Wednesday 3 July 2024

Why Bamboo? because its its a joy, thats why! and they are effective....

 After pretty much a lifetime of fishing and being a fly fisherman for 54 years now I have learned a bit about fly fishing ,  mainly I have learned that I really don’t know that much at all.  Technically there is so much to learn , Casting , line control, fly choice , the list goes on. Fly fishing is so satisfying because of that very fact . It is something that you will never be able to say "So that`s it I have learned what there is to learn." , when you do have a good day and you foolishly think to yourself that you are getting the hang of it . The next time you go to the river and you get your arse kicked soundly by a creature with a brain the size of a pea you realise that you are not quite the angler that you foolishly allowed yourself to believe, There are many many angling books a lot say pretty much the same thing , there have been a few published lately that are just a bit different , I have read a couple of them , both of them contained much original thought ,  Although it was the type of original thought that sort of hits you like the form teacher used to do at my boarding school. Which in his case was a good smack around the back of the head for not grasping what should be obvious, but as in life sometimes the obvious is there but it needs someone more able to actually point it out to you .  

The first book was "fly fishing Emerging heresies " by Peter Hayes . A challenging read that jumped about the field of fly fishing and made me think about things differently ,  not least about the downstream dry fly and which way the wind blows , if you want to know what I am on about then read the book .  The book brought to mind the first time I read " in the ring of the rise by Vincent Marinaro, It was the same sort of left field thought provoking stuff that in the ring of the rise inspired me years ago  .

 The other book " Long rods - Light lines: Some thoughts on Fly fishing by Dave Southall.  Now I am already an admirer of  Daves approach and thoughts ,  I have the good fortune  to enjoy his company and fish with him from time to time .  It is always a pleasure and usually a learning experience as well.  its a book that is eminently readable and one that can be dipped in and out of .  Dave is another original thinker and it is largely his influence that is behind the range of flies in my fly box gradually decreasing and also the size of the things diminishing too.

Anyway back to Bamboo.  my fly fishing started 50 odd  years ago with an ABU farflyte fibreglass and  over the decades I have had a clutch of self built carbon rods then as finances improved I  have worked my way through various high end brands , Sage , Winston , Scott and Orvis have all come and gone .  As my fly fishing has been almost exclusively river based and very largely small streams ,  I have increasingly become focussed on full action slower rods . Where short casts and delicacy of touch are the priority I have for many years enjoyed rods like Winston. Scott G and a particular favourite the Orvis Superfine touch all of which I do still possess. Now I frequently got roasted for this choice but for me on small streams for many years they were my only pick . 

Until, that is a good few years ago when I treated myself to a cane 6ft Chapmans built cane rod ,  built by friend Chas Burns in York .  Following that I have slowly built up a modest collection of Bamboo each new addition increased my appreciation of the material.  I have come to realise that in my opinion there really is nothing better than a bamboo rod for smaller streams. Rods up to about 7ft 6 inches perhaps 8ft and in the range 3 to 5 weight are perfection. For me the sweet spot is around 7ft and 3/4 weight  They really are an absolute pleasure to use .  In terms of real casting and fishing efficiency as well as the increased degree of feedback and delicacy that bamboo as a material gives the user . Especially when combined with a non stretch silk line.

This is not just some romantic notion but I would suggest that as fly anglers we all progress in different ways ,  Myself , during my lifetime I have been through all the usual phases .  Must catch more fish ,  then must catch more bigger fish ,  Must catch more fish of a certain species .  the progression goes on ,  I am at the phase now where I am lucky to fish some stunning wild streams . I have caught some decent sized fish and am no longer chasing targets,  I am of course happy when specimens come along , but for me now,  it is how do I  extract the maximum pleasure from the places I fish and the fish I catch there. 

