Wednesday, 6 November 2019

long and short , little and large .....


I went down my local river the other day and was looking to select suitable rod and reel for the day, as I stared at the rod rack I considered a few things, firstly that I really have more rods than I need ,  not that I don`t get tempted  by more now and again .  But I also realised that actually I have only used a four weight once this year and that was a 10ft on a big dales river.  The truth is this last few years have seen me using lighter and lighter line weights . A couple of years ago I didn't own a two weight and now I have four of them and find I am using them more and more .  On the smaller local streams I fish they can give a lovely delicate presentation of dries in the Summer and in the Autumn they are great for nymphing . Also I cant get on with the specialist euro nymphing lines as the rivers I fish usually are very mixed water.  I find my average days fishing combines a fair bit of traditional upstream nymphing and a little bit of short lining Czech style and quite often a bit of dry fly .  But using a two weight means if needed I can take of the nymph and cast a dry to my hearts content .  They are also a breeze for holding of the water high sticking style.




The last trip I had was on an up and coloured Yorkshire Derwent.  The river didn't look to inviting but I felt confident of catching , far to many people give up before they start. Always waiting for perfect conditions which unfortunately rarely occur. I have found time and again that a still coloured but falling river can give superb sport .  the first fish I had was on a dry ,  Not sure what they were rising to in the murky water but rising they were ,  midges I guessed and a size 22 CDC job did the trick . The fly is very easy to tie simply a small bunch of CDC fibres tied in on a thread body . Quickly accounting for three or four brownies and a sprat sized grayling.  The fly is basically a tiny F Fly .  .  Here a few of the midges I use in size 22 and 24. They are also surprisingly robust and easy to dust of with frogs fanny when they have been used.



I guess the hardest thing on a high and coloured river is fish location .  My local small stream alters significantly for every extra few inches of water it carries .  Fish holding spots can be a long way away from summer hot spots when the levels increase .   If you know the water well and are familiar with it you have a decent chance of sniffing out where the fish may be holding .  Today in one stretch the fish were about 20 m downstream of their usual summer holding area.   Also they were on the other side of the river.  On a strange river and not knowing the river contours I would have struggled .
The Grayling are common this size in the stream,  but they do go to a pound and half  but a average good one is about a pound, 
.  #
The day ended with a couple of big out of season stocky browns which put a hell of a bend in the 9ft 2wt .  Half a dozen tiny WBT and a few small grayling came to hand . No sizeable Grayling showed up .  But as I walked back to the car I couldnt help but reflect it had actually been a bloody good few hours .  As for the rods I suppose the aquisition of a one weight is the next point .  Although I am not really sure what there would be to gain from that .  Mind you a few years ago I thought a size 18 was a small fly...








Friday, 4 October 2019

Hard to know where to start


August has been and gone and here we are in September.  Hot days , low rivers and the first hint of days shortening .  It means the last days of the trout fishing season are here . The last few months have sadly been a miserable performance on the blogging front .   August was sadly lacking in rain.  Rivers were dead low , temperatures were high and fish were generally pretty inactive . But I did still catch a few ,   It was to be said that there was nothing startling .  Plenty of nice fish but few that were noteworthy .  The end of August and the beginning of September found me afloat around the Med on the tub below .



The Cruise was a first for me.  It was a birthday cruise for my long suffering wife .  "Tub " is a bit of an understatement . Fifteen decks and 3000 passengers . It was big enough to comfortably get lost on board . We did several times.   We also ate to much and made full use of the drinks package .



I know this is a fishing blog but I am going to mention a few highlights .  First Montenegro and Kotor . The above was the view from the balcony in early morning as we entered the fiord leading to Kotor .Silent and calm. truly serene .  Kotor was a perfect small town.  very charismatic .





The light conditions for the Photo above is what made the picture .  We walked back past the place a few hours later . The Sun was overhead and it looked totally different .  The Photo below was taken from our balcony at sunrise .  It was from memory Naples .  An hour later it was essentially an industrial scene of warehouses and cranes .  The accomplished photographers amongst you readers would of course know how important light is ,  But it did remind me , an amateur snapper of the point.


