Wednesday, 17 July 2019

There a river in there somewhere


Behind all that vegetation and underneath all that fallen timber is a river .   Its a lovely river full of wild brown trout and grayling .  It has a very large head of fish and no stocking .   The population level of fish in it at the moment is very good .  Its been rising again over the last few years .  I say again because a few years ago the Environment agency came in during the winter and pulled nearly everything out .  The following year the fish numbers crashed .   All the dead stuff in the river had gone and many overhanging bushes and their accompanying tree roots had been dug out .  So the fish had nowhere to live..




This section of the river is of course nearly impossible for a fly fisher , perhaps a something dapped may work but there plenty of more open lengths. But what a nursery it is for fish fry . 




A few yards below that the river looks like , Wadeable along the inside and very deep on the outside. I had three from under the fallen tree in the middle , casting left handed from behind the bend left handed casting is something I have been trying more and more was quite satisfying to be able to use it.



he fish are small but the six foot 2 wt Winston I use is perfectly matched to the river and the fish .  There are bigger fish my best are a 13inch brownie and a 14 inch Grayling .  The Grayling fishing is particularly fine for a small stream.  



It was good to see the small grayling rising to dries .  I only fished the fast runs I will return in the Autumns and search the deeper runs with a nymph .  I don't want to be fishing 
the deep runs with a nymph on my tiny 2 weight its a sweet magic wand of a thing but built for tiny dries not weighted stuff . 




There small sections where the river is open enough to get a decent cast are there to,  On the day though they seemed pretty empty .  The low water and clear river was keeping the fish in the trees...



Strange but on these tiny streams the rises often drop of  at the end of the evening .  At a time when larger rivers come alive..

.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Who you meet on the river ..



It has been a strange couple of weeks Torrential rain , record breaking temperatures .  High water.. Low water we have had it all, and I have even managed the odd fishing trip,  a couple of hours here and there to squeeze in between home and work .   The highlights haven't been the fish but the surroundings and the things you see and the people you meet .  One evening I had the pleasure of sharing the river with an Otter for a brief while .  I read a lot of bad press about the Otters from some angling people and yet every single river angler I know doesn't have a bad word for them .  We have had a resident otter on our local stream for 20 plus years .  Sure it takes the odd sea trout at spawning time but the rest of the year it seems to live on crayfish, bull heads and the like .  I suppose logically they are a lot easier to catch than a lively trout or grayling .   Trouble is you put a heavily stocked commercial carp lake in front of them and all they are going to see is a whopping great Chinese take away.  Full of big fat tasty carp. They don't understand the economics of running a commercial fishery.  Anyway heres a really short and pretty bad video I took of one down the river the other night.  It was a special moment it knew I was there but obviously thought I was harmless enough  .



As for Crayfish well theres another funny thing , I caught one today. Thats a first for me and on a dry fly .  Yeh right you say pull the other one .  Well heres the thing I was fishing a dry , a size 16 IOBO humpy no less and the leader  hooked under a bit of floating debris as I took in slack ready to recast . So I waded upstream to unhook the offending line and then realised my fly had got dragged into something so pulled it in by hand to clean of the fly and found this on the end.  Now it may well be that I dragged the fly into the crayfish but I am convince that the IOBO looked so damn tempting it just stretched out his one good nipper and grabbed it . Anyway the cray was gently unhooked and returned swiftly .  But I will definitely add it to my catch return for the season .



Yes its a native one , we are lucky around here that the signal invaders haven't arrived yet ...
Then to cap it all whilst fishing today I met several friends and the river keeper who I have known a long time in fact I gave him his first fishing rod when he was a kid.   I do seem to spend a lot time chatting to fellow angling friends and yes these days more than ever a day on the river means so much more than catching fish . I guess this bloke knew a thing or two . 

"Many men go fishing all of their
lives without knowing that it
is not fish they are after." 

