Thursday 26 December 2013

Of Grayling and Cherry blossom

Boxng day, I was given a unexpected chance to go to the river I arrived a little after twelve,  probably around an hour or more too late to make the most of the day  but getting your daughter organised for a weeks skiing trip and sorting out the other tasks allocated to me stole precious hours. The small stream was in fine form , fining down after a rise over the last few days but now running clear and slightly up on the last few weeks low levels. The river surface was dead though, no rising fish the pretence of summer seemingly gone.  Temperatures hovering around the 3 degree mark.  I fished a single nymph fished on a 8ft 3lb leader on a 3wt rod.  Searching the glides and runs for feeding fish.




This was the first fish and proved to be the best of the day a few more tiny grayling and several small brownies came in the next two hours but there was nothing of note only small grayling pristine  in their steel grey chain mail coats .  Along with the grayling were a good few out of season brown trout still obviousley feeding . I guess the lack of seriously cold weather has allowed them to stay so active.




As I walked back to the car a flash of colour caught my eye. The autumn mild weather has fooled a cherry tree to share its blossom.  Another sign of what this strange weather has done .  In the last week I have seen the buds on willow and horse chestnut swelling and bursting and catkins appearing.When real winter weather appears these will receive a real shock.




Sunday 15 December 2013

Autumn highlights...



Well with only a few days to go before the winter solstice and the official start of Winter it seems a good time to look back on the Autumn. From my fishing perspective  Autumn takes in October and November and December seems like a winter month to me.  Whereas I think of March as the start of spring fishing and yet the calender says the 21st of March is the first day of Spring.  Anyway that's just me I digress
.

As usual in Autumn the fishing trips have been few and far between.  Work commitments haven't helped and neither has the weather .   Anyway odd hours at the tying bench and the occasional grayling trip have been beneficial.   I have even had chance to explore a tiny bit of the Yorkshire Derwent.  My new working arrangements have convinced me that rejoining was a smart move as the river is within 15 minutes of my door and will give lots of opportunities for short and long trips.



Had one trip to the Derwent and winkled out a few small grayling but perhaps the highlight of the day and award of best cute dog goes to the little cocker who was wrapped in towels and buried under a pile of clothing in the car boot.  She belongs to a fellow member and friend who was enjoying drowning worms in pursuit of the grayling.  Sorry about the shocking picture but hadnt realised the lens had a orrible great smudge on it..


Anyway Saturday I had an invite form a friend to fish one of the wolds chalk streams where he assured me grayling heaven awaited me.   It was a good day with a few fish, good crack and even the wolds " breeze" managed to hold of till the afternoon.  None of the real monsters decided to play but I had one lovely fish a couple  of ounces below that magical two pound mark and thoroughly enjoyed myself.  Couldnt believe how low the river was though....














Thursday 28 November 2013

November



November fishing is ok I guess  its the first month after all of the river trout season has gone .  Don't get me wrong I love to to fish anytime and fishing in November is better than not fishing at all.  But as much as I would like to say " I love Grayling fishing " the truth is, largely I don't. Grayling are a stunning fish and always enjoy catching them but as the winter draws in  the manner of fishing for them with leaded bugs in steely grey cold winter rivers really does nothing for me.  I guess at heart I am a dry fly man , not out of prejudice or snobbery but out of sheer bloody enjoyment.  My first trout was on a dry and and I hope that so will be my last.


Anyway a couple of Sundays ago after working a lot of weekends and with a weather eye looking towards the forecast for an icy blast that week I headed of to the river.  Several layers of clothing layered under my PVC chesties to protect my buggered knees from the cold. At the beat I usually check the book to see who has fished recently, well the answer was  the last person to fish was me... In September . The lack of bank side prints would seem to confirm it.   Even otter prints seemed to be absent .  I worked my way up the first few pools with the confidence of fishing a familiar water.  The fish are in there I know they are.  But after 45 minutes of careful progress they were all still in "there" and hadn't visited my net.  I was using a duo of a caddis pattern with a green bead head and size 18 pink southall shrimp.  A combination that has worked well for me on this stretch.




