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.  

Tuesday 4 June 2013

A Day on the Dove..Should have been the monnow....

Those of you familiar with the film groundhog day will understand how this last few days went.   For the last three years I have been trying to get a couple of days away with Peter ( he of walks and fishes blog ) to fish the Monnow.  But with a now tiresome regularity once again the rain gods have conspired against us .  The trip was written of.   I had booked two days leave and decided that I would still take them. The rain had affected all my local rivers but the Ure which is a fair distance inland remained in fine fettle, and so Friday saw me on the bank there.  It was a decent trip with a good few fish landed but nothing worth reporting here.
By Sunday I figured the water levels would have dropped enough to have a trip to the Dove and so...

The Dove is a totally different river , small very varied and pretty challenging with plenty of cover and woody debris galore.   I decided that Sunday was the day I would give it a whirl. 

 By Sunday the EA website was telling me levels had dropped a long way from the mid week high of about 4ft of flood water .  When I arrived the water was still carrying colour and was not as I had hoped.  

About 11.30 AM I started fishing there was little sign of surface activity and my earlier optimism took a bit of a dent,   but I had my first fish after spotting it rising tight under the bank and for a hour or so things were slow.  Around 1.30 pm things seemed to change . A small rise in temp signalled a bit more surface activity and fish came pretty regularly then for about 90 minutes.  There were clouds of very small sedges and a few olives and hawthorns but the fly that worked was a size 20 adams.  

The top end of the fishery has more gravel beds and the water always seem to run cleaner.  Its a lovely little stream .

The fish came from the tails of pools and were usually tight under cover .  The fish above came from right under the bushes shown below. The cast was short perhaps 15 ft but it had to be an across the body sort of roll cast  to get the fly as tight underneath as possible.  The full flex of the little Hardy featherweight is perfect here it will cast with virtually no fly line extended.

The fish were all of a nice size and put a nice bend in the little rod.  

Wading on these small streams has to be ultra cautious , very slow and very quiet.  You have to fish your way upstream.  Once I am position I usually just stay still for a few minutes , Check the fly and tippet and check behind for your back cast.  I think this pause is essential  so often once in position another fish will show itself.

Three fish came from under the tree below.  All cast to and quickly hussled downstream and played out in the shallow water . Then I rested the swim for 5 mins before re casting all in about a 8ft long stretch of water, . I was pleased with myself to manage to get three from there.

I ended the session with perhaps 12 fish  in about four hours , with most coming in the last two.  An enjoyable day .  But one day I will get to the monnow.....

Saturday 1 June 2013

French leader / leader to hand

Readers of this blog will perhaps remember that last year I spent a day on the Ure with an angler who fished leader to hand . The guy is a damn fine angler and I was comprehensively out fished  I think I would have been even if he had been using a cane and a bent pin,  what it did do however was to demonstrate what an effective tactic it was.  Over the last year I have used the same tactic a number of times when conditions have favoured it and have found it very effective.  Like fishing traditional spiders and the upstream nymph Its a tactic that on its day is deadly and is something that will have a permanent place in the armoury.

Its not often I post a link to websites or other blogs but I found the following series of articles so good that I have no qualms of offering a link .  I actually printed them of and took them on holiday to Portugal with me last year and they were my holiday reading .  What was refreshing is that I find that 99.9% of so called instructional or "new" tactic writing on fly fishing found on the interweb. Is just the same old stuff re hashed or in many cases just reprinted,  These were an exception and actually offered some new ideas.


A year or two back the Author published an article or two in fly fishing magazines his critics were pretty ruthless under a series of letters " wheres the mass" where a few very notable "experts" stated it was impossible to cast such a rig. To be honest at the time I didnt take a whole bunch of notice.  But I can say that although my casting skills are pretty average I can say that this average angler can cast a 10 m  leader with a fly on the end and its a bloody effective technique. its also a very easy ( and cheap )  form of fly flishing to get into.  Many anglers who fish rivers have a 10ft 3/4 wt for grayling fishing .  That is the rod for the job.  The leader, well I used 10m of copolymer as suggested.

Apologies If you have already read the articles, but if you havent I think they are worth a read.

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...