Sunday, 21 August 2016

Project Day

With the river levels peaking last night with the full day of rain yesterday, All the Dales rivers were either in flood or way above what I would call fishable levels so it was a day of catching up on projects I had started and projects I wanted to start.

The first one I needed to finish off after constantly putting back on the back burner was to finish off 3 floats I had promised a friend in time for the trotting season.

The first floats I have personally built in a longtime, so anyone wanting floats dont build your hopes up, these took me 3 months since starting them, I just have not got the mojo for float building right now and enjoy the fishing & teaching side of things more at the moment. But just to keep the blog name true to its word I added a flee from my recent tying's.

This year I have set myself a personal challenge, which is to leave the trotting rod at home more and try with the fly rod & bugs, something I have been meaning to do for quite sometime but never got around to it. So in anticipation I ordered some mono from a company in china which I liked the look of to start making up long leaders.

I cannot praise this company enough, from ordering to arriving at my door took 5 days and at half the cost of UK companies. I have already made two 19ft long leaders up and had a cast with them in the field across from my house and after a few adjustments I have to say they handle just as well if not better than some of the commercially made ones I have tried but at a fraction of the cost and in colours that I can see without altering things with marker pens etc.

With more & more people trying things out in the bug making side of things I wanted to try some soft latex I was gifted by a friend who uses them for perch, too big for my needs I set about with a Stanley knife, some glue and a couple of different coloured marker pens, came up with these to try next trip out.

White latex

Lime latex 

Red latex

all tied on a size 14 with 3.5mm tungsten bead which should get them down amongst the grayling.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Spanish Plume, Dry Fly Time

The weather forecasters yesterday referred to the current hot weather as a Spanish Plume travelling up over the country from the Mediterranean, I call it time to get out for an hour on the bank with the dry fly, so thats exactly what I did after work last night, came home had something to eat and headed onto the river for an hour or so to catch the last rays of sunlight and hopefully capture some trout rising.

There was another angler already in the spot I had in mind and after a few moments chatting, I moved up the river about 500 metres.

A few small par rising and with nothing else moving decided to have a cast for them, the next 30 minutes brought 4 to the hand before I seen a decent fish finally move.

1st cast over and up it popped thank you very much.

Nice wild trout with a paddle as a tail.

Released as always to give sport another day.

With nothing else moving I moved back down the river and the angler I spoke to previously had gone so I sat and watched for rises but nothing occurred so I headed back towards the car, capturing a few photos on route.

Cranesbill Geranium in the evening light

and a nice sunset to finish off with.

Sat at the tying desk on my return last night and tied a few more patterns up for the weekend as it looks like the Spanish Plume is moving on and heavy rain forecast.

Couple of Chadwick variants.

Synthetic Quills

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Like it or Loathe it, lets go fishing.

With all the Dales rivers taking a bit of a pounding from the recent rain at the end of last week and river levels rising to unfishable levels on Saturday, although they would be fishable today but heavily coloured, I decided that I would go to an old haunt I've not been to in a few weeks and see how things are shaping up.
There has been a lot of talk recently to a new piece of art that has been placed in a site of natural beauty so on route to today's fishing I decided to go have a look see myself.

The 6ft cast iron feather, is in its own way unique and a nice piece of art but in my honest opinion has been placed in the wrong spot as it blocks the view up the Dale, all being if you step 6ft to the side of it you can still see the Dale, just better suited maybe facing down the Dale instead of up. Each to their own though.

I approached the river and knew that it would be coloured but not as bad as I had expected which made me feel a bit more happier. I sat on the bank for a few moments observing the river to see what was going on and the constant flash of blue up and down the river from the passing kingfishers was as always a lovely sight.

With nothing moving on the surface I opted  for a couple of nymphs I had good success with in Finland and had scaled them down to a smaller size for the Dales rivers.

It didn't take too long for the indicator to stop and the first fish of the day was hooked, a lovely Grayling which I managed to release at distance!

Ah well I knew they worked here too so got on with the job in hand and soon afterwards was rewarded with another fish, this time a lovely small Par.

As I moved down the run I encountered another Grayling and this time there was no long range release as I slipped the net under her.

released to give sport another day as always.

Walking down the river amongst the recent flood debris I spotted what I can only describe as overkill for this part of the country, obviously blown over the dam sluices where I suspect its been used for the stocked trout. The last time I found a float of this magnitude I gifted it to a friend, guess what Martin you can have another!

This part of the river has changed dramatically since last winter, there used to be a few deeper runs which always contained good fish, now just a mere trickle as the riverbed has moved so much and filled the runs in. In the shallows I stumbled across the remnants of a crayfish which the birds or otters have devoured.

Thankfully I haven't seen too many in this part of the river and the small fish & invertebrate seem to be in good numbers, the ones I have seen have been eaten, long may that continue.

On the way upstream I made a small detour to visit another place where I collect the sloes from and like the bushes last week seem to be dripping this year so it looks like its going to be a bumper year for the fruit.