Around lunchtime things the sun made an appearance warmed a little and a few small needle flies came of and a few olives , I was just  wondering if perhaps I had overdone the layers of clothing when all negative thoughts disappeared when I spotted a rise about 30 m upstream in the fast water at the top of the next glide.  Its amazing  what effect  the site of a rising fish has on my demeanour I changed to a little cdc olive and worked my way up the pool , after 15 minutes of slow progress I had taken two tiny grayling and I was as near as I could get to  the fast water where a couple of fish were feeding, at that point in the stream there is a big back eddy which combined with a silty bottom takes the clouds of river bed you stand in back up to the head of the run,  the fish go down pretty smartish .  So it means a cat of about 30ft across conflicting currents so you get about 6ft of drag free drift. Which is usually ok if you drop your fly on the money.




There was a couple of fish rising I figured decent grayling and joy of joy second cast the lower one took .  Now here's the thing what came out were two lovely brownies of about a pound and half each in pristine condition they both fought like tigers, for that 10 minutes the sun shone the air was warm and the trout rose. Almost as if they were reminding me about them and saying don't waste your time go home tie flies and come back next summer....Now I don't think I will manage do that, the draw of the running stream is too strong and I will keep returning to get my fix. I will be wading the river in the forlorn  hope that just for a brief moment the river will perhaps just for a few moments once again forget its winter.




Tuesday 12 November 2013

lifes less of a drag when you leave a footprint.



Although my new business has cut down on my fishing time I am starting to find  the odd evening to do some fly tying and when I opened my fly tying desk this last week I found a half tied f fly emerger still hung in the vice. A  simple CDC dressing but all the more effective because of its simplicity. The more I fish and these last few years I have been lucky to fish quite a bit, I have realised somewhat late in life that the things that make the difference are to a large extent, items that are surprisingly simple in principle. But actually quite hard to achieve in practise. I have gone through the easy stages most anglers do.  The "well if I just had a four weight 6 inches longer" stage of wanting two cupboard fulls of rods and reels.  The stage of having multiple fly boxes stuffed with bezzillions of flies .  I even spent a season making the ultimate tippet sinkant , I would add that dishwasher rinse aid, glycerine  and fullers earth is the best I came up with.

Which brings me back to that little CDC fly , last season it accounted for more fish than probably all the other flies together. Which makes me think what makes it so successful,  Is it the actual pattern it does have a very simple profile and dressing or is it the fact that as it sits trapped in the surface film it is anchored and less likely to drag. For quite a few years I have clipped my fully hackled dries comparadun style.  I find them more effective but is it the profile or the fact that they sit in the film with a very pronounced footprint and are also less prone to drag?.  Same for the paradun and the klinkhammer all killing patterns but is their resistance to drag part of it?.



Which brings me again to that word, drag,  now when I started fly fishing drag was when your fly left a wake across the surface like a motor launch. now I find myself thinking about  micro drag, something that as I fish more and hopefully improve  I am starting to get pretty serious about.  Fishing with a few anglers who usually out fish me there has been a common theme they are all pretty anal about drag .  We have all seen those missed rises when a fish bulges around your fly and turns away at the last moment .  Well I have gone through the obsessive period as to is my leader floating or sinking and still haven't made my mind up about if it matters or not.   But what I am certain is that a fly that is behaving differently to everything else about it will get ignored.

When I was doing the invert monitoring one month last year lots of the baetis nymphs were hatching in the sample trays it gave me a chance to study them in a glass tray of water . looking up from underneath gave me a fascinating insight into the footprint that the natural leaves on the surface ,  certainly it reinforced my liking for paradun style flies.  If you haven't tried it I recommend it its a sure fire way of altering your perception of what make a good dry fly its also an excellent way of looking even more eccentric than fly fishermen normally do.  The footprint thing is for another day I know I have mentioned it on here before but " in the ring of the rise " is one of the more enlightening books I have read for a good while.  I thoroughly recommend it.





