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Match the Hatch – May

Published: 30th April 2020 | Author: Fulling Mill

This series of Match the Hatch entries has been bought to you in collaboration with our friends at Fishing Breaks.

As a football manager would say, May is a month of two halves. You’ll start out with the more ‘normal’ patterns but you need to be fly box ready the moment Mother Nature hits the Mayfly switch. So, with that in mind here are four main groups to have with you when heading out to the river.

Hawthorn & Black Gnat

These are two closely related terrestrial species. The Hawthorn only appears briefly, towards the end of April and into early May. Black Gnats however, are good for the whole month and on through the summer. Carry a variety of sizes from 14-20 for the gnats and 14 for the hawthorn. Top tip: if the fish are clearly taking gnats but ignoring your fly, dampen the gnat to fish it slightly drowned.

Hawthorn S12 & S14

Walker Mayfly nymph

Check the rules before you tie this one on because not all fisheries allow nymphing in May. The trout will have been feeding on mayfly nymphs for weeks ahead of the Duffers Fortnight, so this is the one to try when there is no surface action. Size 10 or 12.

Mayfly Nymph Weighted (Walker) S8, S10, S12

Iron Blue

May is not always a good weather month; you’ll often be fishing in damp, cool, blustery conditions. If this dampens your spirits don’t despair because this is precisely the type of day for the Iron Blue. Size 14 or 16.

Iron Blue Dun S14, S16


It is hard to say this name without smiling. The experts will tell you there are three species of mayfly – danica, vulgata and lineata – but treat them as one. All are so large you cannot mistake them for anything else!

Once the trout fixate on the mayfly it is pointless trying any other pattern but be aware of the three main stages of the hatch: Emerger (French Partridge), Dun (Thomas’s Mayfly) and Spent (Spent Mayfly) all in size 10. Be prepared to switch as the fish switch. Top tip: use a 5lb or 6lb tippet to ensure your cast turns over these bulky, wind resistant flies.

Simon Recommends 5lb or 6lb

Founded 30 years ago Fishing Breaks has access to some of the finest chalkstream fishing in the UK. Whether you’re after a day on the Itchen, or a week on the Test, they’re always worth a call. Fishing Breaks are also proud to sell a range of seasonal fly selections curated and tied by Fulling Mill.

To Purchase Your Selection – Please Contact Fishing Breaks

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