Sunday, 17 February 2019

Small Stream rods...

Its that time of year again ,  I decided that yesterday would be my last trip of the season .  The mild weather and sunshine that seemed so warm when I was stood in a sheltered corner of the garden seemed to be different in the sheltered river Valley. So despite the couple of hard won Grayling and the one out of season Brown trout thats it until April.  

So as I do every year its time to give the reels a clean and oil and the rods need their handles wiped and the whippings checked .  First up were my small stream rods . Pictured here all nice and clean well as clean as they can be after many seasons of use ..Surprising how different they are when you see them all lined up .  Its amazing what memories there is in those handles ..

On the right a couple of Winston B2Ts , 8fts ,both a three weight and a four delightful rods that have caught many many fish . Now for the unitiated Winston's are a bit different,   if you like a fast rod that can propel a WF line at mach 3 then you probably wouldn't appreciate one but if you fish streams and want to drop a dry on a trouts nose like an angels kiss then you may well take to them.  A relaxed casting style is obligatory .Third from the right is an Orvis T 3 pretty old , I bought it used years ago its a 7ft 10" 2 wt .   delicate wisp of a thing that is actually a proper 2 wt that loads beautifully with a DT .  A nice full action to.  There is a stream it suits beautifully when the summer levels have hit dead low  and the trout are super skittish.  In the middle is that rare thing , A hardy rod that I like , 7ft 3wt featherweight I have to say that its one rod that Hardy got bang on , A sweet casting sensitive small stream wand for me perfect in every way.  Third from the left is Harry Potters magic wand another Winston a WT 6ft 6" 2 wt ,  small delicate and perfect for tiny streams and diminutive trout .   Second from the left is another favourite  an Orvis 7ft 4wt Superfine , delightful when the mayfly are out and I like the heavier line to whip those big bushy mayflies into tight corners .  Just think that the handle is way to small. Despite having an office job I have always wondered why I have blacksmiths hands, On the left and new to me is a Vision Cult 6ft 6inch 4/5 wt. Yes thats correct 4/5 wt . Very full actioned as near to cane as can be and works a treat with a three weight .  I am just not sure about that chunky cork handle though.  Cant help but wonder what memories I will have about that one by seasons end . if it gets that far.....I say that because as I look at the rods I remember all the rejects that have come and gone that little collection is the result of more than 20 years of sifting , refining and buying and selling and even the odd swap.  

Tuesday, 29 January 2019


I have treated the blog to a new main photo..  It is one of my much loved North Yorkshire streams on a nice sunny spring day .  If nothing else but to convince myself that this miserable damp and cold weather will soon change.   Keep wrapped up it will be over soon..

Sunday, 20 January 2019

First signs ...

It is mid winter , cold and misty the river is carrying colour and the days are short but today was a good day .  We are told that bad weather is on the way snow wind and rain.  The white frost is hanging in the shade of the trees and hills are shrouded and white .But the river is so close.  The winter storm is not yet here the river was fishable and it was an opportunity not to be missed.

The day didnt get away to a great start the little chap below was the first fish to come to hand but then before to long several of his larger brothers turned up.   The fish taking a black beaded caddis .  It looked to be carrying the scars of an earlier bird attack.  You will notice the gloves ,  its not very often I have to resort to them but it was pretty use a local expression.

The colours on Grayling are superb these and are superb for banning the shack nasties in the middle of winter .  they scrap well in the faster water , especially on the soft action 3 weight I use .  The fish are still in the faster water they havent shoaled up in the deep slacks just yet .

This year seems to be showing more Grayling than we have had for a few years , with Good numbers of various sizes of fish which bodes well for the future.  I even had my first minnow sized fish a week or so back.

 These were not the only sign of things changing these snowdrops are starting to show in the sheltered corners .  Such delicate flowers and yet the first things that is tough enough to brave the winter cold

Back at the car  the tups were been taken back to their spring paddock .  Either they were preparing for their duties or had just done them.  Perhaps spring really is just around the corner.

Friday, 4 January 2019

So that was the year that was....

So 2018 all done and dusted ,  fishing wise a pretty indifferent year , Rivers were desperately low due to a long summer drought .  This was a season with no real noteworthy fish .  In fact it is a year that is only memorable because of the opportunities it offers for the future ,  2018 saw me gain access to a small fairly local fishing association that offers a few miles of beautiful wild river that is brimming with fine wild fish. It is as unspoilt a place as you can find in this overcrowded island .  Indeed I suspect that I will subconsciously limited myself to the times I visit .  Natural rivers with quality fishing are by their nature vulnerable because of their own qualities . 

I have visited my local river twice in that last few days .  Firstly on the day before New Years Eve and then again new years day  after returning from a New Years eve party on board a cross channel ferry.  The first fishing trip was only notable for a couple of Grayling the best and the last fish of 2018 is shown above.  The fish has a damaged mouth ,  Hypocritical? I guess. I know but I hate to see fish with damaged mouths .  I have this naive delight in catching a pristine wild fish such damage just highlights that it has been caught before and apparently by someone who perhaps did not handle it as gently as he should.