Tuesday 8 October 2013

Seasons begining and end



Well thats it.  Another trout season over.  It seemed to be a shorter season than ever , but there again time does seem to rattle by these days and this year has certainly seen many changes for me.  For now I feel happy for the season to end it allows me to focus on other things .  I actually like the winter its a time for me to draw breath and clear away the tasks not done in the summer . The fly boxes need refilling and for the first time I reckon I actually know for certain what I will be tying.   
Lots of CDC emergers more in sizes 18 through 22 than ever before , the traditional dries will still be there Greenwells and Kites imperial are still flies that I hold great faith in. Among the trans atlantic patterns the grey wolf and Adams always find a place. Here is one of the last trout of the year for me one out of season fish caught on Sunday rising as freely in the Autumn sunshine as they do on a June evening.


Last weekend I went to the Dove getting out of the car this was the view ,  the sunshine was just burning away the last of the morning mist and the dew was thick on the ground.  I live in a beautiful part of the world.  A simple view but in its own way perfection.



As it happened the grayling were conspicuous by there absence at the weekend perhaps the ridiculous low water levels are to blame.  But I am sure that over the next few months they will show up more.  One thing to happy about is the numbers of tiny grayling I am seeing in the 4 inch category .  The Ure, Dove and Rye seem to be stuffed with them this year. Anglers elsewhere seem to reporting the same so at last we seem to have had a good year for them.



The grayling above is one of the first of the season I hope its the first of many.   They are a beautiful fish . 


Tuesday 1 October 2013

The good the bad and the ugly

Well its now at the end of the season and  I was just checking some kit that wont get used till next spring . It made me think about the good and bad stuff that I have used this year.  I have thrown in a few pics to help the post along

First the good.
First  The vision Mycket bra has been brilliant and will continue to wear it and abuse it waistcoats are now a thing of the past.  Very well designed and tough to boot.
Second Once again I go through a season and realise what a fantastic small stream rod the Hardy featherweight 7ft 3wt is.  yes the warranty is shite and its overpriced but it is a gem to use I love it. Lastly
Orvis Endura waders I have had a pair now for over three years and they have had some serious stick they are very breathable and they dont leak.  Truly great value.


Now the not so good :
Firmly in the Shite category but actually at the top of the shite pile is the wychwood viewfinder fly patch a more useless piece of angling equipment I have yet to find ,  badly designed and with a clip that doesnt clip a truly awful product .

Next are two items that I purchased at a reasonable price but stupidly I assumed that they were fit for the purpose how wrong can you be.  I give you the Airflo Zip- lok delta waders and the X stream wading boots with a stealth studded sole.   I say stealth because on the two pairs i have had the studs dont protude from the soles which seems to negate the whole point in having them, but if by some chance there is a button somewhere that you press to make the studs appear like the  the ejector seat button on a James Bond car.  Then someone please tell me but do it quick as once again the soles are parting company from the uppers.  A trick the first pair did and to be fair fishtec exchanged them but this time I have decided to glue the buggers back on .  The other half of the "good deal" a phrase that has never been used under such false pretences .  Is the waders, they are brilliant until you actually enter the water , yes if your aim is to ponce up and down the bank and be able to stop and have a pee when ever nature calls then the zip design is fantastic. But if you venture into knee high water you will find that the double layer of fabric to the  lower leg fills up nicely with water and makes your legs about 4 stone heavier which isnt a great idea when you are trying to haul yourself out of the river up a muddy bank wearing stealth soled wading boots,   The only plus side is that when you do reach the bank top you can have a slash if you havent already pissed yourself in the exertion of getting out of the river with 4 stone of water trapped to your legs wearing stealth soled boots.  Recently the waders have played their final trick the zip now leaks under the slightest provocation. So although the zip is excellent in allowing us to prevent moisture from the inside it is useless at preventing it coming in from the outside .

So here are the cold hard facts I have Orvis endura waders that have had more than three full seasons hammer and a pair of Hardy boots that are now 5 years old but although looking pretty beat up perform well. The Orvis waders are still waterproof and are far more breathable than the airflo ones ever were .  The Airflo Boots have been worn probably a dozen times and are now again dropping to bits and I am still looking for the stud ejector button.  The waders are leaking and I wont be spending money to get them repaired.they have probably been worn a few more times than the boots simply because the stealth soles are dangerous on wet grass and mud.

Anyway I feel better now I will go for a lie down......