Back to the fishing and a few moments later I was rod bent again to another small Grayling, perfection in miniature.

The next dozen or so casts produced 4 more similar sized fish before the rod bent a bit more with a better sized fish.

Still constantly scanning the surface for any fly movement and seeing only a couple of small olives hatching but nothing moving to them, I decided to fish back downstream with the nymphs.

Taking a few steps downstream produced a few more fish before I moved out the runs I was in.

I walked back downstream heading back towards the car where I saw the last few monkey flowers clinging on to their flowers amongst the wild mint.

Fishing a couple of runs more which produced no fish I headed back to the car via the back route where I observed the old farm gable end and a chimney that hasn't seen a fire or smoke in many a year, contented for another week.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Back Bending Some Cane

I can finally get 5 minutes to sit down and catch up with the blog, its almost 2300hrs, I cant sleep so might as well be productive and get the blog updated with the report from Friday.

After work on Friday I decided I needed to get the rod out and have some me time, it had been a busy week and non stop at work so I needed to unwind & relax and no better way than taking the rod for a walk.
First outing on the water since Finland and I was desperate to get back to the slower action of the Cane rod so headed up the Dale in search of some late trout.

The river was very dirty, I suspect from the sediment of the landslide further up the Dale and the river was dropping after a recent flash flood so hopes of any real fish action were slim.

It was around 40 minutes of fishing when I managed to land a small trout, and that was a struggle as nothing was moving at all in the dirty water.

I was joyful that I had managed to catch as I expected I would only be taking the rod for a walk so it was a bonus to get the fish, not big but 100% wild.

Along the way I managed to grab some closeup shots of the nature along the riverbank.

Wild flowers drooped over the rock face.

A mushroom in the undergrowth I almost destroyed with my size 10.

Along the way I popped over to where I harvest some sloe berries at the end of September for the sloe whisky I make so I wanted to see how they were going and was quite pleased to see the bushes heavy with unripe berries, it should be a good harvest this year.

I decided to drop down to the pool below the waterfalls and if nothing was happening then I would call it a night.

First cast over with the spiders and felt the tug of a fish, and this little chap came to the net.

Next cast over another tug and this fellow followed.

I was impressed that in the matter of two casts from one pool two fish had emerged and nothing from all the rest of the river in the hour leading up to the pool apart from one small trout.

A couple of casts over again and another fish on the spiders, this one had a bit more weight & size to it and was happy to finally see the net slip under it after the cracking fight it gave.

I let the pool rest for 20 minutes or so to see if it would produce anymore fish and whilst sitting against the rock I seen another angler appear further up the river on the opposite bank, I sat and watched as he made his way down and then when he was within chatting distance, asked how he was getting on, he was just starting for the evening and hoping to capture some trout in the gloaming, we got chatting across the water and he said he was fishing up through past the car park and beyond.

I informed him that the water above the bridge didn't below to our club where his answer then blew me out the water, he said the said club owned all the water from the falls up past the bridge......!!!

I think not mate so questioned him further and found out he didn't even belong to our club so was in effect trespassing on private water.

I could understand if it was close to the boundary with his club water but almost a mile downstream and the fact he had passed none other that 5 club signs on route, Cant get any clearer than that!

Seems someone doesn't read his club book for boundaries of club waters. He left in a timely fashion soon afterwards!

I went back over the pool but nothing was moving so decided to head back upstream to the car.

I walk by this old style every time I pass down this way and think of the people who used it over the bygone years, its no longer on the beaten track and probably hasn't been used in quite a few years tucked away under the tree canopy. A nice way to pass a Friday evening and recharge the batteries.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Wilderness Grayling...an Adventure! The Conclusion

Emilia true to her word took me in pursuit of the Whitefish present in the river, found only in certain places, some places only as small as 100m in length and if you dont know where to look then you may never find them at all. The conditions also had to be right as we were targeting these fish on dry fly and if the conditions didn't suit them we might as well forget it, luckily they were merging on still fishable when we slipped the anchor chain over the side and sat watching for movement.

Emilia spotted the first rising fish, totally different from anything I had seen before, these fish when rising are so delicate yet so clumsy, there mouths are so small you need to reduce the fly sizes down and wait for the take yet the fish shows its full dorsal fin and tail fin when rising.

A long cast with a small klinkhammer resulted in the first whitefish for me.

These fish's mouths are so soft that any undue pressure on them whilst fighting results in lost fish, luckily I managed to get mine to the net and that was it I was happy as punch, two species I had never caught before completed on the trip....time for another whisky!

The next couple of fish weren't so easy with 4 fish lost to 1 landed but what a fish it was that made the net, a 3lbs fish on dry fly.

I was well chuffed but even more so when Emilia announced her personal best was only a half pound or so more so that really did put the icing on the cake for me.

We continued on with another few whitefish and Grayling being taken in the mix before it finally came to an end, we decided that the best chances would be a 0530am approach the next day  when the wind was low and things might be a little better.

