Tuesday had been booked as a days holiday for some months. The intention was a day with friends on a Yorkshire chalkstream for grayling. Sadly the weather scuppered it. However I was in desperate need of a day out as the cabin fever is really starting to bite. So I chose a venue that I reckoned I could get the car to and headed of. The water levels should be ok as the freezing temps meant no meltwater was about. After negotiating a well frozen country lane I arrived at the bridge and entered a winter wonderland.
The idea was to fly fish , temperature -6 when I arrived and I am going fly fishing , the wife is right I want my head looking at. Anyway spent ten minutes forcing myself into numerous layers of clothing. During this time I ask myself why are bootfoot neoprenes nearly impossible to get your feet into when its this cold..
As I waded into the first swim I expected that cold chill that you get immediately with summer breathables but hey no chill maybe this wouldnt be to bad. Good job short casting a nymph doesnt require unrestricted movement as I was walking like a michelin man. The water was clear and only slightly higher than normal, and started to search the deeper pockets with a heavy nymph. Second cast I was in, a magnificant tree trout , a sycamore I think. After carefully releasing it and sorting out the leader I was fishing again. As I waded along the beck I had that strange sensation that your been watched I looked up and a couple with dog were watching me. The look on their face and the shake of their head said it all. Silly old sod chest deep in a freezing beck with ice on his beard they must have let him out for the day.
Hoar frost by the beck
A Beck Grayling
To say the fishing was slow is an understatement the line kept freezing in the rings and little bits of floating ice pack kept dragging the line. Eventually I did catch one fish a tiny Grayling I was pleased to have some company and it avoided the dreaded blank. Although these last few years the fear of not catching seems to have diminished and the contentment of just been out there with a rod in your hand seems to have increased. Anyway by now the feet were cold so decided to move upstream. And warm up in the process.
As I approached a favourite swim I was stopped in my tracks as I crossed a field I was faced with an early Christmas nativity scene, granted there was no crib, wise men or shepherds but there was sheep and they did look awfully like they do on the Christmas cards the little barn was even decked out with genuine icicles.
Nearly a nativity scene
I fished on for a while but eventually the cold started to get into my bones as the temperatures and snow kept falling , so back to the car and a hot drink from the flask. After warming up by going through the intense physical exercise of getting out of the neoprenes I was sweating and reflecting that however hard they are to get into they are twice as hard to get out of……
Yorkshre beck in the snow
So what is the winter equivalent to mad dogs and englishmen.....