Sunday 19 July 2020

Chalk and Cheese

The title is an old saying popular in the English language and it refers to things which are totally different ,  It  also links the two places I have fished this week rather nicely .  Not having had any significant time of work since Christmas I decided this week to have three days of.  Wednesday I planned to fish the Ure .  A beautiful Yorkshire Dales river flowing through Wenslydale .  Interestingly Wenslydale is the only one of the Yorkshire Dales which is not named after the river that flows through it ,  it is named after the town that is shares its name with .  It also shares its name with a famous cheese , Wenslydale is a delightful crumbly pleasure recently made famous by that cartoon series Wallace and grommit.   The chalk half of the saying is relevant because of the delightful Chalk stream that I was invited to fish on during Friday .  The Yorkshire Wolds are a series of rolling chalk hills that are host to a few Spring fed streams of extraordinary clarity and richness ,  it was the Driffield West beck that a Friend invited me for a day ,  but first was the Ure this was one of the first areas we explored my companion is there exploring the faster water.

The river was at a reasonable summer level,  and was running that nice colour which can either be said to resemble cold tea or a fine Yorkshire beer depending on how you like to describe it.

For once this yours truly pictured mid stream and rather smartly photographed which would indicate that the casting style is somewhere near decent ,  Also perhaps confirming that photos can be very misleading .

The Ure is a largish freestone river famous for its trout and Grayling , it is one of the birthplaces of Spider ( Soft hackle ) fishing ,  It is also infamous for its ability to rise with terrifying speed should heavy rain fall at the head of the valley. On the day I shared the day with a good friend who made the journey over there at the same time ,  As far as the fishing went the least said the better the highlight of the day was in the end the scenery and the sound of curlews , My Companion had the better of it , My tally was a few small brownies most came in the last hour or two of a long day .  My companion had both a a decent trout and a nice Grayling as well as other bits ,  On Friday it was a different story the fish gods shone on me . aided by some canny guiding this was the result.

This next  picture gives an idea of both the size and the extraordinary clarity of the stream .

Fridays trip ending up being a totally different day ,  the day was blessed on a number of counts ,  the weather was kind , the Wolds streams can be a trifle windy ,  Or more accurately a gentle summers breeze down at sea level at my home can turn into a wind that bends trees over up on the wolds .  The fish were there in profusion and for a change Lady Luck was smiling on me .  But more importantly my host as well as being a damm fine angler is extremely knowledgable about the stream.   I was guided skilfully to where the hotspots were .  Fish of prodigious proportions were there to be seen .  Even accompanied by a native guide many were spooked .

My first five minutes casting was rubbish ,  well more rubbish than my usual casting is ,  but after that I improved from awful to passable and settled into the day .  In the end I managed a good few fish the best two were carefully weighed at 3lb 3 oz and 2lb 12oz. The 2lb 12 was a stunning fish but avoided the camera , after been carefully weighed in the net as I went to hold it up a last thrash of the tail sent it sailing back into the river .  ah well such is life.  It was in the end a stunning day finished of by the last half an hour trying to tempt some large resident chub and Grayling a in a large deep pool.  The late afternoon sunshine beating down on our back was the signal that the day was done .  A memorable day with great company.

Wednesday 1 July 2020

A little stream and Blue winged olives .

When it all comes down to it ,  as a fly fisherman who loves small streams I guess it does not get any better than a summers evening on a pretty stream with rising fish .  When you analyse it all there are really only a couple of months maybe three at best when the evening rise has a chance to develop properly .  This year apart from Covid lockdown we have had a strange year ,  months of unbroken sunshine which followed a very wet winter , then after the recent hot spell the last few days has seen heavy downpours with rivers rising several metres almost overnight .   Anyway last Friday after viewing the weekend weather report which was for thunderstorms starting that evening and getting worse over the weekend  I decided to risk the weather.  The rivers were fairly settled and it was very warm and sticky. I decided on stretch of river based on how near I could park my Jimny if I had to exit quickly in case of downpours. 

Not big but from a tricky lie and on a dry , it will do nicely 

 I love this stream pretty wild and challenging  but a lovely place to be .  It has a good head of fish to 

It was nice to see rising fish almost immediately ,  not huge numbers but enough to promise an interesting evening ,  there were BWO coming of and so choice of fly was easy .  A size 18 fly fly with a dubbed seals fur body.  Well seals fur and artificial dubbing , I find just seals fur a pain to dub on small flies.  but mixed with some artificial dubbing it works much better.

My only company were these sheep.  They were very curious .  

This is the F Fly pattern I use this is a size 18 .  Love the spikiness of seals fur.  Body dubbing colour varies orange , olive and black are all good depending on whats hatching ,  also plain black thread body and stripped quills ,  It is a hell of a pattern

After a dodgy first 10 minutes when I caught a tree and two clumps of Grass I got into my stride. the fish were rising well but were very spooky ,  generally you only got one cast and in the very tight surroundings you have to get pretty close often roll casts between bushes were the answer ,  but you tend to do a lot of improvised casts , also you seem to spend more time checking behind your arm than aiming at the fish ,  which is why roll and spey casts are so useful as least you can keep the line in front of you.

 Lots around this size were caught ,  The bigger ones were hiding .

My car was well populated with resting fish food when I got back to it .

The highlight of the evening was the fact that the Grayling were rising to dries to . Sadly the best one of the evening was the best one I nearly had after shaking the hook and saying goodbye.  When I got back to the car it was covered in Flies, Mainly BWO but also a few Sedges and I think Olive Uprights .  I drove home after best part of four hours fishing ,  saw a few rain drops and heard the odd rumble of thunder but very little wet stuff. Only three or four miles into my Journey and roads were awash so not just a good night it had been a lucky one .  

Reasons to be cheerful part 3

One of my favourite Artists from the 70s was Ian Drury and the blockheads .And after a long driving session a few days ago when I explored m...