Sunday, 10 November 2019

Trout Tastic

Well after paying my respects on Remembrance Day, the skies were blue the rivers carrying about 2ft extra than usual but you know what I decided I was going fishing no matter what.

Even at mid day there was still frost on the ground where the sun hadn't reached.

With this much water still in the river I opted for a cautious approach as this stretch is treacherous at the best of times so a few runs I would normally fish were passed by today for a more safer route.

That didn't deter the fish as almost immediately I was hooking into fish on the point nymph I was fishing, mainly OOS trout though but still very much in a healthy state and fighting well. A few fingerling Grayling also obliged before the run went totally dead.

Moving upstream I was presented stunning colours as the trees start turning before loosing their leaves completely.

It took a bit of searching but I finally found a few small grayling just off the main flow which obliged my nymphs.

The trout were still very much active & I took another 4 trout, one of which was a big cock male & I would estimate to be above the 4lbs mark, still fighting fit & ran me a merry dance in the fast water, I looked at this beautiful creature in the net & only wished I had bumped into him a few months back in the trout season as I slipped the net from under him & he swam back to where he had come.

As the light began to fade and a few leaves fell into the water.

I called it an afternoon and headed back to the car, very contented that I not only had managed to get out but also had some fish for my troubles, all the while at the back of my mind remembering the sacrifices of my friends & family who had fallen, I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones.

Monday, 4 November 2019

No Fishing Again this Weekend

I want to change the days we work and move the weekend to a Monday & Tuesday in Yorkshire, as those are the only 2 days that the rivers are fishable, come Thursday night the heavens open & the rivers are massive and unfishable, but as soon as we are back at work they drop & are fishable again....Frustrating or what!

So with all this time on my hands what have I been up to? I actually thought my thrill seeking days were over when I left the forces in 2006 but yesterday I had different ideas, I had identified 2 waterfalls in North Yorkshire where no matter how long & hard I've searched I've not found a single picture of them online....I now know why!

With 6 points of contact hugging the steep ravine sides hands, knees & feet I inched my way down the side with 40lbs of camera gear on my back, lets just say I was relieved to see the bottom.

May I present Yew Scar Force

At over 60ft from the top of the falls to the small pool at the bottom. Its not for the faint hearted to get to, hence I hadn't found any photographs of it online.

The journey back out was even slower than the decent with one step forward, 2 slides back, again I was relieved to get out, as I sat resting on the ground with my back against a dry stone wall I spotted a wooden cross right at the end of the ravine before it drops over the edge, it was hard to read but after rubbing off the slime with some moss The inscription on it read "John Cherry 1937 - 2000 New Zealand" and this was the view he has from his spot.

Now thats a view I wouldn't mind having after I pass, may John Cherry R.I.P.

Walking back down heading for my next pot of call the views cross the Dale were  something else.

Arriving at my next waterfall I have to say that was 5 times harder than the last one & there was no way I was chancing my luck again, so that certainly wont be getting photographed by me thats for sure!
With time on my hands now I revisited an old favourite that crosses the River Swale at Ivelet.

Ivelet Pack Bridge

A stop off for something to eat & drink I soon then arrived at my next port of call and with the walking boots on I set off heading for height & this is where I encountered my 2nd memorial in the day, High on the Hill

again another great view to look out over.

Time to head back with a smaller water cascade on my way home.

I may not be on the water fishing but you wont find me far from it even if I haven't got a rod in my hand.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Wasn't meant to be.

I was very optimistic that today would be a good day to be on the river, the weather according to the experts was meant to be spot on and the river was beginning to run off after all the rain on Friday.

I looked at the levels last thing last night & although still slightly on the high side I knew they would drop in during the night, well thats what I thought!

Woke up early this morning to  see water on the garden path out the kitchen window...not a good sign & the so called experts had said it was going to be a dry night, looking online at the river levels, my heart sank as I seen the river I was going to fish was almost carrying a metre of water, so that blew my plans, looked around at another couple and found one stretch although right on the limit of fishablility I decided to give it a bash.

After throwing my stuff in the car and driving 40 minutes or so I had found the river was moving in the opposite direction that I wanted it was indeed rising, ah well Im here I might as well give it a bash so getting my gear on I found I had left my neoprene inner socks at home, looks like I was going to get colder feet than normal.

