Thursday, 13 October 2016

Tail end of the season , breaks and joins in equal measure.

As far as seasons go.  2016 has so far been one to forget the only hope for redemption is that the grayling will come in at the last lap and rescue the year. So far a lot less fishing has been done than I would like . Time has been in short supply and the only other thing in shorter supply has been water in the local rivers and streams .  The last month also resulted in probably my all time shortest trip when one of my much loved Winstons snapped when casting on about the fifth cast ,  Cant understand why but can only guess it had a weakness following an errant fly or nymph giving it a knock.  Anyway as I`m the original owner and have registered the warranty it will very shortly be winging its way to the states for repair..  The accident happened on what was pretty much my last trout trip of the season so at least I wont be without my favourite 8ft 4weight when the new trout season starts next year.

On Sunday I had a day on the Ure , The day was organised by the Salmon and Trout Association and the dales rivers trust.  It was essentially a social day held around a 4 hr grayling competition.Its a day for members of the organisation primarily and its a fund raiser.  I have never been on the day before but its an annual event going back many years. When I got there I was one of 69 people fishing and looking around the pub where everyone met a few things were obvious, firstly most people knew each other and amongst the crowd were some serious anglers and some old friends.  Hot tea and bacon sandwiches were the introduction .  Fishy tales and stories of defeats and victories filled the air as could be imagined in a pub full of anglers.

After the draw which put 6 or 8 anglers on a beat of river we all set of to find our allotted section.  Myself and three companions were on a beat just upstream of Wensly , very pretty water and as we walked along the river I dropped into the pool below ,  A nice riffle emptying into a deeper pool looked suitably fishy and I  decided to wait for the start time right here .  As it got to 12 o clock I started with a size 18 Klink , There was an odd rise and the only insects I could see were a few small olives and sedges ,  I hoped that the klinks ability to bring fish to the surface would see success so that went on to start with,  The third cast the grayling above came to hand ,  next cast another grayling rose and was netted this time a little six incher.  A couple of casts later my cast strayed into the faster broken water and a reasonable out of season trout took and proceeded to cartwheel around the swim . After that I couldn't buy a fish and I moved on.

The next three hours was a struggle, nymphs weren't working at all and rising fish were very rare. The river was low but it was great to fish a new stretch on one of my favourite rivers . On the day the fishing wasn't great but perhaps I should say the catching wasn't great ,  The fishing was in fact excellent,  Met and chatted to several old friends and had a brief chat to Oliver Edwards ,  First time I have met him and he was a proper gent,  On the odd occasion in the past I have met "top" anglers they have sometimes been a bit full of themselves.  But he was a proper gent and seemed interested in where we had come from and his commenting that the days fishing had been as hard as he could remember for a while helped the pain of a low catch.  Socialising around fishing is something new to me , to me its always been an intensely solitary pastime but more and more I find myself sharing a day with a friend or acquaintance,  There is a knack to river fishing and socialising it seems to me that the trick is getting the balance right in how much time you spend with your companion and how much time is spent in solitude.

Its interesting that I ended the paragraph with the word solitude .  Its a word that is often misused and misunderstood.  All to often confused with loneliness another word that has been on my mind of late. I have a an old friend that is suffering at the moment with loneliness and depression and he asked me how I coped with the loneliness of been out on the river. "Lonely" I questioned "on a river".  I can only say that I have often experienced solitude and occasionally been lonely but the two states have never existed togather.  Truth is when it comes down to it loneliness is a state of mind, Solitude is a state of being.  All my life I have never been happier that when I am alone and fishing a river and if its in my beloved Yorkshire than so much the better,  Incidentally I will be back on the Ure in the future weeks and months,  I left the angling club on the Ure a year or two ago mainly as I had gained access to one of the wolds chalk streams and you can only fish so many places and felt that I couldnt fish them all.   But both decisions weren't my best,  I missed the Ure as quickly as I regretted my decision to join the chalk stream syndicate,  I am pleased to say that both decisions have now been reversed so one again I can at least look forward to summer days in the dales next year.  The blog has been on my mind of late too.  I have had several emails and even the odd conversation on the non virtual variety complaining at the lack of activity.  Truth is I think to a large extent its run its course,  Increasingly I find myself setting down things that perhaps arent in keeping with a fishing blog and then deleting them ,  Some of you readers may think the last paragraph falls into that catagory well perhaps it does.  But the blog is going to continue but its going to change. I guess you the readers will decide if the change is good... 

