Monday, 19 June 2017

Catching Up

Its been a while since I last updated the blog but due to our 30th wedding anniversary & my 50th birthday both celebrated on a week long cruise in the Mediterranean I have been unable to update the blog.

Just before Karen & I headed off I managed to grab a few hours on the river on the morning of our departure, it was raining heavy and the river was still high after heavy rain, I had to get a fishing fix in before we headed off though, needs must.

I decided to start straight off on the nymphs and on my 3rd flick of the nymph I hooked a Salmon which took off like a rocket and on a 3# rod and 5lbs tippet I wasnt hopeful. The fish in the initial run took all the fly line and took me to almost all the backing, I estimate I had about 8 reel turns of backing left on the line & I actually thought the fishing had finished just as I was starting. The fished thankfully stopped which allowed me to get some line back on the reel as I tried to give chase and not before long I had fly line back on the reel before it made a few other runs. The battle went on for almost 20 minutes and I was beginning to think I was winning the battle, I seen the fish a few times with its silver flanks but the last glimpse I caught of it was as it disappeared over the groyne and the line went slack, the hook had slipped, a size 16 gold head nymph.

The last view I got of the salmon as it went up over the groyne and was gone.

After regaining my composure again and checking all my tippet etc again, I set about hunting down what I had actually come for, the brown trout and it didn't take long to find a few.

It was nice to be back on the river with some water in it, as the levels have been so low as of late it was nice to see the river being flushed through and the fish actually on the feed instead of having to wait until dusk to get them feeding as the day got cooler.

All lovely wild trout a few still a bit on the lean side but that had to be expected with the low water conditions we had for almost a month.

I found this guy lurking just off the grassy bank in the slower water, the best of the day and probably the last fish as I really needed to get my skates on and get home to get ready to fly out.

I had one last cast just off the bank the the line went tight again.

a smaller trout than before but I had to make it the very last, I had to complete a bit of an endurance walk back to the car as fast as I could as I had slightly overstayed my time limit, as you often do!

Just over 4 hours later I was relaxing on a plane heading to warmer climbs and leaving all the rain behind for a week of celebrations and sun.

I would like to thank all our friends online who sent us best wishes & cards for our anniversary and my birthday, I will get to answer you all in due time, after all we only flew home last night.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Another Hour

Another day I played the good patient husband and followed the wife around the shops & streets of York whilst she looked for clothes for our forthcoming cruise so when I got home last night and crashed out on the sofa I had no intentions of going fishing but after seeing the weather forecast for the coming few days I had to do a complete U turn as 40mph winds and torrential rain doesn't bode highly with a 3# fly rod trying to cast a size 20 dry fly.
I arrived on the river just before 9pm as I had been watching the wind blow the cherry tree in our front garden and it wasnt until late on that the wind had eased and I thought I may have a chance at a fish or two on the dries.

The river was even lower than last week and to be honest in some parts you could walk from bank to bank without getting your feet wet.

The first few casts and a couple of small trout came to the dry but being too fast off the mark I missed them but then as I found my rhythm they started coming to the net.

Nothing big but always nice to see.

Apologies for the blurred picture in the middle I found this picture distorted when I was downloading them as there were a few splashes of water on the lens.

A few more smaller fish came to the dries, all around similar size as the light started to fade.

There was 30 minutes or so when a prolific hatch came on, olives, Yellow sally's, and even a few mayflies but nothing was taking advantage of any of them.

I sat & watched for 20 minutes or so before finally casting to a persistent rising fish and first pass over its head it took the fly.

and that was it nothing else that I could see so headed home and was sat back in-front of the TV with a whisky in my hand by 10.45pm, Another hour which was worth the effort, now it can rain all it wants for the next 3 days, we need it after all.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Reward for an Hour

A nice relaxing day yesterday, the morning spent in the Garden pottering around, planting up the vegetable patch then parked myself in front of the television for the Monaco F1 race. With time to kill before dinner I decided to slip onto the river for an hour, I wasnt hoping for much as the sun was still high in the sky and the water very low and clear.

Opting for a dry fly approach as I seen a couple of small fish rising whilst setting up I made my way to where I had seen them rise.

3 casts and I was having to re tackle after a fish lunged at my fly and broke my tippet before I even got the chance to strike. Opting for the same tippet as it has been good up to now I re-tackled and stuck on another fly.

I looked around for rising fish but none were forthcoming, then further upstream on the downstream side of a bush I seen rings appear on the water, it had to be a rising fish and being this far downstream I couldn't see if it had any size to it. Walking upstream along the bank until I was on the downstream side of the bush and watched for a few moments, Nothing.

