Wednesday, 2 November 2022

Things you learn..

 It is an interesting truth that the best why to learn is from someone who is better than you either from listening or observing .  It is also an interesting truth that having to do things differently and getting you out of the routine of a comfort zone can reap rich rewards too.  In the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of the company of two fine Grayling anglers. The first reminded me about fishing the Duo.  

To be honest I never much liked the duo I never really liked fishing with the Klink as a dropper, on larger open rivers ok but on small streams with many overhead snags I found that tangles were to much of a hazard.  and with the New Zealand style of the hook bend I never could bring my self to trust that the dropper would not drop of.  Anyway I had seen the patterns with a 2mm rig ring caught in at the bend within the dressing so tied a few and gave it a go. I was impressed by the rig,  easy to cast and delivery was more accurate.  On my next trip out that rig brought me some success and the change of presentation was I am sure part of it allowing me to fish a section of river more effectively , but the point is more that I am as guilty as the next guy of getting into a routine ,  Yes I do fish the usual methods and catch enough but it does demonstrate that I and I suspect others get into a rut and we all need the proverbial kick up the arse

As well as getting into a rut method wise for those of us that fish the same water regularly I would hazard that there are many like me who on every trip fish pretty much the same runs and pools .  Now on Sunday a friend accompanied me , now the truth is he is a more experienced and much more efficient grayling angler than I am and so doesn`t need my assistance but as a guest in my book he gets to fish the favoured runs and glides that I would prefer,  So that leaves me steered towards the  areas that usually I walk past because the access to the river was poor or historically its an area that hasn`t really delivered .  I have fished this stretch of water now for about 15 years so I know it fairly well.  

Anyway the point is I found myself fishing different areas in different ways and actually caught my best of the day from a corner that I had not really tackled seriously for years as I figured the wading was to deep and the silt too soft  after trying it a few times over the years.  But I guess as most of the river changes constantly that little area had shallowed of over a winter and what was head high was now just above waist high but wade able. The lesson is keep things fresh and your catch rates improve.  

I am definitely a pleasure angler , a keen one I grant you but truth is I know that my casting needs to improve I also have been told my work rate needs to improve, My answer to that at the time was If I had to work hard to catch fish them my advisor at the time could stuff it where the sun don`t shine , these days stopping and watching wildlife and even better a chat with another angler is all part of the day for me. Another friend has a successful angling business , so successful he hardly ever fishes himself, that to me would be the worst result imaginable but I also appreciate that his success is down to the effort and time he commits. But after saying all that I love catching fish anyone who knows me has my permission to kick my arse if I claim that blanking doesn`t matter.  It does matter but just not as much as it used too and it amazing how little extra effort is needed to improve your catch rate and enjoyment ,

 I have spent the last few years working hard to build a small business and that is what working hard is for.  Fishing is so I can keep my head sane to keep working hard.  As for fishing hard generally I have found that for me less is more, on the rivers taking your  time and casting less often has increased my catch rate,  If I had to give any prospective small stream angler advice it would be just stand still and watch for a bit,  it is amazing how often that single bit of advice helps. Usually when I wade into a new river section before I start to work upstream I stop and take of the fly, change tippet well you know the rest but its amazing how often in that pause you spy a rising fish or even just notice an interesting current, even before that its a good rule to stop and look a minute or two before you wade in , How many times have we waded into a stream to see a bow wave of a fish that you had missed speeding upstream spooking everything else?. My very first fishing mentor 50 years ago told me of for always just trying to cast to the far bank, he pointed out that from other side this was the far bank. It was a lesson I never forgot. 

 Fishing should not be hard it should be leisurely and pleasurable or at least it seems that to me. It is also something that is aesthetically pleasing.  I think part of the reason why I have fished so much with Bamboo and silk during the last few summers is more about the quality of the experience and less about technical excellence and the numbers game.  It could of course be that I am simply getting older and have fished for so long that there is simply no urgency any more also cane rods and silk lines do seem to slow everything down and enhance the experience.  