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Best part of the day

This weekend was the annual August bank holiday.  Which living in a tourist town is a real double edged sword.  The town needs the money the visitors bring .  The crowds, litter, traffic jams and campfires and rubbish up the beck are the flip side of the equation.  Also the weather usually manages to behave in a proper bank holiday manner.  Heavy rain and strong winds are the usual and sure enough in the run up to the weekend we had seen havy rain which had put all the local rivers up which meant any fly fishing was scuppered .  My only chance of any fishing was on my local beck where the recent overnight spate and suitable high tide late at night gave a chance that an early sea trout would nose up the beck. Saturday early weather forecast  promised a window of opportunity, to be honest all in all a pretty remote chance but just realistic enough to make an early morning trip up the beck more than just a folly.

The morning was perfection , the north sea was like a mill pond allowing the castle to cast its shadow on the sea .  Only a few hours later thick clouds had blown in bringing a heavy swell and rain.  Sheltering visitors arriving mid morning missing the early morning splendour.  Oblivious to having missed the "best part of the day"

Climbing up from the sea front and looking down into the valley gives a glimpse of the beck hidden in the valley bottom.  Clambering down to the first pool its hard to realise that the high tide line is only about 70ds below this first pool.  The fishing is about searching the sea pools with a spinner , usually a mepps, chucking metal as the unkind call it. 

Another two hundred yards up stream the bankside is covered like a cottage garden border. I love this stretch of the beck , Wild orchids compete with basking slow worms to grab your attention.  This deep slow pool has delivered up some fine fish in the past.  Truth is there probably hadnt been enough of a rise in water to make running fish very likely neither was it late enough in the year to make running sea trout very likely.  

Heres a pic you wont see very often on my blog my old faithful shakey spinning rod and ABU cardinel reel.  A combo that Ive had for probably ten years and gets used about twice a year.   Truth is I am not a great fan of spinning after a couple of hours Im bored. It just doesnt float my boat .  I am not saying its unskilled because in its way it isnt .  Fishing the spinner well is indeed very skilled and we have a few guys in the club who are damn good at it . But I aint one of them . 

I have caught sea trout in the beck on them but the big deal for me was catching one on the fly years ago.  But this morning ended up been a walk by the beck with a rod for company but without a sniff of a fish.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

River swale with a fly rod

I have just returned from a week in the Yorkshire dales , a lovely area to visit . Especially for me as it doesn't seem to matter which part you stay in you are never far away from one of the beautiful Dales rivers .  This time we were in Richmond and the local river is the Swale , in fact the river flows right through the town. Apparently the Swale can be the fastest rising river in England .  Due to its extensive high ground catchment catchment and steep valleys .  When we arrived it was dead low due to the last few weeks lack of rain. 

Despite the idyllic scene above its sad to report the litter  muppets still manage to spoil things , the shingle bank showing was liberally scattered with dozens of broken bottles and the remains of a good few bonfires .   Sadly it's an all to common story of many people's lack of respect for the countryside.  

I managed a few early morning sessions on here , not an ideal time to fish but under dead low summer conditions it has a good few things going for it.   The river has been un disturbed for a few hours and water temperatures will have dropped slightly .  Also the procession of dog walkers , fire lighters, bottle smashers and other bank side dwellers has been absent for a few hours .  The river is as quiet then as at any time of day. Swale dale certainly  is a very handsome place . The first fish of the day and in fact all he fish I caught came from Runs less than a foot deep fast broken water ,  "skinny water"

The river was a cracking place to be early morning ,  I shared it with Buzzards, Kingfishers , Dippers a couple of foxes and butterflies in abundance ,  should know more about butterflies but it's something I have never got to grip with , not sure what these are but there sure were a lot .

The run below was pretty typical of where fish came from fast, and generally less that a foot deep with a few pockets a bit deeper , a size 16 Klink with a nice visible post was the best on the day. Rises were sometimes amazingly small given the speed of the water often the fly just seemed to sucked through the film. A highly visible fly was essential.  Its also worth mentioning that not one fish was targetted as a riser.  All fish were taken by casting to likely lies and holding spots.  Fish that were visibly rising were small fish splashing in the dead slow pools.

I caught a lot of the size below and a few better fish , my best of the trip was about a pound and a half   But stupidly allowed it to flip out of the net after carrying it to the edge of the current .  Barbless hook came out and the fish bid me farewell before the camera could be deployed 

The run below was where I had my best success between one and two feet deep of very clear  fast water over a very rocky bed in a 100yds I had five fish , one released at the net as stated above and four to hand , the best photogenic one is below.  They put up a tremendous scrap in the fast current , great fun on a 10ft four weight .

Just as an aside , I like a lot of anglers can be guilty of indulging in expensive posh label gear , I do love Winstons and have several , but last year needing a 10ft 4 wt for exactly this kind of occasional use I took a risk on a cheap ebay Trabucco 4 pce.  Quite a sweet rod think it was about £75 quid. Just shows whats out there in the marketplace.

My few days in the dales were delightful , The rivers although low and full of spoooky fish were great fun. 

