Monday, 27 September 2021

So that’s it then

 

So another trout season ends ,   I reckon that was my 51st,  Not I might add my 51st fishing season but it is the number since I picked up my first fly rod.  Hard to imagine how much time I have spent planning , dreaming and actually fishing for trout since I caught the first one . I can still remember that first fish, I can recall that moment of disbelief of fooling  that rising fish as if it was yesterday.  When I lift into a rising fish still gives me the same buzz now . 

This lovely small stream brownie was my last of the season and the only one of the day , I think partly because i actually wanted it to be that way. I switched to targeting the grayling straight away.

There were no large grayling today ,  I was briefly connected to one better fish but an underwater snag allowed it shed the barbless fly 



In one run there are always Grayling and felt sure that I would get some interest from a fish from a well presented dry.  After a fruitless 10 minutes I switched to a nymph .  The result was four fish in six casts the first two in consecutive casts .  They were clearly feeding hard but not looking up. Despite the water been at best 2ft deep and running very clear .




I have never been a great fan of newer Sage fly rods.  Always seemed to fast for my style of fishing ,  However last year I picked up a Sage Circa 379 on a well known auction site ,  For small streams it has been a whirlwind romance .  This is a 279 sister for it.  perfect for these smaller streams .  I paid a bit more than I would have liked for it on the same site but so far I have fished it 3 or 4 times and am mightily impressed.  When I think back to my first fly rod , an ABU fibreglass job and compare the performance to this lightweight creation it does make you realise that sometimes progress is a good thing..


This small river is very narrow and tends to retain a healthy flow even in the driest of years ,  it is very intimate fishing .  I learnt a week or so ago that the EA have been to walk the river.  To be fair in places there are some huge trees blocking it and causing massive erosion problems . It sounds as though they will be along in the winter with heavy machines. lets just hope they dont do to good a job .  As we may suffer a few years of leaner pickings while the river recovers.  About ten year ago they cleared out some obstructions and the fishing wasnt great for a year or so.  Proof that as my friend Dave says trout live in trees. 


The grayling generally seem to be thriving here ,  The head of grayling seems to exceed the trout ,  must say that this one seems well fed 


On the way back home I passed a couple of service stations with long lines of cars waiting to fill up . For the benefit of the foreign readers  Panic buying has broken out due a newspaper reporting that BP had a problem with tanker drivers , The result panic buying creating a shortage ,  There is plenty of fuel but if everyone fills up at the same time a shortage becomes another self fulfilling prophecy .  But there again people have a habit of making the same mistakes ,  Whilst I was fishing today I spotted this sheep totally tangled in the fencing , so wandered up to the farmhouse to let the farmer know..  Interestingly my son made the same journey last week as there was a sheep caught in the same fence.  the farmer reckoned it was the same sheep.  I guess people and sheep have things in common. 


I think i only made half a dozen overhead casts today . its mainly roll, spey and general make it up as you go along casts are the order of the day , With a few bow and arrow casts thrown in. I love that about the river so much interest . With many a surprise along the way ,  




Anyway heres to the Autumn and Winter grayling fishing , Hoping that I catch a few a bit bigger than little chap.  If the rain that is forecast next week arrives we may even get some sea trout up one of my other  local streams. 





Just as a postscript.  Hippo from Angola left a comment on the last blog post .  Comments like that remind me that there are a number of folks scattered around the globe who read this . It reminds me just how fortunate I am .  The mine clearance work is amazing Tom.. 


Sunday, 8 August 2021

Fishing in the summer heat...A good time for friends and Family...

 Summer can be blessing but also a curse... Currently we are in a heat wave . it means low water , low oxygen levels and often means confining the fishing to the last hour or two of daylight...It also means some different tactics.  in the current heat wave the Brown trout seem to have become night shift workers . For the last few weeks virtually all of the rising fish have been smaller grayling.  They are great fun though especially as my little stream has some great BWO hatches late on in the evening ,  small flies though, the evening hatch is often a size 20 affair ,  Where as earlier in the day BWO hatches are around the size 16 mark.  As I have got older and a little wiser about this whole fly fishing malarky I have realised that famous tongue in cheek addage of size isn`t important really doesn`t stack up in fly fishing terms ,  when I started out on the the never ending fly fishing learning curve I had size 12 and 14 flies in Christ knows how many patterns.  These days I have far fewer patterns in Christ knows how many sizes.  Years ago a size 16 was a midge now its a size 22 or a 24,   its strange but the fishing flies I use seem to have become smaller almost perfectly in line with my decreasing ability to see the buggers.  These pictures  were from the start of the hot weather. the stream is a fair bit lower now...



