Tuesday 4 June 2024

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 my Spotify library that song has been in my head .  The events of the last few days have made me think about the title . It has been a depressing long winter and spring that has brought more than a fair share of challenges .  We have had to little Sun , too much rain and to few fish .  The new chalk stream has been bank high to the extent I just didnt fancy it  bright spot has been the new upland stretch of stream  that my previous post covered it has been an joy. The faster upland nature of it means rainfall runs of quickly and it is fishable for longer . Also nothing beats exploring a new stretch of river .  But on Sunday after a couple of weeks away from all the rivers the stars aligned and the fish were starting to look up and even taking a few mayflies .  So I know that the song has no part one and part two.  But my part one would be the fact its June the fish are looking up and its not a bad forecast for the weekend 

On Sunday the river was still carrying colour , but I think that helped me on the day as it was very bright and I think that a properly clear river would have made life more difficult.  The fish above was my best of the bunch and proof again of knowing the river .  There is one lie where you rarely see rising fish but experience has shown me that the bin lid sized often produces better fish . After half a dozen speculative casts the mayfly was taken .  it gave a good struggle in the faster water on a softer cane rod. 

If there was a part two well for me a few months ago i realised I would never receive a retirement gift from work . For a long time I have had my own business but last year for various reasons the company was closed and Myself and Son who worked for me, Went of to work for another consultants who we had contracted on and of for a number of years . It also means that over the forthcoming years I can consider working less but knowing my Son has some continuity and good prospects with a great company .  So I decided that the last thing that my old company would do is provide me with a new bamboo fly rod ,  I had come close to ordering one a few years ago , first covid got in the year , then the builder retired ,  I have a number of bamboo rods but none were built from Scratch for me. So recently I approached Luke Bannister and an order was placed for a nice Garrison 201 with two tips ,  I have a few bamboo rods but I have seen a few of Lukes rods and so seeing things taking shape on the update he sends me is reason to be cheerful number two.  

So what you ask is reason to be cheerful three? well simply this, in another few months that favourite stream and the Garrison 201 will be united lets hope that on that day the Sun shines but not to much and that there will be hatching flies and the fish will be looking up.

Lukes Rods are here ...

Wednesday 8 May 2024

Constable Wallop Brook

 I picked this rod up at the Grayling Society Auction at the last Symposium. What a cracking little rod !!! . I am getting increasingly fond of the whole bamboo rods experience .  Perfect for this small stream.

Sunday 21 April 2024

One for Hippo

 A blog I have followed for years is a Hippo on the lawn a recent comment on my blog shows two things , First it tells me Tom the writer was ill and the poor bugger is so confined that he has nothing better to do than comment on this fellow bloggers posting . He is in Angola and obviously suffering from some malady and second he is also suffering from generator and technology issues .  We take so much for granted with our reliable mains and even fibre optic speed wifi .  Anyway Tom hope you feel better soon and your bank balance stays secure .  Hope you enjoyed the glimpse of ( by your standards ) my mundane existence.  Here is some pics of my day on Saturday a week on from my first post but weirdly even though the day was colder the years seems to have moved on a bit .   Stay safe and try and post a bit more often . 

Monday 15 April 2024

At last a rising fish

 It has been by all accounts and also by some considerable margin. A depressingly long , wet and miserable winter.  There has been no proper winter weather ie hard frosts and some proper snow.  We had a couple of bits of the white stuff .   But nothing to speak of ,  Truth is it started to rain around last October and it has hardly let up since . The springs that feed my new chalk stream came up quickly and have stayed up and indeed put the river over the banks and across the fields .  I went for a walk along the river a week or so ago , Not to fish but to see what the level looks like .   To me it looks like I will be fishing sometime mid may...

My other spate streams have been up and down like the proverbial all winter ,  The farmer on one stretch , whose family have been there for generations has commented that although he had a couple of times seen the river higher . He did say that he had never seen the river so high for so long .  The high water has caused some damage and our work parties have removed three fallen trees and there is considerable bank damage in places .  But the river is still there it is still full of fish and god willing if it stops raining and the water fines down then fishing can recommence . 

So far since the kick of on the 25th march , I have had three trips The first resulted in no Trout but a couple of willing Grayling so no score there then a week later saw a return to the same venue and had my first couple of trout both on nymphs. 

Then on Saturday I had my first trip to a brand new stretch of river,  After having an introductory chat to the guy who runs the little syndicate I wanted to give it a whirl.  The stretch is a couple of miles of very wild unstocked interesting upland stream.  Challenging wading but delightful at the same time . There will be no big fish but first impressions were that there will be plenty of fish.  A small light rod in my case on the day was a 6ft 9 inch light bamboo job.  So with that and a wading staff clutched tightly I set of ..

A small bead head on a long leader would have been an obvious choice but the reel I had with me had a silk line and a furled leader. So not ideal.  So the usual 4ft of tippet of the furlie was replaced with 8ft and I started prospecting in likely looking seams and pockets with a 3mm size 16  beadhead nymph.  plucks resulted with a finger sized sprat that dropped of then I had one slightly bigger .

The water looks very promising with nice variation glides and pocket water in abundance and I worked my way upstream and had a few more then after noticing a few olives I saw a sight to gladden the heart , I spied a splashy rise in the tail of a fast run .  A CDC F fly drew a response but no hook up . Two casts later a little plump brownie came to hand after throwing a couple of cartwheels to brighten the day ( the fish that is, not me.) .  It was at that point I did what all sensible folks do. I got out and sat on a tree stump and took stock of my surroundings .  I am always amazed that more folks don`t fly fish , It is hard to imagine a more cathartic experience than to sit watching a river , listening to the world .  After a carton of ice cold latte and a chocolate bar it was time to resume the season.

Tackle for the day was American Jim Becker bamboo rod.  An English Hardy reel and an Italian Terenzio silk line ,  As near as I get to embracing foreign influence.  I am going to enjoy spending time here. But as a I type this the heavens have opened again and the rivers are back on the way up.  A good few years ago on this blog I prayed for rain.  Within a week we started a wet summer of biblically wet proportions , So I hesitate to pray for dry weather with my luck we will get a biblical drought and a plague of locusts . 

Tuesday 12 March 2024

Wykeham lakes Scarborough

 I have just read that the above fishery is going under new management ,  Great news its somewhere that I have fished in the past but my recent enquiry about it a few months ago was responded to in a pretty actually very unhelpful manner ,  So  the news is welcome and I wish them all the best ,  So I have updated my comments that are on the local fisheries blog page .  Good luck to you we need more local good DT venues...


Saturday 24 February 2024

Trout bum , mildly eccentric or a Geezer ?

 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 years slowly increase fishing time and decrease working time.  I enjoy my work still and I have the pleasure of working with nice people in an interesting profession but its time I just did a bit less of it .  

I am most fortunate that I have a understanding wife who tolerates my fishing obsession , I have access to beautiful rivers to enjoy which are  full of wild trout and Grayling .  I have plenty of rods and reels including spares for sons and daughter to use. But there is something that I haven`t quite got my head around though it is making that transition from being a normal hard working professional gent to that of a retired crusty old git who talks to himself and can put out a suitably strange aura to keep being pestered by well meaning passers by with the inevitable "had anything mister “?

It isn`t that I want to be rude or even indeed a crusty old git although I do have some work colleagues who consider the transition to full crustiness would be absolutely easy and indeed a seamless transition. Its just that it would be nice if people looked at me from afar and there was just something about me that made them veer away rather than endeavour to engage me in polite conversation .  Fishing is about solitude or the company of suitable companions. Not about exchanging meaningless platitudes .

To deter the curious I have been known to get engaged in a raised voice heated argument with myself and that routine has often deterred passers by who were indicating an intent to engage me in polite conversation, it is not consistent though and relies on my having early sight of intruders to give me time to get into the routine .  It is the appearance I need to work on .  Perhaps old Hugh Falkus had the right idea I read that he simply Painted FUCK OFF on the gateway to his cottage .  Perhaps a more direct approach would be the answer but I am struggling to come up with something that would be acceptable to my fellow club members .  I will have to stick with more subtle messaging.  

It would be even better if it worked for dogs too.  I seem to be a dog magnet especially for Labradors, I am especially fond of them and I am convinced they know it .  I am clearly to much of a temptation when I am stood midstream in a river they clearly believe I am there for their amusement .  Charging up to me all wagging tail and presenting themselves for an ear rub. When I was a young fella I was useless with woman but here I am an older gent now I am positive magnet with labs, there is no Justice in life . 

The other thing I wrestle with is what should be my image be ? I don`t think I can carry off the full John Gierach trout bum approach I haven`t got the beard , attitude or fishing ability to do that ,  I do quite fancy the  mildly eccentric old fashioned eccentric approach , After watching his delightful Rod and Line you tube recordings from a good few years ago I could see myself as 50% of a Michael Horden but crossed with 25% Tom Skerrit ( the Rev Maclean ) from a river runs through it and perhaps 25% Jack Hargreaves  .  The non British amongst you will need to consult the wonders of YU tube to understand the effect I am aiming for.   I have just seen this on the interweb... I can aspire to this I want to be a geezer when I retire .