Friday, 21 October 2022

What a strange back to front Season

 So that`s it then the 2022 trout season done and dusted.  " dusted" being the operative word. Never have I seen so little rain and the rivers so low and here we are in October with warm dry weather still.  local wetlands and ponds are in many cases completely dried out .  It has been a strange old year and my first trip of the Trout season resulted in a fine catch of ....out of season  Grayling all of which were caught on dry flies it was a perfect opening day except that I couldn`t catch the correct species.  Now here we are a couple of days after the season has ended and my first trip of the season started on a local river and all I could catch was trout .  

In fact if I continued I could have probably had my best days trout fishing of the season .  I reckon the recent rise in water levels had triggered them to feed.  They certainly were beating the Grayling to the nymphs. In the end I decided to up sticks and move to another favoured stream just 10 minutes away .  This stream is small , overgrown and like the other is completely un-stocked. In form though quite different the first has a bed of slab rock limestone .  High water quality but not a lot of silt and fine sand . Where as this stream flows through clay and gravel beds .  Lots of fine aggregate in the water course with lots of good invert and spawning areas. It can have an amazing mayfly hatch and has a lot of BWO.

The first couple of runs didn`t show any fish and was initially taken aback on how much colour it was carrying , I did catch a couple of trout but kept moving to known Grayling lies and eventually got into some small fish,  finally hitting on the fish below which was the first proper fish of the day and then on on the very next cast  the fish at the top hit. At 15 inches and at about a 1lb a very good fish for the river. 

It was an enjoyable day ,  but I fear that even on the following day the extra water was dropping away fast,  We really do need some serious rain quickly it needs to last a while as successive dry years have depleted the aquifers . ideally a month of heavy snow would be good. then a long gentle thaw ,  Then maybe a very wet spring just be certain.  So if you are listening God, lots of wet weather please. I know you are close as you are still working from home.. In Yorkshire ,,,

Friday, 16 September 2022

At last we have some rain so my first and last trout session.


This summer has seen the worst drought for many decades, for the last couple of months the rivers have shrunk alarmingly , however a week on the Greek island of Crete did remind me of how even in a drought year the climate here is still very green and temperate.  This last week or so has at last seen some rain and the rivers have settled .  So awarding myself a day out of the office for good behaviour I went to one of my favourite little Yorkshire streams.  As you can see from the pics it was still carrying some colour ,  in fact the first river I visited had a couple of cars already parked up and as I had other places that may be quiet I moved on , then the second was very coloured , I decided that another main feeder must have had some serious water in it , Luckily for me I have access to four stretches of river within a ten mile circle.  

The season generally has been pretty poor for trout fishing the first day of the season started amazingly apart from the fact all I could catch was out of season Grayling.  Anyway this week there were no rising fish so nymphs were the order of the day and a little size 18 bead head did the trick larger nymphs were ignored.  This fish was the prettiest and also the hardest scrapper these wild fish are very strong and it needed a big bend in my old Hardy featherweight to keep it out of the roots . When i saw that the little nymph was right in the neb as I drew it towards the net I blessed the soft action of the fly rod .
I guess saying that about the fly rod people will immediately say its rubbish but The reason why I use such soft rods for this close range fishing as they do allow you to apply good pressure whilst also protecting fragile tippet and tenuous hook holds ,  I am not a great fan of hardy rods but this one is exceptional.  For the same reason I am a great fan of the Sage Circa range ,  they are a bit to marmite for many but I love them. 

I was expecting that the day would end up being about Grayling ,  I sometimes think that there are more grayling in the river than trout ,  this season it has certainly felt like that , today only two showed there face . there were plenty visible as many sardine size fish were rising in the skinny water areas. 

In the end today the day was about trout I was surprised getting into double figures of fish  and the two shown were very welcome .  Generally each season I expect a good few of this quality but this year even the mayfly failed to wake them up. 

As the pic shows the river was still carrying some colour and it was dropping in level fast as the dry ground soaked up the water ,  We need a month or two of serious rain to refresh the ground water . lets hope we get a wet winter ,  

I have to say that seeing that trout makes me think I should make it the last trout trip of the season ,  So the first really decent day of trout fishing may also be the last of the season.  but that would be a very hasty decision. Lets see what the last couple of weeks of the season brings ,

Friday, 19 August 2022

An old itch is bothering me,

 I was recently out in the car between home and York .  I drove over a bridge over the river Derwent at a place where I fished probably 35 years ago . As I wasn`t in a rush I decided to stop and take a look at the place I caught my first Yorkshire Barbel.  It was a memorable and strange day that has stuck in my mind for several reasons firstly for the fact I remember well that I had set out to catch some decent chub , So the capture of a first Barbel was a surprise , a modest fish by current standards but at just shy of 5lb a good first fish , sadly in those days a camera did not always go with me fishing so all that is left is a memory of watching my little samson scale not quite hit 5lb  , What was also a surprise was hearing a voice behind me as I lifted the landing net under the fish and turning round to see Michael Clegg of Cleggs people stood on the bank behind me now those young readers will not know him but he was an interesting character a professional museum curator and naturalist  who had a TV show travelling around interviewing and meeting people.  There he was,  large bearded and imposing smiling and offering congratulations.  He sadly confirmed that they had missed the fish capture being filmed but nonetheless he stopped for ten minutes he was interested in the fish as it was the first he had seen in the Derwent and he stayed for a chat until his camera man told him it was time to go .  Was a shame that I didn`t make it on to the TV , my Dad was a great fan of his show he would have been capped ( Old Yorkshire Expression ) to see Son on the TV ,  Sadly not to be .  

This is Clegg, older readers may well recall him for the Yorkshire TV series 

Anyway enough rambling the point is that standing there on the bank a few weeks ago has irritated that old itch to do a bit more coarse fishing , To that end I have opened communications with the club that now runs the stretch of river and am hoping that membership may be a possibility as early as next year .  I even spent an hour in the garage finding where my coarse fishing stuff is stored , It is probably about 20 years since I have done any serious coarse fishing ,  apart from occasional Grayling trips in Winter the rods are still there MK4 Avons , Float rods all sorts Reels too Mitchells , Shimano all carefully put away certainly the lines will need replacing . Luckily the bag with keep and landing nets has been hung up high above mouse range.  Even the bait droppers and float tubes were still good to go.  The seat box was given away years ago ,  Anyway these days I think my rear end and back need something a bit more comfortable .  As I unboxed and reviewed everything on the patio in the sunshine my Wife happened past ,  She just looked at the mountain of stuff , looked at me , shook her head and went back inside after so long married she knows the signs...

The Fly fishing will always be my first love but well I keep getting that itch so watch out on the blog next year for a bit of Coarse fishing ,,,,,,

Thursday, 4 August 2022

Fascination of Vintage gear and a little fishing report...

 I am a member of a couple of online forums and have been for very many years and it has be apparent that there is a growing interest in the use of Bamboo rods  and silk lines .  But also an increasing interest in the use of vintage gear ,  The bamboo rods that I own are primarily recent builds but I also own an old Fosters and a South bend 290 with two tips from Thomas Turners , it was built around 1950 So actually older than me .  Lovely rod and it is still as straight as a die and casts beautifully. Also I acquired it recently for a little over £200 so great value ( Cane shouldn`t cost the earth )   it is also actually a pretty useful rod, one river I fish is very open and plastic 3 and 4 wt lines get blown about something wicked , that rod is designed for a 5 /6 wt,  I use a silk DT5.5 on it . It has a similar line diameter to a 4 wt and deals with the wind with much less effort.  So when its blowing that is what I pick up.  As the rod is a 7ft 6 inch its at home on most of my local streams .  Even though its a 5/6 even modest fish still put a nice bend in it.  

I came across an interesting article about this very subject today here is a link to it, It was one of those reads where I found myself nodding and smiling agreement to myself , I just thought I would pass it along. Also there are cane bargains to be had I noticed a unused and mint MR Zhu 7ft 4 wt with two tips went for £120 on ebay the other day , They are a very fishable rod and a great way to experience that first cane buzz.

