Sunday 30 June 2019

Who you meet on the river ..



It has been a strange couple of weeks Torrential rain , record breaking temperatures .  High water.. Low water we have had it all, and I have even managed the odd fishing trip,  a couple of hours here and there to squeeze in between home and work .   The highlights haven't been the fish but the surroundings and the things you see and the people you meet .  One evening I had the pleasure of sharing the river with an Otter for a brief while .  I read a lot of bad press about the Otters from some angling people and yet every single river angler I know doesn't have a bad word for them .  We have had a resident otter on our local stream for 20 plus years .  Sure it takes the odd sea trout at spawning time but the rest of the year it seems to live on crayfish, bull heads and the like .  I suppose logically they are a lot easier to catch than a lively trout or grayling .   Trouble is you put a heavily stocked commercial carp lake in front of them and all they are going to see is a whopping great Chinese take away.  Full of big fat tasty carp. They don't understand the economics of running a commercial fishery.  Anyway heres a really short and pretty bad video I took of one down the river the other night.  It was a special moment it knew I was there but obviously thought I was harmless enough  .



As for Crayfish well theres another funny thing , I caught one today. Thats a first for me and on a dry fly .  Yeh right you say pull the other one .  Well heres the thing I was fishing a dry , a size 16 IOBO humpy no less and the leader  hooked under a bit of floating debris as I took in slack ready to recast . So I waded upstream to unhook the offending line and then realised my fly had got dragged into something so pulled it in by hand to clean of the fly and found this on the end.  Now it may well be that I dragged the fly into the crayfish but I am convince that the IOBO looked so damn tempting it just stretched out his one good nipper and grabbed it . Anyway the cray was gently unhooked and returned swiftly .  But I will definitely add it to my catch return for the season .



Yes its a native one , we are lucky around here that the signal invaders haven't arrived yet ...
Then to cap it all whilst fishing today I met several friends and the river keeper who I have known a long time in fact I gave him his first fishing rod when he was a kid.   I do seem to spend a lot time chatting to fellow angling friends and yes these days more than ever a day on the river means so much more than catching fish . I guess this bloke knew a thing or two . 

"Many men go fishing all of their
lives without knowing that it
is not fish they are after." 

Henry David Thoreau


Sunday 23 June 2019

A bit of Casting and a bit of fishing


I started this post a good few weeks ago .  Since then we have had lots of rain so if anyone does read this and think what planet is he living on ?.  Thats the answer.
I realised the other day when chatting to someone that I reckon that when next year rolls around it will be 50 years since I caught my first fish on a fly .  I  sometimes wonder where all thise years have gone .  True , I havent fly fished all of those years , there were a good few years of been happy to catch anything . A good few years of trying to catch "Specimans" Barbel , Tench , Carp oh yes and Roach, I was desperate for a two pound roach as it turned out I didnt catch a two pounder until years later when I caught one by accident when bait fishing for Grayling in the Stour .

 I suppose fly fishing has always been my favourite but cost and accessibility limited my early years .  I have always preferred river fishing for trout. I never really took to still waters,  Times have changed now and these days river fly fishing  clubs in these parts are desperate for members. mny of  the most exclusive ones are accessible to anyone who isnt a criminal and can pay their subs.   Truth is as clubs open their doors more people can be choosy . I see a greater desire for fishing unstocked wild streams and having the opportunity for Grayling fishing.   I think many of the posher clubs are going to have real issues recruiting members .  Times are changing even for fly fishing clubs , they need to change with them .


Anyway forgetting that and despite all that time Its only in the last two years that I have had a first casting lesson .  That was for a bone fishing trip  and to specifically learn the double haul. Then a conversation with a fishing friend led to booking another casting lesson with Brian Towers in the dales.  The plan was that the morning would have a few hours casting tuition . Then we could move to the nearby Swale and have a fish.  The river was pretty low .  Which in one respect makes the fishing a bit easier .  the contra view is it makes it harder.  Personally I find low conditions much easier to fish . 



The water clarity was exceptional and in slack water areas like this it makes presentation pretty important .  Here my companion was suffering the dreaded scenario of lots of rising fish but struggling to fool one.   I had fished a similar pool and had also struggled so I was heading upstream to look for some faster water .  Fish are far easier to fool when they dont have so long to study your offering ...


This run was typical of ones that gave up fish .  Broken water , more oxygen and less time for fishy to inspect your pattern and presentation meant more chance of success .  I intend to fish the river a lot more this year . The fishing on the day was difficult but my its a stunning river .   I have intentions of fishing here more this season ,  a friend of mine fancies doing the same  so we will e sharing the journeys .



I have just got back from another favourite small stream,  The river looked stunning and there was plenty hatching ,  even the odd mayfly , but the fly that worked was a size 16 IOBO humpy .  A fly I use a huge amount and in my opinion one of the best generic olive patterns there is .  




The fish in the stream are all wild and all pretty much perfect .  The first pic is the average size but there are loads smaller and a good many larger ,




The last is a decent fish for the stream ,  there are bigger there are a few a lot bigger .  But this was great fun on the 8ft 2 wt .   A few years ago my fishing was mainly four weights on streams .  Light line rods were three weights now on small streams its usually two weights ,   Rod for that day was an Orvis superfine carbon  8ft 2wt . Truth is fish like this are what I love to fish .  Wild fin perfect perfection . 







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...