Henry David Thoreau


Sunday, 23 June 2019

A bit of Casting and a bit of fishing


I started this post a good few weeks ago .  Since then we have had lots of rain so if anyone does read this and think what planet is he living on ?.  Thats the answer.
I realised the other day when chatting to someone that I reckon that when next year rolls around it will be 50 years since I caught my first fish on a fly .  I  sometimes wonder where all thise years have gone .  True , I havent fly fished all of those years , there were a good few years of been happy to catch anything . A good few years of trying to catch "Specimans" Barbel , Tench , Carp oh yes and Roach, I was desperate for a two pound roach as it turned out I didnt catch a two pounder until years later when I caught one by accident when bait fishing for Grayling in the Stour .

 I suppose fly fishing has always been my favourite but cost and accessibility limited my early years .  I have always preferred river fishing for trout. I never really took to still waters,  Times have changed now and these days river fly fishing  clubs in these parts are desperate for members. mny of  the most exclusive ones are accessible to anyone who isnt a criminal and can pay their subs.   Truth is as clubs open their doors more people can be choosy . I see a greater desire for fishing unstocked wild streams and having the opportunity for Grayling fishing.   I think many of the posher clubs are going to have real issues recruiting members .  Times are changing even for fly fishing clubs , they need to change with them .


Anyway forgetting that and despite all that time Its only in the last two years that I have had a first casting lesson .  That was for a bone fishing trip  and to specifically learn the double haul. Then a conversation with a fishing friend led to booking another casting lesson with Brian Towers in the dales.  The plan was that the morning would have a few hours casting tuition . Then we could move to the nearby Swale and have a fish.  The river was pretty low .  Which in one respect makes the fishing a bit easier .  the contra view is it makes it harder.  Personally I find low conditions much easier to fish . 



The water clarity was exceptional and in slack water areas like this it makes presentation pretty important .  Here my companion was suffering the dreaded scenario of lots of rising fish but struggling to fool one.   I had fished a similar pool and had also struggled so I was heading upstream to look for some faster water .  Fish are far easier to fool when they dont have so long to study your offering ...


This run was typical of ones that gave up fish .  Broken water , more oxygen and less time for fishy to inspect your pattern and presentation meant more chance of success .  I intend to fish the river a lot more this year . The fishing on the day was difficult but my its a stunning river .   I have intentions of fishing here more this season ,  a friend of mine fancies doing the same  so we will e sharing the journeys .



I have just got back from another favourite small stream,  The river looked stunning and there was plenty hatching ,  even the odd mayfly , but the fly that worked was a size 16 IOBO humpy .  A fly I use a huge amount and in my opinion one of the best generic olive patterns there is .  




The fish in the stream are all wild and all pretty much perfect .  The first pic is the average size but there are loads smaller and a good many larger ,




The last is a decent fish for the stream ,  there are bigger there are a few a lot bigger .  But this was great fun on the 8ft 2 wt .   A few years ago my fishing was mainly four weights on streams .  Light line rods were three weights now on small streams its usually two weights ,   Rod for that day was an Orvis superfine carbon  8ft 2wt . Truth is fish like this are what I love to fish .  Wild fin perfect perfection . 







Thursday, 23 May 2019

Following in Izaacs footsteps





I am by my own admission a bit of a fly fishing book collector.  Anything from before I was born seems to be what attracts me. Evidence perhaps of a bit of a romantic notion about the gentle art.  Certainly, I am a self-confessed fan of dry fly fishing, I will often persevere with the dry when a nymph would do the job more effectively. Don’t get me wrong I do fish the nymph I even indulged in some time with a guide a few years back to improve my skills, the time with him was excellent.  He even suggested that my Casting could benefit from some professional input. I think he wanted to say Crap but respectfulness of who was the paying client stopped him short.  Anyway it did inspire me to have a few hours with a casting instructor and it worked wonders. 







Anyway, I digress.  One book amongst my collection of several hundred is a copy of the Compleat Angler it isn’t a valuable copy, but it does have a special interest for me, namely a previous owner has embellished the copy with various addenda. Such as various  lithographs and a clipping from the Times in 1920 about the refurbishment of Walton’s cottage.  There are also many other additions, notes and references in the text that as, yet I have been unable to decode.  However, I have often considered. That I should myself add to the story.








