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Top 5 Mayfly Fishing Tips to Increase Your Catch.

Top 5 Mayfly Fishing Tips to Increase Your Catch.

The Mayfly season seems to start later each year, in the south of England it generally won’t get going until late May to early June so there’s still time to get yourself ready for the bonanza. The Mayfly can be an exciting yet frustrating time of the year with the Trout feeding sporadically as the hatches come and go – resulting in feast of famine for anglers. Here are our top 5 tips to help you catch more consistently through a Mayfly session.


Foam is Home.

Although not the traditional approach, foam bodied flies have significantly upped my catch rate when fishing Mayfly patterns. I tie two types; one made from tan foam sheets and made into segmented bodies using a detached body tool, and a second made using the 2.8mm diameter Gunville Cutter to create cylindrical bodies. A simple hackle and some brown dots from a marker pen and you’re good to go, it couldn’t be more simple or effective. The advantages of these foam flies are simple, it’s highly buoyant and doesn’t require treatment. This means the fly spends more time on the water and less time in your hands or reaching for the treatment bottle, which increases catch rate. They can also be better manipulated on the water, creating more disturbance if required, which brings us onto the next tip.


Induced Take.

During abundant hatches the Trout are spoilt for choice, as such an induced take needs to be utilised to entice the fish onto your offering. There are a couple of ways to do this; firstly an up and across cast and twitched back across the stream, secondly using a mend to skate the fly (my preferred method as it results in a dead drift when the fish will take it), and finally you can ‘dap’ the fly across the surface by lifting the rod tip up and down. These techniques will often produce rises that a dead drift wouldn't.


No Shame in Nymphing.

There is no shame in fishing a nymph if nothing is hatching/rising. You won’t be struck by lightning, hit by a plague of Locust or locked up by the etiquette police! If the hatch dies off or the conditions are not suited to the dry fly then covering the water with a nymph is a great way to continue to catch while waiting for the next surface fishing opportunity. Sometimes the fish prefer to intercept the nymphs rather than those hatching or falling onto the surface, which means you could catch more fish! Consider setting up two rods or using versatile options like the Greys Streamflex Plus rod that comes with an integrated 6" extension.


Ring the Changes.

Have a few options available and switch flies until you get the desired result. You can tie patterns to cover the full life cycle of the Mayfly, and the Trout will be focussed on feeding on a particular stage under certain conditions. Make sure you have a few examples to hand, but most importantly, make sure you take a box of your favourite generic dry fly patterns. I have often done better fishing a size 16 or 18 F Fly during the Mayfly, particularly after a week or two of angling pressure.


Reach for the Rope.

With the competitive feeding frenzy and cool water combined, the takes can be aggressive, sometimes stripping line immediately. I would normally increase from 3lb to 4.75lb or 5lb good quality Fluorocarbon like Seaguar Grand Max, which is sufficient on my local water. But also consider monofilament tapered leaders, avoid low stretch fly lines and check your drag tension, anything to cushion the takes and hard runs will be beneficial.


Tying the Foam Bodied Mayfly.

Hook: Dohiku HDD 14

Thread: Brown Semperfli Nano Silk

Body: 2.8mm Gunville Foam Cutter & Premium HD Foam Block (spots added with a brown marker)

Wing: Generic hackle, flattened.


I hope this helps you catch more fish, please visit our website here and subscribe to our Upavon Blog below for more updates.

Tight Lines,


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Eric Conlan - September 21, 2022

I love this post but just a tip… you should really write longer articles. I was sad this post ended, and I think your writing style would keep people really interested in what you had to say about all of this.


ross huey - May 16, 2022

very good advice thanks

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