Friday 27 June 2014

June a mixed story.....

June and September for me are the absolute cream of the fly fishing calender.  Even with a  cold spring the weather in June is pretty much without fail a time of plenty.  This year I would give it a mixed review.  The mayfly whilst giving me a good evening on the Yorkshire Dove failed to deliver a really top event.  That evening also gave me an opportunity to once again forget my camera.  I really do think age is catching up with me.

The second week in June saw me north of the border in Scotland me and my long suffering wife rented a cottage near lockerbie the place of that terrible air line disaster of many years ago.  It was also very near to the Annan a river I have long wanted to wet a line on.  The day we arrived we were treated to a full 24 hours of at times torrential rain which proceeded to bugger the river for the first half of the week.  If I had been wanting to fish for sea trout I dare say I would have welcomed it , but I was after the native brownies. This is a river that has fish of very large proportions and I was looking forward to getting amongst them.

On Thursday I arrived at the river to find it still a little up but running clear. But with few fish rising the only things on the wings seemed to be fairly large stone flies an empty shuck here against a size 12 shows they were a meaty snack. I ended up with a decent catch on both the well chewed nymph below and some CDC f flies.  The top fish was about the average of a few fish caught.  I was briefly attached to a very large fish that jumped like a rainbow and by its silvery appearance I would guess was a sea trout,  one jump managed to detach the hook from it ,  I wont try to guess its weight the memory is still painfull.  

The next couple of trips were evening affairs, after dinner sorties to the Yorkshire Derwent which is about 10 minutes from my house, it has become my short session fishery of choice. Perfect for filling in those early summer evenings and not having a long trek home afterwards.   A strange couple of sessions with just about every form of ephemeroptera hatching. Each small glide or pool seemed to have something different on the menu , the fish below engulfed the mayfly in its gob after bow waving about 2ft up the fast water as soon as the fly touched down . But no other fish showed an interest in mayfly at all. The fly of choice seemed to be a tiny size 22 job.  

The river looks damn fine right now , a perfect example of a northern spate stream .  Its called the river Derwent but this high up its watercourse it is smaller than many watercourse around here called becks. Just gos to show the joys of the English language. 

I read recently on that most excellent blog " North Country Angler " that he fished a small stream and caught brownies that looked like the ones he saw in the older books.  Well I must agree, to me the couple of fish below whilst small are to coin  a phrase "perfectly formed" and look just as a brownie should look. 

Piscine perfection in every sense of the word.  Although small I don`t beleive I will ever tire of catching fish like this .  The chap at the bottom still has my size 22 stuck in his lip.  You know I used to be concerned about the hook hold such tiny things give but the more I fish them the more I realise that with sensible tackle  ( soft rod and long tippet ) they are just fine and allow you to put on plenty of pressure with even large fish.

A recent addition has been a threader box .  This is a cheapo one of ebay with some of the C and F threaders on it ,  This was its first outing and for this fisherman with crap close vision I can not overstate how much easier the changing of a size 22 in fading light has now become , the box is filling up fast . 

This is my generic small fly , not a proper pattern but a dunn or grizzle hackle,  Coq de leon tails and dubbed body in olive green ,  black and grey dun gives me a fly for aphids which can be a killer anytime now, a small black job and something that works as a general small olive pattern.  I will also be adding some tiny cdc F Flies and some Terrys specks , again from NCAs blog .  As thats twice I have praised his blog thats it for the year a Yorkshire man can not be overly generous when dishing praise out to someone from the wrong side of the Pennines.

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Fathers day

One of the aspects of fishing that I have started to appreciate more and more over the last few years is that of variation , particularly when it comes to the rivers I fish .   For very many years I fished small spate streams and fished them pretty poorly at that.  Over the last few years I have been fortunate in gaining access to a number of different rivers that offer some real variation in challenges and opportunities.

As I have previously posted .The latest stream I have got access too is Foston Beck.  I was there at the weekend, Fathers day to be precise . I fished the top end of the water .  A mile or so of water that seems to alter in mood by the yard.  But a single element of it remains constant that of the water clarity. Now to any readers who fish this type of water then I beg forgiveness for stating what to them is the bleeding obvious. But  I am still at the discovery stage and finding it strange to be able to see the fish even in several feet of water ,  at the weekend fly life seemed a little sparse and rising fish were few . The initial flush of stock fish seemed to have been thinned out and the fish in evidence were the wild fish generally smaller and well spread out ,  I am starting to get the hang of spotting them now in between the beds of weeds or tucked in tight under them sometimes the edge of a fin is all that betrays them.  

Targeting these fish is fascinating if you combine a cautious approach with the right angle of approach you can get remarkably close to them .  Close enough to watch your nymph drift past their nose even.  In fact it does make me consider how hit and miss my spate stream fishing is and the importance of effectively covering the water ,  I put a nymph past the fish above on about 12 occasions before it took .  Probably 8 of those passes were, it appeared to me target wise bang on the money but it obviously didnt look right to the fish. The fish was on a clear gravel patch perhaps no wider than a foot and a half and was on the fin taking nymphs that were funneled down to it .  You can see the patch right in the centre of the shot below , shaped a bit like a witches hat.  Perhaps the fishes obviously well fed rotund appearance is a clue to its fussy eating .  The stream is certainly an ample larder.

The other highlight of the day was a glimpse of a water vole and the other notable wildlife events were the constant irritation of brave female mallards brooding chicks being disturbed by me and shooting up the centre of the stream flapping about and giving their broken wing display and promptly sending every fish straight under the weeds. 

The deep weed beds whilst looking pretty certainly make dry fly presentation tricky the currents generated by the weed beds certainly do make for some complex currents hitting the surface and the fly skates about all over. Not sure how many fish I caught but enough to consider the day as a rewarding day.
Apologies for the poor photos my preparation for the day included charging my camera battery which I then left at home in the charger.  On the day I had to use my phone...

Monday 2 June 2014

The evening rise

We have all fished in that delicious time of day when the daytime just seems to leak away and as the colours of the river change from their rich vibrancy into the monotones of night time there is a window when, just sometimes every fish in the river seems to start to feed.  Yesterday was such a time.

Although the river was still high and somewhat coloured my brief after dinner trip to the river was rewarded with an enthusiastic response from the piscine inhabitants .  Initially when I arrived at the river I was surprised to see a few other anglers around but most were leaving the bank rather than just starting to fish . I soon sussed that a short stretch upstream of me was pretty much  untouched and would keep me amused for a few hours . On this type of stream a couple of hundred yards of stream can keep me occupied for 2 to 3 hours.  There is so much variation and so many potential lies to fish the stream properly is pretty slow going.  I am constantly amazed as to how fast some anglers seem to fish through a length of river.

Although this stretch may appear pretty mundane but it is full of rocks and pots with the fish lying right across the stream and also tight into the bank.  

The little native brownies are all dark and heavily spotted ,  They are all plump and well fed and everyone was returned no the worst for the experience,  They rise freely and are great for sharpening ones reflexes,  On here a 12 inch fish is a very good one. On the evening all the fish came to a F Fly emerger size 18.  In under 3 hours I had about 25 or 30.

Before I started fishing I stood and chatted for 15 minutes with a fellow angler and club secretary this pre start conversation among other things endorsed my opinion that  we believed very many anglers waste too many opportunities waiting for those perfect conditions that all to often fail to meet expectations. Last  night just showed that. the river was too high and too mucky, the temp was to low and the wind was cool and downstream.  But apparently for an hour or so the fish thought conditions perfect.

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...