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"...

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