Monday 9 September 2013

A quick update

In amongst the general mayhem of leaving my job,  there has been the odd opportunity for fishing trips .  At this time of year every opportunity has to be seized . Nights are drawing in and nights are getting colder.  Thoughts of balmy evening rises are shifting towards harvest sea trout ( if we get some rain ) and the lady of the stream whatever level the rivers find themselves.

My companion hanging on to a 2lb rainbow with his one weight.......


I had a trip to the Derwent courtesy of nearly my last guest ticket , as I arrived I met a friend who I have fished with quite  a few times and we decided we would fish together .  Now its a strange thing about fishing with people .  I wouldnt say I am unsociable but generally I like to fish alone.  Often when taking guests we fish apart and meet up at intervals.  But I have to say this fishing together and enjoying the banter is growing on me I must be getting old.  Besides I always end up learning something.



We caught a good few pretty little brownies all safely returned and even a few oversize rainbows that were safely dispatched.  I learnt something of the italian style of casting which seems to go against every rule of casting I have ever learnt but does seem to work. I even gave my new 8ft 2 wt an outing and was feeling pretty smug about getting to grips with this ultralight stuff until my mate announced he was using a one weight,..
After a lifetime of company cars this is my first car  ideal fishing companion....

I had a trip to the Ure when the river was desperately low ,  it was a devilishly hard day of bright sunshine bare bones and few rising fish, a single big rainbow a hangover from last years mass escape head and tailed my fly in some faster water .  I felt almost guilty killing it but these things have no place in our rivers.  A couple of small trout and a good few salmon parr made up the rest of the catch it was a really hard day.  A 3 wt line and 16ft leader with size 18 f fly was worked on the day.




I had a trip to the Rye on a breezy day to target a few grayling on dries and found the fish taking tiny terrestrials below the trees and bushes having tried everything I had  I even had to butcher a few flies to fashion a few tiny size 18 and 20 black jobs basically a hook with a bit of dubbing that would sit in the film.


probably the last brownie I will catch on a dry this year 

Lets hope for lots more of these,,,,


The Grayling obliged with beautiful boiling rise and the trout just sipped the fly making it sink with barely a disturbance.  I really must tie some SBJs ( small black jobs ) this winter right down to size 24 or so...  For occasions like that.

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Work and fishing, fishing and work.


Work and Fishing.....

The recent dearth of posts on this ere blog is a result of,... well I am not really sure what its a result of. Certainly not lack of fishing as low levels and baking sunshine permitting there have been a few recent trips . Trips to the Ure , Dove and Derwent have all been productive. But a week spent sunning myself in Spain hasnt helped ,  nor to that matter has the impending start of a new business venture, after 39 years on company payrolls I will at the end of the week be self employed.  I seem to be constantly researching insurance of every type,  I have even bought a car and after 30 years of company cars that was a shock to the system, this together with VAT, accountants and computers has for the time been taken over my waking hours .  



Truth is I have sort of just lost the writing mojo.  I have penned a couple of articles and updates but on re reading them have relegated them to the recycle bin.  I wouldnt have wanted to read them so I shouldnt expect others to enjoy them.  So the blog will just sit here a while, it will be back soon and if by some miracle this Autumn I crack that 2lb Grayling or a big sea trout then it will be back very soon.   Anyway perhaps the impending grayling catches may inspire me...

Tight lines



Saturday 27 July 2013

Making the most of it.

It was only a few days ago that I wrote about the evening rise .  Yet already I have creeping into my mind an increasing urgency to take every opportunity for an evening session . Time has taught me that when you hit August the evening light disappears all to fast .  So this last week has seen me fit a couple of evening hours on both the Rye and the Dove.





Have you ever seen such a pretty stream as this.  The trout below was the best of several I had in a short session.  lean but scrapped like a tiger.  The fish actually started rising earlier than usual but all were tucked into fast streamy water under trees.  




The Dove smaller and shallower but an excellent stream that has a good head of wild browns and grayling Dead low at the moment but fish still rising in the streamy water. 



A typical Dove brownie.  Fish were hard to find .  the river is well below summer normal level and very clear. Despite stealth the fish were incredibly spooky and just getting within  casting range was in its way a small victory.  


