Wednesday, 22 March 2023

When something is worth Saying...


Despite me really thinking that I wouldn't come up with anything worth saying sometimes you just have to change your mind.  The sometimes this time was that Mr Whitehouse stimulating and somewhat depressing two programmes about the state of the countries water ways ,  this was combined with a thread on a fishing forum on how fishing had helped quite a few of the people on there with their sanity and depression.  My own fishing journey started when as a boy I saw my dad fishing ,  the long journey took of from there.  But in the years just before teenage and through teens my life went of the rails somewhat ,  I was sent to a boarding school for kids who were challenging .  It was not an easy place to be such places in the 1960s and 70s were challenging.  I have no doubt that been able to fish in the ponds lakes and local small rivers were a godsend that helped me a great deal.  the fishing was free and the river , a small tributary of the swale was a clear stream full of shoals of chub and streamer weed .  To my young eyes it was paradise.  I am sure it also provided a place of tranquil reflection to many others .

I have revisited this paradise in the last few years and the clear water, the streamer weed and I am sure that the fish as well have all disappeared.  So sadly for local kids that wanted to fish are now snookered.  It is no longer a place that is pleasurable to fish in , walk by or picnic near.  Such spaces are so precious and disappear almost without any one noticing them,  If the Wharfe on in the Yorkshire dales and next to huge population areas can be dealt with so badly whilst under the full public spot light by the water companies , the EA and successive governments then what hope is there for this country and we should look at ourselves and the present society and consider what we are leaving for future generations.  

The only way this will change is if the Govt wishes it.  They certainly have the power to do it . It would appear that what is missing is the will to do anything . Perhaps the MPs have friends in the water companies and are shareholders.  I have written to my MP on many occasions on this matter .  His responses are clearly those standard " party line " responses that offer fine words , rhetoric but little substance ,  It will be interesting to see if the labour party get in at the next election , I fear they will offer more fine words lets hope that it is linked to some proper action.  As a first if everyone writes to their MP or challenges them at the next public surgery then things may change ,  The govt needs to know that people think this matters . That its a vote catcher ,,  then and maybe then things may change. 

Perhaps if every angler , Kayaker , wild swimmer , bird watcher and other concerned citizen just decided to cancel their water rates , I wonder if the water companies would have the stomach for taking them all to court.  

Monday, 23 January 2023

Over and Out....


One way and another its been a turbulent few months.  My good friend Peter passing away suddenly was a blow his passing has also meant me picking up the reigns as Secretary of my local club for at least a while . The club will miss him greatly .

Truth is my appetite for writing the blog has been on the wane for a year or two .  Eventually We run out of things to say . I find myself looking at the blog and being less than happy with its content. So I think it is a good time to put it to rest for a while. Perhaps even permanently .  

This year  I am looking forward to membership of a new club which has been a long time waiting, the wait has actually been nearly as long as the blog has existed .  Also I have another  project in mind that will take up any scraps of creative content that my blog would have absorbed ,

So thanks for following along over the years ,  I wont close the blog and feel free to message or comment but I doubt I will be putting new posts.  But I will be checking on it from time to time . Generally I am intending to reduce the time I spend on Social media. It has become to much of a thief of time . 

If you want me the chances are if I aren`t at home or in the office I will be here....



Friday, 30 December 2022

Month by Month Highlights

 January was a slow start

February was gloomy 

March no fishing fly tying , walks and work parties 

April season start but no trout only grayling 

May my favourite month 

Flaming June 

July low rivers 

August not much fishing 

September trout season closes 

October , Grayling starts 

November more grayling 

December much needed rain and then it bit more foreign sun….. but just had the word that next year I will be fishing a new Yorkshire chalk stream…..
 Happy new year everyone 

Monday, 12 December 2022

2022 I was hoping for a lot better


Well following Covid I was hoping that 2022 would provide a welcome return to normality.  But I guess catching nothing but Grayling on the first day of the trout season , and pretty much all on dries as well should have warned me it was going to be a strange year .  The season started slowly and then went downhill from there , one of the worst droughts on record hammered my local rivers .  Creating the lowest levels in living memory .  What fish there were certainly weren`t rising , all in all a dismal season .  It started to improve a couple of months ago when the first rains arrived and the Grayling responded with enthusiasm providing some good sport .  One local river seems to have more Grayling than trout these days ,  A three hour session with a friend a few weeks ago resulted in over 40 fish between us.