My local stream is well known to me I have fished it regularly for the last 20 plus years ,  and yet as today it gives surprises ,  today I waded a stretch I have waded many times before to find that although looking similar a familiar bank side tree has keeled over and gone and a stretch of river 100 yards long has changed completely new deep holes and fast runs created like magic. For the last few years I have been a member of a local syndicate offering salmon and sea trout fishing.   I have tried very hard to love it, much as I have tried to bond with the chalk streams.  But there is to much of the rough stream brown trout fisherman in me.  I think I have it out of my system now.  

January the first gave me another surprise was the sight of a single cherry tree throwing out blossom on the first of January .   Made even more un seasonal by the fact that today the wind has changed and that bright sunny day that you look at through the windows is in fact one with a lazy NE wind, lazy as it goes straight through you rather than going around. February and March are not my favourite months.  They are to cold and to dark.  Its a time for a break from fishing and concentrate on fly tying and heightened anticipation for the approaching spring. 

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Bugger me its nearly Christmas again

Well readers its here again , its nearly Christmas and the headlong rush to stuffing our faces with turkey has begun, once again we have spotted a household down the lane that has managed to demonstrate both bad taste and a total lack of respect for the calendar at the same time by having illuminated reindeer on the lawn outside their house in November .  Its not that I am a misery as despite what my long suffering wife says I am generally of moderately cheery disposition .  But we seem to get our senses bombarded by one event after the other once the nights draw in .  Halloween , Bonfire night ,  Trick or treat . that hideous Black Friday  made even worse by the fact that it starts the previous Saturday and finishes more than a week later so its actually black ten days  .  Next the carol singers will descend in droves. soon two lines of " We wish you a merry Christmas"  followed rapidly by a row of outstretched hands .  I think this year I will place a humbug in each outstretched mitt.  I wonder if grubby teenagers understand irony . Anyway enough of this jollity.

This year I have excelled I have completed my Christmas shopping already to avoid the rush and having to mingle with Christmas shoppers.  I have, I think managed to put together a suitable selection of "surprises "  for the good lady .  by surprises I mean real ones and not the ones that magically arrive in the bottom of my wardrobe that she has carefully selected for me to wrap so she can act all surprised on Christmas day .  No I mean real surprises. Of course I am running the risk of that killer of all statements " Oh darling its lovely do you still have the receipt" .  But after more than 30 years I am starting to understand her tastes and I reckon I am on  a winner.  I confess along the way I have made mistakes my gift of a a griddle pan in the early years of marriage still holds painful memories, an experience that I learned much from.  This year we have both "discussed not spending as much this year and agreed that we get no surprises for each other " will if she thinks I am falling for that old chestnut she has another think coming.

Its been a pretty grim year fishing wise ,  the hottest and driest summer for nearly 50 years has seen rivers dry up and runs of migratory fish almost go completely .  A high spot was getting into a very small fishing club on a delightful river not far away .  Its a small river , delightfully unspoilt and full of wild brownies .  The waiting list is around 9 years ( took me a few months short of that ) a duration due in equal parts to the standard of fishing , its annual cost and people who only leave for the saddest of all reasons.

 The little club that I am chairman of and supposedly run , well that I pretend to run while the secretary does bloody everything has seen a poor year because of the lack of water but our membership is pretty solid .  Interestingly  we are noticing a trend from prospective members that are looking for wild fish rather than larger stockies,  a definite greater interest in quality over quantity .  There is a simple formulae that I think some clubs fail to recognise .  Heavy stocking costs money which leads to high subscription costs and that leads to low membership. I think high membership costs also encourage over zealous land agents to ramp up rent prices .  I really beleive that some clubs that do not change their model they will run out of customers.

Finally in the last few months we have a couple of new fly fishing magazines , an on the shelf glossy and the other a subscription only job that on first impression appears to very good.  Called " fly Culture " its a very good read .  It is also a potential present idea for one of my two sons.  It may well replace that old and much appreciated classic the Orvis voucher.  The fly culture is a good idea . The traditional "how to " or "look at what I`ve caught"   column really have run their course .  Brand new radical fly patterns that are in fact old classics with a different colour thread really do become rather tedious.  The idea of a magazine looking at the culture of fly fishing is a good idea,  the challenge I guess will be keeping the writing standard high. I wish the team luck.

Which brings me rather smartly on to the whole point of the post which is to confess that I have felt for some time that this ere blog feels to me rather old aged ,  I have greatly enjoyed the writing of it.  But cant help feeling that its all become a bit flabby and unexciting , A lot like the writer .   The blog will continue but will change hopefully for the positive .  I will endeavour to serve up more fulfilling dishes however there may be a considerable period between courses .  Anyway unless something startling happens between now and Christmas have a bloody good Christmas ,