Sunday 26 May 2013

A River Ure spring day ,,,,

This strange year moves on .  Here we are nearly half way through it and the usual rythm of the seasons seems to have disappeared,  by now evening sessions should be the main pastime and yet not one evening has been spent by the river. The cold and windy weather has meant that the evening rise has become only something that is read about, the mayfly hatch shows no sign of appearing. It should happen any time soon and around here any time means  from the last week in May to the second week in June .  But as it should be its gloriously unpredictable.  Meanwhile I shall wait patiently for the summer to arrive and herald the start of the evening rise.  

Today was a chance to get over to the Ure .  The river had dropped to a nice summer level and on arrival was seen to be extremely clear. Its normal strong tea stain replaced by the clarity of spring water.  Bright sunshine a gin clear river and low levels are not a usual recipe for success.  But a french leader and a 12ft 2 wt rod gave me confidence that I was equal to the conditions.  The 12ft 2 wt is a result of an impulse at the tail end of last season a bulk buy opportunity on an online forum encouraged me to invest in the blank and Chas Burns did an impressive build to produce a rod which certainly offered the capacity for a different approach.   A  french leader well more leader to hand ala Jeremy Lucas allowed for a delightfully delicate presentation and the ability to hold a 10m leader clear of the water allows a drag free presentation across multiple current lines. The approach certainly worked but the 12ft ? well we will see .

I show this matched pair of out of season Grayling only for their perfection. They were in the very peak of condition and rose to the dry with abandon.  I had six grayling during the afternoon these two and the lower one were the best of the bunch . Just a shame they dont realise its their close season.  The two fish summed up the day. No fish of real note came to hand but those that did were bright solid and very very welcome.

There is something about the green of spring that is enchanting it has a newness and freshness that fades all to quickly,  combine this with bluebells, wild garlic and bracken you have a delight.  What is it about a unfurling bracken that makes me think of sea horses ? .  

It was a good day finishing with around 8 brownies and perhaps the same grayling , all on the dry fly .  The largest fish of the day was this Grayling which appeared to be still recovering from spawning and was returned quickly.  

The best fish of the day should have a been a brownie that fairly screamed line of the reel .  Jumped once to show me that I wasnt messing with a kid then in a final flourish threw the hook. I am sure that it was blowing a raspberry at me at the time .  At least it seemed that way to me.

A fellow angler was on the bank today ,  it was good to see you Richard check your emails.......

Monday 20 May 2013

Coloured water....

I am maybe not the best angler in the world probably not even the best down our lane.  But know one thing for sure about fishing its that you cant catch anything whilst sat on your arse at home.  So after having a weeks holiday without any real fishing as per my Dales diary.  I was determined that the weekend would rectify that.  But after it rained on Saturday all the rivers were up and running.  It stopped raining on Saturday  afternoon but the signs were not looking good.  The EA site showed all my rivers running high .  

I did have one chance ,  the upper Dove a stretch that is high up towards the moors catchment and a stretch where spates run of very quickly ,  so on the Sunday I arrived around lunchtime to allow a few more hours for water to run of...However on arrival things didnt look good.  Water was heavily coloured and still running above normal.

The exposed banks showing how  the levels had been up a couple of foot just 24 hours before.

I started by prospecting the flats at tails of the small pools an area which seems to hold fish the soonest when spates are dropping . Prospecting with the duo was my chosen method . Not a method I like but have to confess its effective.  In high water the nymph helps anchor the klink and offers a second chance.   After 10 or 15 minutes a swirl at the klink showed that fish were still willing to rise. So of with the nymph and reduced the size of the klink to this little parachute emerger a 16 I think... The tippet looks like string in the pic but is 2lb10oz reflo power line a coarse angling line but is superb .  I have been using it a few years, its cheap to . Give it a whirl .

The next hour brought four fish all from the flat run at the tail of little pools .  Although I saw no other rises all came to the surface fly.  These were the best two .  Small but great fun on a three wt outfit.

The one below fought like a fish of three times its size..

Just an aside this season I have become a convert to the chest pack instead of a waistcoat .  Everything just seems far more convenient  the one I have here is the vision mycket bra , I have no reason to recommend it other than I have used it a year now and it shows no sign of wear despite been generally abused  it seems well made strong zips and a sensible size. Cant see me going back to the waistcoat.  I have even bought a bigger chest and backpack for longer days.   

Saturday 18 May 2013

A Yorkshire Dales Diary

I have just returned from a weeks holiday in the Yorkshire dales,  refreshed and inspired . Refreshed as it was just me and the long suffering Mrs T and boy did we both need a holiday .  Its amazing that the poor woman never complains that our holidays in this country involve rivers or even countryside that may include rivers or Lochs .  That the car has to include space for fishing gear ( just in case) as well as 5 stone of labrador and possibly some fly tying gear as well.  This time however I only fished for a couple of hours in the whole week .  As for inspired well...


After fishing the Ure for a few seasons now I have become a huge fan of the river and whilst the vale of York will always contain my home rivers and  the Dove , Rye and Derwent and the many becks will always be my first love . The Dales rivers are becoming an increasing fascination . The rivers have a character which is totally different and are wrapped in a countryside which is stunning . 

During the week we did a fair bit of touring around , some great walks across stunning scenery and I did a lot of bridge leaning and trout spotting not easy on rivers that were largely swollen from the frequent rain ,  as a result a list of rivers have now gone to the top of my "must fish list" these include the Wharfe , Cover,  Bain and others , What you you say ? I have never fished the Wharfe well its a mistake I hope to rectify soon. Its at the top of the list.

