Pheasant Breasts with Lime Butter Recipe – Courtesy of Anglia Sporting

Ingredients

  • 6 skinless, pheasant breast halves
  • 6 tbs butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbs minced chives
  • 3 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill weed
  • Juice of 1 lime

Method

Season pheasant with salt and pepper. In a large fry pan, heat oil over medium heat.

Add pheasant and saute for 4 minutes, until lightly browned. Turn pheasant, cover, and reduce heat to low.

Cook 10 minutes or until tender. Remove to a platter and keep warm.

Discard oil and wipe out pan. Add lime juice and cook over low heat until bubbly.

Add butter, stirring until butter becomes opaque and sauce thickens. Stir in Chives and dill. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon over pheasant and serve. Serves 6

Shoot Review – Carlton Towers, South Yorkshire – Courtesy of Edd Morrison of GunsOnPegs

I was lucky enough to have shot at Carlton Towers, South Yorkshire earlier this season and although the weather had nearly drowned the poor partridges during the week leading up to the shoot we had a fantastic day’s sport.

What I find so interesting about Carlton Towers is its progression as a business since Simon Kershaw has become the Estate Manager there. The house itself is one of the oldest stately homes in the country and is quite a sight when driving up the drive towards its gates. Carlton Towers is one of the ancestral homes belonging to the Duke of Norfolk’s family and home to the Duke’s brother and sister-in-law, Lord and Lady Gerald Fitzalan Howard.

They arrange an astonishing amount of weddings in the house during the summer, they have created a fantastic cookery school within the house, and the main part of the house is available for shooting parties to stay in before, after shooting or both with exclusive use of the house and in house professional chefs offering stunning food, wine and cigars for guests.

We met at Carlton Towers at 8:30am for a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea before we met the keeper and drew our pegs for the day. After a quick safety brief we were in the cars and on the way to the first drive.

Being a traditional partridge shoot the guns are placed behind high hedges or belts of trees and the partridges are driven over the hedges providing very exciting shooting for the guns. Having never shot traditional partridges before I was excited to see how and where people shot them. I could tell from how far away the picker-up was standing that it was ok to have a crack at them out of “the back door” which I like the idea of and proves an effective way of shooting them.

After watching what was going on down the line I managed to get an idea of when and how to shoot the partridges and I finished the first drive with a couple of lovely birds crossing a way in front of me and enjoyed watching the others shooting further down the line.

We then headed to the new drinks lodge within the parkland grounds of the house. There, we were greeted by a roaring fire outside, hot soup with chilli sherry, black pudding sausage rolls and homemade sloe gin. The shoot room was decorated with antlers and fur rugs, allowing guns to stand in side if they wanted to, but as it was so mild we stood and chatted outside by the fire. It was a great location and Simon told us that during the summer they do outdoor cooking lessons around the fire which sound brilliant.

Onto the second drive, there was no hedge in front of us on this drive but for some reason it just looked like a cracker. Sure enough it produced some of the best birds of the day in my eyes. It started with French partridges trickling through the line and the odd pheasant that got through unscathed. Then suddenly the unmistakeable noise of English Partridge making their way towards the guns and plenty of them. I saw a stream of these glorious birds and after a couple of cracks of the flag by beaters at the front of the game crop they exploded over most of the line. Some went high, some went low, but they spread everywhere and not one gun managed to pull one down. Unfortunately I didn’t get a shot at them as I was right on the end of the line for this drive, but to see such a healthy number of greys and the guns get so comprehensively beaten by these magical birds was just a joy to watch.

Onto the third drive which had the Drachs power station behind it which actually gave the drive a certain feel to it that I rather liked. What I found so fascinating about this drive is that it shows that no matter how close you are to civilisation (or a Power Station) with good conservation wildlife can flourish and this drive proved that. The game crop that the birds were driven from was immaculate and it provided a good amount of shooting for the line of guns.

The fourth drive provided a selection of the most challenging partridges as they were driven over a tall belt of trees which they tended to follow down the line due to the wind providing good sport for the guns crossing in front of them. Again a good strong sized covey of English Partridge slid out of the side out of shot of the guns, but again it was fantastic to see them in such healthy numbers. I managed to round off the day with a lovely right and left of partridge and then back to the house for a Gin & Tonic and lunch.

Lunch was cooked by the professional chefs at Carlton Towers and was served in the shoot dining room which again is as grand as you could ever want and yet homely at the same time. We had Game Pie followed by a fantastic array of cheeses and wine.

