Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Summer starts here and bamboo days on small streams


Its been a tough April.  Very low levels, cold water and cold winds combined with little insect life has meant that catching trout has been hard work.  The grayling which are out of season have been rising freely and feeding well whilst the trout have been hiding ,  The last few days have seen the temperatures rising. This weekend as it is now May I thought I would mark the occasion by going to a local favourite stream armed with bamboo and silk .  I apologise for using the American "Bamboo " rather than the traditional English term "cane " It is not because I have been reading to much Gierach it as a survivor of the English boarding schools system enough to say I have several painful memories of the Cane. So for me " Bamboo " it is.  I am not a die hard bamboo fan as most of my fishing is done with Carbon rods .  But over the last few years the appeal of the traditional Bamboo and silk has grown on me.  

The growing appeal is not linked to any romantic notion of returning to times gone by .  It is I think more a reflection of my interaction with  the river . It may be all in my head but when you play a fish on a silk lane and cane rod the feeling of connection is more intense the lack of stretch in the line and the flex of the cane gives a different experience .  It is also a very efficient method of fishing .  The silk line I was using above was a 3wt which I can confirm floated nicely for all of the four or five hours fishing .  its diameter was thinner than that of the 2 wt plastic line I used a few days before .  It casts beautifully with very tight loops and roll casts better than any plastic line .   Fishing Bamboo makes you slow down your cast , force one and it will protest .  But work with it and it will do everything that modern materials will do , granted a little slower and also a little costlier .  Although decent cane rods can be obtained for less than the cost of expensive carbon and silk lines are dependent on the brand can be obtained for less than £100 .  The truth is for me If you love the places you fish and you are happy with the size of fish you catch then the only way to improve things is to change the way you fish and therefore the quality of the experience .  For me that has meant that sometimes when the intent is to fish dries and perhaps tiny nymphs on a warm summer day then make a Bamboo rod and silk line your companion.  

When I started this blog many years ago it was started so that a relative could follow my exploits but these days it has become a journal ,  blogs have fallen largely from favour they have been replaced by the instant gratification of FB and instagram. This blog has matured now and there have been times I have considered ditching it but I am already looking back on the posts I made some years ago. I know that some years hence I will look at this post and remember that one moment when the river , the weather and the fish all aligned with me to give one of those special moments when everything is perfect.  A rising fish , a decent cast a perfect take followed by some airborn acrobatics to signal the start of summer and the perfect result.

Monday, 25 April 2022

First on a Dry...


I am not sure why the above annual headline is so important to me but I guess its pretty simple really ,  I have always been and always will be a fan of dry fly fishing .  not for any snobbish reasons but simply there is something fascinating to see that moment of the take.  It is that wonderfully visual moment when your deception has been successful. As a small boy before I tasted fly fishing for trout it was always the float that was my chosen method.  On rivers trotting a float effectively is a true art when done properly,  like fly fishing it is also obviously a very visual form of fishing and one also that teaches you an understanding of watercraft and reading currents and understanding the importance of drag . There are so many similarities with fly fishing. Looking back It is 50 years since I took up my first fly rod I am afraid that since then the coarse fishing has gradually slipped away and is now simply a whim or a walk down memory lane as my recent trip with my late fathers gear in the recent blog post.

So there we are,  my first brown trout on a dry of the season on a day when there was low cold water very little fly life and a nasty cold wind. Truth is I was convinced I would not do any good on the waters surface, but I think the river just took pity on me and provided me with one small but beautifully marked rising fish that took my seals fur bodied F Fly and allowed me a moment to admire its perfection.  On the day I also managed to catch two larger but stocked fish , well they weren`t getting a photo, This river produces the most beautifully marked brown trout . The one on the front banner of the blog was from this very section of river,  that is not the largest Brown Trout I have ever caught but every time I look at the picture I recall how perfect that particular fish was .  So far this season has been very strange, the second day of the season was as warm as a summers day and when I visited the river I was greeted by many rising fish ,  trouble is they were all out of season grayling ,  since then I have caught many grayling and few trout, so it was great today to catch no grayling and just brown trout...

The signs of Spring are now well established this tiny island hosted a swan every year when I last fished this section of the river which is actually around ten years ago .  I was amused to thumb back through the catch return back and see my reports still there from all that time ago.  As I stood to take the photo below I recall that many years ago I was sat there having a doze and break and became aware of an agitated buzzing ,  my hearing is pretty poor and it took a while to register that I was sat on the hole to a very large wasps nest . I moved carefully and slowly and managed to avoid stings .  Moving slowly was something I learned as a coarse angler when digging out nests for wasp grubs . I also remember how effective dry cleaning fluid aerosols were as a first line of defence. 

