Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Dont you just hate Thursdays...

I've been following the pattern of nature for the last few weeks and that is the heavens open on a Thursday night through till a Friday morning, the rivers are lovely up until this point but come Saturday & Sunday you can guarantee they are thundering through!

For almost the last month thats been the regular weekly event in my region, thankfully its only the Brown Trout season and not really my thing but its stops me getting out for the Grayling especially on the dry fly as nothing better than catching Grayling on the dry fly on a nice summers evening.

So with this in mind my walking boots have seen a lot more action this year than normal and that means the camera being in action.

I revisited a quiet Dale close to my home that I feel is away from the mad crowds of visitors & holiday makers and you can spend the full day wandering without seeing another soul.

Some of the many cascades on the small side becks which feed the main beck.

The walk up the beck resulted in a few good shots the choice to wear a pair of wellies definitely the right choice.

I opted to do a bit of beck walking back to a place where I've only discovered one more online photograph of the waterfalls apart from the shots I've taken & this was a single shot taken back in 1988.

It may not be fishing for Grayling but it certainly soothes the soul.

Here's hoping for fishing this weekend!

Sunday, 4 August 2019

After the Storm

I honestly didn't think I would get out this week with the deluge of water that has fell on the Dales & the destruction it has caused with whole communities affected, bridges washed out & roads subsiding. I had no plans for this weekend and had resolved myself to the fact it would be another day out on the hills walking, but a walk out last night changed my thinking on that when I headed east slightly over to the Cleveland hills for a few hours and bumped into someone I hadn't seen in years.

A couple of shots over Roseberry Topping and the purple heather out in full bloom.

After a chat with a friend last night who I bumped into by sheer chance, we got talking of the conditions of the rivers and how we used to fish them in all states, so with this in mind I decided to head out today and see where it got me.

The rivers were all still higher than usual with the rains and decided to try& find more clear water.

It was a day for nymphs which slightly lightened the waistcoat as I stripped everything out apart from one box of nymphs & a few bits & pieces.

It wasnt long until I started hitting small fish and they came thick and fast with almost 10 fish within the first hour falling for my middle dropper.

A nice selection of both small trout & grayling.

And within 2 hours into the fishing I had caught over 30 fish, nothing of any size but great sport nevertheless, most falling to the middle dropper and in varying depths of water.

I was sitting on the bank soaking up the sun as it poked its head out from behind a cloud and I thought I saw an otter at first but as I focused closer I saw it was a mink on the far bank making its way in & out of the entangled tree roots which were dipping into the water, almost 10 minutes I watched it as it weaved in & out of the roots I suspect foraging for food.

It was a nice distraction from the fishing and took the stress off my shoulders for a few moments but it was time to get back to it and I decided to head upstream to a point then call it a day.

I was searching out a pool as the line went taught and I knew immediately that this was no small fish as it kicked back initially as I lifted the rod. Sure enough a decent fish on!

After a few speedy deep runs and some acrobatics I finally slipped the net under this lovely wild trout. The deep red spots immediately jumping out at me as it lay in the net.

A couple of quick photographs and off it went back to the deep to give sport another day.

That really topped my day off and I doubt I could better it but nevertheless decided to fish on to the point I had decided.

Another few smaller Trout & Grayling succeeded the big trout and on the final cast another better than average Grayling graced my net before I called it quits.

Almost 40 fish to the net in the space of 3.5 hours on the river and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, with the big trout being the highlight of the morning.
Best part of it all I had the full river to myself as I never seen a sole.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Head for the Hills

Well the fishing was short lived but not through anything apart from mother nature with torrential rain lifting every main river in the Dales, flood warning sirens going off in a few places and block roads due to flood water, so it was a day to head to the hills away from it all, so grabbing the walking bag and camera off I set high up on the grouse moors above swaledale.

The views up Swaledale.

One of the many waterfalls I came across on my walk

A couple of shots of the many grouse that were out on the moors, nice to see such a healthy environment with me also spotting my first yellowhammer, a bird that I has eluded me up till today & although I didn't manage to get a photograph of it , it was a nice sight even though I was sucking air deep into my lungs after a steep climb, it certainly perked me up.

The encounter I had whilst taking these next couple of photographs made me chuckle. In the middle of nowhere, with no marked paths on the map, I even followed the beck upstream just for ease of walking & stumbled across this small waterfall. Half way through taking the photographs I heard a noise behind me & turned to see 3 lady walkers  stumbling across the heather waving at me...They were lets say geographically embarrassed and were looking for a track which was over 1.5 miles east of the current location so after a small map reading bearing lesson off they set in the correct direction, my good deed for the day done. 

Heading in the opposite direction to what the female walkers set off in I was soon heading back down into the trees and with an abundance of wild raspberries picked as I went it was a good day to be out for a walk. I notice that the hazel nuts are starting to ripen on the trees and it makes me wonder where 2019 has gone, its passed so quickly this year with us almost into August already.

One last set of waterfalls before heading back in the direction of the car, a distance of 9 miles covered from the start, most uphill but some beautiful views across the dales so Im not complaining and to see this last photograph before heading to the car certainly put a smile on my face.

A farmer with a sense of humour.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Back on the Hunt

A week longer than I first anticipated but after 7 long weeks away from having a rod in my hand I can finally say Im back on the hunt.

