Sunday, 15 January 2017

Rising....River that is.

Looking at the weather forecast upstream of where I wanted to get out fishing didn't look good with heavy rain forecast from early morning through to lunchtime so it was only a matter of time before the river would dirty over and start rising so making the most of it I was on the river for just before 9am, light rain on & off & low grey cloud making it a dour day, but at least I was out on the river.

The river was even lower than last week and crystal clear so I knew it would be hard going. A couple of heron's lifted off from the area  where I wanted to start so that was not a good omen knowing that they had been patrolling the stretch.

It didn't take long till the first fish came to the hand, nothing big but very welcome. The average size of fish I have been taking from this stretch all year.

a couple more casts and another couple followed.

with nothing more coming from the area I moved upstream in search of more fish, the rain had started now and it was coming down heavy so it was a case of get behind the trunk of a tree the best I could and wait it out, it didn't take too long to ease and I ventured on up the river but nothing was moving apart from a lone kingfisher darting up & down the river. 

Another small Grayling came from a deep fast run and I managed to drop another 2 of them so the fish were around, then a slightly better fish made an appearance

A quick coffee and as I sat drinking it I seen the river change colour from clear to a dirty brown, the river was rising with the amount of rain that fell during the night and this was it reaching me, it was just before 11am so a couple of hours fishing was certainly better than none.

A couple more casts in the dirty rising water produced another Grayling before I finally decided to head home for lunch, a worthwhile couple of hours out on the river all be it brief.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

In the Mist

Today was the first time I've managed to get out in 2017, and the decision where to fish was taken care of a few days ago as all my season tickets are in the post to the various secretaries to get updated for this year and I dont like venturing onto club waters without my tickets so it was up the Dale where Im known by the land owners so I could get to fish in peace.

The Dale was simply stunning this morning with the mist lifting off.

The cackle of  feeding geese off in the distance in the morning light broke the silence of the morning

I dropped over the wall and headed down the field towards the river.

I found the river almost at summer levels, very low and crystal clear so I knew it was going to be a tough day but it was just great to be back out on the bank.

Setting up a mixed cast with a small nymph on point and a spider on the dropper I started fishing and almost immediately was into my first fish, hooked on the spider dropper, the first of 2017.

Working my way downstream I dropped another 2 fish as I went, one of which was an out of season trout so wasnt too downhearted and the other a small Grayling.

I didn't touch another fish for almost an hour until I rounded the bend and dropped into a deep steady run and hooked a lovely Grayling only for the hook to slip at the net and as I watched it turn and head back to the depths where it came from I could have kicked myself!

Deciding to sit down and have a coffee I had the pleasure of watching a Hare come within 30ft of me without seeing me and as I slipped the camera out my top pocket it stopped and turned, but I did manage a quick picture before it took off at a rate of knots across the field.

Now composed again I slipped back into the deep run and a couple of casts later seen the indicator stop and I tightened into another Grayling, this time the hook stayed put as the net slipped under it.

This made the day and the thoughts of the lost fish 10 minutes before soon faded.

I fished down to where I had seen the geese feeding and popped my head up over the bank to see them spread out all across the field feeding, there must have been well over 300 birds, I managed to line up and join two photographs to show the extent of the flock, but there was more birds off to the right which I couldn't line up.

Back to the fishing and rewarded with another Grayling to the spider.

A pair of kingfishers were busy darting up and down the river in front of me making the fishing even more pleasurable.
Moving down to the bottom limit of the stretch and another long deep glide produced another Grayling to the spider on the dropper.

Fishing on for a further hour produced no more fish but I was satisfied with what I already had so made my way back to the car contented and glad that I had the privilege to get out and fish on such a lovely day in stunning scenery. 

Saturday, 7 January 2017

First of 2017

I hope everyone has now recovered from the festivities of Christmas & New Year, and got the chance to get out or at the very least get some floats or flies tied.

I haven't had the pleasure of getting out this year yet but my hands have not been idle with the first flee's & floats being finished and ready to go.

Before I know it I will be out fishing upstream spiders in search of the trout so what better way to start off the year but with a couple of spiders coming off the vice.

With nobody in mind for the floats I designed them in my personal style, they may see water they may not as the trotting rods have still not seen the light of day this Grayling season yet, as I like to trot when the weather gets really cold but up till now that hasn't happened with another mild winter where I have still been able to advance my nymphing tactics.

I have since coming back from Graylingland with a pouch full of wing quills from a swan I found dead on the river in Lapland been meaning to turn them into something worth while so over the holidays decided to turn a few into swan quill floats.

Every time I look at these they will remind me of the great times I had whilst up there.