I decided nevertheless to pass a fly over the top of where I had seen the rings appear from and see what came of it. 2 casts over where I thought I had seen the rings appear from and ever so gently my fly was sucked down, Fish on.

At first I thought I had hooked into a good grayling the way it had barely broke the surface and took the fly, and it was motoring under the water like a Grayling in the first initial runs then when it surfaced I knew exactly what it was..... a chub.
I knew there are a few in this part of the river as I have landed one in the past from just upstream but to take a size 18 cdc they must be hungry.

I have to admit in the past I did like fishing for chub, cant beat being on a good shoal of them trotting a stick float downstream and watching the float disappear.

a couple of quick photographs and it was gone at speed off back to the depths of where it came from, Some of the coarse lads I know will by this time be gagging to see a chub like this as it is still the coarse closed season until June.

Walking a short while further upstream to the next pool and saw another fish rising at the tail so covered it again and almost a retake of the first fish I cast to, a lunge, no strike and the fish had broke my tippet. Now twice on the same day makes me wonder if it is indeed the tippet itself. Having just bought this one at the start of the season which came highly recommended for its low diameter I think I will switching back to my more reliable tippet material which gave a bit more cushioning to these type of lunges. With that I decided to call it a day and head back home for Sunday dinner, but well worth the effort of being on the bank for just over an hour

The riverbank was a sea of colour from whites & creams to full blown yellows, a lovely sight to see and when brushing past them set off a multitude of aromas into the air.

                  Not a bad hour indeed!

Friday, 26 May 2017

When the going gets tough....get wise.

Yesterday was the hottest day on record this year, until the temperatures were recorded today which beat yesterday's, however last night as I sat on the decking taking in the rays from the late evening sun I wondered how the river was fairing with all this glorious weather and severe lack of rain so decided to throw the kit in the car & go and find out.

20 minutes later I was stood on the bridge with the river passing beneath me and after seeing 2 fish rise decided that was it it, I was going fishing for a few hours, the time was almost 9pm.

The river was very low and incredibly clear but fish were beginning to look up and large dark olives were hatching and taking to the wing.

Moving upstream I seen a fish rise so decided to cover it and see if I could tempt it, it didn't take much as the first pass up it came & took my artificial.

Not a large fish but what it lacked in size it made up in beauty with its beautiful red spots.

A few moments later another fish decided it wanted some of the action but it couldn't have been so different from the first, gone were the beautiful red spots and it was more a neutral coloured fish.

Although hatches were coming off the river in abundance not many fish were rising and the fish that were, were all located in the tail end of the moving water in skinny water.

It was nice just to stand in the river observing all the hatching insects and listen to the Curlews & Oyster catchers calling out to each other in the fields behind.

The light was starting to fade out and I was hoping that in the next 30 minutes or so I might see some better fish moving out from their hiding places and take advantage of the hatching flies.

The first fish I saw which I thought was of decent size was just off the bank with some cover above it so manoeuvring into position to make the cast I had to go Indian style on hands & knees so I wouldn't spook it back under the cover.

Casting just above the rising fish the fly landed spot on first cast and moments later a fish sucked it down.

Unfortunately it wasnt the fish I was aiming for but I wasnt complaining as moments later the other fish came back up and just let me know exactly where it was lying.  

It took a few casts to get the fly exactly where I wanted and was rewarded when the fish came up and sucked the artificial down.

A lovely brown trout which was taken from the tail end of a run in less than 10 inches of water.

I decided to head back towards the car as the light was beginning to fade fast and not planning to have been fishing into the dark I hadn't packed any light sources in my vest should I need one.

As I jumped back into the car and started up the clock read 11.20pm. Just over 2 hours of fishing on a whim on the hottest day of the year with river levels as they are proves that when things are against you, you can still catch lovely fish, you just need to be a bit wise.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Nature Amazes Me Again.

After all the rain we have had during the week the rivers in the Dales are still looking bleak as the land soaked most of the water up and what water did make it to the river was soon gone and they are back to where they were last weekend.

I decided to just go for a couple of hours and see what I could tempt so I timed it that I would be on the water when the hatches came out last week.

I arrived and the first thing I saw was an upstream wind putting a dampener on things, so decided to head to a part of the river which was a bit more sheltered with some woods and almost instantly I seen hatching flies, large dark olives if my entomology is up to speed, but not only large dark olives hatching yellow sally's were also coming off in good numbers but after sitting for 10 minutes observing not many fish were feeding on them.

