Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Man, Rod line and fish .......



I have just returned from a short Trip to Rome , Four days in a very swish hotel, I know it was swish because a Gin and Tonic was 18 euros and we got complimentary slippers. The hotel was just around the back of the Pantheon.  A building that was constructed by the Emperor Hadrian in around 100 AD built on the site of an earlier structure from 27 BC built by some bloke called Marcus Agrippa ( what a great name) .  I wont bore you with the history lesson but its amazing to me that the building has been in constant use for the past 2000 years and is still the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world .  Something that has been around since the time of Christ and under constant use has to be pretty special.  It was also very beautiful, the internal frescoes were stunning.





Anyway that aside, apart from the sights and sounds ( and food) we had a visit to the Vatican city and after seeing the Sistene Chapel which I found spoiled by the crowds and the Gallery of maps which to me was the stunning highlight. Tucked away in one of the museums of the Vatican I came across this. It is the Jonah Sarcophagus carved in the third century ...I was instantly drawn to the image . This small figure with a fishing rod in his hand is not really mentioned but a little research online considers that the extreme right hand on the tableau may be a reference to the afterlife , Paradise if you like ,  Well looking at the figure fishing with a couple of fish looking to show interest and a bird in front of him suggesting fly tying materials arent out of the question then whos to argue against it being paradise. I for one strongly beleive that for once the historians may be bang on. 

I find it odd that after seeing the Vatican and the Pantheon and Coliseum this one little image is the thing that made a lasting impression. True thousands of years since the carving but still not so very far away from how we fish today it seemed to embody the very essence of fishing  ... Simply Man , rod line and fish . Paradise....




And a picture of the Pantheon , by moonlight no less.  A stunning structure ......


And the Vatican Gallery of maps ....







Monday, 25 August 2014

August apathy



It occurred to me last week that its a week or three since I wet a line.  Strange thing is I dont mind at all. Work has been busy and what with family stuff casting a fly just hasnt really been on my priority list.  Granted there has been a real water shortage and the rivers have been to their bones, but that wouldnt stop me in April or May, then I would fish in a flood or a dried up river bed. But now? well that urgency of early season has gone and that perfection of the May and June evening rise has past.  For now its like I take a breath mid year and think about times ahead.  My hunger sated by the spring and early summer plenty.  I sit back and enjoy a break like having a drink of wine and contemplating the port and stilton after stuffing yourself with a sirloin....



Now, I am looking forward to those fit and hungry September trout that so often seem to anticipate that the privations of winter are approaching by feeding like kids in a sweet shop.  Also my mind starts to stray towards the Grayling a fish that inhabits all but one of the rivers I fish and allows me to extend my fishing season right through the winter.  Although I must confess that injured and arthritic knees tend to keep me out of the water during the deep cold of January and February.  During those months the dark nights are spent in frenetic fly tying sessions refilling boxes and overhauling tackle.





Just as an aside the two photos above are from two rivers within 20 miles of each other from most recent trips, at the top a wolds chalk stream . Clear, alkaline stuffed with food and a constant flow year round. Below a typical small north Yorkshire spate stream.  Take a look at the two fish below . 








Two fish of about the same size, both native brownies One from the chalk stream , fat deep bellied and small finned , below from the spate stream richly coloured big finned long and lean. Tough little trout from a tough place to live .  Amazing how one species can be so diverse ...






