Monday, 11 June 2018

A Few Hours

With things happening at home this weekend which took up the majority of my time I was restricted to fishing time, but in the end it actually paid off better than I had hoped for with a good spread of fish throughout the evening and a few surprise photographs which I was more than pleased with.

I headed up the Dale just after 6pm and on route was met with the flock of geese being in the exact location I was hoping to wet my line as there is normally a trout or two lying in under the bushes feeding so that put paid to my opening plans. I moved on up the river leaving them to the cover of the bushes.

There was a good hatch on the river but not many fish looking up and feeding on them, the ones which were actively rising were all small fish and after a few misses I managed to connect with one of the small fish, only to find it was actually Dace which were rising.

With nothing else actively rising on the stretch I decided to leave them to it and head further upstream.

I came across my favourite wild flower, the mimulus (Monkey flowers), nice to see them still growing wild next to the river.

After scanning the river for rising fish I spotted one fish rising hard against the far bank, so a bit of tactful wading was called for until I was comfortably within casting range and I dropped the dry fly almost on top of it and instantly it reacted and I was rewarded with the first trout of the night.

A right little porker with a full belly.

The hatch was well and truly on with various types of Mayfly & Duns hatching all over the river but like before not many fish were taking advantage of the banquet.

As I walked through some long grass I seen a few of the most beautiful creatures dancing around on the stems of the grasses so sat down & see if I could grab a few pictures and these were the results.

Balancing on my Boston hat in all its glory, a male banded demoiselle damselfly.

I managed gently to tease it onto my rod handle before it took to to the wing & flew off.

Damselfly & Jingler

With that over I got back to fishing and it wasnt long until the next trout gave away its position and I duly covered it and another in the net.

With nothing further moving it was time to chill on the bank and take in the surroundings and await to see if anything would start feeding on the continuing banquet of flies which were hatching off.

The thistles showing off their colours amongst all the grasses.

Having to roll my sleeves down as the small biting critters from the long grass were having a field day on my bare arms, to keep me from scratching my arms raw and keep me sane I got back into the river &  I was rewarded with two more trout, one of which did not fancy a photograph and released itself just before I managed to net it, but the 2nd one was quite willing.

A couple of scars down its flanks towards the tail, shows its been through the wars at some point in its life.

As the sun started to set behind the tree further up the bank  and I stepped into the pool before making my way downstream in the direction of the car.

Nothing further to show but I wasnt caring, I was more than happy with the sights, sounds and fish the river had given me tonight.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018


With so much to learn I decide last night to head out for a walk around my local area with the camera and start taking the advice of the book Im currently reading to try & improve my photography which sets assignments at the end of each chapter. Only way to improve is get out & about and start looking at things from different angles.

First port of call the old churchyard.

And a slightly different angle

The old clock tower

And couldn't forget  a walk along the river beside the devil's bridge.

The old raised walkway leading up to the river, now overgrown and unused.

One of the raised archway spanning an old drainage ditch

The bridge itself looking upstream 

And the downstream view, typically the fish are rising in the foreground when the rod is still at home.

With daisies along the top

The final loop around the fields before heading back home.

Assignments complete and the next chapter to look forward to. 
You really can teach an Old Dog new tricks!

Sunday, 3 June 2018

A Snap Shot no More

I wanted to step up my photography skills so recently I bought myself my first DSLR camera. All my photographs on the blog up to now have been point & shoot and although I've had many great shots I wanted to challenge myself more, so today was the first time the new camera went with me to the river.

It was a lot to take in with which settings produced the best photograph but I had a great day split between fishing & taking pictures, and although some are not perfect I'm definitely enjoying the experience for sure.

I decided that after the all the rain and the river being really coloured I wanted to head up the Dale to a place where I knew there was some waterfalls etc to practise my shots on and it will be the first time up there since the start of the new trout season.

On arriving the first sight I was met with was the extended family of Geese on the stretch.

After they decided to move away from the river and head to some marsh land in a field behind me I settled down to observe the river and see what was happening. A few moments sat watching saw me observe 3 fish rising, not big fish but that made my mind up, dry fly!

The river was murky after all the rain of friday but the levels were perfect for this stretch and the colour was not putting the fish off the feed.

There was a fish rising under an overhanging tree on the opposite bank & I decided to try this one first, not a big fish by any means but it was technical and I like a challenge. A few casts and it landed right under the branch and the fish sipped at the fly but I didn't manage to connect with it, letting it settle down for a few moments I tried again, this time ending up in the leaves, but thankfully a quick flick and the fly was free. A couple more casts and the fish rose again, this time there was no errors, and a few seconds later the first fish of the day was being photographed.

As I was slipping it back into the water, another fish rose in the exact same place as this one, so after a quick dry of the flies, I started casting back under the overhanging branches, with a 70 / 30 success rate but the fish was having none of it. Deciding on one last cast the fly landed hard on the water but instantly the fish rose and the line tightened.

The 2nd fish was soon in the net.

