Monday 31 January 2011

Signs that the season gets nearer

I was down by the beck again yesterday , The signs of spring are there for all to see.  Hazel catkins are flowering and here and there in the sheltered sunny spots the trees and bushes show sign of buds starting to swell.  I love to see the hazel catkins.  It is the first of natures signs that things are changing and the fact that my early morning commute from 7am till 8am across the vale of York now starts in the dark but now ends in the light. I count the days to it starting in the light.
The other sign that things are moving ahead is the arrival in the post of the request for subscriptions and the notifications of the annual general meetings of the various fishing clubs and syndicates I am in.  The first one is in a weeks time for my local beck. It is for me the most enjoyable of all the meetings I attend, whoever it was in the club who decided to combine the AGM with a fundraising raffle and a three course duck dinner was a person of rare vision.  It is always a belting night full of fishermans tales, food and the odd drink....

My fly tying is getting going now, My tying isnt great , My brain knows how to tie beautiful flies but the image in my brain never seems to match the fly in the vice, I think when God was dishing out hands he got me mixed up. I got the hands of a navvy, somewhere there is a navvy with the hands of a fly tyer . I hope one day he finds out. Last season I started to use CDC regularly. The F fly was truly designed for a man with navvies hands. Now I can even manage tying down to a 22 even a 24 however tying them on the tippet is altogether an other matter.   As the season gets nearer I feel more motivated to refill the fly boxes. After all there are now only fifty one and a half days to go.

Saturday 29 January 2011

Whats in a name

This blog has been going now for about 6 months, it started as an online diary without any prior planning. It was born out of a need to record my fishing, my thoughts and observations. I gave very little thought to the title and although my fishing is done mostly within North Yorkshire the Old title of " Fly fishing North Yorkshire" didnt really describe what the blog is about.  So after some more consideration I have decided to rename my blog "Becks and Brown trout"  After the North Yorkshire becks that I fish the most and the fish which is my favoured quarry .....I would have named it Becks, Brown trout and Grayling but I thought that was a little cumbersome.

Sunday 23 January 2011

Traditional Flies

Being a bit of a traditionalist, and when I say that I dont mean bound by tradition, I mean that I enjoy using tradtional flies because they work. I tend to use a farly ltd range of patterns but use them in a wide range of sizes.  The few fly patterns that I use are not to the exclusion of all others but certainly they are the ones I return to time and again....

First and foremost is the red tag and its varients the Sturdys fancy, Treacle parkin and Erics beetle  I have always used these flies, firstly as a teenager and remember thinking that the little coloured tag gave me a bit of confidence. Also because  this family of flies has very strong local associations on the rivers I fish  The Sturdys fancy is attributed to Tom Sturdy who was river keeper on the Ure,  The Erics beetle was created by Eric Horsfall Turner who fished the rivers and becks around Scarborough where he lived,  Includng my little beck you see so often on the blog.  Another fly similer to these is the the John Storey. Which unusually has an advance wing style but has the peacock herl body and was developed by a former river keeper on the Rye which I also fish.  The scruffy looking bunch are taken from my fly box and have all seen duty over the last season . 

I find  all these to be particularly effective early season for wild brownies and late season for grayling.  I use them in a range of sizes from 14 right down to a size 20.  I also find when tied with a palmered hackle they make great pocket water fly , particularly the John Storey the advance wing gives wonderful visibility...

Tuesday 11 January 2011

Winter I really have had enough of it now...

Was out down the beck yesterday and visited the bottom end , thats the last 3/4 mile beck before it discharges into the sea.  .  At this time of year I am even more of a grumpy old git than I am normally. At the end of the trout season I am optimistic about the grayling season and that usually keeps me nearly happy till christmas. However the fishing is poor the water levels are up and the recent icy temperatures  have put the fish down so I am not a happy man.  Its still nearly three months to the start of the season.  I have spent any spare cash on some new gear and the weathers crap.