Carlton Towers offers something very unique to shooting parties wanting something a little off the beaten track. They offer only what I can describe as amazing discounts on accommodation in the house for the night before or after or both. This gives your team exclusive use of the house, dinner and breakfast before or after you head out for a truly memorable days traditional partridge shooting.

They also offer packages with Cookery courses on the second day where guests get taught how to butcher their own game and how to cook it like the professionals of the culinary world do.They even offer a Cooking Course on the same the day, so that the other halves can enjoy a full day at the cookery school… More than often it is the men leaving the ladies to shoot and getting stuck into the cookery school.The Carlton Towers Cookery School is immaculate and the equipment is second to none, from the marble surfaces, top of the range ovens and hobs to the professional chefs who make sure you enjoy your day and get the best experience possible out of it.

What Carlton Towers offers a party of guests is completely unique, a truly English partridge shoot and a trip that I would definitely recommend any team of guns to go for. The hospitality is second to none, the shooting is great fun and the house can only be described as glorious.

If you are interested in shooting at Carlton Towers, South Yorkshire then please contact Simon through the Carloton Towers page on GunsOnPegs.

By: Edd Morrison of GunsOnPegs.

Keeping Your Shotgun in Tip-Top Order – Courtesy of GunsOnPegs

Regular maintenance will ensure that your pride-and-joy continues to deliver tip-top performance and remains in good, safe condition. Gordon Swatton, Resident Gunsmith for William Evans, provides some pointers for GunsOnPegs members.

Regular maintenance will make your sport safer and more enjoyable. The two key aspects are cleaning and servicing. Servicing and repairs are best left to a professional because specialist knowledge and tools are required. However, cleaning your gun every time you use it will ensure that it remains in the best possible condition between visits to the gunsmith.

The process can be broken down into a few, simple steps:

  • Disassemble the gun into its three main components, stock and action, barrels and fore-end
  • Remove traces of lead streaking or plastic fouling, caused by shot and plastic wads, from the bores using a phosphor-bronze brush. Use a bore cleaner to dissolve stubborn deposits

  • Thoroughly clean the chambers. Being slightly larger than the bores you will need to use a proper phosphor-bronze chamber brush
  • Remove multi-chokes if fitted, clean, apply a light film of oil and replace
  • Remove any deposits from the barrels and chambers using a jag and patch

  • Run a second, clean patch through the bores to make them sparkle before applying a very thin film of oil
  • Remove any traces of powder and dirt from the face of the action
  • Wipe metal components with a lightly-oiled cloth to protect them against corrosion
  • Apply a good quality stock oil to the woodwork
  • Wipe the gun with a silicone-impregnated cloth before storing it securely in a proper gun-safe

Every responsible owner should have their gun serviced, ideally at the end of each season so that it is stored in the best possible condition. Compared with the overall cost of shooting, servicing is inexpensive, and will ensure the reliability, safety and condition of your gun, as well as protecting its value.

Factors such as the gun’s age, how much it is used and the conditions in which it is used will be a factor in terms of how often it needs attention. Game guns will generally need servicing more often than those used for clay targets.

William Evans shops are located at: 

The Old Armoury, Bisley Camp, Brookwood, Surrey, GU24 0NY (Tel: 01483 486 500)

67a St James’s Street, London SW1A 1PH (Tel: 020 7493 0415)

www.williamevans.com

The Beginners Guide to Fly Fishing – Courtesy of Neil Keep

The following guide has been produced to remind you of some of the key points covered when learning to fly fish.

It is by no means comprehensive but designed as a quick reference guide. If you would like any further in depth information please contact Neil who will only be too happy to answer any of your questions.

The Tackle

After securing the reel to the rod always make sure the rod rings are aligned and that you haven’t missed any of the rings on the rod when you have threaded the line through them.

Use a leader of around 10’ to 12’ to start with, as your casting improves lengthen your leader but still keep it manageable when casting. You can buy ready-made tapered leaders or make your own by joining progressively thinner diameter line.

Keep knots simple to start with, the blood knot for joining your leader to the braided loop and for attaching the fly to your leader. Use the water knot when joining the different line together when making a tapered leader.

When out fishing don’t forget a net to land your fish and a priest to dispatch your catch with. Sounds basic but an easy mistake to make!