I started working my way down the side of the faster water and almost instantly par were intercepting my flies

What happened next I wouldn't have believed if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, The Swifts and Sand Martins were taking full advantage of the hatching flies and plucking flies from the surface of the water just as they were hatching and thats exactly what happened to my artificials not once but twice, a Sand Martin came down and plucked my artificial from the surface of the water, lifted them about 5 foot into the air and when it felt the resistance of the line dropped the fly again, something that has never happened to me in all my years of fishing and was quite a sight to watch. You know you have your fly choice correct if the birds are plucking the artificials from the surface. Im constantly being amazed by nature and the antics which happen.

Continuing on the side of the faster runs the par kept coming and gave great sport seeing as not much else was taking advantage of the hatch, I stopped taking pictures as they just kept coming and if I had continually taken the camera out I would have spent more time putting the thing in & out of my waistcoat than fishing, I walked upstream to another part of the river with over 20 par coming to my hand on that small stretch.

As I walked I caught a glimpse of the Geese and its 6 goslings in the area where I had discovered the nest so it was great to see that they all had hatched and were doing good, Also catching my eye were the first monkey flowers of the year on the river, my favourite wild flower by far.

I spotted a trout which had come right out the water when it rose so  a few casts in its direction before it rose and took my artificial, the fish were getting bigger as I walked upstream and more stunning in colours too.

A few more casts into some faster water and another trout surrendered to my artificial, the best of the day so far.

A few more fish were rising now and it was good to see that a few fish were now starting to take advantage of the hatch. A couple more small par and a single small grayling before this small but very solid fish took my fly.

The hatch was beginning to die off again as the wind had now reached this particular part of the river and the fish were very sporadic in rising but I did manage another one which was rising hard against some overhanging willows and after a few duff casts I managed to drop the fly exactly where I wanted it and it obliged me.

I hung around for a few minutes but didn't see another fish rise and the wind was putting the hatch down so I decided to call it for another week, a few hours snatched which turned out again excellent, If I had to count all the fish that came to hand & net today it would easily be in excess of 30 fish, you cant get any better than that for a few hours and Im very thankful of the sport.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Nature's Medicine

After a hard week at work and a health issue that has been plaguing me this week I was really looking forward to a few hours on the river,  just to recharge my batteries if nothing else.

I was hit with the dilemma of very low water in most most of our Dales rivers, so opted to head a but further afield knowing that the water levels would be a bit better.

I arrived on the river just after 1030am and the first thing I noticed was the brisk upstream wind and at times causing whitecaps to blow back upstream, but I was determined to have a good day no matter what the results were.

I spotted a tell tale sign that there was a hatch coming off the water, as the birds were making a big fuss over the hatching insects so headed up to see what all the fuss was about, and sure enough quite a few olives were hatching on this particular part of the river with some yellow sally's thrown in for good measure. There wasnt many fish looking up even though the hatch was a good one and the fish that were rising were very sporadic.

Opting to take the dry fly approach I tackled up and cast to where a fish had just risen and almost immediately was slam dunked by a lovely fish which disappeared with my fly.
1 fly down, 2 left in the box, I soon re tackled and was casting again at another sporadic riser and again it took the fly almost immediately but this time it wasnt as big as the first and soon after the first trout was in the net.

It felt nice to be back into a trout and am sure some of my aches and pains disappeared back into the river when I let the fish go.

A few moments later another fierce take and Number 2 fly disappeared into the depths, I could understand if I was doing something wrong or using underweight tippet but in each case I wasnt it was the sheer ferocity of the take that was parting the tippet. Tackling up for a 3rd time with the last fly of that particular size from my box it wasnt long before I was connected with another fish and it safely made the net.

What happened next made me laugh... An angler approached me from upstream and came and sat about 50 metres from me on the bank just watching what I was up to, no words uttered & as he watched I managed to hook & land a couple of smaller trout.
On the hatch dying off I backed out the water and started to walk towards him, he got to his feet and started walking at a pace back in the direction he came from. I knew exactly what he was up to as there is a pool further upstream and he was wanting to get back to the pool before I did, I let him carry on I had no interest in fishing the pool in question as I dont rate it that well, he obviously had other thoughts. Sure enough he dropped into the pool and started to peel out line almost immediately. I simply walked past him saying good morning as I went and walked about 100 metres upstream to some slower moving water where I knew if any hatches were happening it would be in the shallower water above the pool, and sure enough a few olives were hatching with one fish rising. I cast, it rose, fish on and the look on the guys face was priceless.

I took another couple of smaller fish from the same piece of water, smaller in size but he saw me net them so I simply dropped my net into the water and released the small fish but he had no way of knowing what size they were, I walked further upstream and as I looked back, yep the angler in question was moving onto the piece of water I had just came off.....Some folk just amaze me.

