Wednesday 13 December 2023

A Christmas Reflection on rivers and Bamboo and Silk...

 

Firstly I wish any body who is still reading Blogs a very happy Christmas and a prosperous new year . An especially hearty wish for those of you are return visitors to my blog. Its been a strange year and it is ending as a pretty soggy one.  My winter grayling fishing has been buggered in fine style by the never ending rain.  One trip with a guest a few weeks ago during a break in the rain found a river that was less than welcoming to the guest whom I had hoped would have a good day.  There have been no trips since and my fishing fix has been ltd to fly tying and tackle tinkering whilst trying hard not to buy anything I don`t need.  Which to be fair is almost anything although a recent online offer on Hardy Perfect reels caused me to stumble.  




Whilst looking at the state of the rivers I can only hope that the huge volumes of water can remove some of the accumulated leaves and silt from the local rivers which in places have been very extensive after a few years of low flow but also hope that the same huge flows do not do to much damage to the local watercourses from fallen trees and the like.  It will be interesting to visit my local rivers in the spring and see what changes have been caused , Indeed  one of the fascinations of my local streams is just how much the nature of them changes year by year ,  Fish holding features change every year but winter floods can really alter things substantially. On my streams A new wedged tree stump of washed out depression can be a big attraction in the small world of streams 


I have had a number of   conversations this year with longer term fishing friends who have spoke with some puzzlement with my increasing fascination of using cane / bamboo rods ,  One guy who is a fine angler a club secretary and a part time river keepers words were , "why go backwards when companies and technology  has developed tackle that does the job more effectively" ?.   I guess on the face of it it is a fair enough challenge .  But I did note that his statement made no mention of enjoyment, satisfaction or indeed anything on an emotional level , it was purely a statement made about efficiency and almost mechanical advantage.  




I suppose my answer is and I guess it is all down to personal preference but I would say this...The guy who first coined the phrase " You throw a line with a Carbon rod but you cast a line with a bamboo rod. Understood what its about I also find that the cane rods are more accurate too so it isn’t just about emotional stuff although there is a certain effortless beauty in how a bamboo rod casts a line . Also there is nothing at all to match the feeling of playing a good fish on a bamboo rod . You can feel every twist and turn especially when using a silk line.


Modern silk lines are extremely efficient and relatively easy to maintain and are not much more expensive than a premium plastic line but last way longer. But putting the nuts and bolts of tackle aside the plain truth is I have reached that time in my fishing lifetime when what matters is the quality of the experience and not the theoretical technical efficiency of the gear I am using .  feeling a silk line load a cane rod and then watching it elegantly unroll across the stream and then being able to easily mend the line and perhaps pick it off the surface with a deft roll ,  seeing the fish rise and then after the take feel every twist and turn through the none stretch silk and the sinewy bamboo .  that feel is very different to plastic and Carbon  and yes I have tried the Sage SLTs , the Sage LL and the Winston B2T staff of Moses and most of the rest.  Nothing feels quite like cane,  As for the photos well they are all of my local streams where I will be returning next summer .  



Friday 20 October 2023

Autumn Update



Sorry about the pretty meagre  posts this year Its been a strange old year .  Having the new club water to fish has been great and I have caught a few notable specimen fish , A new PB grayling at 2lb 12 and recently a lovely Barbel on a killer bug which was twitched along the bottom have been real highlights .  But the sad truth is what has been really lacking this year is a decent evening rise .  In fact in many ways a decent rise at any time of day has been missing .  The Hawthorn hatch brought some good fishing although short lived ,  The mayfly came and went with a bit of a whimper .  There has been a few rising fish but much like last year they have been sporadic.



Two fish that stand out this season,, The Barbel was on a day when the river was kind to me ,  The fish saved a blank .  After struggling to even see some fish I was tempted to try for the barbel which occupy a Pool on the way back to the car ,  I have often tried to tempt one without success, That day was difference and my old Stream flex 4 wt was given quite a work out .  




Another change to my gear has been the purchase of some Chest waders with Zips, for a gentleman of mature years the convenience is fantastic .  A call of nature now no longer requires extensive dismantling of gear .  I love them . 









fishing with my Son as always is a highlight although to often the stars don`t align and a young man wants more exciting days and has more distractions than Dad ,  The shared days are special memories though ,  This is him above in action after Grayling , In his favourite river ,  




One highlight was a trip to a southern chalk stream,   I had received a very kind offer of a day on a River Test carrier the place was picture book perfection . Manicured, with a perfect fishing hut and crystal clear water with a healthy population of Trout and Grayling . A brilliant day was had with good numbers of Grayling over 1 lb with one hovering around the magic 2 lb number ,  



The Bamboo fascination has not reduced and has resulted in another nice rod arriving .I don`t think there will be any more but never say never . I have actually sold more rods than I have gained this  year changes to my fishing habits have meant some stuff will never be used .  Also I have gained a 10ft 6 inch 3wt Vision nymph special .  I have decided its time I gave euro nymphing a proper go .  It has been to the river a couple of times and have found the lightness and sensitivity somewhat of a revelation especially for something so long . The strange non existent fly line  has felt odd ,  But results so far are good 



Despite my gloom about rising fish my local small streams are still showing nice fish long may it continue .  