Setting up with a 2 nymph set up with a 3mm tungsten bead as point I fished down the first stream to find the under current a lot stronger than anticipated and had to knuckle down to a 4mm to start feeling the river bed.

An hour passed and all I had to my name was the umpteen leaves which were coming down in the rising river and cold feet, the wind was picking up and a rain shower was imminent as the sky started darkening. I was starting to think I was an idiot for being out but decided to give it another half hour.

I decided to walk to a part of the river where I knew one small pool shouldn't be as bad for floating debris  and almost instantly on the first pass I felt a pluck on the line and low & behold a grayling had took a fancy to the dropper.

I stayed on in the pool fishing it hard for the next 20 minutes but nothing else so my mind was made up as the next rain shower passed over I was heading home & my thoughts turned to hot coffee & a sausage sanny sitting in the warmth of my front room, sadly today's fishing wasnt meant to be, but I was very gracious of the Grayling.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Scratching the Itch

The weekend came and yet again high water levels dictated that it wasnt going to be a fishing weekend so the walking boots & camera rucksack were placed in the boot of the car at an ungodly hour of 0500hrs and I set off heading up the A1 to a place I've driven past many many times but never stopped so it was time to rectify that.

First port of call was Low Force on the river Tees just as it started to get light & with nobody around I had the place to myself to do as I pleased.

This was an area of the Tees I always said I would visit but sort of stayed away from due to the popularity of the place but it was an itch I had to scratch hence the early start to see as much of the place before the place got busy as it normally does being right on the route of the Pennine way.

After a few shots from different angles of Low Force it was time to start heading upstream to my 2nd place of interest High Force, a short steady walk upstream passing some interesting characters on route.

I was surprised to see these next 2 photographs as I had never seen them advertised or photographed before & being a fisherman they really appealed to me.

Heading upstream there were quite a few places along the river I stopped to take in the stunning views with always the thought at the back of my mind "what a lovely pool to fish"

A short pleasant walk & I was soon hearing the roar of water from High Force.

And as close to the edge as I was ever going to get!

I had heard of a lesser waterfall higher up the river within walking distance and wanted to see it for myself so tightening the straps on my rucksack & putting my head down into the wind I headed upstream.

I have to say it was well worth the walk as I have to admit I thought this waterfall was the best of them all I had seen so far that morning.

It was time to walk back downstream in the direction of my last port of call, a waterfall close the where I had parked the car, Gibson's Cave, although not a cave but may well have been many years ago when it was used as a hideout in years gone past.

I have to say the morning's walk certain scratched the itch that I had and I for one will be back again in this beautiful part of the world, stopping the next time instead of driving past.

Just to finish off on route back home up over the tops of the Tees Dales & into Swaledale.

The old pack horse bridge at Ivelet.
Then over the butter tubs pass & back into Wensleydale.

3 rivers ventured, The Tees, Swale & Ure and not a rod in my hand but what stunning scenery.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Further than some think!

As I sat watching the news & weather this morning, it seemed most of the rain was to be in the West of the country with the odd shower in my neck of the woods, but recovering from a chest cold all week I didn't want to take any chances so decided to play safe & stay in the Dale.

I knew the river was on its bones and desperately needs rain to flush it through & top it up so the place I was heading for isn't suited to nymphs at the best of times so  I had to take my chances with either spiders or dry fly, so with this in mind I lightened the load and simply shoved a box of each into my pocket with a spool of tippet & off I went.

Sure enough the river was on its bones, & the rain had started to fall as I reached my start point.

As I sat under the big tree gazing out across the shallow flats the rain came down harder and for almost an hour I sat taking shelter from it but when it stopped what a difference to the air it made, it felt clean & un - stuffy and more importantly fish were rising.

My mind was made up for me Dries it would be, so with this in mind I stuck on a fly that has never let me down on this part of the river and always produced the goods for me & today was no different, first cast across under the overhanging trees and up popped the first Grayling of the day.

I had noticed a lot of smaller fish also rising where I took this first Grayling so decided to have a cast back over them and see what they were.

The answer certainly raised my eyebrow!

Now correct me if Im wrong Id say this is a Salmon par, but how the hell did they get up here? 