I decided to drop onto a little piece of water I frequent when up this way and as always the the shelter of the trees always produce's a good hatch, I walked via the goose nest I had found a few weeks earlier and sure enough by the look of all the down around the empty nest the birds have fledged and are away with their parents on the river somewhere.

The water looked lovely although deprived of a little water.

view upstream

Downstream view

It does hold some big fish but today it was plenty of small fish that came to the net.

I actually lost count after 10 of them so decided to stop and have some lunch.

As I sat and had something to eat and drink I was amazed at the abundance of wild flowers which surrounded me in such a short space, deep blues, pink's purples and yellow's and across the other side was a mass of cascading white  flowers hanging from a bush, which looked stunning in the light. The picture does not give it all the justice it truly deserves.

With the fragrance of fresh mint heavy in the air.

Who needs prescribed medicine's when nature does a better job.

I decided to start heading back towards the car and managed to loose a further 2 fish, but I want caring as I was quite happy on how the day had went and the fish were just added bonus's to me.

I managed to land another fish from a fast turbulent run which gave a terrific account of itself in the fast water.

This picture was an accident as I was preparing the camera for the above fish picture but when I seen it on downloading the pictures from the camera the glint in my eye sums up the day I had.

It was also nice to bump into a couple of friends I see from time to time on the river and have a chat.

Since the last blog entry I've received a couple of parcels from very generous friends around the world, the first being from Austria and a friend who religiously sends me smoked meat every year that he cures himself.

Klaus is an angler himself and through the powers of float making we have become great friends over the years.

The second one if from someone I've never met but admired his work on various traditional fishing forums and after a couple of email between the two of us this card arrived on my doorstep with the contents of some copper wire for ribbing flies and some wool to make up some bugs, which he dyes himself with an added extra of a couple of nymphs to try out in Yorkshire.

The card alone is something close to my heart being a veteran and a worthy cause.

Leszek you are a true gentleman, thank you very much for your generous gift.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

All about the birds.

Yesterday afternoon I managed to grab a few hours away from the chaos of a house which is in turmoil with furniture & possessions everywhere.

I wasnt too hopeful as the river has dropped even further since my last few hours out last week and the pool which I took my trout from is now almost dry. The wind was blowing from the west and its was bitter, good job I had the fleece in the boot of the car.

One thing that hasn't changed is the fragrance that smacks your nostrils as soon as you go into the protection of the wood, it was nice just to sit in the wood for a few moments and take in the sights, sounds and smells.

There was a pool I knew that might still have a bit of moving water in it but it wouldn't be deep water so a bit of stealth would be required on the approach, so on hands and knees I approached the run only to almost crush some eggs that I seen at the last minute in my path as I crawled towards the pool.

I knew instantly that it was the oyster catchers nest as I had seen them take off from this area as I approached from further up the river, not wanting to keep them off the nest too long a quick photograph and I backed off and dropped well below the pool before approaching again and sure enough 5 minutes or so later I saw one of the oyster catchers return to the spot.

I could see a couple of small fish just breaking the surface in the pool and seeing as I hadn't seen anything else decided to have a go and see what I could get, I cast above the fish and from nowhere I saw a flash of silver head for my flies and next thing I knew I was hooked into a good Grayling. After a few moments I slipped the net below a nice Grayling for the river.

A quick picture and she was gone.

Out of nowhere it started to rain, not that I was complaining as we definitely need it, but it wouldn't make any difference to the level as the land is so dry it will easily soak any rain we have before it gets the chance to make a difference to the river.

Moving further downstream to see if I could find any more rising fish I stumbled across a couple more smaller Grayling in mint condition and providing an excellent account of themselves on the 3#

It was then I came across another oyster catcher but not on the terms I like to see them, this one was dead and by the look of things had been struck on the wing as one of the wings had excessive damage.

On inspecting the other wing I saw that it was intact so waste not want not, it will make some lovely black spider patterns from the feathers on the upper wing.

Now bagged and in the freezer to start to preserving process it will in the future be put to good use.

With no further fish seen I decided to head back home and came across these marsh marigolds on route.

I have to say the wild flowers are out in abundance at the moment as the following picture is one I took on my way from work during the week, a field full of marigolds, something a bit different as most fields are filled with rape seed or hay at the moment.

Arriving home when I was unloading the car I could hear noises coming from the drainpipe that runs down the front of the house and on closer inspection I could hear a few bird tweets coming from inside the pipe, I knew it was probably a couple of the fledgling house sparrows that nest in our roof and they had slipped down the pipe, so on removing the drain cover below the pipe sure enough 2 small house sparrows drop out and into the water in the drain, retrieving them both from the water and placing them on the gravel they soon took to the wing and flew to the nearby fence to dry off, I imagine quite relieved that they were out of the pipe.

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