Thursday, 27 October 2011

A time for reflection.

Last weekend saw me out on the bank again after Grayling .  Trips to the river now are a two edged affair, will a mild day encourage the ladies to flirt with a bit of surface action ?, or will cold or unstable water levels send them skulking to the depths?. I will plumb the depths with the czech style heavy nymphs when I have to but much prefer to see that lovely boiling rise as the fly is snatched from the surface. and if I am honest I struggle with the nymph and know its an area I need to improve.

What that means is that  I can be guilty of neglecting all other  approachs and try to cling on to the surface fly when Autumn is here.  I am not a dry fly snob but I will often persevere with the dry when I could catch more with a nymph. 

This weekend saw such a trip the fish above was the only one that I could persuade to come to the surface . The last hour I resorted to a heavy pink shrimp and caught three more.  I feel sure fishing the nymph sooner would have given results.

Thinking about this and seeing the threads on forums and other blogs  about what you have achieved this season has made me think again as to what it is that presses our individual buttons about this sport.  Plainly there are those for whom the fly tying has almost become the overiding passion ,  for others its the collection of rods and reels.  Others still the pursuit of that elusive target weight specimen. Or a larger number of fish than last year .  There are even those whom I am convinced just talk about it .

 Certainly for me all those things are important although my gear is a pretty motley collection and my flies are somewhat variable in quality and I certainly dont keep any sort of record of my catches other than on my blog. I guess more than anything the quality of the fishing and its surroundings is top for me and if such a place has good fish then even better.  I live close close to several high quality stocked fisheries.  Holding large high quality well finned fish but for me they have limited appeal because they are man made featureless lakes.  I have several friends who love those places and am glad for their enthusiasm but I am dissapointed when these same friends accompany me to a small hidden gem of a stream but do not share my enthusiam for the wondrous markings on the specimen 12oz wild brownie they spent 20 minutes catching...
I guess all this is just defines why fly fishing is such a popular and adictive pastime.  Should you  be a collector or  an obssesive a born again hippy or even an ultra competitive type the sport can become what ever you want it to be.  Even if you just want to talk or write about it...
Anyway following that reflection here my idea of a lovely river...


The soft autumn light does make the countryside look its best so even when the fishing is slow the surroundings can help.  The leaves are really turning now and a windy day or two will see the river surface covered with rafts of leaves


One good windy week and the river will be full of leaves and perhaps with all the bugs and flies that live on them...


Thirty or forty years years ago I would not have given all of this a thought all that was important was catching fish, lots of them. The pleasure arose from the capture and not from the method employed or the surroundings.  When I was eleven I fished with a teacher at my school, it was due to him I first held a fly rod, He showed me how to catch chub with a black gnat on his split cane rod with a silk line.  I was fascinated and that day lit a spark that smouldered for years till I was able to take up the fly rod for myself. 

When I met him many years later he revealed he had given up fishing he said that he still loved fly fishing but that for him the climax was to get the fish to rise and the subsequent playing and landing and unhooking of the fish was merely a further distraction and had even become an unpleasurable experience.  I dont beleive that my own thoughts will ever head to that conclusion but I find it fascinating that one sport can generate so many views and feelings.