Wednesday 22 August 2012

August ... A time for standing still...and flying crayfish

The last week or so have offered a couple of opportunities to be out on the bank , Saturday was a day that I had looked forward to for a while.  My daughter had expressed a wish to come with me I think more out of curiosity to see what I do when I vanish for hours on end than a longing to try it for herself.

My plan was to visit a favourite small stream, she appreciates  nature and animals and a trip here means farm animals in abundance and also kingfishers and well pretty much anything can turn up.  The plan was get her in some chest waders and in the stream with me, when you are in the stream rather than looking at it the whole thing takes on a different perspective.  I hoped she would enjoy the experience. The river was not ideal on the day still carrying loads of colour after a recent lift but I reckoned fish were a definite possibility.  The day ended with a few trout and grayling and It was lovely to share the day and hopefully she will want to come again .

A couple of days ago I visited the Yorkshire Derwent courtesy of a guest ticket.  I fished the river regularly as a member up till 12 years ago and have fished it from time to time since.  On the day alone exploring I discovered a few changes some excellent some not so good.  The river was in fine form, higher than you would expect mid August and still carrying a tinge of colour but looking very well.  A few new landmarks to see but the pools were pretty much unchanged.  The grayling seemed to be spread further upstream than I remember. Also the number of small grayling looks good for the future.

I fished for about 7 hours although as usual for me a good bit was lost, I spent some time chatting to a guy who I knew from my membership years ago and to the keeper .  Also time spent watching looking and thinking something that  seems to sometimes overtake actual fishing time these days , I long ago realised the value of just standing still and looking before blundering in to the river. On several occasions over the years my best fish have come after been stood mid stream perhaps changing tippets or the like when everything has gone quiet for maybe 5 or ten minutes, coincidence maybe but its made me realise the value of doing nowt but watch.  I always stand back and watch before approaching a new stretch after five minutes or so its surprising what you can see .  I will often cast a speculative cast across the grass so just the tippet lands on the near margin and have had many fish like that. On small streams a spooked fish can ruin a whole stretch of river before you even cast a line. I have never forgot  the advice an old guy gave me once watching me struggle to cast to the far bank.  " remember this is the far bank from over there lad.." Good advise that even now I am sometimes guilty of forgetting I found myself telling a young angler the other week to catch more he had to fish less and look more.  I wish someone had told me more often, pity its taken me 30 years to learn.

I caught my first blue trout on the day and only the second one in my life ,  it took a little dry fly with a ferocity that took me aback it seemed to hit the fly and carry straight on up about three feet out of the water.  Striking was not required all I had to do was keep up with the little begger it was more like flying a kite .  It seemed strange to catch one in a quiet Yorkshire stream I know the river stocks some rainbows and blues but they tend to sulk in the dark corners and deep holes waiting for a goldhead to land on there head.  I wasnt expecting it at all.

I was pleased to see a good stock of grayling.  I fished the dry fly all day a little size 18 stripped quill bodied F fly with a tiny bit of rabbit dubbing as a thorax my general go to fly when there is no major hatch and I concentrated on the faster glides and riffles.  I caught many small grayling and plenty of wild brownies and even a couple of big stockies that looked as though they were well established and had survived long enough to learn to rise to a fly as well as their wild cousins.

I was surprised to see a crayfish drop from the sky I think a sea gull had dropped it.  It had a nipper missing but seemed non the worse for the adventure .  It landed in very shallow water a few feet from me at first I thought it was dead but it was just stunned .Pity they cant talk just imagine what it was going to say to its family.  "you arent going to believe what happened to me"...

Sunday 12 August 2012

What sticks in your mind...

Its a been a strange couple of weeks.  I have had quite a few trips out since last encountering Mr and Mrs Perambulator . The weather lately has been kind and the fish have on the whole been willing.  The rivers are on the low side but not as yet on their bones , which considering the amount of rain we had this year is to be expected. I fished the upper Dove once more and I guess probably for the last time until the leaves are once again telling me winter is on the way.  In my view the upper waters and small becks around here are best fished early and late, the dog days of summer are a time when they should be left to survive the lack of water.  This year through the deluge they were my season savers and have earned a rest now.

I visited the Ure this week with a guest there were a few things that stuck in my mind from the day.  Firstly having not been for a while I remembered why I bother to make the 90 minute drive .The place is stunning, a river that even low as it was at the weekend had the ability to make you stop at the bank top and just lean on the wading staff and stare a few minutes. A Yorkshire Dales river in its perfect state sufficiently matured to have a certain tea stained grandeur but still bustling enough to have the riffles and glides beloved of the fly angler.   Much as I love the small rivers and becks, I have taken to this river big style and dont intend to give it up in a rush.

Sadly after hooking and landing a big raggy rainbow trout and dispatching it for the freezer and hooking and losing another that would have weighed a good 4 or 5 lbs, ( I had previously heard a rumour that about 4000 had been accidentally released into the river ) .  I wonder how anyone can be so bloody careless to do that, the rivers are under enough pressure as it is without someone dumping a few tonnes of fry eaters into the equation.  It beggars belief how such things can seemingly be so easily done. And pass of with so little comment.

Lastly on the day I took a guest ,  I hope he wont me saying it but he is an accomplished angler.  It does me good to fish with such people he caught many more fish than me but I enjoy watching fine anglers at work its like beating yourself on the back with a stick.  Watch them fish the places you fish and watch them do a better job of it than you. I would advise anyone who wants to improve to do the same.  It is like being prodded in the ribs with a stick much as the teachers at my Quaker boarding school used to do.  A pointed reminder that effort and application are more important than anything else and that the route to angling nirvana is through chanting the mantra....................achieve a drag free drift...........................and not through if only had that new 9ft sage.....

I am hoping that the next few weeks will provide a few more opportunities for fishing in the run up to Sept when for me the cream of the grayling sport starts,  I have some leave coming up and planning that the Ure will not be such a stranger to me.

Constable Wallop Brook

 I picked this rod up at the Grayling Society Auction at the last Symposium. What a cracking little rod !!! . I am getting increasingly fond...