Fishing with and teaching a beginner who is also your son is very precious , Just need to get my Daughter going as well.....The first few fish are very important .  His casting is coming on a treat...



Anyway back to the point . Hot summer evening fishing for me is arrive at a sensible time and take it easy ,  The river will tell you when it is time to start fishing , start to early and you will disturb things and probably kill any chance you may have had .  one recent evening I got to the river a little early probably around 5 pm .  It was still bloody hot and by the time I walked to the bottom of the fishing I was hot and sweaty .  So the solution to that tricky fishing problem was easy. bend the knees place rear end at the base of a willow , Straighten out the old  legs and enjoy the shade and watch the river for at least half an hour... .  Different river but I love this stretch..



Now those high energy types amongst you will be aghast at the approach ,  but watching the river lets you see what`s hatching and wait for the mood of the river to change my plan was simple . I wanted to wait till I had a couple of hours or so before dark.  maybe three at most . The approach was going to be fish the faster runs only, where the oxygen levels were higher for the fish and end up at the top of the stretch and back near the car by dark.  As the sun dipped and the shadows lengthened you could feel the heat dropping out of the air. I think you can sense when it is the time to start fishing again. You can start to hear and see the insect life, I think its about being in touch with the river. " bullshit" you may say but honestly I think if you fish enough and settle in to the environment you can sense such things ,  My simplistic view is if I am starting to feel comfortable then the fish are .  



I the summer its a great time to share the river with friends  This friend is one who i learn of... but I like to keep out of the way as well... . I dont know about you readers but when the trout season starts I do fish a lot harder . its like I am trying to banish those close season blues so early season I fish hard and often and then as the season runs on and that urgency reduces , usually coinciding with high summer it becomes a good time to share your river with guests ,  Its a strange thing fishing with guests on small streams ,  after all small stream fly fishing is essentially a solitary occupation so for me its a case of agree starting and meeting points then head of alone. 


Monday, 14 June 2021

Mayfly on a small Yorkshire stream .

 Its been a miserable long cold spring.  There has been to much rain then not enough rain then it was cold again .  But the last couple of weeks warm weather has arrived and right on time the mayfly have started to appear.  Up in Yorkshire the Mayfly generally appear in the first two weeks of June..  No massive hatches yet but on Friday evening for a couple of hours there was a proper hatch that switched the fish on ,  a Sunday afternoon visit with my Son was good with a few duns about to keep the fish interested.  This is a lovely little stream that has a good number of decent fish it is all wild fishing and all the better for it.. The pictures tell their own story...it is fantastic fun on a 7ft 3wt rod.  


A lot of the fishing here is close quarters combat style fishing ,  Roll casts are a must.I picked up a lovely fish just of centre where the bubble line is on the far side. kneeling down and a roll cast of only perhaps 20ft after a careful shuffle into position.  



There are some very nice fish in here and they know where the snags are 



A lot of the river has combinations of gravel bottom and plenty of soft silt as well the mayfly nymphs love that 


Thhis was a very pretty fish the camera really doesn`t do it justice..


I extracted one fish from in there...



Here it is....





and on the menu tonight was....


Thursday, 27 May 2021

Southfork Products magnetic fly holder

 

A local company here in the UK came up with an idea ,  Magnet-ique a brilliant and innovative product to keep your flies safe ,  as a friend of one of the Directors I listened with interest on the new products development .  I was even given an early model to field test .  I witnessed the time and effort needed to develop this new product for the market.  

This is them....https://www.magnet-ique.com/


I also know that every effort has been made to keep the manufacturing local , keeping several small local businesses busy during the pandemic . I also know that discussions were being had with American companies to sell these over in the States. So its a disappointment now to know that Southfork Products have shamelessly ripped of the design ,  Also proudly declaring made in The USA .  The supply chain also selling them will I am sure have been aware of the infringement of intellectual property rights .  I guess its a sign of the times , but its a shame US businesses behave like Chinese ones and for me makes me less bothered about buying cheaper Chinese rip offs of American fishing tackle.  Certainly here in the UK Magnet- Ique and its associated companies are a well loved brand and I feel sure that people will remember South Fork Products brand for the rip off merchants that they seem to be. 




Sunday, 16 May 2021

Could Spring be here ?


It’s been a long time coming but I think spring is here, today the fish were small but rising more freely . 


The trees are turning green again.

The fish are starting to oblige us by looking up and the flies are starting to hatch . Hawthorn flies we’re about but the fish weren’t interested. 


Even if some are very small they were fun on a three weight cane rod .  