Another port of call was Barcelona , which was home to both things of great beauty and unfortunately street crime .  On the bright side the Picasso museum was wonderful with more than 300 hundred of his works on view it was Wonderful.  A plus on the negative side is that the insurers have been fine , 



So what about fishing you are thinking , stop boring me with holiday pics , well the closest I got to fishing was my travel vise and a few hooks, beads and feathers for the Grayling when back home .  I managed to tie about a 100 up in the times when my long suffering lady was getting ready for the evenings .


Anyone after a travel vise I can recommend this absolutely .  It is an Italian Cottarelli and its superb.

#

Anyway we are back now . We have had dead low and bank high rivers , at times almost on the same day .  This was a day on the river Swale The light was stunning the river looked pretty good although was falling fast after a lift of water the previous day.  In the end my catch was pretty poor 3 very small sardine size trout. 


The Water mark was how far the river dropped in about three hours















Wednesday, 17 July 2019

There a river in there somewhere


Behind all that vegetation and underneath all that fallen timber is a river .   Its a lovely river full of wild brown trout and grayling .  It has a very large head of fish and no stocking .   The population level of fish in it at the moment is very good .  Its been rising again over the last few years .  I say again because a few years ago the Environment agency came in during the winter and pulled nearly everything out .  The following year the fish numbers crashed .   All the dead stuff in the river had gone and many overhanging bushes and their accompanying tree roots had been dug out .  So the fish had nowhere to live..




This section of the river is of course nearly impossible for a fly fisher , perhaps a something dapped may work but there plenty of more open lengths. But what a nursery it is for fish fry . 




A few yards below that the river looks like , Wadeable along the inside and very deep on the outside. I had three from under the fallen tree in the middle , casting left handed from behind the bend left handed casting is something I have been trying more and more was quite satisfying to be able to use it.



he fish are small but the six foot 2 wt Winston I use is perfectly matched to the river and the fish .  There are bigger fish my best are a 13inch brownie and a 14 inch Grayling .  The Grayling fishing is particularly fine for a small stream.  



It was good to see the small grayling rising to dries .  I only fished the fast runs I will return in the Autumns and search the deeper runs with a nymph .  I don't want to be fishing 
the deep runs with a nymph on my tiny 2 weight its a sweet magic wand of a thing but built for tiny dries not weighted stuff . 




There small sections where the river is open enough to get a decent cast are there to,  On the day though they seemed pretty empty .  The low water and clear river was keeping the fish in the trees...



Strange but on these tiny streams the rises often drop of  at the end of the evening .  At a time when larger rivers come alive..

.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Who you meet on the river ..



It has been a strange couple of weeks Torrential rain , record breaking temperatures .  High water.. Low water we have had it all, and I have even managed the odd fishing trip,  a couple of hours here and there to squeeze in between home and work .   The highlights haven't been the fish but the surroundings and the things you see and the people you meet .  One evening I had the pleasure of sharing the river with an Otter for a brief while .  I read a lot of bad press about the Otters from some angling people and yet every single river angler I know doesn't have a bad word for them .  We have had a resident otter on our local stream for 20 plus years .  Sure it takes the odd sea trout at spawning time but the rest of the year it seems to live on crayfish, bull heads and the like .  I suppose logically they are a lot easier to catch than a lively trout or grayling .   Trouble is you put a heavily stocked commercial carp lake in front of them and all they are going to see is a whopping great Chinese take away.  Full of big fat tasty carp. They don't understand the economics of running a commercial fishery.  Anyway heres a really short and pretty bad video I took of one down the river the other night.  It was a special moment it knew I was there but obviously thought I was harmless enough  .