Personally there is not greater pleasure than catching on a bamboo rod paired with a traditional reel and a treated silk line .People say to me " aren`t silk lines  a load of hassle and very expensive ?, Well hassle I would say only a little bit of care , outweighed by better casting in the wind , delicate presentation and superior for roll casting . Also they last almost indefinitely and actually improve with age.  Cost wise they are surprisingly economical , Look at the Moxon fly lines from barbless flies, they are excellent , If you are really worried about the care aspect take a look at the Terenzio revolution , I have one and use it regularly they are very good. 

I was chatting to a local Secretary /river keeper a few months back. He is on a river I don`t fish any more , We were having a chat and my bamboo rods came up , He was puzzled why I wasn`t embracing the latest ultra light hi tec carbons and extolled the virtues of high modulus this and Sintrix that , but not a mention of feel , delicacy or enjoyment I guess there are many folk the same they just don`t get it .  . Incidentally one of my offspring was struggling to time their casts and feel the rod load.  Half an hour borrowing and casting with my bamboo worked wonders , so much more feedback of what is going on .  Cost wise the rod in the second picture is a Hardy Hollolight  Hollokona 8ft 5 wt of the internet for about £300 the rod has two tips.  It was dead straight and in great condition ,  Very good bamboo rods can be obtained at reasonable costs if you know what you are looking at ,  

Tuesday 4 June 2024

Reasons to be cheerful part 3

One of my favourite Artists from the 70s was Ian Drury and the blockheads .And after a long driving session a few days ago when I explored my Spotify library that song has been in my head .  The events of the last few days have made me think about the title . It has been a depressing long winter and spring that has brought more than a fair share of challenges .  We have had to little Sun , too much rain and to few fish .  The new chalk stream has been bank high to the extent I just didnt fancy it  bright spot has been the new upland stretch of stream  that my previous post covered it has been an joy. The faster upland nature of it means rainfall runs of quickly and it is fishable for longer . Also nothing beats exploring a new stretch of river .  But on Sunday after a couple of weeks away from all the rivers the stars aligned and the fish were starting to look up and even taking a few mayflies .  So I know that the song has no part one and part two.  But my part one would be the fact its June the fish are looking up and its not a bad forecast for the weekend 

On Sunday the river was still carrying colour , but I think that helped me on the day as it was very bright and I think that a properly clear river would have made life more difficult.  The fish above was my best of the bunch and proof again of knowing the river .  There is one lie where you rarely see rising fish but experience has shown me that the bin lid sized often produces better fish . After half a dozen speculative casts the mayfly was taken .  it gave a good struggle in the faster water on a softer cane rod. 

If there was a part two well for me a few months ago i realised I would never receive a retirement gift from work . For a long time I have had my own business but last year for various reasons the company was closed and Myself and Son who worked for me, Went of to work for another consultants who we had contracted on and of for a number of years . It also means that over the forthcoming years I can consider working less but knowing my Son has some continuity and good prospects with a great company .  So I decided that the last thing that my old company would do is provide me with a new bamboo fly rod ,  I had come close to ordering one a few years ago , first covid got in the year , then the builder retired ,  I have a number of bamboo rods but none were built from Scratch for me. So recently I approached Luke Bannister and an order was placed for a nice Garrison 201 with two tips ,  I have a few bamboo rods but I have seen a few of Lukes rods and so seeing things taking shape on the update he sends me is reason to be cheerful number two.  

So what you ask is reason to be cheerful three? well simply this, in another few months that favourite stream and the Garrison 201 will be united lets hope that on that day the Sun shines but not to much and that there will be hatching flies and the fish will be looking up.

Lukes Rods are here ...

Wednesday 8 May 2024

Constable Wallop Brook

 I picked this rod up at the Grayling Society Auction at the last Symposium. What a cracking little rod !!! . I am getting increasingly fond of the whole bamboo rods experience .  Perfect for this small stream.