The last few days rain has turned the wild garlic green again, this bank of it was dry and wilting a week ago . 



The smell in the air today was wonderful  . 

I followed a roe buck up the river today caught sight of it eventually and he saw me , my they are fast. 

I love this river , so varied, rocky and fast at times then slow glides ,


The fish generally today were the smaller ones the larger ones  , of which there are many were mainly laying low .  I suppose  I could have found some bigger fish with a nymph but I was relishing seeing rising fish . 


Now I am Looking forward to many more warmer days . 


 

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Reflections

 

At the moment it’s all a bit surreal, the new trout season is upon us.  the weather is sort of like springtime.  Well, it’s cold enough with regular morning frosts but we have nearly finished the month and the April showers have been pretty much non-existent. As I start this post today it is the 27th of April and last night was the first time for many weeks, I have heard rain on the roof.  Fairly short lived but rain none the less. At the weekend the rivers were as low as you would expect in August at the end of a long hot summer.  So, we need rain and a fair bit of it.  

 






At the weekend I had my first day when I saw a reasonable number of rising fish, Well thats sort of true its the first time I managed to catch because actually about 10 days ago I had a trip over to the Yorkshire dales with my Son. We saw rising fish, but I managed to drop 5 on the bounce releasing them at distance not the example I wanted to set him.  He has fished before, but he is still a beginner and struggling somewhat with casting and I am a rotten teacher, I have also explained that he is probably learning to fly fish the hardest way. Small unstocked wild streams, difficult casting, spooky fish and under very difficult conditions but he is enjoying the experience he is already an outdoors fan.  So, trying to instil the whole holistic fly-fishing bum thing isn’t really an issue.  I reckon he was born an angler I just need to help him develop the skills.  Apart from that the places I fish are so pretty I can’t think of a better place to struggle to learn new skills. 

 


When I have been fishing then the bamboo  rods are getting a workout, I apologise I should have used the English term"split cane" I am reading Gierach at the moment and I guess I am been Americanised .  I have a few Cane rods now, a pretty mixed bunch but all very enjoyable, one thing I have realised is that for a long time I sort of dismissed cane/bamboo as a bit of a nostalgic exercise and not really a serious fishing tool.  But after fishing them for a while now.  especially with silk lines I see them as a serious alternative and not just some sort of romantic throw back.  Over the last few years, I have sought out and fished with rods that aid delicate presentation and good close-range casting, rods like the Orvis superfine series and the delightful vision cults, using them sometimes at 2 wt.  These rods are sometimes stated to offer a classic traditional action but with the benefits of up-to-date materials.   The truth has dawned on me that they do some of that but not nearly as well as the real thing.  For sure if I am down the river at night after sea trout or putting out longish lines on big rivers with a 9 or 10 ft rod, I will be sticking to Carbon. But on small streams I am rapidly being converted to cane, it seems to me that the sweet spot for them is from 6ft through to 7ft 6inch in the 3 to 5 wt range.  

 


Alongside that the silk lines have been a revelation I have bought a few but the Terenzio and Phoenix are superb. brilliant straight from the box.  I hadn`t realised just how good they are for roll casting until I started using them they are better both in terms of casting efficiency but also much less water surface disturbance the fact that silk lines repel water due to their coatings and therefore sit on the surface film and are also smaller diameter, whereas the thicker plastic lines use displacement as old dear Archimedes.  For overhead casting they cut through the wind far more effectively.  The downside is that they are more expensive and need a little more care but will last for very many years. Although after seeing the price of the new Rio lines the price difference is not that huge anymore.  They have created an additional problem though.  I have a modest collection of carbon rods that I have honed and perfected covering just about every option I need.  In the past I have tended to move on a rod every time I got something new. This is now complicated by Son and Daughter needing gear but also the newly arriving cane rods are duplicating Carbon but offering something different.  I guess I just need to get better at hiding rods from the Mrs .

 


Thursday, 15 April 2021

Things are looking up...

 So here we are then nearly a quarter through 2021 , a year that has a bit of a George Orwell feel to it what with Covid , Social distancing, mass inoculation on top of all the usual troubles and  rumblings that go on in society .  Brexit which was forecast to be either nirvana and the road to the promised land or a slippery slope to hell. Has as to be expected has turned out to be like bad tempered divorce with both sides claiming the better deal.  But really has passed almost seeming inconsequential compared to the Covid impact..  For the Americans that read this blog and I know there are a good few of you ,  Brexit ( or our leaving the EU )  is turning out to be a bit like that time when you have to go to your annoying neighbour and ask for your lawn mower back , and the ladders , the socket set and then say I have no problem lending them to you again but we need a whole raft of rules in place which actually make the whole process almost not worth the bother.   You are quite happy to live next to your neighbour but am also happy to see a bit less of them . Anyway enough about illness and politics  here are a few pics from my first trip of the season . With my first fish of the season a little sea trout smolt that snaffled my nymph.  