And I hope that they do justice to such a beautiful bird, after its death.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Last Cast

The river has been all over the place since I broke for holiday making it impossible to get a day out before heading back to work tomorrow so today was the last chance I would get to fish this year.

The river was still very much above my fishable top limit of 0.47m but I had to take the chance even if it was only fishing the back eddies, it would be a couple of hours on the river.

I headed up the Dale just after 9am, no point in going any earlier with the water in the condition it was, so parked up and headed across the field towards the river, 5 cock pheasants, a hare and a heron all sighted between the car and the river, the wildlife was taking full advantage in the lull from the high winds we have had over the last few days.

The flood debris was well up the field with full tree stumps now sitting high and dry since the water has receded.
I headed downstream observing the amount of damage this recent flood has caused to the already eroding banks and best guess it has pushed them back another couple of feet, next thing I knew I was on my backside sliding down the bank towards the water, although a couple of feet back from the waters edge the full bank had been undercut which I failed to see, I landed in the water thankfully feet first and stopped just above my waist which was lucky and  was able to wade upstream  to get back onto dry land, a lucky escape.  The banks being sand & soil mix are constantly moving with the high water, with the decaying bank-side vegetation it hid the bigger problem of the undercutting and by me standing on it this full undercut gave way although I was several feet back from the waters edge.
With the river being this high it still hides a lot of dangers, its just goes to show no matter how well you think you know a stretch you dont really know it at all.

I finally found some slacker water where a large bush was deflecting the water away from my bank allowing for some slacker water and it wasnt too long until my first fish of the day came to the net, unfortunately a trout, not the species I was after. The next 15 minutes produced another trout before the first Grayling of the day which was nice to see and very welcome in the conditions I was fishing.

Nothing else came after this so I wandered the bank looking for another suitable fishing spot. The geese were in good numbers in the surrounding fields.

As I walked  downstream I came across these pair of cormorants sitting high up on a tree, not a good sight seeing these things on the stretch and I hope they dont come back with any friends!

I slipped in again to some slacker water running along my bank and started fishing again and I didnt have to wait too long till the next fish was on, another Grayling.

and in the very next cast, took its mate.

I fished on for around 40 minutes before I managed another fish which turned out to be the best of the day and she proudly showed off her dorsal fin for the camera before she slipped back into the depths.

I had covered the full stretch with only a couple of fishing spots available to fish and with me now being at the very bottom of the stretch decided that was enough, so made my way back just as more geese decided to come into land over my head.

a nice couple of hours in high water where I wasnt really expecting much so the Grayling and couple of Trout were a bonus, as I was heading up the bank away from the water the bank collapsed again and for the 2nd time I was on my backside, thankfully not in the water this time, the banks are so soft they are just crumbling so please if anyone is out in the next few days, take care!

Well thats me for 2016 I wont get the chance to get back out but I've had a good year and if you dio get a last trip out before the new year then I wish you tight lines.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

A few Floats

Almost a year has past since I stopped making floats but when a friend asks for some as a Christmas present then I cannot refuse, so recently got the lathe out, blew off the dust and got these turned in both balsa & cork.

Balsa Trotters painted.

Balsa Trotters painted with stained stems.

And a couple of cork trotters

All that is left for me to say is Merry Christmas to everyone who reads the Flee & Float from my Wife Karen & I. 

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

My Year

Well its that time of year again, where the big fella in the red suit squeezes down the chimney and I think about how lucky I have been, as only 6 years ago at this time I was lying in a bed hooked up to a heart & lung monitor fighting for my life in my local hospital after a freak accident, I cant believe how fast the time flies and can thankfully say Im 100% fit again thanks to all the Doctors & Nurses from the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton & not forgetting my wife Karen.

Looking back at this year I can honestly say its one I wont forget in a while with my bucket list trip to Graylingland and other magical moments on the river, here is a few photos which brings back memories for me of 2016.

January saw it absolutely freezing and this picture of the snow laden tree stood out for me.

A winter grayling, nothing nicer than fishing on a crisp cold morning.

The snow has gone but still a delight to catch these wonderful creatures.

new life on the river

& beautiful brown trout whilst the gorgeous grayling spawn

but the arctic grayling of Finnish Lapland keep me going.

A trip I will never forget with arctic grayling and whitefish caught for the very first time.

 A few new sights & places in the world visited accompanied by my wife & best friend Karen.... China, Japan, Vietnam, Hong Kong & Singapore and then back to shorter days and longer nights in the Dales

& catching up with old friends for fun

just as the year ends, reliving the summer trip all over again after my article was given 8 pages in the Grayling Society winter magazine.

so thats my fond memories for 2016, am sure everyone has there own so all thats left for me now is to say to all my blog readers new & old from all over the world have a Very Merry Christmas and I hope Santa fills your waders.

Slainte  mhath

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