This year my birthday has fallen on the day before good Friday and had suggested just after Christmas that instead of my dear long suffering wife having to “surprise “me with a non-fishing present that I don’t really need.  That we might disappear of to the Yorkshire dales for a few days at Easter, she could do a bit of shopping and I could visit the swale or the Ure.  So, a suitable hotel booking was made.  Anyway, a couple of weeks after that we received an invite to my Godsons children’s christening which meant a change of plans was in order. The Christening was to be on Easter Sunday near Derby.  So, she was tasked with looking through Booking. Com the Izaac Walton was mentioned, that looks nice what do you think says she?  A quick scan revealed it had fishing rights on the Dove in Dovedale, looks lovely Darling get it booked…




As Easter approached the weather was brass monkey weather, which is a little unusual because living in a tourist town has taught me that the weeks before bank holidays the weather is typically warm and sunny, changing dramatically when the bank holiday arrives.  To the usual English Bank Holiday weather of a bracing north easterly and heavy showers.  However, that lovely Scottish weather lady kept talking of a mini heatwave approaching, something that I had definite misgivings about.  I had been warned by several angling acquaintances about the popularity of Dovedale on Bank Holidays and the impact on my fishing opportunities.  The last thing I wanted was thousands of tourists. 




On Good Friday I had negotiated the continuous traffic jams on the way in to Dovedale and was a little taken aback by the sheer volume of parked cars at the bottom of Dovedale when we threaded our way through the traffic we arrived at the hotel. I was dispatched out of the way by my wife whilst she unpacked.  I was to say the least more than a little dismayed by what greeted me as I walked up Dovedale I appeared to have visited during some sort of huge protest march. Both banks lined by a continuous procession of families indulging in walking, talking, dog walking and swimming accompanied by lots of noise. The temperature was 22 degrees. I was to say the least going to struggle up there.  Now I am not one to give up easily and would not give up the opportunity to fish without a struggle so I decided to investigate the bottom end of the river I had noticed that the hotel fishing extended downstream to the confluence with the River Manifold.  So, the Plan was Easter Saturday morning a visit to Bakewell to do some shopping.  Then I would head of down the river and try and avoid the crowds for a few hours.  I may even catch a few fish.






In Bakewell I thought I would risk a visit to the Bakewell fly fishing shop.  Now to those younger fly anglers who have grown up on a diet of large American owned tackle outlets and to the internet based giants that shop is a delight , small and gloriously unorthodox manned by a gentleman who despite his slight innocent appearance is legendary for spotting that oh so obvious gap in your fly fishing tackle armoury and promptly filling it . A few years ago he spotted that in my case it was the obvious lack of a Tenkara rod . After a short indoctrination session on the busy pavement I left clutching my new rod.  That’s nice said my wife later it’s a pretty colour where does the reel go? You know, I still haven’t fathomed that out.  This year I escaped with just buying another spare line clipper.  Mid purchase some new customers walked in “I’ll just be a few moments this Gentleman is from Yorkshire and completing the sale is a tricky manoeuvre” was his welcoming comment.  I left reflecting that those unwary new customers were much like customers in Arkwright’s corner shop.  About to be educated.  Joking apart his shop is a jewel no visit to Derbyshire would be complete without a visit. 



After returning to the hotel I decided I would risk the river so clad in the full chest waders and chest pack I strode proudly alongside the standing traffic ignoring the stares and the pointing children hanging out of the queuing cars, climbing over the gate into the bottom field heading down to where the Dove discharges into the Manifold.  Standing and looking at the junction I felt sure that Walton himself must have stood looking at the same view. 

At this end of the fishing the river fishing is pretty reminiscent of one of my Yorkshire Streams.  Interesting pools and runs with plenty of deeper holding areas. it looks like fine Grayling water but respect for the Grayling close season stopped me running a heavy bug through some of the more fishy looking areas. I fished a dry black paradun, one of my favourite prospecting flies.  The first fish came with my fourth or fifth cast. A pristine small stream brownie with a tail like a shovel compared to the size of the fish. 