To complete the transformation  I think I am going to have to ditch the chest pack and fish out my old Orvis Waistcoat mainly because it will better hide the one recent purchase that was for comfort rather than tactical efficiency , My  new Vision Chesties have a Zip.  So much more convenient, If you aren`t sure what I mean ask your dad,  I certainly need them to stop looking so new though .  Crusty mature fly fishermen with attitude shouldn`t be wearing sparkly new waders .  Waders should appear to be fighting a losing battle with age and abuse , just as wading boots should not have matching laces and should have the odd aquasure repair , when tied the odd lace hole or hook should be missing .  Finally of course is the icing on the cake the hat.  My old canvas fedora style affair has sat up top for many years and I haven`t the heart to start breaking in a new hat .  It keeps of most of the sun and most of the rain . For that it is perfect .  I will also continue to wear my old flat cap at times .  It was my late Fathers hat I wear it fishing quite often its like I am taking him with me. its something I wear mostly in Winter when Grayling fishing . The Grayling was his favourite I am sure he would approve .  He was a a crusty old fella too but must confess that he is one of the few folks that I would love to have out on the bank with me just one last time. 

Wednesday 31 January 2024

Shack Nasties and Muggles


Monday 8th January 

I had a walk from the office this lunch time.  Grey Skies , Northerly wind coming straight in over the North Sea , pretty depressing weather really ,  I had to drive to Newcastle and back on Sunday the North Moors looked cold bleak and desolate , Standing water everywhere on back roads mud everywhere after it has washed out of the fields . The Weather was well grey and it rained.  I haven`t fly fished for more than a month.  All in all a pretty miserable state of affairs ,  We have another month to tolerate before we start to notice the days started to lengthen. However there is already just a chink of hopefulness coming .  I have already received and paid my first fishing club renewal for this year.  I have received emails from clubs regarding upcoming meetings and functions.  So perhaps the sun has not risen on the new season yet but I feel it is just below the horizon .  I have started to re fill the fly boxes and have sorted out the boxes from last year.  There will be no new waters this year,  Although my intended part time working in a month or two will mean I can just make better use of the fishing I have . Also being semi retired will allow me to live up to the "miserable old twat" identity that I quite fancy  

Sunday 28th January 

As the rivers have been pretty consistently bank high for the last couple of months I have yet to get fly fishing this year .  I don`t seem to have got on as well with fly tying as I should have .  I have managed a couple of trips with a trotting rod and some bait for the Grayling .  It has presented a bit of a relief from the otherwise complete abstinence .  I have tried to do the trotting with a bit of style and in keeping with the manner in which my late Father would have done . Bamboo Rod and proper centre pin.  It would have been his Birthday on the 6th Feb and this coming weekend if the river is fit I will take his Millwards featherlight and Rapidex reel out for a fish .  Before he died he said I should sell them my reply was no pops every year on your birthday I will take it on a river .  

30th Jan Its the evening and I am feeling hopeful now about the seasons changing . 

I am becoming very protective of fishing time and particularly  the solitude that it brings.  I say solitude as I often get asked, "don`t I get lonely spending all them hours alone"?.  Truth is I have always enjoyed solitude but many people seem unable to identify  that loneliness and solitude are quite different . I am finding that I am actively protecting my time in the river . There is something quite satisfying in standing fishing and starting to have an animated conversation with yourself when you see approaching folks who you fear may try and engage you in light hearted conversation .  Other anglers are ok they appreciate that giving each other space is an important part of the game,  None fishing folk or Muggles as a few mates and I have christened them are oblivious to it and happily stand on the opposite bank and point at the bow waving fish speeding away .  Greeting you with "had any luck mate " or "Hope my dog didn`t disturb you" ?.   As a four stone Labrador  careers along the stream in front of you . The dogs I don`t mind its the people I am starting to struggle with.  February is when preparations get going .  I have fly boxes to fill . I am treasurer at a local club and the accounts are to do and then prepare myself for the battle of getting folks to pay on time .  I have Meetings to look forward to I may even put the silk lines back on the reels ,  I am planning my annual trip to the BFFI in February but am determined to keep my wallet closed I am just looking .  It will be good to catch up with friends there though. See you in February .

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...