Thursday, 30 September 2010

Another season passes and here come the blues….

I don’t know if I am alone but for me the passage of another year is marked as much by the passing of the fishing season as by Christmas and New year. I struggle for the next few months the longer nights make the hour commute a real task and I crave the early dawns of summer. I miss fishing the evening rise and watching the morning mist. The gloom seems to descend now and is only briefly lifted by the Christmas celebrations. The dark cloud only starts to clear in February, it always seems that it is the first week in February when the days really start to visibly lengthen and by then the new season can be really anticipated.


The end of the trout season is only softened by the beginning of the grayling fishing. This season I have a new grayling river to explore. I have a winter membership on the Ure in the Dales it is a river with a great history for the lady of the stream, sadly like many northern rivers the ladies seem to be much smaller now than in decades gone by. Not a reflection on general society it would appear. I am hoping that the anticipation and exploration of the new river will ease the winter misery.

Also I intend to go about my winter fly tying in a more organised manner I have even listed the flies and sizes that are need to replenish my boxes. I will try to approach the tying in a organised manner and not spend all winter experimenting and then realise with a month to go that I have tied non of the go to patterns I rely on. I have invested in a new vice a Peak model from the USA so as its American I guess I should say vise. This was a substantial investment for a Yorkshire man with deep pockets and short arms. But it looks like a fine piece of kit that will last as well as the current one that I have had for 20 yrs.

Highlights of the year?  It was a very good year generally for upwinged flies with some amazing hatches.  With a mayfly hatch as good as any I have seen and the best for at least ten years. It was a very long dry summer that really suited some of the rivers I fish., Lowlights well the dry summer decimated some of the other streams I fish. So I guess it just gos to show you cant have it all ways….

Sunday, 26 September 2010

The rains have come but the sea trout havent...

At last my local beck has seen a decent rise of water.  The water a couple of days ago was about a 18inches up and it did coincide with some decent high tides  but it was running very very dirty .  It has been dry for months and the accumulated filth and debris was been wshed down.  The water is fining down now so took the rod and the dog for a walk down to the head of the section where the sea trout can get to.  If they had come up with the spate they would be visible....


The water certainly looked good but there was no sign of any fish,,,The next pool down is where the fish ladder is. The fish get held up here. I tried every pool with the little mepps and different lures to get to the depths of some pools. It should be said I dont like spinning but this water needs a bit of metal chucking to get the best from it. Anyway not a touch not a sight of a fish.  I guess the children of the tides are like this sometimes they come sometimes they dont .  



I have fond memories of this pool . I caught my first sea trout from the beck in here and remember one early morning sitting and smoking whilst pondering next move and had the pleasure of watching an otter swim up through the bottom pool and catch a trout in it and carry it up onto the cill of the weir using the fish pass as a ladder,  It was felt quite privileged to be able to sit and watch it like that. However this morning despite spending a good while fishing and watching the only person having any luck was this foul thing : Anyone got a gun.....



Friday, 17 September 2010

Mayfly and more mayfly


Mayfly were in huge numbers this year .I have just come across these videos on my camera. This was the second week of june this year and was taken during an evening trip to the river Rye. The conditions were not ideal and if I am honest the superb quality of the fishing at the same place just a week before was making me reticent about repeating the trip. I felt that it just couldnt match up to that evening . On reaching the river it was running a little up on the previous week and was carrying some colour , not ideal for the dry fly. But I was here and not in the office so down to the river .



To say I was astonished by the evening is an understatement the hatch of mayfly was the heaviest I ever remember and these videos do not in any way do justice to the evening , the fish rose and rose and very many fish came to hand. Only to say its an evening that I will find easy to remember and will call upon the memory to ease those long cold winter evenings when the countryside seems bereft of life...






It would be easy to say how i deceived fish after fish with skilled deception , but for once it was easy a simple mayfly put anywhere in the glide resulted in fish throwing themselves on it with abandon. The description "duffers fortnight" is right enough .

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Fishing stuff, memories and tackle tartness:

There is a debilitating condition called Tackle tartness. A peculiar condition that afflicts us anglers turning that sensible “need” sense in your head into that troublesome “want “ emotion that gnaws in your brain to convince you that the latest shiny sage rod or new fancy reel or whatever will improve your fishing. I suffer with it from time to time especially in the depths of winter when the lack of been out there fishing combined with the feeling that you cant tie any more flies. Results in time spent dreaming and wondering and perusing magazines and web sites.


It occurred to me recently that this condition must be truly a modern phenomenon. Among my most treasured physical possessions is the rod and reel that belonged to Grandad who is sadly no longer with us. The rod he left me is a magnificent Greenheart and Lancewood Scarborough sea rod and 8 inch diameter mahogany and brass Scarborough reel. He could cast a good 80 yds with that which I can tell you is no mean feat.


I fished with him often on the rocks around the town when I was growing up, He showed me the fishing marks and explained the effects the tides and weather had on those places. He was the most perfect of Grandads he taught me to fish was a good friend and was full of stories of the Somme, Ypres and Paschendale and it only occurred to me recently that here was a man who fished pretty much his whole life through with one rod and one reel. Its hard to believe it even after I wrote it but I have memories of him telling me he bought the rod and reel when he returned from France after the war and he was still using it up till the time Grandma wouldn’t let him fish anymore. I went with him the last time he fished. I wish I had a decent memory of the time but sadly I don’t. Incidentally Grandad always referred to WW1 as the war, Not the great war or the first war. He didn’t much talk about WW2 I think mainly because the Army wouldn’t let him join up as he was to old . He took that personally I am sure he still had unfinished business with the Germans even till the time he died.