Perhaps the year could finish on a high I foolishly thought . But then three weeks ago I received the very sad news that my friend Peter Kay had passed away suddenly .  Not only a friend and fishing buddy he and I ran a local fly fishing club together me as Chairman and he as Secretary.  So of course he did all the work as Secretaries do.  Actually he loved it and refused all help .  Pete was always firmly of the belief that his way was of course the right way .  I have lost a friend and the club has lost its driving force.  It will of course continue . It has been going since 1890 .  But a chapter has finished and someone else will pick it up and move it forward .  For the time being that someone is me.   I was asked to speak at his funeral ,  something I was pleased to do .  listening to the other speakers and talking to his widow since his death has also made me realise how little I knew about Pete and his past , he was a very private person. It is to late to get to know Peter but I hope I endeavour to understand and get to know people more in the future.  I do know that speaking as the new secretary his will be  a tough act to follow .

Wednesday, 2 November 2022

Things you learn..

 It is an interesting truth that the best why to learn is from someone who is better than you either from listening or observing .  It is also an interesting truth that having to do things differently and getting you out of the routine of a comfort zone can reap rich rewards too.  In the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of the company of two fine Grayling anglers. The first reminded me about fishing the Duo.  

To be honest I never much liked the duo I never really liked fishing with the Klink as a dropper, on larger open rivers ok but on small streams with many overhead snags I found that tangles were to much of a hazard.  and with the New Zealand style of the hook bend I never could bring my self to trust that the dropper would not drop of.  Anyway I had seen the patterns with a 2mm rig ring caught in at the bend within the dressing so tied a few and gave it a go. I was impressed by the rig,  easy to cast and delivery was more accurate.  On my next trip out that rig brought me some success and the change of presentation was I am sure part of it allowing me to fish a section of river more effectively , but the point is more that I am as guilty as the next guy of getting into a routine ,  Yes I do fish the usual methods and catch enough but it does demonstrate that I and I suspect others get into a rut and we all need the proverbial kick up the arse

As well as getting into a rut method wise for those of us that fish the same water regularly I would hazard that there are many like me who on every trip fish pretty much the same runs and pools .  Now on Sunday a friend accompanied me , now the truth is he is a more experienced and much more efficient grayling angler than I am and so doesn`t need my assistance but as a guest in my book he gets to fish the favoured runs and glides that I would prefer,  So that leaves me steered towards the  areas that usually I walk past because the access to the river was poor or historically its an area that hasn`t really delivered .  I have fished this stretch of water now for about 15 years so I know it fairly well.  

Anyway the point is I found myself fishing different areas in different ways and actually caught my best of the day from a corner that I had not really tackled seriously for years as I figured the wading was to deep and the silt too soft  after trying it a few times over the years.  But I guess as most of the river changes constantly that little area had shallowed of over a winter and what was head high was now just above waist high but wade able. The lesson is keep things fresh and your catch rates improve.  

I am definitely a pleasure angler , a keen one I grant you but truth is I know that my casting needs to improve I also have been told my work rate needs to improve, My answer to that at the time was If I had to work hard to catch fish them my advisor at the time could stuff it where the sun don`t shine , these days stopping and watching wildlife and even better a chat with another angler is all part of the day for me. Another friend has a successful angling business , so successful he hardly ever fishes himself, that to me would be the worst result imaginable but I also appreciate that his success is down to the effort and time he commits. But after saying all that I love catching fish anyone who knows me has my permission to kick my arse if I claim that blanking doesn`t matter.  It does matter but just not as much as it used too and it amazing how little extra effort is needed to improve your catch rate and enjoyment ,

 I have spent the last few years working hard to build a small business and that is what working hard is for.  Fishing is so I can keep my head sane to keep working hard.  As for fishing hard generally I have found that for me less is more, on the rivers taking your  time and casting less often has increased my catch rate,  If I had to give any prospective small stream angler advice it would be just stand still and watch for a bit,  it is amazing how often that single bit of advice helps. Usually when I wade into a new river section before I start to work upstream I stop and take of the fly, change tippet well you know the rest but its amazing how often in that pause you spy a rising fish or even just notice an interesting current, even before that its a good rule to stop and look a minute or two before you wade in , How many times have we waded into a stream to see a bow wave of a fish that you had missed speeding upstream spooking everything else?. My very first fishing mentor 50 years ago told me of for always just trying to cast to the far bank, he pointed out that from other side this was the far bank. It was a lesson I never forgot. 

 Fishing should not be hard it should be leisurely and pleasurable or at least it seems that to me. It is also something that is aesthetically pleasing.  I think part of the reason why I have fished so much with Bamboo and silk during the last few summers is more about the quality of the experience and less about technical excellence and the numbers game.  It could of course be that I am simply getting older and have fished for so long that there is simply no urgency any more also cane rods and silk lines do seem to slow everything down and enhance the experience.