For those readers who are still hoping for a serious fishing story the tackle set up was an 8ft 8” Scott 4wt, with an aging loop reel and WF 4 floating line.  12ft tapered leader leader with a couple of feet of 3lb tippet added. The fly was a size 16.  There was no apparent rise but there was the occasional olive and I was sure I had spotted an early hawthorn as I walked down to the river. I was sure that given the clear water a few fish would be looking up.


 I fished steadily up stream crossing the road by wading under the bridge the narrow stream at that point coming within a whisker of the tops of my waders. I was determined that I was going to remain oblivious to the line of bank holiday traffic standing on the bridge above my head and from the bank, as I moved up stream and despite the buzz of  bank holiday standing traffic being just a few feet away  I was going to concentrate on the river in front of me.  I continued to pick up fish and frightened a few more.  I fished for about three hours until the Dovedale car park just got to close.  The sound of car doors and noisy children became too apparent to ignore.    I finished with six fish great fun on light tackle in the fast water.  all fish came to a little black paradun in the fast water between 18 inches and two feet deep.  Interestingly the best fish came at a point where cars were only a couple of metres away.





 So, I had followed in Walton’s footsteps and the river had demonstrated that given less bright sunshine and fewer tourists the fishing would be even better, I fancy an Autumn rematch to find some Dove Grayling.  

As for the Compleat Angler I will be appending my fishing ticket and perhaps a modern photograph of one of the numerous local landmarks that are still visible and comparable to the book’s lithographs.  A few margin notes to baffle future owners.  Next year a I  am planning another trip to the Derbyshire Dove I fancy a look at that temple.  Its hard work this book research.





Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Waking up at last



So it has been a very strange year . It is as if  the weather was waltzing it wasn't quick quick slow it was cold cold hot then cold again..  After a long cold early spring Easter towards the end of April was the warmest on record ,  bringing out thousands of tourists and a few rising fish.  Then the beginning of May has been cold again .  With that horrible lazy cold wind , lazy because it couldn't be bothered to go around you it just went straight through you .






My usual early season rampant enthusiasm has been tempered somewhat by the cold weather , fishing has been hard the rivers are very low after the dry winter and they are crystal clear, combine that with bright sunshine and cold temperatures fly fishing is going to be slow.  Although this year we are already seeing huge numbers of aphids and yes the fish are taking them upwing hatches are rare.  Size 24 s and lower are the order of the day for them.


As I write this the weather has at last warmed up .  Heading towards 20 C today , I must make an effort to get out one evening . The "evening rise " you know  it makes me feel better just saying it .  There is something very special about being on a river as the light goes and the Olives are hatching . Listening t the sound of rising fish .




The above was a fish from the other evening , A perfect example of a wild fish .  Someone asked me the other day what was the biggest fish I had caught last season ,  you know I really couldn't remember .  I could remember a few different ones . I can remember the fish I got to take a dry after making a hero cast under a overhanging bush where there was about a 9 inch gap.  I can remember the fish I caught high up in the headwaters where the moorland feeder stream was brown and the fish was almost black and the spots were like drops of blood .  But the largest well actually i can remember it was on the Itchen a southern and very posh chalk stream .  Probably about 4 lb and noteworthy only for its size . It had obviously spent a long time in the hatchery .  Although it had been in a while and slimmed of a bit ,  in Hogwarts terms to would have been a mud blood and definitely not pure blooded .




One factor that I find encouraging is that these days the enquiries we receive to join the fly fishing club I help run is the tendency for people to want wild brown trout and grayling , I hope it is a sign of people wanting more than the flabby stump tailed stockies that seem to grace so many social media pages .  Most of the rivers I fish these days have excellent wild fish stocks and in those a pound fish is a good one . A two pounder is something to celebrate .  Which is partly why I have started to fish two weights more and more .  They are absolutely a practical fishing tool.  Not a toy as I sometimes read in the fishing press .  I have four now ,  from a magic wand of a 6ft 2wt Winston all the way up to a 9ft 6" 2 wt which is a very effective nymphing rod .  I think getting the right line for them is a bit more of a challenge than rods with a heavier weighting ,but get it right and they are brilliant.  A fish like the one above gives a good account of itself on such tackle..