Anyway as for now well a day off recently allowed me a trip the Ure,  That lovely Dales river that I have neglected this year, partly due the kid with new toy syndrome of having new rivers this year and partly as it has been on its bones for a large part of the year.  Sadly though the day ended up as a total cock up . After taking a couple of hours to drive to the Dales due to just about every tractor and trailer in the county been on the road I arrived to find a river higher than expected and one that was rising fast, I stayed long enough to have a sarnie and ponder the options during that time I stuck a stick in the bank and it confirmed that the river was going up smartish.  It appears a sudden shower up the valley had dumped a load of fresh rain in it and the river was now heading up and colouring up fast and to be honest I just didnt fancy it .  So back in the car and heading  east .  I was soon diverted due to a traffic accident and found myself heading south down the A1. So with clenched teeth and a steely determination to get some fishing in I headed towards the Yorkshire wolds the Sat Nav gave the picture...80 ish miles and best part of two hours. Arriving early afternoon I wondered why I just didnt go there to start with. Gin clear water and rising fish.  The recent weed cutting disturbance had died down my happiness was restored. . So the story of the day best part of 200 miles driven , two rivers visited 4 hours fishing , a few good fish on the bank and sanity restored .  But only just...


Thursday, 24 July 2014

This will shift em of the beach...



There is something about July that's wasted on me. Everyone else seems to love it. I look out of my office window I see people playing on the beach , I go out for a lunchtime sarnie and cant walk on the pavement because of the smiling holiday makers . Me I hate the crowds. I guess having an office with a sea view in a tourist town is asking for trouble but in February with a big North sea storm running the view is pretty special.  But at the moment the only place I can get parked is in the office car park and when I do the Herring gulls shit on it with stuff  like avian paint stripper.




As for the weather its to hot and dry, the rivers are to low and the roads are to crowded.  I guess theres two possibilities , the first is that I am just a misery the second is I don't like hot weather.  the reality ?  a combination of both.   Meanwhile here in a July heatwave the only place I feel comfy is when I am stood in a river.





The first two weeks of July were pretty quiet fishing wise , too much work and to little time meant office time went up and fishing time disappeared.  Last weekend I had Sunday evening on Foston beck a belting short session as much for the fishing as for managing to get myself whacked four times by the same electric fence.  Pretty stupid I know but its amazing the choices that you can convince yourself are sensible when you can see a big rising fish.  Wiggling through a gap between a water level fence and underneath an electric wire at a cattle watering place to get a shot at it seemed sensible until the hooked fish shot back towards me and autopilot took over my arm shot up in the air furiously retrieving line and holding the rod high only for my elbow to come in contact with the electric fence, that shock made me straighten up sharpish only for the back of my head to feel the next jolt.  The fish was landed though and after its release I collapsed back on the bank.  Laughing to myself and wondering what my wife would say if she saw me.

The river looks gorgeous but the shot below shows it now needs a weed cut,  I managed to extricate a hooked fish from in the middle of that lot but I don't like bullying the fish that hard and its a strategy with a risk of a snapped leader.





Yesterday evening I decided that despite low river levels and muddy water following recent thunderstorms I would have an evening session straight after work.  On the way to the Derwent I passed a couple of members cars fishing in one valley and ended up at what is usually the most popular parking spot on the river and one I tend to avoid but there was for once an absence of other anglers ,  as I was getting kitted up the river keeper arrived and told me there was a party of three or four upstream and a couple downstream so there I stopped.




The river was still pretty coloured but low , strange conditions but there was a few rising fish and amazingly those that were rising seemed to like my choice of fly , a small cdc stonefly pattern and all of them stuck ,  All of the risers were small wild fish apart for a small stockie I am not one for numbers but I think I ended up with half a dozen, at one point in the evening I was startled to feel a whack on the back of my head . This came from a racing pigeon with a sparrow hawk in hot pursuit .  The shock of avoiding it and not me sent the poor pigeon of course and it splash landed in the river luckily it managed to flap its way out onto a tree root where it stopped for a considerable period presumably waiting till the coast was clear of sparrow hawks. Here he is looking relieved.




Well the tourists wont want to hear this but we sure could do with some rain , I am going to stop short of a prayer as readers of this blog may recall a few years ago I prayed for rain and it did , in fact it didn't stop for months and we had the wettest summer on record. So just a little rain , at night would be good so as not to piss of the tourists too much ,  My long departed Grandad had a similar view on life to me, and in the summer if we had a heavy daytime downpour he would have a little glint in his eye and simply say " this will shift em of the beach..."




Andy