As for Crayfish well theres another funny thing , I caught one today. Thats a first for me and on a dry fly .  Yeh right you say pull the other one .  Well heres the thing I was fishing a dry , a size 16 IOBO humpy no less and the leader  hooked under a bit of floating debris as I took in slack ready to recast . So I waded upstream to unhook the offending line and then realised my fly had got dragged into something so pulled it in by hand to clean of the fly and found this on the end.  Now it may well be that I dragged the fly into the crayfish but I am convince that the IOBO looked so damn tempting it just stretched out his one good nipper and grabbed it . Anyway the cray was gently unhooked and returned swiftly .  But I will definitely add it to my catch return for the season .



Yes its a native one , we are lucky around here that the signal invaders haven't arrived yet ...
Then to cap it all whilst fishing today I met several friends and the river keeper who I have known a long time in fact I gave him his first fishing rod when he was a kid.   I do seem to spend a lot time chatting to fellow angling friends and yes these days more than ever a day on the river means so much more than catching fish . I guess this bloke knew a thing or two . 

"Many men go fishing all of their
lives without knowing that it
is not fish they are after." 

Henry David Thoreau


Sunday, 23 June 2019

A bit of Casting and a bit of fishing


I started this post a good few weeks ago .  Since then we have had lots of rain so if anyone does read this and think what planet is he living on ?.  Thats the answer.
I realised the other day when chatting to someone that I reckon that when next year rolls around it will be 50 years since I caught my first fish on a fly .  I  sometimes wonder where all thise years have gone .  True , I havent fly fished all of those years , there were a good few years of been happy to catch anything . A good few years of trying to catch "Specimans" Barbel , Tench , Carp oh yes and Roach, I was desperate for a two pound roach as it turned out I didnt catch a two pounder until years later when I caught one by accident when bait fishing for Grayling in the Stour .

 I suppose fly fishing has always been my favourite but cost and accessibility limited my early years .  I have always preferred river fishing for trout. I never really took to still waters,  Times have changed now and these days river fly fishing  clubs in these parts are desperate for members. mny of  the most exclusive ones are accessible to anyone who isnt a criminal and can pay their subs.   Truth is as clubs open their doors more people can be choosy . I see a greater desire for fishing unstocked wild streams and having the opportunity for Grayling fishing.   I think many of the posher clubs are going to have real issues recruiting members .  Times are changing even for fly fishing clubs , they need to change with them .


Anyway forgetting that and despite all that time Its only in the last two years that I have had a first casting lesson .  That was for a bone fishing trip  and to specifically learn the double haul. Then a conversation with a fishing friend led to booking another casting lesson with Brian Towers in the dales.  The plan was that the morning would have a few hours casting tuition . Then we could move to the nearby Swale and have a fish.  The river was pretty low .  Which in one respect makes the fishing a bit easier .  the contra view is it makes it harder.  Personally I find low conditions much easier to fish . 



The water clarity was exceptional and in slack water areas like this it makes presentation pretty important .  Here my companion was suffering the dreaded scenario of lots of rising fish but struggling to fool one.   I had fished a similar pool and had also struggled so I was heading upstream to look for some faster water .  Fish are far easier to fool when they dont have so long to study your offering ...


This run was typical of ones that gave up fish .  Broken water , more oxygen and less time for fishy to inspect your pattern and presentation meant more chance of success .  I intend to fish the river a lot more this year . The fishing on the day was difficult but my its a stunning river .   I have intentions of fishing here more this season ,  a friend of mine fancies doing the same  so we will e sharing the journeys .



I have just got back from another favourite small stream,  The river looked stunning and there was plenty hatching ,  even the odd mayfly , but the fly that worked was a size 16 IOBO humpy .  A fly I use a huge amount and in my opinion one of the best generic olive patterns there is .  




The fish in the stream are all wild and all pretty much perfect .  The first pic is the average size but there are loads smaller and a good many larger ,




The last is a decent fish for the stream ,  there are bigger there are a few a lot bigger .  But this was great fun on the 8ft 2 wt .   A few years ago my fishing was mainly four weights on streams .  Light line rods were three weights now on small streams its usually two weights ,   Rod for that day was an Orvis superfine carbon  8ft 2wt . Truth is fish like this are what I love to fish .  Wild fin perfect perfection .