Monday, 5 October 2015

End of season reflection and talking bollocks.

Well it's that time of year again , its the time of year when I try convince myself that this is the start of the Grayling season and not that my season has ended, I try to convince myself that the trout season closing doesn't matter even when I know it does ,its the time of year  when I reflect on another summer passing and think about its highs , lows and memories.  This year I struggle to remember a single fish that was out of the ordinary, Those highlights that come to mind are those little victories and successful skirmishes that are a part of every day on the bank,  That almost perfect cast , the successful stalk, the fish extracated from that impossible lie.  The time when you knew a fish would be hiding in that current crease and the cast produced an instant response,  You will notice that all these things are about the moments before the capture.  Of late the result its size and ensuing battle seems somehow less important.  Not sure what has led me to this way of thinking. Perhaps I'm getting old.

Also this last year I have found greater pleasure in fishing with companions and have also grown increasingly intolerant of the on line community. Why does the on line world and in particular social media so often seem to bring out the worst in people?  For many years I enjoyed membership of an on line fishing forum . Increasingly I became frustrated with the trolls the cliques and the chest thumping idiots not to mention the hypocracy, I had enough and left. I have at times even wondered about keeping the blog .  But the great thing about a blog is I can sit here in the lounge right now and say what is on my mind, I can type rubbish if I want, this may even be rubbish but I'm enjoying writing it and I hope that just perhaps someone may read it and nod or smile to themselves take some pleasure from it and make a connection.   Perhaps they may read it and say whats the tosser talking about ?, But I wont know so I wont care.

 Over the years many people have collared me either on the bank or in a club meeting and said. " Are you the guy with the blog"? .  In all but one case I have been told how much they enjoy reading it and to keep it up , perhaps they were just been polite but for you guys who read it , thanks. Those comments mean a lot. For the one guy who told me he thought it sucks, well I repeat what I said on the bank , "Dont F......g read it then". There is the pleasure of the blog I get to enjoy the writing and don't have to worry about critics and trolls.

This year the rivers have been very very low.  Two years of low rainfall have sucked the life out of the local streams . Sport has continued though. tiny flies and fishing the skinny water and broken riffles where the oxygen levels are better has paid dividends.  Fishing into the early dark has paid dividends too. It has also demonstrated to me how important the maintaining of a wild fish population is .  Where the stocked fish have disappeared for weeks on end skulking in the dead deep pockets the smaller wilder fish have continued to feed.  Strange thing is catching smaller fish  hasn't bothered me.  I confess whilst not been a anti stocking evangelist I do get more pleasure from the capture of a wild fish what ever its size.  Its a strange thing but its important to me. I confess I puzzle over the conundrum of stocking and how even among anglers who are mad keen on maintaining high levels of stocking a fish that is newly stocked is often looked down upon by many." Just a stocky "  we have all heard it said. Funny thing about new stockys its like dating a girl of easy virtue. Great at the time but when youve done it a time or two its all just a bit easy. Yet a stocky that's been in a year or more and had chance to grow back its fins is somehow different and worthy of a grip and grin shot.  Same fish but the year or so its had in the river has perhaps eased the anglers conscience and wised up the fish.

Truth is I suppose none of it really matters what matters or what should matter is the enjoyment we all gain from those hours we spend on the river bank or in the river. I guess the truth is for this angler. Fly fishing has become about the battles and not the victories its about the preparation and fly tying. Its`s about the fishing day, the bugs in the river and the birds in the trees.  Whilst saying that a 2lb Grayling still eludes me and knowing what it would mean to catch that fish.   I would fish in a ditch with Jeremy Corbyn. So I guess once again I am talking bollocks.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

A bit of a shower...

A night or so ago I was woken from deep sleep by the sound of very heavy rain on the roof.  Now in these parts we are suffering from historically low ground water and been woken by rain was a welcome interlude.  In the morning the sky was blue again and the lawns green with more than a few puddle about the extent of the rain was plain to see.. Here is the Environment agency website for a local stream showing how short and sharp the shower was. In real terms in that photo the stream went from where it is shown. A rise of about 6ft ie to bank top and back down again in under 24 hours.

The sad truth is such a short sharp shower does bugger all good . The same rain over a few days may well have done. 

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Summers Ending and the birth of a new stream....

Fishing opportunities seem to have been thin on the ground of late.  An increase in my workload from "steady " to "daft " whilst always welcome does has a flip side to it and as the evenings draw in and the weekends get used for work fishing time gets pushed out. Although I did recently manage a trip to Foston beck , which due to the EAs sudden embargo on weed cutting due to health and safety concerns is looking pretty overgrown but thanks to our great keeper and volunteer helpers has managed to keep some sections fishable.

The stock fish that were put in early on in the season are colouring up and continue to increase in weight.  In a stream where the food supply is well able to support them.