Saturday, 27 April 2019

A sad farewell



last week was a pretty sad affair , Our Choccy lab that has been part of the Family for the last nearly 12 years was taken on her final trip to the Vets.  She had struggled with ill health for the last couple of years .  But still had a healthy appetite and an ever wagging tail .  Sadly though the signs of pain and suffering were becoming clearer and clearer .  In January our Vet had expressed surprise that she had made it to 2019 .  But finally and not without much soul searching the final decision to remove her suffering was made .  A very difficult decision but here two weeks on I know i made the right decision .  So in recognition of a great fun filled life here is a blog entry just for Ruby ...




She was a dog that could eat anything , No actually I will say eat almost anything and if it wasnt fit to eat then it was perfect for rolling in .  Badger Shit is a case in point for those not familier with badger shit imagine super glue mixed with crushed earthworms , rotten fish and green slime which contained a secret ingredient making it detergent proof.  Oh and the smell ......


My early dream of a fishing companion came to nothing her love of water was so intense that despite early efforts the nearest I got was a kick sampling assistant .   Winter or Summer fresh or saltwater she loved it all .  Living as we do near the sea seaweed was a popular snack for her , unfortunately the effect on her stomach was like a mixture of epsom salts and napalm only more smelly .  She soon sussed that eating seaweed would result in us shouting at her so she would grab a lump of kelp and race in the sea and sit amongst the waves , chewing and I am bloody sure she was smiling at us..in the winter the the place in front of the wood burner was hers... We had a blanket to cover her with when we loaded the fire to protect her from embers ,  She sure as hell wouldn't move..


She was for all that a perfect dog ,  friendly always ready for an adventure and always ready for food.   Amongst her talents was the ability to sweep up pedestrians .  This involved running along country footpaths carrying a stick ,  well when i say stick actually small trees would be more appropriate .  I have seen her take out whole families .  She even wiped herself out a couple of times , she never really grasped that you cant get through two trees 4ft apart carrying a six foot branch especially whilst running ...



So I will forget the stomach upsets and vets bills , I will forget the tick removals , I wont forget the earthquakes under the dining table when a food morsel is carelessly dropped and she chased it down . I wont forget when after a bit of wine my animated conversation wielding crackers and stilton about resulted in a perfect timed interception and the morsel was plucked from my hand. Last I dont think I will ever be able to use the toaster again without expecting to see the head peering around the door as the toast pops up...





Friday, 5 April 2019

So start the clock again



Well folks here we again.  A new spring is here and a new season started .  As has become usual over the last couple of years , opening day has come and despite recent rain the rivers are still pretty low and I an sure that come the summer we will pay the price for the last mild and dry winter.  The results of the winter inactivity have been a decent enough winter Grayling total , to be honest the best I have had for a few years . but it will be nice to hit the rivers for trout again.



I have as always been unable to resist the temptation of a few new bits of gear .  This year a new to feed my growing light line fetish , a Loop 8ft 6" 2wt arrived as did a Scott 8ft 8" 4 wt .  Did I need them ?. Well probably not .  I need stuff like fly floatant and new tippets. But the honest truth is I dont actually need anything significant but there is always stuff that i want.


The river looked stunning but fish have been hard to come by .  Nothing larger than parr size so far.  I guess if I put a nymph on I might do better but determined to have the first of the season on a dry.  So far have had three rise to a fly but to bloody slow or maybe even to anxious. 




The wild Garlic is brilliant right now dense aromatic carpets of it.  As usual a bag full went home with me for chicken and wild garlic soup..  I suppose right now I am just grateful for the first signs of warmer weather appearing. 





This weekend the first few butterflies were around in the sunshine .  The odd bumblebee is waking up to. 



Not to mention the spring flowers ...  oh and I have joined a couple of new clubs this year so will be visiting a couple of larger rivers again.. Watch this space . 




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

Spring

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 thin...to 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.