Friday, 30 September 2016

They think its all over......

Now the proper fishing begins.
With today being the last day of the trout season here, the season I prefer is now upon us, however I always like to give it a few weeks so a slight fishing break before I enjoy this years Grayling season, the clear crisp frosty mornings on the river, you cant beat it!

Last couple of days has seen me tying up a few nymphs in preparation as I plan to fish the nymph a lot more this year than I normally do.

A couple of rainbow perdigons which worked well last year.

A few bugs which I always have in my box and has caught me many Grayling over the years, the one on the far left has been wetted to show the colour difference from the remaining dry ones, some with ribs some without.

And a few quill nymphs I seen online so decided to tie a few and see how they go.

Today I made up the first Bottle of this years Sloe Whisky, 250 grams of sugar, 1 Litre of Whisky and 2 lbs of sloes, now its all down to time, this will sit for 3 months or more in a dark cupboard as it takes on the taste and colour of the sloes, Ready just in time for the 2017 Trout season.

To all my fellow Grayling anglers world wide I hope you have a rod bending season and enjoy these wonderful fish...Tight Lines.

Monday, 26 September 2016

All too Sloe

This weekend was sloe collecting time, so to tie in both my fishing and sloe collecting I decided to split the day yesterday, morning too fishing and afternoon to collecting sloe's.

The river looked spot on when I arrived but I knew it wouldn't last long as the overnight heavy rain would filter into the system as the morning drew on. I sat and watched the first set of runs for any movement as I had seen a few small hatching duns coming off in the early morning sunshine, so was hoping the fish might react to them but alas nothing did so it was to be a start on the nymphs to see if I could tempt anything.

It didn't take long to the Par intervened with both trout & grayling coming to the nymphs.

What they lack in size is made up in beauty.

after capturing almost a dozen of these small fish I finally got into a better grayling

I was hoping more for trout but I wasnt turning my nose up at grayling, as this will probably be the last time Im out this trout season, not that Im complaining as the trout season for me in just a filler in until the next grayling season comes around, as grayling fishing is my passion, and always has been since the very first time I caught one all those years ago.

20 minutes or so went by with nothing moving at all and just as I was about to head up to the next pool the line went taught again, another grayling.

The water was starting to colour over & I knew it wouldn't be long until it started rising so I headed up to fish the final pool before calling it a day and heading out for the sloes.

The damp weather suiting the fungi growing off the trees on the riverbank.

As I rounded the bend a heron took off and headed upstream and as I approached where it had been standing the place was littered with crayfish shells obviously a delicacy for the bird and very welcome to know that its eating them but I fear not it the numbers we would like.

The last pool produced nothing and the river was coming down at a rate of knots now with branches and other debris that it had picked up off the banks so I decided to call it a day and sure enough when I seen the river levels on my return home it had risen from 0.32 to 0.66 in less that 30 minutes.

It was also nice to receive a message from a friend who is a fly tying instructor further down the Dales and he had picked up on the Supa Pupa pattern I learned from John Roberts and wrote about in an earlier blog entry. He had taught his students how to tie it and this was the message....

 I've go to smile George. Just had a phone call from a very excited student of mine. He has just caught a 1.5lb grayling on one of your Supa Pupa I taught him to tie. He is still stood in the middle of the river too.

Lovely to see that the knowledge is being passed on and people are using the fly to their advantage. Long may it continue.

The walk back to the car gave me time to try out some of the settings on the new replacement camera on the old buildings.

A short drive took me to my happy hunting ground for my sloes and I have to say the bushes this year were absolutely dripping with sloes.

A quick bite to eat then I started the picking. About an hour or so later and a few cut fingers from the thorns, but all worth it, I walked away with my plastic bucket full.

Now the fun really begins with washing them off, and the time consuming job of removing the small wooden stem on every sloe. A few cups of coffee and a stiff back later, I had 17lbs of sloes bagged up ready for the freezer.

I like to add 2 lbs of sloes per litre of whisky so this will see me through 7 litres and I have a 3lbs bag as spare  or if I see more sloes in the next few weeks I can collect a few and make them up to another 2 x 2 lbs bags.

If you want to try sloe gin or whisky making for yourself now is the time to get out and get them picked, I can honestly say you wont regret it if you do.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Taking you on a journey....

Firstly I would like to inform the readers, the camera never made it, after a week on the window it didn't come back to life and I had to send it to the big camera in the sky.

So I had to resort to my final spare I had tucked away in my desk drawer, I just hope it lasts as long as this one has.

Today I decided to head far up the Dale with two motives, 1. To see how the sloes are coming on at one of my locations I frequent and 2. To see if I could tempt a couple of wild trout before the season closes as I will only have probably one more trip out before I call it a day for this years Brown Trout season.