If you are thinking about purchasing your first fly rod, a 9’ rod that casts a 5 weight line is pretty much middle of the road as far as size is concerned and can be used in a variety of venues and situations from lake to river and even saltwater in calmer conditions.

Casting

Always remember some form of eye protection before picking up a fly rod and casting it no matter how competent a caster you are.

The Roll Cast – slowly lift the rod tip so that the line glides across the surface of the water towards you until it forms a “D loop” behind the rod, this “D loop” is your weight of line that flexes the rod when you accelerate forwards and enables you to make the cast. The tip of the fly line should still be in the water, this anchors the D loop in place. Start the forward cast with rod pointing to around 1 o’clock (presuming you are right handed) and then accelerate the rod forwards until it reaches 10 o’clock where you should stop it abruptly.  The line should then start unrolling across the water and land in a straight line on the water.

This cast is a forward cast without an aerial back cast so great for fishing in confined spaces but more importantly for a beginner a great cast to manage your line, so if your fly line is laying in a big coiled heap out on the water use the roll cast to straighten the line before attempting the overhead cast.

The Overhead Cast – accelerate the rod back smoothly but quickly to get the line airborne above your head and then stop abruptly at 1 o’clock, the same position as in the roll cast. Once stopped, you have to pause to allow the line to straighten in the air behind you, this pause is known as the “timing” and is critical to enable you to make a good forward cast. To make the forward cast simply accelerate the rod forward then abruptly stop again at 10 o’clock. If you are struggling with the timing of the cast and you are hearing the tell-tale “cracking” sound behind you, remember the phrases you can say in your head as you cast such as “lift – flick – tap” or the simple “tick – tock”. Remember to keep any eye on the rod as you cast and don’t let it travel too far behind you in the back cast, a common fault for the beginner. To make sure you are getting your hand into the correct position in the back cast, hold out your hand as if you are holding an imaginary rod, then move your hand as if you were picking up a telephone and answering it, now look where your hand is, it will be in the correct position for the stop point, now do the same with the rod in your hand.

The overhead will be the most commonly used cast in your armoury. It is the best cast for distance and accuracy and is used in most fishing situations where space allows. Always check you have space behind you before you make the cast otherwise you will be finding yourself decorating trees with the contents of your fly box! Also check for anyone walking behind you before making the cast.

Fly Selection

The key to selecting a successful fly is to cast your eyes on, around and in the water and see what you can find in the way of a food source for fish.

If you see swifts or swallows dipping down onto the water that is an indicator that midge or “buzzer” activity is present, a staple food source for the fish, so try a buzzer pupae. If the fish are clearly taking fly from the top of the water then you can try a dry fly on the surface. If there is no sign of fish try a fly with more weight and fish it a little deeper.

Look out for damsel flies in spring and summer. If you see these in abundance around the water’s edge it is likely that the fish will be feeding on the nymph stage of the fly sub surface.

Remember to keep things simple to start with, carry no more than a dozen or so flies in a box, buzzers, damsel nymph, pheasant tail nymph, diawl bachs, a couple of dry flies and a couple of lures for when the fish aren’t feeding on anything natural. Have a couple of flies with the added weight of a gold head for when you want to fish a little deeper.

One key tip for fly selection is that if you see an abundant food source for the fish on, in or near the water, simply try and imitate it.

Playing and Landing Fish

When you have hooked a fish always remember to keep the rod tip high to act as a shock absorber and to keep tension in the line between you and the fish. Once hooked, never let the line go slack as this will give the fish chance to throw the hook.

If you are taking the fish once landed, take your time and let the fish wear itself out against the bend of the rod. If you are going to be returning the fish, play it hard and get it into a position to be released as quickly as possible, thus giving it a better opportunity to make a full recovery. Also if you intend to release a fish always flatten the barb of the hook with pliers and this will ensure no damage is made to the fish’s mouth.

One final note that I try to get over to everyone I teach or guide is not to measure your success with how many fish you catch but by how much you enjoy the whole experience of fly fishing itself.