At the end of the evening a few raindrops appeared but not the decent rain we need to freshen up the rivers.  





Monday 15 July 2013

Summer time...." The evening rise"

There is a special sense of anticipation around a hot summers day , there is the knowledge that with luck that dog day of summer will as the light fades and as the evening cools  come alive and "the evening rise" will start. That phrase has almost magical properties for a fly fisherman.  It represents a special time that may well last hours or even minutes but is always worth the wait.  Temperatures here for the last two weeks have been high, with no rain and lots of sunshine both not helpful to the river angler.  One stretch I fish though continues to flow well even in the driest spell , freshwater springs keep the levels decent.


 The thick weed gives cover for fish and insects alike.  Laying on the bank looking through the polaroids an odd fish or fin will betray the fish hiding under the weed ,




A recent after work spell was such an evening .  Arriving at the river well after six, there was no rush not till between seven and eight or even later will the fun start, I inspected the catch returns in the box , no fish reports for the last three days meant a nice undisturbed stretch the last few reports were patchy a few good ones and one reporting no fish but three otters. I walked to the bottom of the fishery noting the clarity and lack of rising fish.  But I was not down beat that magical last hour of light was still a way of.  As I walked I noticed a recent otter kill and lots of tracks.  A kingfisher and a stoat making its way along the path all were welcome distractions.  The river looked stunning .




At about 8 the first riser was spotted but I botched the cast and put it down.  But fish were starting to feed and about half a dozen followed in the next hour or so no big fish but all wildies and of a good size great fun on a little three weight.  My usual stripped quill cdc was ignored and I took a flier on a larger hackled version as there were larger olives and medium sized sedges hatching .  The fly did the trick and as the light faded and temp dropped the river came alive . Then at about 9.30 it was as if someone flicked a switch and not a rise was to be seen.  I sat on a seat and watched the river for 10 minutes before packing up . Only the kingfishers were still busy flying back and forth .  "The evening rise" is indeed a special time a gift of summer not to be missed.




Friday 5 July 2013

Ure brown trout and fishing fine and far of....

I reckon as fly anglers go I am not to prone to impulse buys.  Although I must confess that when faced with a rack full of fly tying products I usually buy at least a couple of things that dont seem to get used quickly. A week or two ago I did however give in and buy a little Vision cult , an 8ft 2 wt with free line at a very tempting price.

A typical river Ure Brown Trout 

Rods in the 7ft to 8wt are the perfect range for me for the local streams and already have a fair collection but these days I do seem to be fishing with lighter gear and it looked like a nice addition  to the armoury. Incidentally moving to lighter set ups over the last few years has not been all about lighter lines but longer leaders and finer tippets .  Even toying with french leaders and leader to hand which both have been great on their day.


The Cult

Anyway the rod arrived and paired with a little Orvis BBS2 and the supplied cortland line I wanted to give it a try.  As it happened we had seen some rain over the last couple of days and the rivers were mostly up and coloured,  so the only place fishable with dries was the little section of the Dove.  A 8ft is a bit tight on there but just about manageable .  


The rod was a delight it really impressed as my first venture in to 2 wt territory.  The action I would describe as an easy middle tip, not as all through as my Hardy featherweight but a lovely action for a small stream rod.  
It had enough flex to work with virtually no line out and yet could cast surprisingly tight loops .  Yes the liitle cult impressed me it has won a permanent place in the rack  and two weight?  well on a summers evening on a tight stream it will be great fun.



The recent largely dry spell has lead to many rivers running very low, that was how I found the Ure one evening after work.  It was very low perhaps half of normal levels.   When rivers are like this not only tactics need to change but in a sense the river has changed to.  Normal holding places are empty and the fish are holed up in new pots and runs you have to find them . But low levels can work to your advantage too.  Runs to deep to wade can now be approached and lies fished that perhaps are normally out of reach.  A couple of stretches normally full of fish.  Are totally empty when the river is this low.


