Monday, 27 September 2021

So that’s it then


So another trout season ends ,   I reckon that was my 51st,  Not I might add my 51st fishing season but it is the number since I picked up my first fly rod.  Hard to imagine how much time I have spent planning , dreaming and actually fishing for trout since I caught the first one . I can still remember that first fish, I can recall that moment of disbelief of fooling  that rising fish as if it was yesterday.  When I lift into a rising fish still gives me the same buzz now . 

This lovely small stream brownie was my last of the season and the only one of the day , I think partly because i actually wanted it to be that way. I switched to targeting the grayling straight away.

There were no large grayling today ,  I was briefly connected to one better fish but an underwater snag allowed it shed the barbless fly 

In one run there are always Grayling and felt sure that I would get some interest from a fish from a well presented dry.  After a fruitless 10 minutes I switched to a nymph .  The result was four fish in six casts the first two in consecutive casts .  They were clearly feeding hard but not looking up. Despite the water been at best 2ft deep and running very clear .

I have never been a great fan of newer Sage fly rods.  Always seemed to fast for my style of fishing ,  However last year I picked up a Sage Circa 379 on a well known auction site ,  For small streams it has been a whirlwind romance .  This is a 279 sister for it.  perfect for these smaller streams .  I paid a bit more than I would have liked for it on the same site but so far I have fished it 3 or 4 times and am mightily impressed.  When I think back to my first fly rod , an ABU fibreglass job and compare the performance to this lightweight creation it does make you realise that sometimes progress is a good thing..

This small river is very narrow and tends to retain a healthy flow even in the driest of years ,  it is very intimate fishing .  I learnt a week or so ago that the EA have been to walk the river.  To be fair in places there are some huge trees blocking it and causing massive erosion problems . It sounds as though they will be along in the winter with heavy machines. lets just hope they dont do to good a job .  As we may suffer a few years of leaner pickings while the river recovers.  About ten year ago they cleared out some obstructions and the fishing wasnt great for a year or so.  Proof that as my friend Dave says trout live in trees. 

The grayling generally seem to be thriving here ,  The head of grayling seems to exceed the trout ,  must say that this one seems well fed 

On the way back home I passed a couple of service stations with long lines of cars waiting to fill up . For the benefit of the foreign readers  Panic buying has broken out due a newspaper reporting that BP had a problem with tanker drivers , The result panic buying creating a shortage ,  There is plenty of fuel but if everyone fills up at the same time a shortage becomes another self fulfilling prophecy .  But there again people have a habit of making the same mistakes ,  Whilst I was fishing today I spotted this sheep totally tangled in the fencing , so wandered up to the farmhouse to let the farmer know..  Interestingly my son made the same journey last week as there was a sheep caught in the same fence.  the farmer reckoned it was the same sheep.  I guess people and sheep have things in common. 

I think i only made half a dozen overhead casts today . its mainly roll, spey and general make it up as you go along casts are the order of the day , With a few bow and arrow casts thrown in. I love that about the river so much interest . With many a surprise along the way ,  

Anyway heres to the Autumn and Winter grayling fishing , Hoping that I catch a few a bit bigger than little chap.  If the rain that is forecast next week arrives we may even get some sea trout up one of my other  local streams. 

Just as a postscript.  Hippo from Angola left a comment on the last blog post .  Comments like that remind me that there are a number of folks scattered around the globe who read this . It reminds me just how fortunate I am .  The mine clearance work is amazing Tom.. 

Sunday, 8 August 2021

Fishing in the summer heat...A good time for friends and Family...

 Summer can be blessing but also a curse... Currently we are in a heat wave . it means low water , low oxygen levels and often means confining the fishing to the last hour or two of daylight...It also means some different tactics.  in the current heat wave the Brown trout seem to have become night shift workers . For the last few weeks virtually all of the rising fish have been smaller grayling.  They are great fun though especially as my little stream has some great BWO hatches late on in the evening ,  small flies though, the evening hatch is often a size 20 affair ,  Where as earlier in the day BWO hatches are around the size 16 mark.  As I have got older and a little wiser about this whole fly fishing malarky I have realised that famous tongue in cheek addage of size isn`t important really doesn`t stack up in fly fishing terms ,  when I started out on the the never ending fly fishing learning curve I had size 12 and 14 flies in Christ knows how many patterns.  These days I have far fewer patterns in Christ knows how many sizes.  Years ago a size 16 was a midge now its a size 22 or a 24,   its strange but the fishing flies I use seem to have become smaller almost perfectly in line with my decreasing ability to see the buggers.  These pictures  were from the start of the hot weather. the stream is a fair bit lower now...

Fishing with and teaching a beginner who is also your son is very precious , Just need to get my Daughter going as well.....The first few fish are very important .  His casting is coming on a treat...