But the point is he was a man who loved fishing but yet the “stuff “ The rod and reel were tools, a means to an end what made him a good angler (and he was) was the hard won stuff, the local knowledge understanding the tides and the weather knowing which marks fished on what tides, and the real value of that stuff is that it can be handed down or passed on. Give a learner another fancy rod or whatever and he is still a learner give him some hard won knowledge and he becomes an improver and is then on a better pathway. I restored the rod recently, Varnished the wood and polished the brass and it now hangs on my study wall It hangs above the fly tying desk and this winter when the tartness starts gnawing I shall look at the rod and convince myself that I would be better studying Falkus or Edwards and trying to learn things instead of buying more stuff. Well I will try anyway…….


Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Fishing on loch Seil


I fly fished a Scottish  loch once about 25 years ago, From the bank and not very succesfully I seem to remember. So part of the pleasure of the trip was the planning ahead and the acquisition of a suitably loaded fly box was the main part of that. Tackle wise like very many fly anglers I have a selection of rods lines and reels so it was the selection of flies and tactics for lochs that were new to me. There was a vague mention of estate boats for loch fishing but didn`t really know what to expect.Having ditched the river fishing due to the lack of water I picked up the Oars and life jackets from the estate office and ventured of to find the boats. Eventually locating the white dinghy tied up with about 50 yds of rope and about 20 knots, The boat also had about a foot of water in it. Bailing out a boat and wrestling with tennis ball sized knots resulted in a good sweat but eventually was ready for the of....
Loch Seil
After getting afloat by battling through the reeds ,  ( I had brief thoughts about Bogart and Hepburn and the African Queen) Daft I know but hey I was on holiday..

Afloat on Loch Seil
Once through the reeds the loch was clear and fairly rich and fish were moving . I went to my fly box with the ranks of the new flies :

First team of flies was a Sawyer PTN on point for a little weight . Then a Kate Maclaren with a Bibio on the top dropper , Second cast bang a feisty little brownie literally threw itself at the flies.  Third cast the same then a pause well actually a long pause with me casting to the same little area , then penny dropped cast to new area and hey success another little scrapper. 

Loch Seil Brownie


By the time I had cast to all points of the compass with the most action coming along the reed fringes, It was time to get away back to the house :


Day Afloat 2


The second time I tried the Loch was faced with a real scorching day pretty much a flat calm and bright sunshine but my fishing had to fit in with the general holiday stuff ie buying food selecting the appropriate wine visits to distillaries and the occasional bit of site seeing.  I am maybe no loch fisherman but I know
tough conditions when I see them....





Started wiith same team of flies as previous with no interest from underwater at all.... So sat lit a pipe and studies the panorama.  Only to notice the odd fish was rising actually in the reed beds.  Here the water was about 3ft deep so there was plenty of room for the fish.  Now I figured the only hope was a dry put on the edge but what fly the chapter on loch fishing in the ancient tomb I had consulted didnt mention single dry fly tactics but it was september and sunny so that means one thing to me... A daddy longlegs which I had in my general fly box.  So a new leader and a size 12 daddy sailed into the reed fringes.  The daddy sat there I reached down to my bag for the pipe. A distinct "gloop"  jerked my head back up only to see fly sat there with in the middle of lots of circles of ripples... Bugger bugger bugger. Check fly and recast when the next "gloop" happened a tightening resulted in my first loch fish on the dry fly :


Loch seil Brownie






Several more Gloops resulted in several more fish all on the dry daddy sometimes the fish took as the fly landed sometimes when it was given a little twitch but they did seem to like a little movement..  The day ended when sitting in the sun getting roasted became just to much. Also the attraction of the evening menu and the glass of Shiraz that would be waiting for me.  On thing that did surprise me was how one body of water could throw up so many brownie shapes and colours . There were nice tradional golden brownies with nice red spots and some very grey fish and fish that were long and elegant and others that were short and fat...





I really loved my  few days on the Loch the fish werent big but scrapped well above their weight and it was a real change to fish in for me such unusual surroundings.  Several times I had eagles in the air above the loch I will return thats for certain.  At the end of the week the estate fella mentioned that there are Arctic char in the loch . Now theres a thought....

Monday, 6 September 2010

A Ring of Bright Water

Have just returned from a week in Scotland and I am still in shock of having 7days of warm sunny weather. The place was beautiful the scenery stunning the food to die for. This was the view from our window every morning I still cant decide if the the full sunlight was best Or If the early morning mist took the prize…


The surrounding area was certainly beautiful and apparently was used extensively in the Film version or Gavin Maxwells “A ring of bright water “. The cottage we could see across the water was used as his house. Every day were able to watch seals and eagles in the sea loch below us. It is a stunning area, one that I intend to revisit time and again.

My ever faithful dog decided that she was responsible for guarding the family during our vacation. This is a role that she takes on board every time we are away from home. Here she is on Duty,  She didnt like the hooded crows if one appeared in the garden she went berserk,,,

Sadly the little spate river was down to its bones and although I gave it a good shot fishing into the dark to see if any sea trout were sulking in the deeper pools. What the river really needed was rain but sadly at least for me the rains didnt come .  Every day that past saw the river drop lower. By the middle of the week it was clear that if fish were to be caught then they werent going to be caught here.





By the end of the week the only catches from the river were a few parr that somehow managed to engulf the dropper fly….



Luckily as well as the river the House comes with loch fishing so the fishing wasn’t a complete disaster , more to follow: