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

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...