Ginger Tom Scores Again With River Test Grayling – Courtesy of Go Fly Fishing UK

On the afternoon of 17th February I fished the upper River Test for Grayling with my fellow Go Fly Fishing UK guides Steve Skuce, Mick Siggery, Stephen Wright and Steve Harrison.  Although I have guided on the River Test about 450 times and fished it for 20 years I am always up for learning about new ‘killer’ flies.  Almost exactly twelve months ago the top fly on our equivalent guides day was a size 16 weighted olive coloured shrimp (although my  best fly, surprisingly given that this was mid-February, was a size 16 dry parachute Black Gnat).  So I asked my colleagues if they had any new top flies to tell me about.  Steve Skuce (Chairman of the Grayling Society) piped up that he had invented a brilliant new Grayling fly he had named the Ginger Tom.  He gave me one so I tied it on, fished duo/’klink & dink’ style.  On fishing it I could immediately see that it was a little heavy for the spot I was fishing so I changed to my own invented ‘killer’ Grayling fly (see below) and it immediately started to produce fish – albeit small ones.

Steve himself did catch well on his Ginger Tom (see tying instructions below) and also on a size 16 Pearly Pheasant Tail Nymph.  His best fish on the Ginger Tom being a 16”+ male which he said had the largest dorsal fin he’d ever seen on a Grayling.

My top Grayling fly invention, I just named Dave’s Grayling Bug.  Here it is: Dave's Grayling Bug

Tied on shrimp hooks from size 16 to 12 (depending on the weight required), touching turns of electric motor copper wire along the hook shank are covered by fluorescent pink cotton and then the copper wire is wound back over the cotton in a segmented way – see picture.  Don’t worry if some of the copper wire on the hook shank shows through the cotton as I think this may add to the effectiveness of the fly.  Also some of the electric motor copper wire that I use is a reddish copper colour which again I feel adds to its attraction.  Although designed for the River Test, where it is brilliant winter Grayling bug, last autumn it worked very well on my local River Wharfe at Ilkley.

Ginger Tom Grayling fly by Steve Skuce – Chairman of The Grayling Society

Ginger Tom

Developed on the River Wylye in Wiltshire. Heaven knows what the fish take it for but take it they do. In its first week on the Wylye it accounted for over 100 Grayling and about 30 Brownies! It has also now caught fish on the Dove in Staffordshire; Wharfe in Yorkshire; Wylye, Itchen, Test and Avon in the South; and on the Dordogne and Maronne in France.

Materials

Hook: Kamasan B100 or similar grub type hook. Size 18, 16, 14.

Silk: Brown or tan.

Bead: Copper coloured bead – either tungsten or brass dependent on the rate of sink you need – put on before you commence tying.  I use one about 2mm for #18, 2.4mm for #16 and 2.8mm for #14.

Rib: Copper wire – thickness to match hook size.

Abdomen: Light Ginger dubbing. My favourite is some ginger from a dubbing box I acquired full of different coloured Rabbit. Other dubbing – Life Cycle Nymph Ginger, Flyrite #36 Ginger Cream etc. – will work but, whatever you use, make sure it is a light ginger in colour. The ‘ginger’ colour is key.

Thorax: Any suitable Dark Brown dubbing. I have used Life Cycle Nymph Dark Brown or Flyrite #6.

Tying Instructions:

  1. Put bead on hook ensuring the countersunk side is to the back of the hook.
  2. Run silk down to outside of bend and catch in Cock Pheasant Tail fibres to form short tail.
  3. Tie in Copper Wire ribbing also.
  4. Run silk up to back of bead trapping Cock Pheasant Tail fibres and tag end of ribbing wire. Cut or break off waste.
  5. Run silk back to bend and dub with Ginger dubbing. Dub an abdomen leaving enough room to dub a thorax behind bead.
  6. Rib abdomen with wire turning it in the opposite direction to that of the silk so it doesn’t bed in. About 4 to 8 turns dependent on hook size. Tie off and remove waste.
  7. Dub on a short thorax with Dark Brown dubbing.
  8. Whip finish behind eye, tie off, cut off waste thread and varnish whipping. I always do 2 whip finishes as a precaution in case one is cut through by the fish’s teeth. That way I have one more to go before the fly falls to bits!!

 About Dave Martin

Dave caught his first Trout in 1970 at the age of 13 and his first fly caught Trout a couple of years later – both from the River Wharfe in the Yorkshire Dales. During a pre-Go Fly Fishing UK business career of 22 years Dave went fishing on at least 100 days…every year! He is very keen! Dave has now carried out over 1,200 bookings as a full-time professional fly fishing guide and trained/qualified instructor, of which over 400 were on the famous River Test. Dave is an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide. Dave now lives in Yorkshire and guides and teaches on the River Wharfe and other waters in the Yorkshire Dales and North and West Yorkshire. Dave is also Secretary of the Ilkley Angling Association and is a member of Wild Trout Trust, Grayling Society, Angling Trust, Bradford City Angling Association, Bradford No1 Angling Association and Leeds & District Amalgamated Society of Anglers.

