELY dry before putting them away (see above).


Should the waterproof coating on your waders start failing, don’t panic! There is a simple way to get your waders back to their old selves. Simply follow these easy steps: 1. Hang your waders up. 2. Spray on the Simms Revivex Water Repellent. There is no need to spray it on neoprene or rubber parts. 3. While waders are damp, use a hair dryer to activate the water repellent treatment, and help dry the waders. To check to see if you have any leaks, trap air in your waders and use the top of the waders rolled up to make an airtight seal, then pop in the bath and see if any bubbles show. The best way to repair leaks is with Aquasure. Simply apply a thin layer on the inside of the waders and leave to dry. It’s only £6.99 for a tube.

Wader fabric glue

Remember to check your laces, as they will far be outlived by the boots themselves! Spare sets can be purchased for just £7.99.

Wader replacement laces

4. Fly Lines and Backing.

Check your fly lines for any damage, the best way to do this is to pull the full length of the line off your reel and check for any problems. Also try gently pulling your fly line to stretch it slightly - this will remove any memory from the fly line that it may have obtained from sitting on the reel for a while. When checking your line, you should also clean it. Julian recommends the Rio Wonder Cloth that has been impregnated with Agent X; each pack includes five wipes and they are easy to slide up and down your line. They’re also great for your fishing kit when reservoir fishing so you can clean you line easily during the day. Five wipes - £4.99

Fly line cleaner

This is also a great opportunity to check your backing to fly line knot and add a few drops of superglue. The easiest to use is the Zap A Gap brush-on glue, and its only £4.99.

Brush on fly line adhesive

Don’t forget to check the braided loops on your fly line to make sure they aren’t frayed. If they are replace them and if not add a drop of glue.

5. Tippet and Leaders.

Check your kit and see make sure you have enough tippet material and leaders and replace accordingly. Monofilament lasts a couple of seasons when it is at its best; with fluorocarbon it should last four years. Always write the purchase date on the back of your spools of nylon or fluorocarbon so you know how old it is. Julian recommends: Dry Fly Fishing Rio Powerflex down to 3.4lb - £4.50 for 30yd

tippet material for dry fly fishing

Wet Fly Fishing with Droppers Fog Wet Fly Casts

Tippet material wet fly cast

Profil Casts only £2.49 – wet, dry and salmon.

Tippet material all types of fishing

Salmon Fishing Polyleaders are really popular and give you the ability to change your fishing depth with ease, as you only need to change the leader rather than the whole spool. It also works out much cheaper than having lots of different spools and lines. The Polyleaders Maxima is very popular - I would recommend 12lb – 15lb at the moment and then dropping off to 10lb when it warms up. Seaguar I personally prefer Seaguar as its denser so sinks quicker. It’s also much finer than monofilament and totally invisible.

Salmon and saltwater fishing tapers

6. Time to sharpen up

An essential piece of kit I always have in my fly vest is the Eze-Lap hook sharpener for £8.99. I can use it on the go and make sure my hooks are always as sharp as possible, so I’m not left telling tales of the one that got away!

Fishing hook sharpener

7. Let’s get organised.

At the start of the season are you one of those people that has to try and locate your tackle as you can’t remember quite where you stored it?? I have a few simple tips to make life much easier. Do you know what line is on which reel? Always put a sticker on the back of your spool so you know its size and density. A great way to store reels and spools and to protect them is to put them in a reel brief. These are available for 5 or 10 reels/spools. Below are a few suggestions. Snowbee Reel Brief - £29.99 Holds 10 reels/spools.

Spool and reel case

Simms Headwaters Reel Brief - £59.99 Features two large organiser panels, with six separate pockets that connect out of the way when not in use and made from mesh for easy viewing of contents.

Reel brief case

Airflo Outlander Reel Cases – 5 reel or 10 reel from £14.99

Reel carry case

8. Fly Vest

Store your fly boxes in the multiple pockets; pop your tippet material in another; clip on your tools with zingers; attach a floatant and sinkant holder and pop your net on the D ring on the back. With fly vests the options are endless, and you can even keep your favourite flies on your fly patch for easy access. Julian's recommends: The Simms Guide vest is outstanding in every way: design, quality, comfort. Its fits in everything you need perfectly, and I especially like the two storage pockets on the back.