Arriving at the river just after 10am I decided to head off down through the wood as the sun was strong and nothing was moving on the upper reaches and unfortunately where located the motorcycles were racing up & down the road as they always do when the good weather is upon us, making my head throb with the noise.

Walking down the overgrown path showed the signs of an autumnal day with the leaves starting to turn and drop to the floor.

Fishing isn't all about catching fish as some of my close friends know, its about everything around us from the kingfishers darting up the river with a flash of blue as they go to the small things most people dont even see, the amount of Fungi today was quite overwhelming in the matter of a 200m walk to where I wanted to start, most people would walk right over them but close up they all have an individual beauty.

Finally the hole in the wall and the river

I sat up on the vantage point on the edge of the wood and looked down on the particular pool and saw that a couple of fish were rising at the back end of the fast paced water, so decided to target the one at the very bottom of the pool and it didn't take long till he came up and took my dry fly I offered him.

almost invisible back in his home

The next few casts resulted in a couple of long range releases of small trout doing acrobatic's before I hooked into the first Grayling of the day.

The sun was so strong, combined with the reflection off the surface that my face was burning so taking a break to sit in the shade for a while and it gave me an opportunity to grab something to eat, and I had a chuckle to myself as I opened the small lunch bag my wife put together for me.....

All caught on a size 20 dry fly and scoffed straight away!

Fed & watered I headed off upstream back towards the car, releasing a further 3 Grayling as I went 2 long range and 1 at the net.

The countryside at the moment is full of colour from the leaves turning and the amount of wild berries ripening, just one of the many I passed today.

and still in flower the Montbretia

As I went picking & eating the ripened wild black berries which reminded me of the days we all went as a family to Cairnryan, before it became a ferry terminal to Ireland where we stayed on a small caravan site for the weekend with the sole purpose of picking the fruit so my granny could make jam from it, I do love this time of year.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Cultural Fishing

It must be the weekend, the rivers are all full with last nights rain, nothing unusual there then. I was planning on a trip to the River Clyde to break up my journey to the Airport as my peace & quiet is about to be shattered after a week, the wife's coming home, but on advice from a friend was told it was too high to fish so had to change my game plan.

Instead I got up early and looked at the levels up the Dale as the rain hadn't been as bad over the Pennines as it had been in Scotland and although high I knew a couple of places where I might be able to winkle a fish or two from so headed out.

I took a bit of a slight detour on route as I have been meaning to do a cultural visit to a new statue but never got around to it so today was the prime opportunity.



The Spitfire on Winston Bridge.

The statue is part of the Teesdale Viewmarkers  (click link)
and is dedicated to a feat of derring-do by Sqn Leader Ray Hanna a founding member of the Red Arrows who also founded the old flying machine company. Ray flew a Spitfire under the bridge for a scene in the film a piece of cake......Spitfire Under the bridge (click link)

On the other side of the bridge there is another sculpture.


A river smoothed pebble depicting the constant movement of water that formed the Dale.

Thats 3 of the sculptures I've now visited and have to say Im very impressed with them, albeit I think the feather one is in the wrong place which I took photographs of in an earlier blog entry.

so that was my cultural visit on route for a few hours fishing.

When I got to the river sure enough it was high but the place I had in mind was still fishable so setting up a nymph approach I started and it didn't take too long till I had connected with my first fish, a lovely grayling.

Taken on a nymph I had only tied up last night purely something I had knocked together, so pleased that it took the first fish of the day.

It wasnt much longer until the second fish took a liking to the nymph and another nice grayling was in the net and then disaster struck, I dropped the camera into the water albeit only for a matter of a few seconds as it slipped from my hand!

I have to apologize for the next couple of pictures as they are hazy these were the last couple of pics before the camera totally died.

The smell of the mint by the river was so lovely this  morning, I could smell it from about 4 feet away.

I continued on and picked up a few small trout.

As I made my way upstream I remembered the sloe bushes and was curious to see how far the fruit had come on since my last visit. They are ripening up nicely and I reckon another 3 weeks and they will be ready to be picked for this years process of making sloe whisky.

I could hear the camera making all sorts of weird noises in my pocket, turning itself on & off, the LCD screen was totally blacked out so couldn't actually see if the picture was in frame or not, I sat & had a cup of coffee and tried the best I could with some toilet paper I carry in my pocket to dry it out, the pictures becoming worse as the water seeped into the screen and lens.

I walked up to another spot where I knew I would be able to fish with some ease and managed another couple of small trout, this being the last photograph the camera took, before it died totally.

I continued on for a couple of hours and managed another 6 trout and 1 grayling so was chuffed with the end result in such difficult conditions. Now its time to get my head down for a few hours before the 6 hour round trip drive to the airport to get my wife.

The camera as I write is drying out on the window ledge and Im hoping that it will dry out enough to give me another few outings otherwise it will be in the recycle bin and I will have to bring out my last spare from the drawer, I do hope Santa brings me a waterproof one this year. 

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