So back to fishing, for me this season is a continuation of how my fishing experience is changing and developing. Over the last year or two pretty much all my fishing is now wild fishing  I would cut out all the rivers I fish that are stocked all but I am very attached to one of clubs and feel I just have to stay with it. My first few trips have been pretty dire, rivers here are very low and gin clear with little insect life and very few rising fish it has been a miserable start to the season. 


Looking forward . At the start of every new year I sit and get out all the fly boxes and look at whats left after the carnage , generally my view is if there a corner of flies that look like they havent been used I probably wont bother for next season.   Over the last few years CDC has played a bigger role and traditional dry hackled flies have receded ,  also tiny Deer hair sedge patterns have seen lots of success and use. So there are more of them for this season.  I am forming an opinion that flies that essentially sit in the film like CDC F Flies and emergers are less prone to drag I suppose it obvious that having an anchor in the surface film is bound to make a difference,  I know Micro drag sounds terribly high brow ,  but I have come to the conclusion that even microscopic amounts of drag will make enough difference .better anglers than me have been saying it for years it just takes a while for an average angler like me to catch on.   Also I have had more success on very small streams with spider patterns , generally fished directly upstream and on very short drifts , previously this was a technique I saved for bigger rivers .  Only if there was a very strong rise happening to up wings would I use a hackled dry .  First choice would be a CDC IOBO. 


 Also my angling approach is changing ,  I have now got an increasing collection of cane rods, traditional reels and silk lines.  the silk lines are a revelation .  They roll cast superbly and due to the lower diameter they cut through the wind delightfully and land so delicately I haven`t looked at any of my two weight rods all last year.  I have silk lines from  three different makers ,  Terenzio , these are superb and work beautifully straight from the box .  I have a Thebault level line which was the first silk line I bought and excellent line for faster water .  I have also bought a couple of Mr Moxons excellent lines ,  these seem to require a short period of breaking in much in the way your new leather walking boots need a bit of a beating before they feel part of you . But I have DT 3 silk from Mr Moxon I have used it three of four times now it is still a little noisy through the rings but it casts very nicely and love the taper on them . These are available from my Good friend Richard at :https://www.barbless-flies.co.uk/products/ian-moxon-silk-fly-lines-made-in-sheffield-uk

I did flirt with the Wulff bamboo fly line and although it worked well enough I prefer the silk, I suppose largely influenced by the fact I see bamboo and Silk as a dry fly tool.  To be used on Spring days and Summer evenings .  If I intend to fish the nymph to a great extent then I will get a carbon rod out of the car boot. 



there is a lot to look forward to this year , starting this Saturday when I feel that a trip to the Ure is on the cards .  




Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Reasons to be cheerful..

 So here we are 2021 a year that has a lot of responsibility.  In so much as everyone is relying on  it to drag us all out of this pit.  2020 was by all standards pretty miserable .  I think it turned out pretty much like everyone imagined 2001 would be , remember all the doom and forecasts around what the millenium bug was going to do ?.  in the end everything was fine.  Well 20 years on Covid showed us how bad a year can be.   

Anyway , reasons to be cheerful well for me there are a few . Vaccination is going well in the UK , My family have so far stayed clear of it. But more importantly last year my daughter showed an every increasing interest in going fly fishing with me something that I am hoping will continue this year.  So far the signs of enthusiasm are there . Also my middle Son who returns from a year working in South Korea in a couple of weeks and as of last week is now a member of one of my favourite fishing clubs ,  So there is the splendid thought that this year I can share days and evenings fishing on one of my favourite rivers with two of my kids this year . The river fished wonderfully last year with some superb small stream Brown Trout and Grayling ,  I just hope that the winter floods haven`t done to much damage ,  

This is the Stream in question it isnt a large river but I consider it to be just about perfect. lets hope the year brings more fish and more bent rods...for all of us...I just need to get them both some casting tuition. I can watch not that I need to you understand....


In Many years fishing there  I have never caught a stocked fish .  It has the prettiest brown trout 




It is a fairly small stream despite being called a river ,  but there are plenty of fish 

perhaps more importantly it has plenty of these in it ... So fishing throughout the year is always available 


Here is number 2 Son in action on a different river ,
Even in dead low summer conditions it always fishes..


Come on 2021 do your stuff,,,,,,