Fly fishing vest

Want to Work with John Norris?

4 December 2015 12:15:22 GMT

Do you have a keen interest in fly fishing and country sports?John Norris fishing store Would you like to work for a family-run business? We have an exciting opportunity for you! As our business continues to grow, a new post has become available in our store in Penrith. Do you have:
  • A passion for fly fishing?
  • Up-to-date local knowledge of and practical experience in fly fishing?
  • The ability to advise our customers on the latest fly fishing equipment?
Or do you have an interest in learning all aspects of the sport and allowing us to teach you? Applicants should have excellent customer service skills and enjoy the selling process. This role would be suitable for someone starting their career who is keen to learn and develop with our support. We would also consider taking on two part-time/job share candidates, 20 hours each per week. The role is 37.5 hours per week, including weekend work. Please call James or Laura Norris for more details on 01768864211, or email (You'll also get fantastic staff discount on all products; day tickets on PAA and CAA waters, and get to test all the brand new fishing tackle on the market!)
Posted in Fly Fishing Jobs By

The Evening Rise with David Garfoot

19 August 2015 16:31:38 BST

The evening rise is regarded as the crème de la crème of trout fishing in this country. As daylight hours have now peaked, warmer weather has gradually moved in from the continent boosting the fly life present on the river bank. Insects can hatch in great numbers during these periods and thus create feeding frenzies among the trout of the Eden valley. This increase in the insects available can prompt even the most reluctant and wily of trout to move out of their day time lies to feed. Amongst these fish, now gorging on an array of fly life can often be specimens of three pounds and well above! Evening Rise The evening rises begin as the summer’s day starts to come to an end, the temperature cools and swarms of insects begin to lay their eggs on the surrounding rivers and lakes. The most frequent insects that occur within Cumbria at this time of year are; Sedges, Dun’s, and a variety of Midge’s.   The time of which an evening rise occurs varies from day to day. To make the most of this dry fly sport I avoid the more productive looking pools till later in the evening, when the fish are rising more freely. By doing this it prevents the better quality fish from becoming spooked and leaves things more in your favour when fishing for them.   Greys XF2 Streamflex Fly RodTo effectively target these brown trout a variety of tackle set ups and techniques are required. My tackle of choice when targeting fish on an evening rise, is a Greys XF2 Streamflex 9ft 4wt and a Rio Perception 4wt fly line. This setup is by far one of the most effective on the market to date. It allows for the most careful and delicate presentation, yet also offers great versatility in a variety of fishing situations. The Perception is built upon a low stretch core (around 6 percent stretch) which allows for quicker hook sets and easier mending (see footnote 1) of the fly line.     From my fly line I will always attach a tapered leader to aid the turnover of my fly. My personal favourite being the Rio Powerflex 9ft model which is both supple and low in diameter. As well as this, I always carry a range of tippet strengths in Riverage Grand Max Fluorocarbon and Frog Hair Copolymer which come in useful in many different situations. These can include either tying a dropper or extending the tapered leader if it has become too short. In my opinion these tippet materials are tried and tested and have always offered great reliability on my fishing outings.   Griffiths GnatOn my arrival at the river I will attempt to identify what the fish are feeding on and consider how I might try to catch them. There are a few main approaches which should be considered when fishing an evening rise. These include:     -       Up-wing fly’s such as the Medium Olive and Small Dark Olive hatch throughout June and July. Once they have mated and deposited their eggs within river system (known as Spinners at this stage of their life cycle) they can often become trapped in the surface film. When trapped they are an easy meal for trout and often get eaten before they can escape. To represent Spinners I use a fly known as a Sherry Spinner. I will attempt to match the size of real insect as closely as possible and then target certain fish once I have seen them rise confidently.   Whiting Farm Medium Olive -       As dusk arrives sedge and caddis flies can often be seen skating across the water’s surface. The wake that’s caused seems to attract the attention of most fish in the surrounding water. Trout will readily chase these fleeing insects and aggressively attack them in hope of a large easy meal. In hope of attracting these aggressive brownies I use a select few buoyant sedge patterns such as a Deer Hair Sedge and an Elk Hair Caddis. I cast upstream and directly across, and then retrieve my fly in a variety of different movements. I aim to match the movement of the natural flies as best as possible and find this produces the best results.   -       When fish appear to be feeding on midge species my go to pattern is a Griffiths Gnat. The bushy design of this fly seems to be often irresistible to these wild river trout. I match the size of the fly as closely as possible to the insect. When using small dry fly’s like this it is as important as ever to ensure you get a drag free drift. Flies that are affected by drag usually result in fish ignoring your fly or even becoming spooked.   Sherry Spinner The evening rise can regularly continue well into darkness. During this time I rely on hearing the rise in order to set the hook rather than seeing it. Difficult as this may be the darkness often brings with it the peak of trout’s feeding activity. Great sport can be had on an evening rise and in my opinion is something well worth having a late night for.     David Garfoot   Foot note: 1 – Mending – the process by which you counteract the effects of current on the fly line, thus enabling a longer dead drift.
Howard Croston is the Global Brand Business Manager at Hardy and was previously the Assistant Shop Manager and Technical Product Manager here at John Norris. Based in Morpeth, Northumberland, Howard won a team gold medal in the 2009 World Fly Fishing Championships and was placed 4th in the individual 2012 World Championships in Slovenia.   Howard Croston Name: Howard Croston Age: I’d rather not think about it..... Location: Morpeth, Northumberland Likes: Fly fishing, kick boxing Dislikes: Wind and rain, turbulence when flying, Dentists   Describe a typical day for you? Arrive Office for 8 AM via Costa, catch up on emails and look at the day’s meeting schedule – normally consisting of product development meetings with the Head of Product Innovation Alastair Dandie a close friend of over 20 years and also formally an employee of John Norris of Penrith. Typically work on new product plans and financial analysis of planned projects or marketing related projects like video scripts / story boards etc. Lunch and more caffeine. Afternoons are normally video calls to the US office on various subjects and more product work – quite often casting the newest prototype blanks or reviewing early prototype reels. I normally leave the office about 5.30 and finish the day with either two hours of kick boxing or when the conditions are good an evening on the local river.   Hardy LogoWhat age did you start fishing? Probably around age 8 or so..... So that’s 30 years   What is your first fishing memory? Summer trips to the Lake District with my parents fishing the river Lowther with worms for wild brown trout.   What do you love most about the Sport? So many things – The places it has taken me too, the people I’ve met and the experiences I have had, it’s a blend of all the best things in life – beautiful places, great people and the outdoors. It’s also a technical yet artistic sport that can’t ever really be fully mastered meaning it never gets boring.   Describe your casting style? Compact   What is your most memorable fishing experience? Standing on a sand flat a long way off the coast of Venezuela right at the end of the day, the sea was as flat as a pancake without a breath of wind and the sea and sky totally blended together in a mix of blue, purple and orange light and was completely silent except for tailing Bonefish. It was a very surreal experience and sums up the best of fly fishing for me, to top it all the last fish I cast to was a textbook Bonefish eat that resulted in a personal best 11lb Fish. It wasn’t going to get any better so I reeled in and headed back to the lodge.   Hardy Zenith 440 Sintrix Single Handed Fly RodWhat piece of kit could you not live without? My 9ft 3# Zenith for dry fly fishing. It’s my favourite light line dry fly rod in calm conditions. Check out our full range of Fly Rods here   What do you still want to tick off your fishing bucket list? I have to be honest I have accomplished a lot of my goals , but if I could add anything to them competitively it would be an individual medal at a world championships and from a pleasure fishing perspective, probably a Golden Dorado or Goliath Tigerfish.   Any funny fishing tales you would like to share? After chasing Permit for thirteen unsuccessful years despite military like planning and execution the day I finally caught one was far from text book. Nursing a fairly substantial Hangover from a night out on Los Roques – a night in which I managed to lose my flip flops and get locked out of the hotel, I managed to hook a huge Permit whist wet wading a flat in strong winds – we chased on foot but had to transfer onto the Panga to give chase as it wasn’t keen on hanging around. Whist crossing a deep channel I managed to “moon walk” off the front of the boat (6ft drop) into 20ft of water and had to swim to the stern to get back on board – thankfully still attached to the fish, we landed it 15 mins later probably close to ½ a mile from where we hooked it, I went on to secure my first grand slam later the same day.   