Wednesday, 1 July 2020

A little stream and Blue winged olives .

When it all comes down to it ,  as a fly fisherman who loves small streams I guess it does not get any better than a summers evening on a pretty stream with rising fish .  When you analyse it all there are really only a couple of months maybe three at best when the evening rise has a chance to develop properly .  This year apart from Covid lockdown we have had a strange year ,  months of unbroken sunshine which followed a very wet winter , then after the recent hot spell the last few days has seen heavy downpours with rivers rising several metres almost overnight .   Anyway last Friday after viewing the weekend weather report which was for thunderstorms starting that evening and getting worse over the weekend  I decided to risk the weather.  The rivers were fairly settled and it was very warm and sticky. I decided on stretch of river based on how near I could park my Jimny if I had to exit quickly in case of downpours. 

Not big but from a tricky lie and on a dry , it will do nicely 

 I love this stream pretty wild and challenging  but a lovely place to be .  It has a good head of fish to 

It was nice to see rising fish almost immediately ,  not huge numbers but enough to promise an interesting evening ,  there were BWO coming of and so choice of fly was easy .  A size 18 fly fly with a dubbed seals fur body.  Well seals fur and artificial dubbing , I find just seals fur a pain to dub on small flies.  but mixed with some artificial dubbing it works much better.

My only company were these sheep.  They were very curious .  

This is the F Fly pattern I use this is a size 18 .  Love the spikiness of seals fur.  Body dubbing colour varies orange , olive and black are all good depending on whats hatching ,  also plain black thread body and stripped quills ,  It is a hell of a pattern

After a dodgy first 10 minutes when I caught a tree and two clumps of Grass I got into my stride. the fish were rising well but were very spooky ,  generally you only got one cast and in the very tight surroundings you have to get pretty close often roll casts between bushes were the answer ,  but you tend to do a lot of improvised casts , also you seem to spend more time checking behind your arm than aiming at the fish ,  which is why roll and spey casts are so useful as least you can keep the line in front of you.

 Lots around this size were caught ,  The bigger ones were hiding .

My car was well populated with resting fish food when I got back to it .

The highlight of the evening was the fact that the Grayling were rising to dries to . Sadly the best one of the evening was the best one I nearly had after shaking the hook and saying goodbye.  When I got back to the car it was covered in Flies, Mainly BWO but also a few Sedges and I think Olive Uprights .  I drove home after best part of four hours fishing ,  saw a few rain drops and heard the odd rumble of thunder but very little wet stuff. Only three or four miles into my Journey and roads were awash so not just a good night it had been a lucky one .  

Monday, 8 June 2020

First trip of the Season on the River Seven..( and the third )...

This post is a bit late coming .  But its here now   I am fishing a new stream this year ,  the little Lower Yorkshire Seven.  I decided that I would spend opening day ( the post covid lock down one ) not the real one on the river . So on a cold day in mid may we ventured forth.  Myself and a companion to a very low stream on a very cold day .   Amazingly we did pretty well in the few hours fishing I finished with seven pretty little wild browns.

two from the first day ,  For those technical souls amongst you size 18 CDC IOBO was the winner on the day 

I followed the trip up a week later with a return visit .  The day was much brighter and warmer sadly the river was even lower but in the few hours managed a dozen fish .  Should have been more but missed a good few .  Mayfly were hatching but the fish were not really taking them.

The river is delightful , quiet unspoilt away from both crowds and dog walkers .  Interesting varied water with a suitable number of long flats. Short rapids and everything in between to require varied approaches ,  requiring at varying times either a machette or the wading skills of a ninja assassin.

The fish are pretty and up to a suitable size to put a bend in a two or three weight . little wildies can create quite a fuss when they realise they are hooked.  This was the best of the day..

In places the casting is a bit tight .  Not impossible I might add but tight enough to be interesting and keep you coming back . Yes  I am going to enjoy it here....No I didnt catch the one I was after .  Fluffed the roll cast and spooked the bugger...

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Normal Service restored ( well nearly )

So things are gradually returning to normal, or should I say things are settling into the new normal .   There is this new thing called Social Distancing . Well its new to some folk .  Personally have never been a lover of crowds and given that casting a fly on a secluded stream  is probably near  the polar opposite of being in a crowd . Anyway apart from that  given how Society normally works there are some pretty fundamental changes to how we live heading our way.  In a lot of ways not a bad thing I guess . 
 Anyway this last week or so has seen me get back to my local streams a couple of times ,  The streams are very very low . We have had no rain of any consequence now for several months .  But at last we are allowed out to play . The rivers although low are full of lovely free rising trout.  Even Grayling appear to be free rising at the moment . 