This year I have come across a number of guys fishing cane / bamboo and also a few last year but I am struggling to recall any similar experiences over the previous 10 years. A good friend has a couple of "modern " bamboo rods and I recently came across a guy fishing A fosters cane rod that belonged to his Grandfather,  I don`t foresee that cane will overtake carbon ,  but there is for sure a growing minority of anglers that are tiring perhaps looking for something different out of the game, 

 I am not saying that I only fish bamboo now , my last trip was on a very low Yorkshire stream where I explored the upper and more overgrown stretches and for that day my weapon of choice was an Orvis Superfine touch 6ft 2 wt, which to those who are not acquainted with them is delightful full flex range of rods that are probably among the sweetest that Orvis produced , sadly  long since discontinued.

The run below was interesting , a difficult back cast and I was sinking into the mud at a fair rate as I cast and landed this fish first cast, my cast was a good one ( amazing for me ) I landed the fly about 4 inches from the far bank where the tiny patch of grass is next to the briars.  I didn`t see a rise but there had to be a fish there its just a perfect lie. the fish came up and nailed it instantly happy days as it was the best fish of a tough day which had the little two weight well hooped over.  

Thursday, 14 July 2022

Summer time blues and a whiter shade of pale

Apparently we are in the longest period of hot dry weather for 50 years sadly this means that all the local rivers are struggling and consequently of late fishing has ended up being a late afternoon and evening activity. This was the other evening and as I approached the path up through the woods it struck me how perfect the light was . At the risk of sounding poetic the air had that very heavy quality long hot days bring,  If there had been even the hint of a cloud in the sky I would have anticipated a thunder storm.  The late afternoon sunshine picked out the blue flowers and there was a real glow about the scene ,  I loitered for a minute to try and capture the mood but sadly my photo doesn`t do it justice.  I wasn`t in a rush as I knew that any fish activity was probably an hour away. 

Incidentally I have recently bought another bamboo rod , a nice little 6ft 9inch Jim Becker from the USA . It occurs to me that this year I have fished with Bamboo a lot more often than Carbon. I haven't actually been able to define to myself why I have taken to bamboo as much as I have.  I have a fine selection of high quality carbon fly rods.  They are lighter than cane, more powerful than cane and I guess when you consider all logical and factual ways to measure things then they are superior .  But the bamboo just manages to leave me with a broader smile.  My evening trip out was to put this new rod  through its paces its only its second time out and me and the rod are already blood brothers as the first time out included a puncture wound on my right hand that meant constantly washing blood of the handle was required.  I have to say that the finish on the rod is superb apart from in certain lights there is slight red staining now. 

These were typical of the trout that came in the last hour or so of surface activity,  earlier even nymphs had failed to tempt anything but as the light levels and temperature both dropped the first risers appeared in the faster water,  these both took little f flies.

The previous Sunday I was fortunate to have received an invite from a friend to fish the Driffield West beck Chalk Stream ,  The water is 100% spring fed and this allows for water at a constant temperature and the PH is very beneficial to plant life and aquatic bugs ( fish food) the clarity and the unbroken sunshine on the day meant that the fish were to put it lightly , spooky.  There were also very few rising fish ,  The fish I caught were all caught on nymphs which in itself was fascinating as you cast to fish you can see, and actually watch the fish take the nymph.  Sometimes the fish moved slightly or you saw a flash of white as the mouth was opened or even just a flare of the gills , sight fishing is a different game to the nymph fishing on the rough streams I usually do.  For this fishing the bamboo stayed at home and a light 9ft 6 inch 3 wt managed the water more easily. 

I ended up with four trout , nothing huge and all stock fish there are no photos as after scrapping hard they  would have not appreciated hot hands in near 30 degrees temperature ,  The one fish I did waste time over was this grayling in the picture below ,  my friend who knows the river said the water there was about 6ft deep and the fish was on the bottom.  We both estimated it at 3lb plus I tried tempting it with nymphs of all shapes and sizes and actually managed to drop one on its head at one point.  It was completely indifferent to my feeble attempts at deception.   What did surprise me was when a trout darted in and took the nymph it darted around the pool and splashed on the surface above the grayling and almost colliding with it at one point.  The grayling barely stirred I expected it to disappear . 