Anyway back to the point . Hot summer evening fishing for me is arrive at a sensible time and take it easy ,  The river will tell you when it is time to start fishing , start to early and you will disturb things and probably kill any chance you may have had .  one recent evening I got to the river a little early probably around 5 pm .  It was still bloody hot and by the time I walked to the bottom of the fishing I was hot and sweaty .  So the solution to that tricky fishing problem was easy. bend the knees place rear end at the base of a willow , Straighten out the old  legs and enjoy the shade and watch the river for at least half an hour... .  Different river but I love this stretch..

Now those high energy types amongst you will be aghast at the approach ,  but watching the river lets you see what`s hatching and wait for the mood of the river to change my plan was simple . I wanted to wait till I had a couple of hours or so before dark.  maybe three at most . The approach was going to be fish the faster runs only, where the oxygen levels were higher for the fish and end up at the top of the stretch and back near the car by dark.  As the sun dipped and the shadows lengthened you could feel the heat dropping out of the air. I think you can sense when it is the time to start fishing again. You can start to hear and see the insect life, I think its about being in touch with the river. " bullshit" you may say but honestly I think if you fish enough and settle in to the environment you can sense such things ,  My simplistic view is if I am starting to feel comfortable then the fish are .  

I the summer its a great time to share the river with friends  This friend is one who i learn of... but I like to keep out of the way as well... . I dont know about you readers but when the trout season starts I do fish a lot harder . its like I am trying to banish those close season blues so early season I fish hard and often and then as the season runs on and that urgency reduces , usually coinciding with high summer it becomes a good time to share your river with guests ,  Its a strange thing fishing with guests on small streams ,  after all small stream fly fishing is essentially a solitary occupation so for me its a case of agree starting and meeting points then head of alone. 

Monday, 14 June 2021

Mayfly on a small Yorkshire stream .

 Its been a miserable long cold spring.  There has been to much rain then not enough rain then it was cold again .  But the last couple of weeks warm weather has arrived and right on time the mayfly have started to appear.  Up in Yorkshire the Mayfly generally appear in the first two weeks of June..  No massive hatches yet but on Friday evening for a couple of hours there was a proper hatch that switched the fish on ,  a Sunday afternoon visit with my Son was good with a few duns about to keep the fish interested.  This is a lovely little stream that has a good number of decent fish it is all wild fishing and all the better for it.. The pictures tell their own is fantastic fun on a 7ft 3wt rod.  

A lot of the fishing here is close quarters combat style fishing ,  Roll casts are a must.I picked up a lovely fish just of centre where the bubble line is on the far side. kneeling down and a roll cast of only perhaps 20ft after a careful shuffle into position.  

There are some very nice fish in here and they know where the snags are 

A lot of the river has combinations of gravel bottom and plenty of soft silt as well the mayfly nymphs love that 

Thhis was a very pretty fish the camera really doesn`t do it justice..

I extracted one fish from in there...

Here it is....

and on the menu tonight was....

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Southfork Products magnetic fly holder


A local company here in the UK came up with an idea ,  Magnet-ique a brilliant and innovative product to keep your flies safe ,  as a friend of one of the Directors I listened with interest on the new products development .  I was even given an early model to field test .  I witnessed the time and effort needed to develop this new product for the market.  

This is them....

I also know that every effort has been made to keep the manufacturing local , keeping several small local businesses busy during the pandemic . I also know that discussions were being had with American companies to sell these over in the States. So its a disappointment now to know that Southfork Products have shamelessly ripped of the design ,  Also proudly declaring made in The USA .  The supply chain also selling them will I am sure have been aware of the infringement of intellectual property rights .  I guess its a sign of the times , but its a shame US businesses behave like Chinese ones and for me makes me less bothered about buying cheaper Chinese rip offs of American fishing tackle.  Certainly here in the UK Magnet- Ique and its associated companies are a well loved brand and I feel sure that people will remember South Fork Products brand for the rip off merchants that they seem to be. 

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Could Spring be here ?

It’s been a long time coming but I think spring is here, today the fish were small but rising more freely . 

The trees are turning green again.

The fish are starting to oblige us by looking up and the flies are starting to hatch . Hawthorn flies we’re about but the fish weren’t interested. 

Even if some are very small they were fun on a three weight cane rod .  

The last few days rain has turned the wild garlic green again, this bank of it was dry and wilting a week ago . 

The smell in the air today was wonderful  . 

I followed a roe buck up the river today caught sight of it eventually and he saw me , my they are fast. 

I love this river , so varied, rocky and fast at times then slow glides ,

The fish generally today were the smaller ones the larger ones  , of which there are many were mainly laying low .  I suppose  I could have found some bigger fish with a nymph but I was relishing seeing rising fish . 

Now I am Looking forward to many more warmer days .