 I always feel immensely privileged when I fish my local streams . We still have several that are relatively unspoilt and no longer stocked .  Sadly there are still many clubs and syndicates that stock quite heavily. This impacts on both the Native Trout and also the Grayling . It is also becoming more apparent  that it impacts on peoples desire to fish them .  The club that I am Chairman of has seen a noticable change in what people are looking for. .Increasingly people are enquiring if the club waters are stocked or wild , with a preference for the latter .Also do they contain Grayling . I really believe that there are enough put and take fisheries stuffed with willing stockies and people are looking for something a bit different .  Quality over Quantity I suspect.

Anyway for now the sun is shining the rivers are buzzing the Mayfly are starting to hatch and I have a trip planned for the weekend to one of the Classic Dales rivers. So for now all is well with the world .

Well a little bit of a late addendum .  The weekend trip to the Dales didnt happen due to the ultra low water levels there . Also hearing some bad reports of the area been overun by visitors .  So as the Mayfly were starting to do there stuff and the local streams are always quiet it was another weekend spent locally.   So the pictures below are all from a couple of trips on another local stream. 

Just to confirm what I said about the Grayling I was surprised to catch this on a dry fly the other day . Out of season as well. The fish was lifted very briefly from the stream and I could not resist a photo and to briefly reflect on what a beautiful fish they are .  Interestingly on both these local streams the Grayling grow to a better size than the native browns do. 

In places the fishing is very tight . Roll casts and short rods are the name of the Game .

The fish are small but free rising and fight harder than there size would have you expect.

On this stream and those like it this is may favourite outfit .  A very light 7ft 3 wt . 

The lack of any rain for many months have left the streams very low ...

And left them very clear.....

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Things to do in lockdown....Detention and Six of the best

Well readers I guess being locked down or whatever it is you are calling it is making the hunt for something to read more intense than usual so i hope you enjoy , or if you have never fished in your life and you may found your way onto this fishing blog after seeing the picture below why not have a read. 

So who would have thought it eh... Everyone confined to our rooms. Its a bit like detention used to be at boarding school.  Not that I ever had detention of course but my friends did tell me that the most frustrating part was the hearing other people outside enjoying themselves when you were doing your time.  I guess its the same now . I must confess I have been caned a good few times although sadly not by anyone remotely resembling the lady below.

A few days ago my wife and I were taking a walk along the promenade , yes we do live close enough to the sea to be able to walk along there without being Out of Bounds , to use another school analogy.  Watching a group of surfers ignore the rules made my own obedience to the rules a little harder to bear.  But I guess most people are trying their best.

As for the lock down I have tried to be sensible over the fishing related activities I have tried to do.  Fly tying : I can honestly say my fly boxes have never been so well organised and well stocked .  I have even had a crack at a few salmon flies .  The internet is a wonderful thing bringing fly tying tutorials into your house , take a bow Mr Davie Mcphail your artistry and gentle narrative is a inspiration to fat fingered muppets like me.  Also credit to that excellent blog "Just one Week" one that I have followed for years but only recently taken the time to read much of the content.  It was also my intention to review my blog and update its format but that task has bitten the dust. I confess I have bought one new rod.  After producing an excel based Gap analysis of my fishing gear during a period of even more intense boredom,  I spotted an opportunity to do some shopping so another rod from those lovely guys at Vision was added to the armoury , oh yes and a Danielson reel. But that is a story for later.

I have over the last few weeks been reviewing tidying and checking on the various rod staches hidden around the house. What has become painfully  apparent to me is that despite having a few dozen rods . The reality is that for 95% of my fishing I use just half a dozen different ones .  That is despite fishing in a wide selection of rivers from the tiniest becks  to big strong Yorkshire Dales rivers. These six are not all recent purchases some I have had for many years ,  they are a result of a careful and expensive process of buying and then discarding duds and great rods that just didnt suit.  So here they are to use another school time analogy my six of the best I recommend all of them they all suit me perfectly in their own way .

So and in no real particular order as they are all perfect in their own way but I think I will start with the rod I have had the longest.

Sage SP 9ft 6 inch 7 wt .  Not sure how long I have had this , I bought it used twenty or so years ago. It seemed expensive at the time but such a delight to use ,  for me the finest rod for sea trout that god , well in this case Sage has ever created ,  it is not a fast casting rod but when you have a feisty sea trout on the end of your line and you are fishing a tight pool.  No 7wt rod I have ever had performs better ,  it casts delightfully and can bully when required. Perfect in every way.