Its the first time I have been down to this section of beck since the the freeze set in during November.  Thats for a couple of reasons , this section doesnt hold any Grayling and in the icy weather the very steep wooded sides are downright dangerous to walk on.   I went for a change of scenery to cheer me up. But sadly the day started on a black note Ruby sniffed out the remains of an Otter in the hedge bottom at the side of the road , obviously a road kill victim . Such a shame and I can only hope its place is soon taken by a new resident.  I know the otter takes a fair few trout but cant help feeling that the loss of a few fish is a fair price for the presence of such a lovely creature.

This is  the prettiest and most interesting section of the beck it drops dozens of  feet in less than a mile, this means several weirs and a few hundred yards of rapids and smaller falls. It makes for fascinating fishing and is quite different to any other stream for many many miles.  Whilst I am on I make no apology for the use of imperial measurements .  Trout streams should be measured in miles yards and feet not bloody meters  , much as beer should always be measured in pints and tobacco in ounces . There is and always should be a natural order to such things .  The day a 9ft 5wt becomes a 2.744 m 5wt  will be a bad day for us all.  I am imperial I think in imperial and will stay in imperial and intend to be buried 6ft deep in an imperial coffin.

Well as its a fishing blog I guess I should stop belly aching and show you some nice photos

The pictures above and below show a length that is a delightful stretch to fish in the spring , the tail of the rapids is a lovely long glide that always holds a few trout. This is a lovely stretch to fish on very early on a summers morning .

In the spring the banks above are thick with wild Garlic when the air is still the valley is full of the smell . It can be almost overpowering .  This little valley is right on the edge of town but has badgers ,foxes and loads of deer.

One of us seemed to be enjoying the river.  What is about water and labradors that makes them inseperable.

The picture above is the largest weir on the river its proobably about a 15 to 20 ft drop.  Today it was really bowling through. In the summer in can be the merest trickle.  This weir pool holds good trout and even a few perch.  For a last pic heres Ruby chewing on, for her a very small stick.

Sorry for such a down beat post. I really dislike the winter its to dark to cold and I cant fish. So I am going to go now and try to think of something cheerful to post next time.

Wednesday 5 January 2011

A Winters day reflection

My local beck is a very short walk from my house. In fact I visit it several times every week. I have been a visitor to its banks for 45 years, first as a child playing and now as an angler and more often a walker. At this time of year its fascinating to watch the changes on the river, to see the new swims and pools been created by the winter spates. The winter spates mean the rivers are cleaned and left refreshed for the spring. New features are created and the detritus of a long hot summer is washed away.

I was out walking by the beck a couple of days ago.. The recent spate has washed out a couple of bankside root stumps into the deeper pools. Although this doesnt help us anglers the sunken tangle will provide much needed cover to protect the fish from the marauding cormorants and the like. I despair on some work parties on the various clubs I am in. There seems to be a misguided obsession in removing every bit of bank side herbage and every sunken branch. Personally I love to see a nice scruffy river with some nice tangled corners and sunken snags. After all the invertebrates and fry need somewhere to live

Strange even when your not fishing being on the bank can make you reflect on things . So much has changed in the last few decades the river banks now are covered with Himalayan Balsam and that hideous giant hogweed. Both plants that were unknown a few years ago. We now have Roe deer, mink and squirrels a plenty, Otters have recolonised and are seen from time to time. Other things have gone, the massive runs of elvers that turned the beck black have gone I haven’t seen one for years. The water voles have gone the mink have wiped those out. Sadly few of the changes brought about by man have been positive.

The winter months mean I spend more times just watching the water than fishing and its at these times I seem to learn even more about the beck. Perhaps its because I am more aware of the surroundings and not concentrating on that tiny dry or the disappearing tippet. It is fascinating to see the trout and sea trout cutting redds and note with satisfaction the Grayling population are surviving even though they are less frequent than ever.

When the summer does come around again I shall once again be fishing more frequently My angling trips there are often short in duration a couple of early morning hours , perhaps a night time sea trout sortie. Often a late last hour of daylight, the fish are not large and the fishing at times is hard and you need to avoid the kids and holidaymakers but when the trips occur I am  visiting a constant companion and maintaining a lifelong friendship not just fishing in a small northern beck.

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 m...