Tuesday 13 June 2023

So heres another post to bring the year to date....

 last year the blog and social media in general got under my skin a little . It  both occurred to me and concerned me that I got to wondering was I going fishing for pleasure and just sharing my joy or was I going fishing to get something on the blog .  When you think about it the blog and social media in general is a strange beast . Anyway just to let the world out there know that I am still alive. Although the heat is proving somewhat irksome.  I thought I would drop in a cheeky post really saying nothing at all other than I am enjoying the fishing this season. Enjoying the cane / bamboo rods and enjoying my new fishing place. 


Season started cold but at least the chalk stream was at a nice level all my other local spate streams were bank high 



I fully enjoyed using the cane rods and silk lines for these fellows , I am really getting into the bamboo thing ,  playing a fish on them feels brilliant . The one in the Picture is a particular favourite firstly because it fishes beautifully and because it was an amazing bargain 


Still use the longer carbon rods for nymphs though I bought that rod below  as a present to me for the season , not a fan generally of long rods. mainly because a lifetime of using shorter rods has made me struggle with the cast timing and also to be truthful not the greatest tracking. But that rod, a Marryat tactical pro 3/4 9ft 6 inch has bonded with me like no longer rod ever has. Delicate but able to stop fish like the one below bury themselves in the weed.


End of May saw me and Mrs becks and Brown trout in the lake district for four days she even let me have an afternoon on the local river Derwent ,  Not easy fishing but I had a few , the river and the scenery are stunning 


Well done to Keswick  Anglers Association for a great website and bargain priced day tickets 


The reason for the short break 


I have been to the lake district dozens of times and believe me the weather is not typical ....


When we got back it was mayfly time which around here is end of May to mid June 


There were a few Danica around but the fish largely either hid from them or splashed at them 



The natural and my imitation....




I love this time of year , it tempts me to get all romantic and arty with the pictures I  take but they usually turn out well rubbish 


The fish in that little stream are just about perfect though....



More recently the hot weather and bright sunshine have made things tougher but still managing a few ...


The rod is a Hardy Hollolite Hollokona  I had always fancied a classic Hardy and well you cant have to many rods...



the bankside vegetation is at last growing back up. Which makes Stealth a little easier . This one took twenty minutes of stalking and casting it took the third change of nymph . Maybe it was the pattern or just the first time I got the drift just right.



  

Wednesday 22 March 2023

When something is worth Saying...

 

Despite me really thinking that I wouldn't come up with anything worth saying sometimes you just have to change your mind.  The sometimes this time was that Mr Whitehouse stimulating and somewhat depressing two programmes about the state of the countries water ways ,  this was combined with a thread on a fishing forum on how fishing had helped quite a few of the people on there with their sanity and depression.  My own fishing journey started when as a boy I saw my dad fishing ,  the long journey took of from there.  But in the years just before teenage and through teens my life went of the rails somewhat ,  I was sent to a boarding school for kids who were challenging .  It was not an easy place to be such places in the 1960s and 70s were challenging.  I have no doubt that been able to fish in the ponds lakes and local small rivers were a godsend that helped me a great deal.  the fishing was free and the river , a small tributary of the swale was a clear stream full of shoals of chub and streamer weed .  To my young eyes it was paradise.  I am sure it also provided a place of tranquil reflection to many others .


I have revisited this paradise in the last few years and the clear water, the streamer weed and I am sure that the fish as well have all disappeared.  So sadly for local kids that wanted to fish are now snookered.  It is no longer a place that is pleasurable to fish in , walk by or picnic near.  Such spaces are so precious and disappear almost without any one noticing them,  If the Wharfe on in the Yorkshire dales and next to huge population areas can be dealt with so badly whilst under the full public spot light by the water companies , the EA and successive governments then what hope is there for this country and we should look at ourselves and the present society and consider what we are leaving for future generations.  

The only way this will change is if the Govt wishes it.  They certainly have the power to do it . It would appear that what is missing is the will to do anything . Perhaps the MPs have friends in the water companies and are shareholders.  I have written to my MP on many occasions on this matter .  His responses are clearly those standard " party line " responses that offer fine words , rhetoric but little substance ,  It will be interesting to see if the labour party get in at the next election , I fear they will offer more fine words lets hope that it is linked to some proper action.  As a first if everyone writes to their MP or challenges them at the next public surgery then things may change ,  The govt needs to know that people think this matters . That its a vote catcher ,,  then and maybe then things may change. 





Perhaps if every angler , Kayaker , wild swimmer , bird watcher and other concerned citizen just decided to cancel their water rates , I wonder if the water companies would have the stomach for taking them all to court.  


Monday 23 January 2023

Over and Out....

 

One way and another its been a turbulent few months.  My good friend Peter passing away suddenly was a blow his passing has also meant me picking up the reigns as Secretary of my local club for at least a while . The club will miss him greatly .

Truth is my appetite for writing the blog has been on the wane for a year or two .  Eventually We run out of things to say . I find myself looking at the blog and being less than happy with its content. So I think it is a good time to put it to rest for a while. Perhaps even permanently .  

This year  I am looking forward to membership of a new club which has been a long time waiting, the wait has actually been nearly as long as the blog has existed .  Also I have another  project in mind that will take up any scraps of creative content that my blog would have absorbed ,

So thanks for following along over the years ,  I wont close the blog and feel free to message or comment but I doubt I will be putting new posts.  But I will be checking on it from time to time . Generally I am intending to reduce the time I spend on Social media. It has become to much of a thief of time . 

If you want me the chances are if I aren`t at home or in the office I will be here....





Thanks....


Andy 

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...