With no further fish rising around me I ventured off downstream heading for the woods to access the next section of water. I always like this section of the riverbank as the place seems to be alive with birds and other creatures as I stood and watched a squirrel jumping from tree to tree to get away from me.

 At the next section of river there was no signs of any fishing moving at all, but a hatch was on yet nothing was moving for them.

As I stood and observed for 10 minutes or so loads of insects were hatching but nothing was moving on them at all, so I turned my mind to the other reason I was out today and started experimenting with settings and shutter speeds.

A few wild flowers growing out the rockface behind me

and another just off the footpath.

With still no fish rising on this particular stretch I decided to head downstream to where there was some faster water and see if anything was showing there. On route I stumbled across this fungi under the shade of an oak tree.

Heading down to the fast water I decided to continue with the camera work and started experimenting referring to the notes I had scribbled down in an old army pocket book I had in my vest. Not the best silky shots there is but not bad for my first time at giving them a go, still a lot to learn.

The fun trying out the shots brought a whole new chapter to my day and between the fishing and photography I had up to now thoroughly enjoyed my day, so time for a break and something to eat.

The point & press camera, taking a picture of the new camera. 

The point & press won't fully be redundant with it being waterproof and small it easily slots into one of the slits in my vest, so is convenient for shots when Im wading or fish pictures where the camera being over the water isn't an issue.

Turning my attention back to the fish again I back tracked and headed a short distance upstream where I had observed a fish rising whilst I was having something to eat.

A few cats and it was on.

Observing another fish rising a short distance away, I made my way to a better casting position and flicked the fly just upstream but after a half dozen or so casts the fish never rose again so I suspect it could have just been one of those fish you always see leaping for no apparent reason. 

Heading back up the path heading for the car, I decided to take advantage of the moss covering the dry stone walls for some close up shots with a today's fly, this being the best end result.

The jingler I had been using up to now.

And not leaving myself out of the picture, yours truly.

And Im glad to report that the camera lense didn't break at the sight of me, so all is good.

With the afternoon dragging on I decided to head to one pool and see if anything was moving so sat on the bank observing the complete pool when this Oystercatcher decided to join me.

And looking behind me into the field, a few small rabbits running around with one pausing to have its photograph taken.

There was one fish which came up twice in succession for hatching flies so I decide to have one last cast before heading back to the car and sure enough the 2nd cast it took the fly.

No large fish caught today but you know what I couldn't care less as I had one of the best days on the river for a long time, between learning the new camera and just taking things easy for a change I couldn't have bettered the day if I had tried.

And this last picture should give away where I was today, none other than my own Dale....Wensleydale.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Stalking Magic

I managed to get out for a few hours up the Dale yesterday afternoon, the sun was high, the river was low & crystal clear so very challenging conditions but I have to say the Buzz the few hours gave me you just could not bottle the feeling.

The view upstream shows how much the river is down to bare bones, almost dry in some places and some of the deep glides I wouldn't dream of wading are all wadeable and gives me a good mental map of the bottom when the rivers rise again.

I walked the river looking for likely fish holding places with my polaroids on and I knew of once spot which would have some shade and a bit of depth to it, as i got closer I crouched and watched over it for a few moments and sure enough a few chub were taking insects from the surface scum that was floating down, with that in mind I tied up with a slightly larger sedge pattern I would normally fish in fading light and crawled into casting position.

The first couple of casts nothing came to inspect the fly but on the next I had some interest from a chub, but it turned away at the last moment. Not to be deterred I cast again and this time a big pair of white rubber lips came up from below and sucked down the sedge. Fish on!

Not renowned for their hard fighting but a few runs on my 3# rod made for more excitement  and then the fish was in the net. Battle scarred from spawning, a quick photograph and it slipped back into the depths to join the others. I sat for some time to see if any others would appear again but the word was out and no others made another appearance.

Moving upstream to another location I came across the few Geese with the goslings.

I sat and watched a few Chublets and small Grayling  cruising the shallows but were not tempted by the small dry I had changed back to.

I could see a few ripples from below a tree which looked like a fish sipping as it was hardly making any disturbance to the water,  After 10 minutes of continually watching I decided to give it a cast and see what happens, so putting on a small parachute dry midge pattern I cast just above the rises and sure enough first pass it came up and sipped the fly, the fish then went for a fast first run when it found itself hooked and I knew it was a decent fish.

A few more runs and this golden beauty slipped into the net.

At almost 40cm long this sort of fish I did not expect in conditions like this but just shows no matter what the conditions are a fish will always find a spot to feed and this fish wa barely breaking the surface when feeding, so much so I thought it could have been a Grayling smutting.

I couldn't ask for anymore in these conditions, a happy man.

I was contented as I headed past the hawthorns in full bloom and the old gate post on my way back to the car.

I arrived back at the car just as the light was starting to dip over the Dale, 4 hours had passed but doesn't time fly when your having fun.

Foot Note:
I have to apologise to two blog followers, John from the USA and Tom.
I accidentally deleted your comments when moderating them the other night, my sincere apologies for deleting them, Thats the reason you cant see them in case you were wondering. Once again please accept my apologies.

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