The river is looking pristine at the moment although the signs from the feeder streams are showing low flows already. Without some serious rain in the next few months it will be a very low river indeed by mid summer.

The smell of wild Garlic was pretty overpowering as I walked through it making my way upstream.  It is one of those evocative things that gives a strong sense of time and place ,  it also makes a damn fine soup with a suitable chicken stock. 

long time readers of the blog will recognise this view ,  it hasn`t changed it is still a beautiful river.

Monday, 28 March 2022

New trout season, Grayling and Covid

 There is something very special about the first day of the trout season and on this years opening day we had 16 degrees C and bright sunshine. Normally opening day in Yorkshire is barely above freezing,  windy and a day for tossing the leaded nymphs about .  On Saturday I decided it was dries or bust 
So looking at the conditions low clear water and sunshine I decided it was time for my little 6ft 2 wt ...

fishing here is about short rods delicate casts into pools and runs the size of dining table

This little fella is one two or three rods I fish here  I have always been a fan of the Orvis superfine touch the gentle action suits the small streams that I fish superbly.  This one was an ebay used bargain some time ago.   I think when i bought it it was completely unused.  

On the day the weather was very still . but when its windy it is very exposed.  I often bring two rods with me to cover the bases.  The other rod which on the day got no use.  Is an original Sage LL 7ft 3 4 wt ,  A lovely old fashioned medium action rod.

There was plenty of evidence of the effect of the early spring mild weather .  Bumble bees , butterflies and nesting birds were all in evidence .  This old lass and her two lambs stayed still long enough for a photo unlike the bees and butterflies .

Strangely today the Brown trout were absent , The Grayling which are now out of season.  were taking dries with abandon .  Although the only flies on the water were tiny midges ,  There was many risers each cast I hoped for a trout but each time disappointed . Tiny black dubbed f fly worked ever so well. Even tiny nymphs cast to trouty spots brought Grayling.   

No grip and grin shots today , The fish are out of season and I like to slip the hook out in the water , Just one quick snap before I released it.  Ridiculous really if I had been fishing for Grayling I would have had a great day I had 9 whilst trying to avoid them...

Anyway fishing is bolloxed now for a week or so.   I suppose it was only a matter of time....

Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Farewell Orvis they have joined the race to the bottom....


Over the years Orvis has produced some very nice stuff ,  I have spent a fair chunk of money in the store and online. Some very good reels and nice rods.. As a small stream angler the Superfine touch were splendid ,  good reels too.  Who couldn`t help but love the CFO on a small stream rod . I even have a fair collection of shirts , jackets and chest waders .  All bought because I could visit a shop to check them out first.  It was the thing that set Orvis apart , 

For many years my family have known that for Christmas and birthday Orvis vouchers were always welcome.  Sadly this has gone to I have instructed them to buy no more.  The decision to just sell fishing tackle was I guess an accountants idea. So they are now entering that race to the bottom which is the internet,  the Orvis price premium was somehow acceptable given the high street presence and the quality image.  It would appear now that actually they are just another online seller.  Furthermore I would say not a very good one ,  I visited their website today and was completely unable to buy anything .  I could read a online catalogue which looked pretty much like the same format as Maxcatch ,  there was a very long message from Simon saying how sorry he was, but I couldn`t actually find a way to buy anything ,  Well Simon thats a pretty poor show really and it looks like you are losing the good will of this long time customer.  Surely with all the IT knowledge of a multi national you would have had a better transition than that,  even if  its a message from Simon saying normal ish service will resume shortly ,

Friday, 11 March 2022

Anticipation new season approaching


It wont be long now I keep telling myself ,  as of today it is 14 days to the new trout fishing season .  I put the rods down finally a few weeks ago  As the high wind and rain put paid to the end of the Grayling fishing ,  So for the last few weeks my time looks like this.  

  1. Cleaned and lubed all my reels and fly lines .The silk lines were taken of the reels last September so soon its time to treat and put them back on the reels. 
  2. Rods have been checked over 
  3. Attention given  to the fly boxes ,  I am always mystified on how perfectly ordered fly boxes at the start of the season can end up looking like our dustbin after a fox has been in it.  
The biggest battle for me has been avoiding convincing myself that I need another rod to a potential gap in the collection.

Anyway as the new season is nearly upon us its time my blog cover photo was a trout again.  So here is a new cover and another fond memory.  the one in this post was from another favourite river the Ure. The one on the cover was from the Rye a few years back on a stretch of river I will be fishing again this season.  Two weeks left till the new season and this weekend my first work party.   I must admit to being excited . 

lets hope for a good season.  So tight lines all...