Chas Burns built the Rye ,  This is a Harrison blank built by Chas, a fine rod builder and a very nice guy. It is a 2 pce 8ft 4 wt .  It is an "old School" action ,  When I say that I mean it is a fine fishing rod ,  Working well at short or long range ,  It has that indefineable quality that makes it just right ,  His rods are rated very highly by those lucky folks that possess them, they are of real quality. This one is a Gem.

R L Winston B2T 8ft 3wt . Now I see all the hype over the B2T 8ft6" 4wt "staff of Moses" and also the 8ft 4wt B2T ,  but in my opinion this is the real jewel in the lineup.  Just to confirm I have owned the 8ft and 8ft 6" 4 wts had them for quite a while,  They were both moved on . In favour of the Chas Burns above ,  The 8ft 3wt however is simply silky smooth perfection .  On small streams for casting dries , this rod will place them on a silver sixpence as softly as a angels kiss .  It is that good I think I will have it put in my coffin with me .

Hardy Featherweight 7ft 3 wt . Generally not a great Fan of hardy rods ,  bought a few and got rid of them to.  But this one they got just right ,  In the hand this is one of the lightest rods I have and on small streams where things are tight it is a lovely rod .  Complete with all the little touches that I confess Hardy do very well.  The little cork stoppers for the Ferrule and even a bag to keep the rod tube in.

Vision Cult . Vision are relative newcomers to me but I now have a few of their rods and their Cult range has a lot of fans ,  9ft 3 wt is an unusual length and weight but is one that suits so well on many local streams ,  This is a quite a soft rod but when I fish it I wonder why I would want anything different ,  Superb for Winter Grayling .

Newest of my Favourites is an Orvis Superfine Carbon 8ft 2 wt ,  Fishing 2 wts is something I am doing more and more .  When the summer Droughts are there and the fish are spooky and picky this little 2 wt will deliver a midge pattern superbly ,  It also constantly suprises me just how well it casts . I am quite a fan of Orvis stuff owning several rods and many reels . I cant help but feel that much of there stuff is every but as good as the Sages , Scotts and Winstons of this world but the label is not quite glitzy enough for many .

If I do the six next year it may change a little ,  Last year I bought a 10ft 2wt from Tom Bell at Sunray .I have not yet fished it enough for it to make it into my top six list .  But Cant remember the last time a new rod surprised me quite as much .  Anyway I am hoping that I manage to stay out of trouble during the enforced lockdown and I hope you all do to.  

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

If Only

This lock down is no Joke , Although I am fortunate that the Countryside and the Sea are both within a stroll from home.  I have huge sympathy for those in the cites , although I have to say that even in the best of times I could not be a city dweller. This was the view whilst out for  my allotted hour today .  A Glorious Spring day where the sunshine managed to warm you when you were out of the breeze, This is the view down the valley to the sea . There is a few hundred metres of fascinating pocket water to explore which I  have fished many many times ,  Sadly not by me for a little whilst yet 

The pool under the Gorse bushes is a lovely little spot, When the hawthorns are hatching or the stone flies are on there are usually rising fish 

Just a couple of hundred metres upstream is this long pool below  there are usually a few larger fish holding there .  Its a beautiful place with abundant wildlife .  I shared the Pool with a deer not so long ago .  

When  you turn around through 180 degrees this is the view , In my younger days I sea fished and caught cod from the marks on those rock scars . It is a lovely bit of coastline , I have many fond memories of it .  From rock pooling as a kid and fishing in the winter , To searching for the dinosaur footprints that appear from the cliff rocks once in a while . I have fished there with my Dad and my Grandad sadly now both departed ,.

Heading back up stream and inland today the sheltered places are showing further traces of spring , Primroses are out ,  The Gorse and Blackthorn are in full bloom .  The toads are spawning in the beck , the birds are singing .  But the anglers are not fishing .  

There was even a rising fish,  I watched this Pool for quite a while today ,  There was a few midges and a couple of upwings in the air at lunchtime and I am sure I saw a rise on the edge of the faster water .  I do hope so as I didnt otherwise see a sign of a fish.  I know they are there , I have known and fished this place for many years ,   the fish are waiting and so am I ....Whats the old expression Parting is such sweet Sorrow.... Or as Arnie said I`ll be back....