Fly Fishing the River Test for Grayling – Courtesy of Go Fly Fishing UK

On the afternoon of 17th February I fished the upper River Test for Grayling with my fellow Go Fly Fishing UK guides Steve Skuce, Mick Siggery, Stephen Wright and Steve Harrison.  Although I have guided on the River Test about 450 times and fished it for 20 years I am always up for learning about new ‘killer’ flies.  Almost exactly twelve months ago the top fly on our equivalent guides day was a size 16 weighted olive coloured shrimp (although my  best fly, surprisingly given that this was mid-February, was a size 16 dry parachute Black Gnat).  So I asked my colleagues if they had any new top flies to tell me about.  Steve Skuce (Chairman of the Grayling Society) piped up that he had invented a brilliant new Grayling fly he had named the Ginger Tom.  He gave me one so I tied it on, fished duo/’klink & dink’ style.  On fishing it I could immediately see that it was a little heavy for the spot I was fishing so I changed to my own invented ‘killer’ Grayling fly (see below) and it immediately started to produce fish – albeit small ones.

Steve himself did catch well on his Ginger Tom (see tying instructions below) and also on a size 16 Pearly Pheasant Tail Nymph.  His best fish on the Ginger Tom being a 16”+ male which he said had the largest dorsal fin he’d ever seen on a Grayling.

My top Grayling fly invention, I just named Dave’s Grayling Bug.  Here it is: Dave's Grayling Bug

Tied on shrimp hooks from size 16 to 12 (depending on the weight required), touching turns of electric motor copper wire along the hook shank are covered by fluorescent pink cotton and then the copper wire is wound back over the cotton in a segmented way – see picture.  Don’t worry if some of the copper wire on the hook shank shows through the cotton as I think this may add to the effectiveness of the fly.  Also some of the electric motor copper wire that I use is a reddish copper colour which again I feel adds to its attraction.  Although designed for the River Test, where it is brilliant winter Grayling bug, last autumn it worked very well on my local River Wharfe at Ilkley.

Ginger Tom Grayling fly by Steve Skuce – Chairman of The Grayling Society

Ginger Tom

Developed on the River Wylye in Wiltshire. Heaven knows what the fish take it for but take it they do. In its first week on the Wylye it accounted for over 100 Grayling and about 30 Brownies! It has also now caught fish on the Dove in Staffordshire; Wharfe in Yorkshire; Wylye, Itchen, Test and Avon in the South; and on the Dordogne and Maronne in France.

Materials

Hook: Kamasan B100 or similar grub type hook. Size 18, 16, 14.

Silk: Brown or tan.

Bead: Copper coloured bead – either tungsten or brass dependent on the rate of sink you need – put on before you commence tying.  I use one about 2mm for #18, 2.4mm for #16 and 2.8mm for #14.

Rib: Copper wire – thickness to match hook size.

Abdomen: Light Ginger dubbing. My favourite is some ginger from a dubbing box I acquired full of different coloured Rabbit. Other dubbing – Life Cycle Nymph Ginger, Flyrite #36 Ginger Cream etc. – will work but, whatever you use, make sure it is a light ginger in colour. The ‘ginger’ colour is key.

Thorax: Any suitable Dark Brown dubbing. I have used Life Cycle Nymph Dark Brown or Flyrite #6.

Tying Instructions:

  1. Put bead on hook ensuring the countersunk side is to the back of the hook.
  2. Run silk down to outside of bend and catch in Cock Pheasant Tail fibres to form short tail.
  3. Tie in Copper Wire ribbing also.
  4. Run silk up to back of bead trapping Cock Pheasant Tail fibres and tag end of ribbing wire. Cut or break off waste.
  5. Run silk back to bend and dub with Ginger dubbing. Dub an abdomen leaving enough room to dub a thorax behind bead.
  6. Rib abdomen with wire turning it in the opposite direction to that of the silk so it doesn’t bed in. About 4 to 8 turns dependent on hook size. Tie off and remove waste.
  7. Dub on a short thorax with Dark Brown dubbing.
  8. Whip finish behind eye, tie off, cut off waste thread and varnish whipping. I always do 2 whip finishes as a precaution in case one is cut through by the fish’s teeth. That way I have one more to go before the fly falls to bits!!