Wednesday 20 June 2012

Relativity and memories

My conversation with the farmer was done in the traditional style , he leant on his shepherds cruck and I leant on my wading staff.  Pleasantries exchanged we went through the price of lamb, his opinions of the EU and my progress in the river. The conversation eventually went on to all things earthly. His knowledge of the river was of course extensive but it came about not from books and an angling perspective but through his and past generations interactions with all the land.  His knowledge was deep and extended to areas that surprised me but it was an interest where the river was a part of the whole, It was viewed as something that intertwined with the meadows, that occasionally flooded them and occasionally damn near disappeared below them but always was at one with them.  In a moment of distraction he told me of the hunting bridge that once stood and how he laid on it and gazed as a child at the fish that, if his memory was accurate far outweighed todays population.  

He talked of the otters that are now so common and where the badgers crossed the river.  We talked of Brown trout and Grayling and how the river had changed .  He told me of the water boards "improvements" half a century ago that raped the river beds and destroyed the banks, something that astonished me as I had considered that this river alone among the ones I fish must surely have remained untouched in all the centuries since the vikings came ashore and gave names to all the local rivers and villages .  I guess it just gives further proof that left alone nature can do pretty well on its own.

My evening fishing was perfection, kingfishers buzzed me and swifts screeched. Columns of mayfly spun their magic. Casts were straight and fish rose.  The evening blessed me with 8 or 9 fish all various sizes of perfection.  Cocooned between the deep banks and wrapped in the clear water for just a short time, like the river. I became a part of the whole.

Friday 15 June 2012

The Ure, Aphids and a lucky break....

As I wrote last time I have found at this time of year with all the fly life on the wing that it becomes confusing as to what the fish are switched on to.  Well the other evening was exactly like that .  I went to the Ure for an evening ,  the river looked fine, a little on the low side but running clear and clean and there was plenty hatching I always have a wander along the banks to check out what is on the wing and just get a feel for the river and to try and see where the fish are rising .  

The fish were rising, not in huge numbers but when you stood and studied a length of river you started to see rising fish ,  the fish seemed to be in the faster smooth glides the faster riffles seemed to have little surface activity.   but they looked just right for the spider approach and I would give the method a try for a while.  A close examination of a few back eddies revealed little fly debris there was this mayfly and a few olives but little else.

On the wing were a few Mayfly some Yellow mays lots of olives and even the odd sedge , there was also clouds of small stuff midges and the like.

So I started large and floated a mayfly dun over a group of rising fish the lack of response generated a switch to a yellow may , followed by an Olive then progressively smaller through CDC F Fly,  IOBO humpy and small JT Olive .. All met with a singular lack of interest ,  So I enrolled the Americans to help, the Adams is a pattern I have always liked and have found in small sizes 18 and 20 is a superb general imitator of just about everything .  It also a fly which even in small sizes is very visible. This brought my first success of the evening actually the nice trout at the top .

My early success with the Adams probably ended up costing me as I persevered to long and should have realised that fish was just a lucky break.  During the next hour I switched to fishing spiders mainly because I like the method and have not used it much this season,  There are a couple of stretches of the river that I love using the spiders both across and upstream.  Tonight I quickly realised this was not the the approach.  As I changed back to the dries I had to use my reading specs which I have hung round my neck putting them on I was aware of a big speck on them as I examined the speck it turned out to be a green fly, an aphid.   The first I had seen.  Smiling realisation dawned and a switch to a small greenfly imitation in an 18, third cast and a fish.  The next hour or two resulted in about 6 or 7 more ...  Some small wildies up to about 8 oz and a few larger fish like the one above.

I wonder how long I would have persevered with the Adams had I not seen that lone Green fly.  I saw no evidence of any more during the whole evening I reckon they were just coming from the bankside trees...
We all need a lucky break once in a while....

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Mayfly Monday

Not one to sit and watch TV,  I decided the only flotilla I wanted to see was a procession of mayflies down a meandering stream.  So with a flask and a pack of butties I left before lunch with the intention of returning when I couldnt see the water any more.  I had three different river beats in mind ,  midday, afternoon and evening.

I prepared myself for a strenuous afternoon and evening.  For those not familiar with the types of stream I fish .  They are hard work, if you arent clambering up steep banks you are sliding on your arse back down one and hoping the pool you are sliding into isnt deeper than you think.   You are either casting bent double or trying some ridiculous improvised weird spey cast.  It always makes me laugh when I read on forums about will the rod cast a full line.  A perfect rod for me is one that will work with virtually no fly line.  I reckon I fished 8 hours yesterday and not once fished more than a third of the line.

The rivers and streams are now in fine form the higher up ones still have a healthy flow and the valley bottom rivers are running full but have now dropped clear.  The recent cold and wet weather seemed to have stopped everything dead in its tracks and now everything seems to be hatching in profusion and trying to out do the mayfly, which in itself is developing into a good hatch with large numbers of cripples and spent flies drifting into the backwaters.

Yesterday there was a ridiculous amount of hatching insects in fact I think it even took the fish by surprise. There was everything on the wing I even saw a cloud of caenis and a few sedges in amongst the clouds of olives and columns of mayfly. There were fish rising everywhere.   One fish came from between the posts and the bank in the pic above , an interesting cast...

I laid on the bank for a while studying one rising fish I watched fascinated as mayfly after mayfly passed above it and it refused every one yet small olives were taken with enthusiasm.  Other fish were obviously taking the mayflies. Whilst laid I became aware of a roe deer she didnt seem to alarmed by my being there  and it was nice to know I was making minimal inpact by being there.

Interestingly virtually all the fish I took in the evening on mayfly were recently stocked fish.  The wildies seemed to be sticking with the other small stuff. Earlier in the day I even took a few out of season Grayling . The river I fished mid day is never stocked and the fish shown here are from there.  I caught decent trout in the evening fish of two pounds plus. They were full finned and looked well. But they somehow lack something its like the difference between a fine tiny original oil painting and a damn great glossy print in a nice gilt frame .   It looks the same but we know it isnt.  and certainly for me its value is diminished.  

It was a cracking day , not huge numbers of fish but the fish came regularly enough.  I guess they were as unsure of what to rise to as I was unsure of what fly to try.  But certainly on days like this its great to see the river in such robust health.  Also Its good to see Grayling numbers seemingly on the rise again.   

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...