Sunday 21 April 2024

One for Hippo

 A blog I have followed for years is a Hippo on the lawn a recent comment on my blog shows two things , First it tells me Tom the writer was ill and the poor bugger is so confined that he has nothing better to do than comment on this fellow bloggers posting . He is in Angola and obviously suffering from some malady and second he is also suffering from generator and technology issues .  We take so much for granted with our reliable mains and even fibre optic speed wifi .  Anyway Tom hope you feel better soon and your bank balance stays secure .  Hope you enjoyed the glimpse of ( by your standards ) my mundane existence.  Here is some pics of my day on Saturday a week on from my first post but weirdly even though the day was colder the years seems to have moved on a bit .   Stay safe and try and post a bit more often . 

Monday 15 April 2024

At last a rising fish

 It has been by all accounts and also by some considerable margin. A depressingly long , wet and miserable winter.  There has been no proper winter weather ie hard frosts and some proper snow.  We had a couple of bits of the white stuff .   But nothing to speak of ,  Truth is it started to rain around last October and it has hardly let up since . The springs that feed my new chalk stream came up quickly and have stayed up and indeed put the river over the banks and across the fields .  I went for a walk along the river a week or so ago , Not to fish but to see what the level looks like .   To me it looks like I will be fishing sometime mid may...

My other spate streams have been up and down like the proverbial all winter ,  The farmer on one stretch , whose family have been there for generations has commented that although he had a couple of times seen the river higher . He did say that he had never seen the river so high for so long .  The high water has caused some damage and our work parties have removed three fallen trees and there is considerable bank damage in places .  But the river is still there it is still full of fish and god willing if it stops raining and the water fines down then fishing can recommence . 

So far since the kick of on the 25th march , I have had three trips The first resulted in no Trout but a couple of willing Grayling so no score there then a week later saw a return to the same venue and had my first couple of trout both on nymphs. 

Then on Saturday I had my first trip to a brand new stretch of river,  After having an introductory chat to the guy who runs the little syndicate I wanted to give it a whirl.  The stretch is a couple of miles of very wild unstocked interesting upland stream.  Challenging wading but delightful at the same time . There will be no big fish but first impressions were that there will be plenty of fish.  A small light rod in my case on the day was a 6ft 9 inch light bamboo job.  So with that and a wading staff clutched tightly I set of ..

A small bead head on a long leader would have been an obvious choice but the reel I had with me had a silk line and a furled leader. So not ideal.  So the usual 4ft of tippet of the furlie was replaced with 8ft and I started prospecting in likely looking seams and pockets with a 3mm size 16  beadhead nymph.  plucks resulted with a finger sized sprat that dropped of then I had one slightly bigger .

The water looks very promising with nice variation glides and pocket water in abundance and I worked my way upstream and had a few more then after noticing a few olives I saw a sight to gladden the heart , I spied a splashy rise in the tail of a fast run .  A CDC F fly drew a response but no hook up . Two casts later a little plump brownie came to hand after throwing a couple of cartwheels to brighten the day ( the fish that is, not me.) .  It was at that point I did what all sensible folks do. I got out and sat on a tree stump and took stock of my surroundings .  I am always amazed that more folks don`t fly fish , It is hard to imagine a more cathartic experience than to sit watching a river , listening to the world .  After a carton of ice cold latte and a chocolate bar it was time to resume the season.

Tackle for the day was American Jim Becker bamboo rod.  An English Hardy reel and an Italian Terenzio silk line ,  As near as I get to embracing foreign influence.  I am going to enjoy spending time here. But as a I type this the heavens have opened again and the rivers are back on the way up.  A good few years ago on this blog I prayed for rain.  Within a week we started a wet summer of biblically wet proportions , So I hesitate to pray for dry weather with my luck we will get a biblical drought and a plague of locusts . 

Tuesday 12 March 2024

Wykeham lakes Scarborough

 I have just read that the above fishery is going under new management ,  Great news its somewhere that I have fished in the past but my recent enquiry about it a few months ago was responded to in a pretty actually very unhelpful manner ,  So  the news is welcome and I wish them all the best ,  So I have updated my comments that are on the local fisheries blog page .  Good luck to you we need more local good DT venues...

Saturday 24 February 2024

Trout bum , mildly eccentric or a Geezer ?