When I bought the Jim Becker bamboo I was going through the usual ritual of swapping lines about on to a suitable reel, I seem to have a lot more lines than reels and at times it is a reel pain ( notice the spelling ) .  Also many of the reels I have are large arbour jobs for the Carbon rods.  So have been getting a small collection of reels together to suit the bamboo rods , traditional pattern ones and as I was having a browse on the interweb I came across Marryat reels I have been aware of them for years and always fancied what I considered a very pretty reel anyway as I did a quick search on ebay and the like I came across this one which was been sold by a Classical fishing tackle house "Thomas Turner" it is from the estate of the Late Gary Brooker he of Procol Harum and "Whiter Shade of Pale " fame,  The price wasn`t much more than a reel without any interesting history and it is a nice early made in Japan model and has the Gehrkes plate on the back which only the early ones had and I am afraid I couldn`t resist it .  As a long time fan of Whiter Shades in particular , a song that was released when I was going through an episode of a challenging childhood which meant I was largely away from home for a few years with fishing as a constant comfort . this and a couple of other songs and Artists bring back many memories. So it has a found a good home and it certainly will be fished.  Certainly his collection seemed to be of someone who enjoyed fishing and bought what he liked and it was fished not just displayed.  

From a Whiter Shade of Pale :

We skipped the light fandango
Turned cartwheels 'cross the floor
I was feeling kinda seasick
The crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
As the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
The waiter brought a tray

I guess not many people know that he actually recorded a song about fishing , apparently he was in the states for a couple of weeks steelhead fishing and managed one on the last day so went back to his accommodation and hit the beer and wrote the song below . A perfectly logical conclusion if you ask me. Anyway his reel will be going fishing with me pretty often now I hope he would have approved of the use I will put it to. he obviously appreciated bamboo rods as there were plenty in his collection. I have left the backing on the reel I certainly wont take it of, so Imagine that me fishing with backing by Gary Brooker....

The search is over, the battle done
The fish is beaten, the angler's won
But simple stories make longer tales
No consolation if he had failed
Through wind and desert, Blackberry Hole
Coyote and rattler had made him old
No it ain't easy, it's on the borderline
Between health and madness, the way he bides his time
Fin to fin in every log-jam
This is where they lie
The Deschutes is hot, the bottom's black
They're eye-to-eye
My oh my what fun to be on your own
Down foaming rapids into the deep black hole
Through thorns and rockslides for to reach his goal
And golden chances, he let them slip away
Or was he waiting for the Judgement Day?
They really nailed 'em on the deadline
This is where they lie
Where the water's fast, the current's strong, their eye-to-eye
My oh my what fun to be on your own
But on the thirteenth morning when the sun was high
He tricked that steelhead and saw the line go tight
Two spirits fighting, two creatures bold
Bad luck and trouble had finally lost their hold
Fin to fin in every log-jam
This is where they lie
The Deschutes is hot, the bottom's black
They're eye-to-eye
I see why he spend his time on his own

Monday, 13 June 2022

Old mans Cane?

 Recently on Facebook there was an interesting link to a piece by Simon Cooper.

Saying why do we pretend cane fly rods are any good.? I am sure that the post was targeted at getting a reaction but it does ask a sensible question ,  After all whey would we use craftsmanship and feel rather than technology and the latest space age tech. Why would we not take advantage of progress?  I think the answer has to be for me because sometimes they are best,  for sure carbon fibre does indeed provide a wonderful material for fly rods I have several, actually many  , but there are a few reasons why I still love the bamboo. The judgment is not one based on science and pure performance rather the it is down to qualitative and not quantitative factors. For example as much as I have a nice powerful and comfortable German car that will cruise all day long at the limit and do everything I want if I had a lottery win at some point I would find a nice classic sports car to have a run round the country lanes on a warm summers evening. I suppose I could have indulged in something like it now but truth is I like fly rods a lot more than cars ,well  its a similar analogy for cane rods they do the same as carbon but I think in a more leisurely and classy way ,  by the way I am new to cane its only the last 6 or 7 years when I have started to gain the habit ,  

Practically for cane  small stream rods 7ft 6 inch and less seems to me the sweet spot for getting the most out of the material. The little extra weight of cane to some extent works the rod its self, roll casting is a dream with a silk line and close range casting is easy . Lets be honest how many times have you met people with short modern carbon rods who are having to  overline the rods to get the thing to load at short ranges ,  That is where Cane works best. 