The river's  are desperate for water so toying with my options I decided to head North to my happy hunting grounds and it paid off for me. Sitting on the bank this morning scanning for any surface movement was surreal & I can only say I was very thankful to be there, watching the kingfishers dart up and down the river and the oyster catchers slightly upstream calling to each other.

There was a sporadic hatch with yellow sallies & olives coming off the water but no fish were interested in them so the spider option was decided upon.

It didn't take too long until I felt the first pluck & I lifted into a small grayling, what could be better to be welcomed back onto the river than a grayling.

I was very contented at that moment in time & all the weeks away were soon forgotten about.

Working my way upstream over the next 20 minutes or so resulted in another small fish, this time a small brown trout.

The water was looking really good after last nights splash of rain with a nice colour running in the river. 

The next fish done more aerobatic's than anything it spent more time in the air trying to throw the hook than fight in the river a very feisty wild brown trout.

I decided to change the point spider for a small weighted pheasant tail variant that I knew worked well in these parts so switching over I continued on and it soon paid off for me.


46cm or 18" if old school of sheer pleasure followed and the switching of the point fly had totally turned the day around with this beautiful big grayling, what a welcome back.

To say I was a very happy angler at that point was a sheer understatement.

Fishing up through the pool resulted in no further fish, so time to leave it alone to rest and head upstream to my next part that I had marked in my mind to fish.

Again I sat on the bank scanning for movement that didn't appear all the time my nose being filled with the fresh aroma of the wild mint & flowers that surrounded where I was sitting.

After sat observing for 10 minutes with no sign of any surface movement from fish I tarted at the head of the pool in the fast water and the first cast resulted in a lost fish, so there was fish there.

A couple of cast later & I was bent into another decent fish which stayed deep until almost at the net & again another lovely big grayling.

Wondering if there was anymore fish I flicked straight back into the pool and sure enough another big grayling took a liking to that point fly.

I suspect from the amount of dangling flies that are amongst the opposite bank trees there has been a few other anglers trying for these fish since my last trip here, as its too deep and quite a technical pool to fish and the overhanging trees will gladly take your flies from you if your accuracy is off, thankfully mine wasnt!

Nothing further came from the pool but I  really didn't care I was on a high and this was more than enough fish for me, so taking a short walk upstream I sat and watched as a heron tackled with a crayfish it had captured and as it flew off I went and had a look where it was standing, scattered all around was fresh crayfish leftovers.

I dont think the heron will ever eradicate these critters from our rivers but I know that a few other species such as the otters and other wildlife now depend on them as part of their staple diets, its just a shame the damage these things do to out rivers.

Having a few more casts resulted in another couple of small fish.

I didn't want to push my luck with my injury on the first day so as I was about to climb back out the river this mallard decided to bring her new clutch past me for a visit, this has to be her 2nd clutch or its a very late laying mallard as most of the young along the river are now well past the fledgling state.

With that I called it a day and headed back to the car where I stood for almost an hour chatting to a member who was just starting out as he turned up just as I arrived back at the car, Seems my few big fish were the first in a few weeks as he has been on the river the last few weeks without anything of that size making an appearance so I really do feel humbled to have them on my first day back.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Not quite back

But not far off it.

Im very much hoping to get my backside back on the bank-side this weekend with a rod in my hand & not a camera, well not a DSLR anyway.

The last few weeks with an aggravated old injury has been a nightmare and being able to get  onto the banks but not fish has made it even worse but my photography skills have drastically improved!

Im hoping that this weekend will be the first weekend back on the river welding a rod around and hopefully getting amongst the fish again.

In the meantime a few pictures from the last few weekends with the camera.

In preparation for getting back out with the dry fly before all is lost, I had to top up my dry fly floatant bottles and found it cheaper by far to buy direct from a UK source so at half a kilo of fly floatant delivered next day delivery how many bottles will I get from that. :)

Hope to see some old friends on the bank again soon. fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Walking in the Footsteps

Im currently nursing an injury which I didn't want to agitate by fishing so instead I decided to go walking to a place I always said I would visit so no excuses, a 0430hrs alarm I was up and away on Sunday. 
The reason for such an early rise was that I wanted the place to myself as its a popular walk and to take my time & get some good photographs.

Arriving in Gunnerside, I got the walking boots on and headed for the hills.

This was the place I was heading for, Blakethwaite Dams, 3.5 miles up in the Yorkshire Dales with a elevation just under 1400ft from the car park.

Over 200 years old and built to control the water for the Lead mining industry below, it has stood the test of time well.

This was the first view I got of the dams, one of which has now been destroyed but the 2nd one is still standing strong as you can see from the two opening pictures.

Heading up the Gill to the Dams you weave your way through a thriving but very dangerous industry from the past, Lead Mining. A lot of building still preserved today to give a very small-insight to the work that went on all those years ago, a tough job in a tough place with very tough conditions to endure.

The view from the smelt mill down the Gill towards the Bunting Mine

The view back to the smelt mill looking up towards the dams

Today a part of the history of the area and mixed in amongst our industrial past is small snippets of elegant beauty such as these waterfalls.

Heading down the Gill to the Bunting Mine.

The 8 mile round about walk contained lots of interesting photographs, too many to put into one post but if you are ever in this neck of the woods and have a few hours to spare then I highly recommend visiting Gunnerside Gill.

And with views like this is does the soul good.