 This year I am starting the process of getting into retirement.  I think initially it will be a day a week less work and then over the next years slowly increase fishing time and decrease working time.  I enjoy my work still and I have the pleasure of working with nice people in an interesting profession but its time I just did a bit less of it .  

I am most fortunate that I have a understanding wife who tolerates my fishing obsession , I have access to beautiful rivers to enjoy which are  full of wild trout and Grayling .  I have plenty of rods and reels including spares for sons and daughter to use. But there is something that I haven`t quite got my head around though it is making that transition from being a normal hard working professional gent to that of a retired crusty old git who talks to himself and can put out a suitably strange aura to keep being pestered by well meaning passers by with the inevitable "had anything mister “?

It isn`t that I want to be rude or even indeed a crusty old git although I do have some work colleagues who consider the transition to full crustiness would be absolutely easy and indeed a seamless transition. Its just that it would be nice if people looked at me from afar and there was just something about me that made them veer away rather than endeavour to engage me in polite conversation .  Fishing is about solitude or the company of suitable companions. Not about exchanging meaningless platitudes .

To deter the curious I have been known to get engaged in a raised voice heated argument with myself and that routine has often deterred passers by who were indicating an intent to engage me in polite conversation, it is not consistent though and relies on my having early sight of intruders to give me time to get into the routine .  It is the appearance I need to work on .  Perhaps old Hugh Falkus had the right idea I read that he simply Painted FUCK OFF on the gateway to his cottage .  Perhaps a more direct approach would be the answer but I am struggling to come up with something that would be acceptable to my fellow club members .  I will have to stick with more subtle messaging.  

It would be even better if it worked for dogs too.  I seem to be a dog magnet especially for Labradors, I am especially fond of them and I am convinced they know it .  I am clearly to much of a temptation when I am stood midstream in a river they clearly believe I am there for their amusement .  Charging up to me all wagging tail and presenting themselves for an ear rub. When I was a young fella I was useless with woman but here I am an older gent now I am positive magnet with labs, there is no Justice in life . 

The other thing I wrestle with is what should be my image be ? I don`t think I can carry off the full John Gierach trout bum approach I haven`t got the beard , attitude or fishing ability to do that ,  I do quite fancy the  mildly eccentric old fashioned eccentric approach , After watching his delightful Rod and Line you tube recordings from a good few years ago I could see myself as 50% of a Michael Horden but crossed with 25% Tom Skerrit ( the Rev Maclean ) from a river runs through it and perhaps 25% Jack Hargreaves  .  The non British amongst you will need to consult the wonders of YU tube to understand the effect I am aiming for.   I have just seen this on the interweb... I can aspire to this I want to be a geezer when I retire .

To complete the transformation  I think I am going to have to ditch the chest pack and fish out my old Orvis Waistcoat mainly because it will better hide the one recent purchase that was for comfort rather than tactical efficiency , My  new Vision Chesties have a Zip.  So much more convenient, If you aren`t sure what I mean ask your dad,  I certainly need them to stop looking so new though .  Crusty mature fly fishermen with attitude shouldn`t be wearing sparkly new waders .  Waders should appear to be fighting a losing battle with age and abuse , just as wading boots should not have matching laces and should have the odd aquasure repair , when tied the odd lace hole or hook should be missing .  Finally of course is the icing on the cake the hat.  My old canvas fedora style affair has sat up top for many years and I haven`t the heart to start breaking in a new hat .  It keeps of most of the sun and most of the rain . For that it is perfect .  I will also continue to wear my old flat cap at times .  It was my late Fathers hat I wear it fishing quite often its like I am taking him with me. its something I wear mostly in Winter when Grayling fishing . The Grayling was his favourite I am sure he would approve .  He was a a crusty old fella too but must confess that he is one of the few folks that I would love to have out on the bank with me just one last time. 

Why Bamboo? because its its a joy, thats why! and they are effective....

 After pretty much a lifetime of fishing and being a fly fisherman for 54 years now I have learned a bit about fly fishing ,  mainly I have ...