Until the last couple of days when overnight rain demonstrated why this river is known as the fatest rising in England.  From dead low to bank high in just a few hours..

Friday, 29 July 2016

Dad , When we of fishing?

Its taken a while for me to hear someone say the above, In fact its taken twenty years or and I will be honest apart from a trip or two when my daughter decided she would like to come fishing with me when she was a kid.  None of my children had ever shown any interest in Dads passion. Until that is number two son home for the summer from University decided he would tag along one evening .  The prospect of a pint of best in the pub on the way back probably influenced that early decision. I am pleased to say that he enjoyed that evening and seems to want more .

My poor long suffering wife even asked if I needed to buy anything for him  to wear or use. Obviously the multiple hiding places and hidden away corners that conceal countless boots,waders, rods reels and all the other paraphernalia have remained well hidden.  No i`ll manage was my shy response.  I am not expecting him to go down with the affliction as badly as me.  But his interest will be carefully nurtured with care not to overpower his enthusiasm,  After all he is a young man and lives most of his time in the big city with all its inherent distractions particularly of the beer and female variety.

But when he returns home the river will be there and his access to it will be as free as the son of the fishing club chairman can be.  He has a houseful of tackle to go at.  He has however been told to keep away from the Split cane and Winstons. His casting isn't up to that yet.  I have already booked a day with a guide . Morning for my casting and the afternoon for his general introduction.  All of a sudden things are looking hopeful.

Monday, 20 June 2016

A tale of two flies

Sunday was fathers day and when asked what I wanted to do it was a simple response . " A few hours down the the river". Wish granted....Once i had found somewhere to park I headed of downstream to start fishing up....Now the river was still up a an inch or two and was still carrying extra colour fining down from the previous days.  After walking downstream for 15 minutes, a distance that I reckoned that would take me an hour or two to fish back up.  These little spate rivers cant be rushed containing lots of pocket water and bankside runs that need careful searching.  Also slow wading is the name of the game.  These small wild fish rise freely but soon head for cover if careless wading send advance notice of your presence ,

The colours of these wild fish always amazes me.  and although the fish are small they resist capture with a great deal of airborne acrobatics.

There didnt appear to be a great deal of surface activity but as is often the case a bit of searching located fish.  It was in the places that usually appear lifeless during summer low conditions where I started to see activity and as everything seemed to be hatching my fly of choice was once again a size 18 IOBO. This was the fly after 4 or 5 fish after a dusting with the frogs fanny.  

This was the same fly half a dozen fish later . There was a discussion in a magazine last month on the supposed lack of resilience of cdc for fly dressing. Well this fly went on to catch between 12 and 15 fish before a tree trout claimed it.  After each fish a quick swill in the water and a squeeeze in a piece of kitchen roll and a dust up with frogs fanny and its just like new. 

Now I bought some Roman Moser miracle float at the start of last season after fishing with Dave Southall and hearing him praise it but initially I wasnt impressed .  This season I have given it another whirl after another chat with Dave.  So before using a CDC fly I apply a smidge of miracle float. 

Now when I say a smidge thats what it was.  On reflection I had been using way to much . Barely a tiny drop rubbed between finger and thumb  just so your skin feels a little greasy see photo below,then  the CDC is worked between your fingers.  This just coats the cdc without clogging it .  After maybe four or five fish I would re coat the CDC.  otherwise just a swill and a squeeze in tissue then a quick brush with frogs fanny . It makes a real difference to how the CDC holds up. Thanks Dave...

After luch there was quite a few mayfly hatching .  A switch to a mayfly pattern brought a few fish . TBH I think the IOBO would have been just as effective if not more so.  But  its nice to catch on a mayfly it makes me feel like summer is here .
As for the frogs fanny I bought a big tub of the Silica stuff from some bloke in the states on ebay about 3 years ago .  I find it identical to the real frogs fany. I just keep refilling the original bottle. 

I dont think it was a concidence that the mayfly brought a few big stockies up .  When they have been in the river a week or two will rise at anything so uneducated or not a big visible fly is going to tempt them.

The little wildies also were up for a big mouthfull.  the mayfly hatch was really isolted to one slow stretch where duns were trickling off for a while. Hopefully the main hatch should get going this week.

Heres one that ended up on my waders .  After I let it float away it dissapeared after about 15yds all that was left was just circles in the film...

Just as an aside I picked up a Snowbee little nylon case with fly boxes last closed season. I had spotted another mate using and liked the looks of the handy size and whilst trolling ebay noticed these for sale compartment boxes pretty much identical to snowbee except for a fraction of the price. 

There brilliant , so slim that I can fit five in the pocket of my chest pack.  You can see whats in them easier through the clear lid and there magnetic so the wind doesnt blow everything away. I think the big chunky old fly boxes are a thing of the past for me...