This is by usual standards on my streams a nice open pool but you are constantly surrounded by trees usually with a high bank behind you and nothing is manicured there are lots of things waiting to grab the fly .  The rod is a six foot three weight and the silk line is perfect ,  roll casting and tight loops when required come easily. Also forget the rods did I mention stealth?. Stealth doesn`t come easy for me. A little overweight, well over 60 and someone who spends most days behind a desk.  But if you aren`t stealthy the fish will not play ball.  

Below is a typical problem the fish will be at the tail of the faster water around the corner to the right ,  trouble is when you get to that little archway its a left handed roll cast to fish only 15 ft away. The silk line doesn`t cause so much surface disturbance as plastic and is perfect for the job  .  

Another thing now I admit that cane can be broken ,  I actually had one of the tips replaced after slipping on the bank and landing on this very rod a few years ago ,  Chas the builder told me I was a clumsy fellow , I think it was fellow I am sure it began with an F, anyway he ordered me a new tip from Chapmans ,  but by and large i find that cane is no more breakable with sensible use.  In fact if you clatter a branch on the back cast I would say cane is more robust than carbon . 

The result of my crap looking left handed roll cast was this little chap.  Not saying I couldnt have caught it with a carbon rod but wouldn`t have done it with as much class, I guess what I am trying to say with all of this is ok if you fish the ressies or big lakes and wide open rivers you will stick with Carbon and wouldn`t argue.  When I fish the Ure its Carbon all the way , but at the moment only because my longest cane is 7ft 6 inch .  

The picture below tells no other story than this pool normally produces a fish or two if you are lucky. If you can extract a fish near the downstream end of the tree roots and hustle it away quietly you can sometimes get another right at the upstream end ,  On that day I hooked a small fish at the bottom and it shook the hook as it cartwheeled up the run.  I would call it a pool but size wise its more like a bath tub. 

To really appreciate Cane I think you need to fly fish a while , probably 20 years plus.  Perhaps slow down a bit and get rid of all that youthful energy and the need to catch more and bigger fish.  Then start to enjoy the finer things in life.  These days I drink less wine but I drink finer wine there is I am sure a link there ,  Perhaps I need to ditch the plastic cool box and get a wicker hamper and a proper picnic set as well perhaps some nice preserves and cured meats  now instead of the crisps and sandwiches.  I don`t think I could do the full Peter Arfield and actually dress period style. So I shall continue to look as elegant as an unopened Arab Dustbin to quote the great Spike Milligan.  Seriously if you are fishing small streams try a cane rod.  You wont regret it...

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Summer starts here and bamboo days on small streams


Its been a tough April.  Very low levels, cold water and cold winds combined with little insect life has meant that catching trout has been hard work.  The grayling which are out of season have been rising freely and feeding well whilst the trout have been hiding ,  The last few days have seen the temperatures rising. This weekend as it is now May I thought I would mark the occasion by going to a local favourite stream armed with bamboo and silk .  I apologise for using the American "Bamboo " rather than the traditional English term "cane " It is not because I have been reading to much Gierach it as a survivor of the English boarding schools system enough to say I have several painful memories of the Cane. So for me " Bamboo " it is.  I am not a die hard bamboo fan as most of my fishing is done with Carbon rods .  But over the last few years the appeal of the traditional Bamboo and silk has grown on me.  