Howard CrostonWhat would your perfect day consist of? There are many days that could be considered “perfect” for different reasons but right at this moment it would probably be this – Waking up early in West Yellowstone Montana in mid-September, blue sky’s but the chill of autumn in the air, heading down to the cafe for coffee and corned beef hash before a day up in the park sight fishing to whatever we can find, there’s usually bull Elk starting to roar at that time of year as well. Fishing in Montana was a childhood dream for me and I’ve been lucky to do it many times with some of my closest friends. To make it an absolute perfect day I would rather not see any bears either thank you very much...     What are you most proud of/greatest achievement? Probably my 2009 Team Gold Medal from the World Fly Fishing Championships.  A close second would be my individual 4th placing in the 2012 World Championships in Slovenia, bitter sweet as I was one good draw away from being world champion – still that’s fishing!   Howard CrostonWho or what inspires you? The next awesome fishing experience or the possibility that the next person I meet on my travels may open another door that increases my knowledge and understanding of the sport that’s been a big part of my life for 30 years.   How did you get a career start in the fishing industry? I helped at some country shows for Airflo as a teenager but my real start in the industry was at none other than the world famous John Norris of Penrith. I shopped at John Norris almost every weekend growing up and ultimately ended up working there as a shop assistant and later as assistant shop manager. I spent 6 very happy years working in Penrith and fished a minimum of 5-6 nights every week in the season. I also made many lifelong friends there and have more amusing stories than I can count from my time in retail there.   Any advice for fellow anglers that would like a career in the fishing world? Really just to be aware that working in the industry doesn’t mean you fish more – if anything it’s the opposite, in my experience though the quality of the fishing you experience is higher. If you’re planning to get rich in this industry you may also be disappointed most of us do it for the passion of the sport firstly and the pay checks second.   Howard CrostonWhat is the big thing for your brand this year? Hardy has a number of huge product launches later this year including new rods and reels. Without giving too much away in the 15 years I have worked with the Hardy brand I have never been as excited about the product line we have for 2016.   Can you give us any advice or useful tips? Tips, fishing wise - if it’s not happening “Make it happen” - change techniques / presentation / fly size / tippet strength – anything, just don’t continue on with an unsuccessful approach. Advice on Permit fishing trips – don’t accept “vodka cocktails” that come in pint glasses from an Irish man...... particularly if there doesn’t appear to be anything other than vodka in it ... although I did catch a monster the day after so maybe there is something in it after all.  ;-)   Hardy Zenith 440 Sintrix Single Handed Fly Rods are now half price from only £249.50!
BBC Two has announced this week that a new fishing series is coming to our screens. Provisionally titled The Big Fish, it will be presented by Ben Fogle and will have expert UK fisherman Matt Hayes as the judge.   Matt HayesThe series is going to be made up of six episodes and filmed across four continents. There will be eight amateur anglers from the UK who will be under the critical eye of Matt Hayes accompanied by a local fishing specialist who will be familiar with the waters of the host country as they become immersed in the local fishing techniques.           Ben FogleBen Fogle is well known for his worldly adventures and expeditions including rowing across the Atlantic, trekking across the Sahara and hiking to the South Pole, so his experiences are going to be useful as the eight fishermen face tropical climes and sub-zero temperatures in some of the world’s toughest and most challenging fishing destinations.         Matt Hayes at John Norris ShopMatt Hayes has pretty much fished for everything from sticklebacks to sailfish and says “In my role as a judge I’ll be using my experience to cut through to the issues that really matter – watercraft, natural ability, attitude and technique. Sometimes fishing problems are solved in the mind as much as they are with a rod and reel, and that takes character.”             “The series is the most significant media event in the sport since ‘Passion For Angling’ and I am thrilled to be a part of it. It takes the sport into the homes of millions of families and gives them an insight into the skills required to be a truly great angler. It’s going to be a blend of calm and precision mixed with explosive action and sharp teeth. And all the drama will take place in some of the most spectacular locations on the planet.”   The Big Fish is due to be broadcast on BBC Two later in the year.
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