This run up the side of the trees is usually almost impossible to fish due to the depth for wading but when the river is this low its perfect, the deeper water can be waded but still offers fish overhanging trees for shade and  protection.  Today this run of about 70m offered me two hours of slow wading and fishing and accounted for    eight or ten fish both Grayling and Trout. 


A few of these came from the run.  All on the little CDC .  The longer rod allowed me to roll cast and control the fly nicely.  


I was intending to fish leader to hand as it has proved its worth as a tactic when water levels have been very low. Today the stiff breeze seemed to always be blowing in my face so I swapped pretty quick and fished my 10ft 3 wt with a long leader.   Just a plug here for Barrio fly lines ,  I have tried a few of these now and have found the DT Mallard and the GT90 both to be superb lines and equal to lines of two and three times the price.

Later on I headed of to a river section that I have found produces in all water levels,  Several Grayling came first then a smaller trout .   The last fish of the day is pictured below .  I cast to it thinking it was a small fish it seemed to be sipping flies of the surface.  Under a overhanging branch.  A gentle rise and a tightening of the rod lead to all hell breaking loose,  


it launched itself from the water and momentarily the line was in the branches amazingly it came loose and the fish shot right across the river luckily the long light rod and line allowed my to hold the rod high and keep the line of the water and after a bit of time playing chase around boulders and tree roots the fish and I decided I was the winner.  The fish looked like a stockie but the big full tail told me it had been in the river a long time.  It was released to play with another angler. 









Tuesday 25 June 2013

Things that make your day

Strange thing a blog sometimes the words and content come easy, other times you really cant be bothered and wonder why you do, but occasionally you write something you are pleased with or a comment of approval is made .

 



Today I got an email from a guy to compliment me on the blog ......"Stuck out here in Azerbaijan with work and missing the whole 2013 trout season to date. Imagine my joy when I discovered your blog with all the wonderful photos and the super narrative. Thanks a million!"
He went on to say how he fishes much of the same places I fish... Fair made my day and reminded me how many people from all over the world see what you write....Well here you my friend are another shot of your favourite steam...



Thursday 20 June 2013

Fathers day and idle ramblings...


I have visited rivers a few times in the last couple of weeks.  A couple of weekday evenings and a few hours on the Yorkshire Derwent on fathers day courtesy of another guest ticket.  The trips have all been good but of course to varying degrees .  I met a good few other anglers out and about,  we discussed the weather the rivers and as usual at this time of year the mayfly.  How would the hatch develop? would it be good or sparse after all there never can be a bad hatch. Just as my grandad said to me as a teenager theres no such thing as bad beer son just better beer. Its worth mentioning that here in Yorkshire we can have splendid mayfly hatches but generally in June....


One thing that occurred to me after chatting to several brothers of the angle was how varied their perception was in assessing the success of their day.  The Blue trout below whilst scrapping like the very devil seemed to me to be dreadfully out of place in a small pretty stream .  It actually launched itself at my dry fly as I lifted it of for a recast.  It then proceeded to cartwheel down the pool like a runaway.  Personally I am not impressed with them  but shortly afterwards I met an angler who praised them highly and particularly there readiness to take.  I guess as the old saying goes you can please some of the people some of the time but.... The highlight for me was the fish. above Not the largest or the hardest fighting but the colours were amazing the picture just doesnt do it justice.


This type of stream really ticks the box for me . This is all close combat and stuff and great fun.  Stealth is required and its amazing just how close you can get to the fish without spooking them.  When I fish in places like this I can see why people use tenkara .


Of these two fish I know which gave me most pleasure in the capture.... I fished for a few hours on fathers day .  I caught a lot of Brownies I reckon around twenty all to the dry fly.  Many tiny like the one below but all as perfect as you could imagine.  The river also seemed to have  many stockies . I was told at the end of my session that they hadnt been in long,  in a couple of places you could see them swimming round like lost tourists. I am sure that should you have wished you could have dozens of them with a bead head ,  by the way the only fish that were rising were the native brownies.  



A few days ago on another stream this well conditioned stockie led me a merry dance it took the dry mayfly with a lovely head and tail rise then after that getting it into the net was fun.  It lead me a merry dance it managed to swim right around me and lassoo me with my own line .  I must be getting old  and why do they always look smaller when you are still playing them and only realise how big they are when you draw them towards the net?.  Although a nice fish though give a pretty wild fish any day .