Whilst the smaller wild fish are consistently providing surface sport even on those cold days when little seems to be hatching.

This lovely small pool always seems to hold fish rising in the faster water at the head.  Even when the fish stay low the clarity allows you to watch a nymphs progrees as it tumbles through the current.  Of all things it is the extraordinary clarity of these streams that has fascinated me.  To be able to target individual fish and watch their reaction to nymphs drifting past is an ongoing delight.

Fish of this size seem to be constantly feeding smaller fish and bigger fish are much less frequently caught . Well by me anyway .  Could it be that the smaller wild fish are feeding on smaller fare whilst the bigger wildies are to smart for me? 

The river is undergoing some real changes at present . A team from the EA are removing a section of stream with an old mill the effect of inpounding water has resulted in a huge build up of silt. Which is slowly backing up the channel. 

The works are blocking of the old impounded section and opening a new route with effective gradients along the line of the old overflow channel. 

The new route diverts around a field to provide a new stream section with suitable gradient .  The effect on the stream bed above has already been plain to see, It will be a interesting to see how things settle when we get a decent flow down the beck again.  Please God can we have some rain and snow this winter the stream is so so low...

Work like this is tremendous and in my minds eye I can already picture this in a years time .  Over here in the North East have had a 12month long drought and the water flow is very low . But already fish are taking up station in the newly opened stream .  

It always impresses me how people can operate 20 and 30 tonne excavators with the delicacy to provide such delightful bends and gradients .  

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Question What makes a perfect evening ?

Last night following dinner.  I decided to visit the nearby Derwent whiich was fining down nicely after some recent rain . The evening had no wind knots,, no tree trout and no other people . Just me and the river and,,,,,,

Perfect free rising wild fish 

Small dry flies 

Light lines 

A beautiful stream

And one last cast and fish . Perfect 

Oh and a suitable sunset.....Nowt else to add really......

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The Usk brown trout and chips with everything ...

  I have just returned from a week away in a cottage in the brecon beacons .  It was a chance to combine a bit of fishing with a weeks holiday with my wife or should I say fishing widow?, she never complains that everytime we book a cottage somewhere in the country there is the certain knowledge that close by will by a tumbling stream or rolling river.  The river this time was the Usk.  This is a river I have fancied fishing for a long while.  Rising in the Black mountains of the Brecon beacons of South Wales .  It is a river that reminds me very much of the Ure .  

I booked the beat that ran at the bottom of the cottage garden it was the Glan-yr-afon beat of the Wye and USk foundation.  I booked the beat for 5 days with the intent of been able to fish early mornings and evenings ,  During the days the river was well populated by kids and dogs so fishing was out of the question anyway.

Hatches of small olives happened nearly every evening . The fish responded to a size 20 IOBO humpy anything bigger was ignored .  Mornings was a time for prospecting the faster deeper runs with a nymph .  I caught a agood few wildies and a few better fish that looked like well conditioned stock fish.  

One early morning nymphing session saw me hooked into a real beast of a fish which although I got it close dived under the rock ledges below my feet and ended up breking the tippet.  A big fish that resulted in some choice words shared with the early morning air. Early morning not a single fish was seen rising so nymphing was the logical choice.  

I enjoyed the fishing immensley but not sure how much I would enjoy the wading at high water levels.  The very clear and low water meant that you could always see where you are putting your feet. My mate Peter ( He of the old walks and fishes blog) warned me of the dificulties of wading the Usk. I understand what he meant.

I am always ammazed at how brown trout from different river systems vary so much in their colouration . Most of those I caught had quite blurry spots and few with the bright vivid red spots I see in the local spate streams up north.

Many like the one below had quite a distinctive olive colouration.

Whilst I did some fishin this was essentially a quiet week away with My Mrs in a very small cottage which had the Usk at the bottom of the Garden which enabled me to fish in the last and first hours and leave the day free. I am pleased to say that the cooker in the cottage remained nicely unused local pubs were chosen at random and by checking menus.  We spoilt ourselves every night but were puzzled with the constant fascination for chips with everything....
First night : Tempura lobster with green salad, asparagus and new potatoes....Accompanied by huge chips...
Second Night: Chicken curry with Bombay aloo. Garlic naan , popadoms and dips , Pilau rice...And orange yes orange chips 
Third Night Sea Bass in a salt crust seasonal vegetables New potatoes and yes you guessed it     
The other with chips dishes included lamb shank and Mash,  Roast beef and Yorkshire puddings at Sunday lunch with roast potatoes .One night the chips were made with sweet potatoes but cant remember what is was with ....
Final night was steak night at the local Pub I had the rump , wife had rib eye with veg the menu said, itll be chips the wife said good says I steak and chips is good . What arrived ? Game chips sodding parsnips put through a potatoe peeler and deep fried.......Wont be eating chips for a while....

Anyway despite the chips.  A lovely river and friendly people  in a stunning part of the world....