The growing appeal is not linked to any romantic notion of returning to times gone by .  It is I think more a reflection of my interaction with  the river . It may be all in my head but when you play a fish on a silk lane and cane rod the feeling of connection is more intense the lack of stretch in the line and the flex of the cane gives a different experience .  It is also a very efficient method of fishing .  The silk line I was using above was a 3wt which I can confirm floated nicely for all of the four or five hours fishing .  its diameter was thinner than that of the 2 wt plastic line I used a few days before .  It casts beautifully with very tight loops and roll casts better than any plastic line .   Fishing Bamboo makes you slow down your cast , force one and it will protest .  But work with it and it will do everything that modern materials will do , granted a little slower and also a little costlier .  Although decent cane rods can be obtained for less than the cost of expensive carbon and silk lines are dependent on the brand can be obtained for less than £100 .  The truth is for me If you love the places you fish and you are happy with the size of fish you catch then the only way to improve things is to change the way you fish and therefore the quality of the experience .  For me that has meant that sometimes when the intent is to fish dries and perhaps tiny nymphs on a warm summer day then make a Bamboo rod and silk line your companion.  

When I started this blog many years ago it was started so that a relative could follow my exploits but these days it has become a journal ,  blogs have fallen largely from favour they have been replaced by the instant gratification of FB and instagram. This blog has matured now and there have been times I have considered ditching it but I am already looking back on the posts I made some years ago. I know that some years hence I will look at this post and remember that one moment when the river , the weather and the fish all aligned with me to give one of those special moments when everything is perfect.  A rising fish , a decent cast a perfect take followed by some airborn acrobatics to signal the start of summer and the perfect result.

Monday, 25 April 2022

First on a Dry...


I am not sure why the above annual headline is so important to me but I guess its pretty simple really ,  I have always been and always will be a fan of dry fly fishing .  not for any snobbish reasons but simply there is something fascinating to see that moment of the take.  It is that wonderfully visual moment when your deception has been successful. As a small boy before I tasted fly fishing for trout it was always the float that was my chosen method.  On rivers trotting a float effectively is a true art when done properly,  like fly fishing it is also obviously a very visual form of fishing and one also that teaches you an understanding of watercraft and reading currents and understanding the importance of drag . There are so many similarities with fly fishing. Looking back It is 50 years since I took up my first fly rod I am afraid that since then the coarse fishing has gradually slipped away and is now simply a whim or a walk down memory lane as my recent trip with my late fathers gear in the recent blog post.

So there we are,  my first brown trout on a dry of the season on a day when there was low cold water very little fly life and a nasty cold wind. Truth is I was convinced I would not do any good on the waters surface, but I think the river just took pity on me and provided me with one small but beautifully marked rising fish that took my seals fur bodied F Fly and allowed me a moment to admire its perfection.  On the day I also managed to catch two larger but stocked fish , well they weren`t getting a photo, This river produces the most beautifully marked brown trout . The one on the front banner of the blog was from this very section of river,  that is not the largest Brown Trout I have ever caught but every time I look at the picture I recall how perfect that particular fish was .  So far this season has been very strange, the second day of the season was as warm as a summers day and when I visited the river I was greeted by many rising fish ,  trouble is they were all out of season grayling ,  since then I have caught many grayling and few trout, so it was great today to catch no grayling and just brown trout...

The signs of Spring are now well established this tiny island hosted a swan every year when I last fished this section of the river which is actually around ten years ago .  I was amused to thumb back through the catch return back and see my reports still there from all that time ago.  As I stood to take the photo below I recall that many years ago I was sat there having a doze and break and became aware of an agitated buzzing ,  my hearing is pretty poor and it took a while to register that I was sat on the hole to a very large wasps nest . I moved carefully and slowly and managed to avoid stings .  Moving slowly was something I learned as a coarse angler when digging out nests for wasp grubs . I also remember how effective dry cleaning fluid aerosols were as a first line of defence. 

The river is looking pristine at the moment although the signs from the feeder streams are showing low flows already. Without some serious rain in the next few months it will be a very low river indeed by mid summer.

The smell of wild Garlic was pretty overpowering as I walked through it making my way upstream.  It is one of those evocative things that gives a strong sense of time and place ,  it also makes a damn fine soup with a suitable chicken stock. 

long time readers of the blog will recognise this view ,  it hasn`t changed it is still a beautiful river.