So after lunch and an hour chilling, it was grayling all around again, with the guys on the boat heading downstream and me heading to what had know become known as George's rock. The rock I had waded to on the first day and had taken many fish from.

Mani and another nice fish, never quite reached his target size of 55cm but a 52cm was not to be sniffed at either.

and the rock proving to be a productive place to cast from again.

As you can appreciate the food was varied but everyone wanted to try the fresh whitefish so a couple of fish were dispatched earlier in the day to eat that night.

Emilia preparing the fish to go with the chips I was preparing so we could have Tundra fish & chips.

Next morning 0500am the sun was already high in the sky, the conditions were calm as we set off in pursuit of the whitefish again, Aija as always not far from me as he had started to follow me everywhere.

The conditions were ideal on arrival but no matter how hard we tried we couldn't land a fish they were all long range releases until finally Emilia hooked up and landed a fish.

and soon afterwards I did the same.

As like the day previous a few more fish were caught until the conditions changed and made it unfishable which wasnt a bad thing as we were back in pursuit of the Grayling.

This Grayling took what was becoming to be my go to fly at the bottom of a long pool and when hooked slipped down into the pool downstream only for a large Pike to start chasing it around the pool with the Grayling going hell for leather to escape the clutches of it, thankfully it managed to evade the toothy critter and I slipped the net under another lovely big Grayling.

meanwhile in the commotion of the chase I had lost something.....my hat had been blown off by the wind and was heading downstream.

totally out of energy it took almost 30 minutes for the fish to recover in a pool before I could safely see that it was ready to go and thankfully I found my hat a little way downstream.

Whilst walking downstream for my hat I stumbled across nature at its best again, small crustaceans of some sort putting on a display in a rock pool.

The adventure was starting to come to an end and the helicopter was due back the next day to pick us up and return us to civilization, a midday pickup so any fishing we wanted had to be done that night, I opted to return to the rock for a few hours and picked up a few smaller fish before finally calling it a night and settling down to reflect on the trip, the most productive fly for me being both the yellow and green bodied dyret dry fly.

Accounting for over 90% of my fish caught which the totals were totally irrelevant but I had managed to capture & release 5 Grayling over the 50 cm mark being recorded by Emilia with the largest measuring 53 cm and being the largest caught on the trip by 1 cm and the large 3lbs whitefish also being the heaviest fish, so a very nice end to my wilderness adventure.

The bottle was empty too, with everyone catching new records and of course Emilia partaking in a dram or two, new friendships bonded for life.

All that was left was to pack up camp in the morning and await pickup.

A group photo for prosperity. 

The sun was high in the sky & very hot when the camp was finally dismantled and everything packed to go, all that was left was to chill and await the helicopter.

laughs were almost constant with Mani, on the final day producing for the first time an umbrella he had packed in his bag in case he needed to go in the middle of the night so wouldn't need to get dressed if it was raining, needless to say it didn't happen and was now a sunshade.

the sound of rotor blades soon filled our ears

and once loaded we were off leaving only a small pile of rocks where our campfire had stood for the last 8 days.

The flight back flashing past as we were all looking forward to a nice hot shower.

even the pilot had a smile on his face as we were the last pick up of the day.

The high peaks appeared in front of us indicating we weren't too far away from Kilpisjarvi.

and then it was upon us, coming into land back where the adventure had all began for real.

Unloaded and back to the Cabin for a shower, and to contact family for the first time in over a week, with arrangements made to meet up later for a meal.

all the modern conveniences we had done without  even a sauna in each cabin.

with stunning views thrown in for good measure.

my two fishing partners having a laugh at my expense, I did look a bit ridiculous though.... two giant panda eyes where my sunglasses had been for the full week.

Emilia picked us up and we headed off for a meal, Reindeer steak being the order of the day. and a moment for one last pose.

all that was left was a 03am rise for the drive back to Tromso in Norway for our early morning flights back home.
Luckily I had only one connection at Oslo unlike Felix & Mani who had Oslo to Paris, then Paris to Munich and of course there was no engine troubles on the way home.....

I would like to personally & publically thank my two fishing colleagues Felix & Mani from Austria for the friendship they both showed me and for listening to my somewhat rusty German dialect but all language barriers were broken down through one goal we all share, the love of fishing for Grayling.

To Aki & Emilia at Graylingland

They both work extremely hard and go out their way to ensure that everyone enjoys the time spent with them, from the moment they first shake hands with you to the last hug goodbye. Some advice I will give to anyone thinking of going to Graylingland, DO IT, dont wait!
 I cannot thank them enough for the experience and happy memories they have given me which will stay with me to I finally kick the bucket and pass over to the big river in the sky and I know there will be plenty of water pass over the rocks of magic river,

but I will return someday of that Im certain!!!

I now sit at my desk back home in Yorkshire but every time I look up I glimpse at these & the memories come flooding back.....Thank You x

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