Despite looking beautiful the Ure was running very high and in a couple of hours of fishing very few fish were rising, I saw two decent fish rise in two hours , both were well out of reach .  Small parr were rising in the shallow pool tails and after catching a couple I ceased , I always feel guilty catching parr . A bit like the older school bully picking on the first formers. 

The valleys and rivers around here are about as perfect for fly fishing as I could imagine , thank god they are in Yorkshire.  Its a strange thing but despite visiting the area many times whilst walking , cycling and just driving I cant say they have ever left such a positive impression..

I will leave you with a view from Wharfedale ,  At the time I was eating a pork pie from Kendalls butcher in Pateley bridge and the sound of a Curlew was echoing over the valley .  A moments perfection ? well maybe not quite but damn close. 

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Chasing wildies....

Following my Saturday trip down the local beck , my bank holiday weekend plans changed and the Monday afternoon became free so as a fishing opportunity cant be turned down some rapid plans had to be made. As I had fished the local beck on Saturday and I really didnt fancy the traffic to go far . Venue choice was important.  

I had a guest ticket for the Yorkshire Derwent and decided that today would be a good time to use it.  The river is only ten minutes from my house. So it meant no fighting the traffic jams.  I have been a member in the past so know the water pretty well but knew that low water and sunshine would combine to make it a tough day fishing for the little wildies. . 

The day was a day for delicate tactics so my chosen gear was the little Hardy featherweight 7ft 3wt and little  BBS  reel.  On this gear little wild brownies can put a decent bend in the rod.  The whole lot only weighs a few ounces and the very full flex allows for effortless close range fishing.  It isnt to every ones taste but I find it  tremendous fun on small streams.

The day ended with 8 of these little fellas all perfect this being the smallest ,  but a couple of others werent much bigger. Nearly all on the little size 18 and 20 adams .  

Around here at the moment we are in drought conditions, rivers are already at Summer dead low levels as we have had virtually no rain for 6 to 8 weeks. This time last year we had similar conditions and then I foolishly prayed for rain.  We know what happened then it didnt stop for 6 months so despite the drought I am not going to pray for anything...This is a winter wheat field at the side of the river , there was cracks in the ground you could get your hand in....

The Derwent  is a pretty pretty little stream and a belting way to hide from the traffic for a day.  One day I may even re join.......

Saturday 4 May 2013

Bank Holiday parking and bagging a keeper........

This weird year continues and today has been no exception when the wind dropped it was almost like summer and when it picked up again it was like a blast from Siberia.  This had the holiday makers scuttling back and forth like crazed yoyos and at the moment we have them here a plenty  in equal numbers they were out in shorts and T shirts and in scarves and overcoats.  I hate bank holidays , well hate is perhaps a bit strong but living in a tourist resort means that at the first whiff of sunshine and fair weather all the roads round here are clogged with tourists and parking spaces are as rare as rocking horse shit, at times it gets a bit trying.  But I do appreciate that I live in a beautiful part of the world and can understand others wanting to see it.  Its just a shame they cant space out their visits and not just turn up on a few weekends a year.  Personally I think the beaches are superb on a frosty February morning its a shame other dont see the attraction.

Winter or Summer a weekend morning routine for me is a long work with my ever faithful hound ruby the wonder dog.  This year our spring has been dreadful the cold has hung on like the proverbial on a blanket.  Fishing has been slow and it has been as if winter has just warmed up a little but spring hasn`t actually arrived.  Usually by this time of year my winter hunger has been satisfied and I am settling in to the routine of early summer fishing. But not this year. So this morning I made the brave decision to combine the dog walk with taking a  rod along for the of chance that ruby the wonder dog decided to play ball and actually leave some water undisturbed .Labs are fantastic dogs but I have to admit my normally pretty well behaved dog becomes deaf to all commands when faced with water.  

Anyway feeling brave and getting out early I managed a  parking space and the two of us headed upstream.   Down near the sea the beck is exposed and the wind whistles up the valley making casting a line an interesting challenge.

First to fall for the klink was a tiny sea trout smolt Ruby wasnt impressed by me catching something by now she had made her first catch a fine example of a tennis ball god knows how she sniffs them out. 

As we worked upstream the Sea trout smolts threw themselves with abandon at the little klinkhammer.  After catching a couple I moved up stream looking for the wild brownies that are here as well its odd how the smolts appear I can fish here one week and see none and yet a week later the stream feels full of them.

Only a half a mile further up the valley becomes tree lined and more sheltered and a series of pools and waterfalls makes for some wonderful fishing scenery. This is one of my favourite litttle pools and dont ever remember fishing here and not catching.

Today this was one of three that came from the head of the pool.  All on a tiny size 20 Adams the fish treated the klinkhammer with disdain .  Generally the trick with catching these is fly size and presentation almost all patterns are taken but a heavy leader or splashy cast sends them down very quickly.

 Whilst I am fishing the pool Ruby the wonder dog waits patiently , well when I say wait her lead was looped around a tree root .  I reckon she needed a breather anyway.

I love catching big fish as much as the next bloke but I dont think the charm of catching these little gems on these beautiful becks will ever leave me.  Anyway after a few hours we had done enough and breakfast was calling so all that was left was just a chance to show of our catches I had to admit Ruby had managed to bag herself a keeper .  

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...