Monday, 28 March 2022

New trout season, Grayling and Covid

 There is something very special about the first day of the trout season and on this years opening day we had 16 degrees C and bright sunshine. Normally opening day in Yorkshire is barely above freezing,  windy and a day for tossing the leaded nymphs about .  On Saturday I decided it was dries or bust 
So looking at the conditions low clear water and sunshine I decided it was time for my little 6ft 2 wt ...

fishing here is about short rods delicate casts into pools and runs the size of dining table

This little fella is one two or three rods I fish here  I have always been a fan of the Orvis superfine touch the gentle action suits the small streams that I fish superbly.  This one was an ebay used bargain some time ago.   I think when i bought it it was completely unused.  

On the day the weather was very still . but when its windy it is very exposed.  I often bring two rods with me to cover the bases.  The other rod which on the day got no use.  Is an original Sage LL 7ft 3 4 wt ,  A lovely old fashioned medium action rod.

There was plenty of evidence of the effect of the early spring mild weather .  Bumble bees , butterflies and nesting birds were all in evidence .  This old lass and her two lambs stayed still long enough for a photo unlike the bees and butterflies .

Strangely today the Brown trout were absent , The Grayling which are now out of season.  were taking dries with abandon .  Although the only flies on the water were tiny midges ,  There was many risers each cast I hoped for a trout but each time disappointed . Tiny black dubbed f fly worked ever so well. Even tiny nymphs cast to trouty spots brought Grayling.   

No grip and grin shots today , The fish are out of season and I like to slip the hook out in the water , Just one quick snap before I released it.  Ridiculous really if I had been fishing for Grayling I would have had a great day I had 9 whilst trying to avoid them...

Anyway fishing is bolloxed now for a week or so.   I suppose it was only a matter of time....

Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Farewell Orvis they have joined the race to the bottom....


Over the years Orvis has produced some very nice stuff ,  I have spent a fair chunk of money in the store and online. Some very good reels and nice rods.. As a small stream angler the Superfine touch were splendid ,  good reels too.  Who couldn`t help but love the CFO on a small stream rod . I even have a fair collection of shirts , jackets and chest waders .  All bought because I could visit a shop to check them out first.  It was the thing that set Orvis apart , 

For many years my family have known that for Christmas and birthday Orvis vouchers were always welcome.  Sadly this has gone to I have instructed them to buy no more.  The decision to just sell fishing tackle was I guess an accountants idea. So they are now entering that race to the bottom which is the internet,  the Orvis price premium was somehow acceptable given the high street presence and the quality image.  It would appear now that actually they are just another online seller.  Furthermore I would say not a very good one ,  I visited their website today and was completely unable to buy anything .  I could read a online catalogue which looked pretty much like the same format as Maxcatch ,  there was a very long message from Simon saying how sorry he was, but I couldn`t actually find a way to buy anything ,  Well Simon thats a pretty poor show really and it looks like you are losing the good will of this long time customer.  Surely with all the IT knowledge of a multi national you would have had a better transition than that,  even if  its a message from Simon saying normal ish service will resume shortly ,

Friday, 11 March 2022

Anticipation new season approaching


It wont be long now I keep telling myself ,  as of today it is 14 days to the new trout fishing season .  I put the rods down finally a few weeks ago  As the high wind and rain put paid to the end of the Grayling fishing ,  So for the last few weeks my time looks like this.  

  1. Cleaned and lubed all my reels and fly lines .The silk lines were taken of the reels last September so soon its time to treat and put them back on the reels. 
  2. Rods have been checked over 
  3. Attention given  to the fly boxes ,  I am always mystified on how perfectly ordered fly boxes at the start of the season can end up looking like our dustbin after a fox has been in it.  
The biggest battle for me has been avoiding convincing myself that I need another rod to a potential gap in the collection.

Anyway as the new season is nearly upon us its time my blog cover photo was a trout again.  So here is a new cover and another fond memory.  the one in this post was from another favourite river the Ure. The one on the cover was from the Rye a few years back on a stretch of river I will be fishing again this season.  Two weeks left till the new season and this weekend my first work party.   I must admit to being excited . 

lets hope for a good season.  So tight lines all...