Sunday 9 June 2013

The evening and sipping rises


Its been a long time , actually it feels like an age .  Fishing the evening rise is something that I have almost forgotten existed. But this weekend the opportunity arose to fish into the evening.  Fining down rivers and the last few days mild weather, the fact that the mayfly could arrive any time soon all spurred me on and so I arrived on the Rye at 5pm planning to fish till , well to fish till I couldn't see the fly any more .  Whilst I am saying that it occurs to me why does my wife always ask what time I will be back?,  when I have absolutely no idea myself. I love fishing as the light goes the river seems to truly come alive as the sun slides away.  



When I arrived I was a little disheartened to see three more cars parked up.  One was the fishery manager but that still meant two anglers on quite a small  beat.  But I hoped if they had been there a while I would probably end up alone for the last hour or two. 


The river is in spanking condition at the moment , although its running almost a foot up on the usual early summer level.  So although clear and settled the fish aren't holed up in the lies where they normally would be.  Initially there also seemed to be a real absence of rising fish, there was some surface activity but only small fish splashing in the tails of pools and shallow water.  



There was plenty of fly life ,  clouds of midges , small sedges and various up wings in fact a real Ephemeroptera Smorgasbord.  Even a few late hawthorns and daddies for hors d`oeuvres. 





There were a few mayfly duns showing, this one came floating down the river , but the fish let it sail down unmolested .  Only time will tell what this years hatch will be like.  But if the warm weather holds for a few days we will find out.  As usual before I started fishing in real earnest I inspected the back eddies and margins looking at the flotsam of trapped bugs. There was everything and nothing every type of critter but nothing in huge numbers.




Anyway the job in hand was to catch fish on a floating fly the evening rise is for that , not for klinks or for the duo or the nymph.   The moment of interception between my crude attempt at deception and the elegance of the taking fish is the instant I look for .  To me that is fly fishing every thing else is well second best.  At boarding school one of the teachers was the first guy I ever watched fly fishing , he caught chub in the river whiske on a black gnat , he was an exceptional man and a great influence on my early life.  Years later I met him and asked him if he still fished . He told me he didn't, that he still loved the moment of deception of bringing the fish to the rise but the act of playing and landing the fish somehow seemed an act of barbarity that demeaned the fish. A remarkable man and  I admired his stance but hoped that such a moral dilemma would never overtake me.


The first few fish were small not much better than parr . They were rising in the tails and shallows .  I saw not one rise that would indicate a larger fish .  Anyway prospecting upstream into the longer pools I cast to where the fish should be, casting tight to the overhanging bushes or where an underwater obstruction lurked.  Fishing at close range the first rise took me by surprise the fly just seemed to drop into a tiny hole , no slurp or splash it just disappeared , at anything more than close range I would have missed it.  Tightening into the fish I was still surprised by the lack of a real rise.  


Several more fish followed all beautiful wild brownies of a decent size for this river all of them taking with a delicacy and lack of disturbance not often shown.  After experiencing this I sat for a good while positioned close to a point where fish would be feeding.  I saw not one surface disturbance that could have been taken for a rise and yet fishing through that area after brought two good fish to the net,  If I had not been fishing at close range I am sure the rises would have gone unnoticed .  There was so much fly on the water that drawing any sort of conclusion as to what they were taking was difficult , however the smaller fish were taken on a CDC emerger the larger fish all came to a tiny adams about a size 20 .  In the book "in the ring of the rise " by Vincent Marinaro he describes this as the sipping rise...




I worked up this small run a couple  more came to the surface and a very good grayling that decided he had played enough and dropped the hook as it was drawn to the net. 




At about 9 the temperature dropped very sharply , the clouds of spinners disappeared and only the biting midges stayed.  I realised the curtain had been brought down on that particular act,  but the fish had played there part a fine set of handsome players had put in an appearance .  As the summer develops and the temperature rises the late evening rise will be my main feature.  






Trout bum or mildly eccentric ?

 This year I am starting the process of getting into retirement.  I think initially it will be a day a week less work and then over the next...