Unless they can fly there is a question of the fish getting up not one set of waterfalls but 3, this being the biggest of them all Aysgarth Middle Falls.

I covered a couple more smaller fish rises and the same results, Salmon Par. Well that confirmed my 1st capture, it seems the Salmon are further up the river than some think or they have been released this far up without our knowledge, am sure the club's Secretary will investigate more when he reads this.

I seen a nice Grayling sip down a large terrestrial which hadn't long hatched out after the rain had ceased, so positioned myself to see if it would come up again. No movement for over 5 minutes so I decided to investigate with my fly & see if I could tempt it up. 2nd cast up it came and sipped down my artificial.

And released back to fight another day as always.

Another couple of smaller Grayling followed as the rain started again, and I decided that I wasnt getting any wetter than I already was so decided to head back to the car as I didn't want to add to the cold Im trying to get rid of.

Heading back to the car I noticed that the blackberries are now fully ripe, just waiting to be picked.

Their is an abundance of fungi covering the floor of the small wood.

The beech trees are starting to loose their leaves which are turning a rust colour, it wont be long until natures colours change and the fair weather anglers leave the bank-side and leave the ladies of the stream to the seasoned Grayling Anglers...I cant wait my season is just starting! 

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Hard Earned.

Another Sunday session back on the river for a few hours and I have to say Autumn is definitely coming, the water was much colder than last week & there was a nip in the air so much so that nothing was moving on the river as I sat and tackled up.

Observing the pool for 20 minutes before finally making a decision on which method to start on, it had to be nymphs with nothing moving on the surface at all. It was almost an hour before I felt the first fish and a small trout came to the net.

I could sense it was going to be a difficult day as this pool normally produces a fish or two through experience of fishing it but there was simply nothing stirring apart from this single small trout.

I pushed on upstream and started taking more brown trout from the fast water. Nothing of any size but it was just nice to be catching. I was very surprised that no Grayling had made an appearance as that was the real quarry I had come for.

It was a hard session and a few miles were covered with virtually no reward.

I decided to head back down to the pool that I had started in before calling it a day as I knew if any Grayling were going to show themselves that would be my best chance of grabbing one or two, I hadn't seen a single sole on the river, not that I was complaining I had the full river to myself which allowed me to search out every nook & cranny in the search of fish.

Almost immediately in the pool I felt the distinct pull of a Grayling and sure enough the first Grayling soon graced my net.

I was relieved and happy as this was what I had come for and although the trout are great sport I really dont want to be catching them this late in the season as I noticed that they are starting to milt up already.

Another 10 minutes produced the 2nd Grayling before I finally called a halt to it and headed back to the car contented that on a dull, cool day where the wind was playing having with bite indication I managed to grab a few hard earned fish.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

No Tungsten Required.

It was a coin toss this morning as to which river I was going to fish as all the rivers were thinning down after high water during the week, so after I prepared all my kit & loaded the car in what I have to say was a chilly morning with a definite nip in the air, the coin got tossed a couple of times and with the river chosen I headed off, even as I got to the junction where it was last chance of turning one way or another, I decided to stay with the result of the coin toss.

It has been a longtime since I last fished this stretch and I knew after the last few weekends it was going to have to produce something good to beat them.

As I walked from the car down to the river I was literally on the bank when I remembered I had left the wading stick in the back seat, dilemma go back for it or go forward without it! Being tired from a bad week at work I decided I couldn't be bothered going back for it so would just have to be more careful when wading.

I had anticipated that it would need to be a nymph set up with the chill in the air although the sun was peeking over the Dale and it was meant to be a good day, early signs on the weather front were spot on, but  how very wrong I was on my setup as my first glimpse of the river seen fish rising, albeit it small fish but my mind was made up instantly......... Dry Fly!

After choosing an all time favourite fly of mine for Grayling, as I was really aiming my day at the Grayling I started off casting upstream and sure enough almost immediately I got interest from the fish.
Grayling being predominately sub surface feeders with the make up of their mouths but will take dry flies freely I find this more of a challenge as you have to be spot on with them for dry fly and I get a greater feeling of achievement with this set up than rolling a piece of tungsten along the riverbed in search of them.

It didn't take long until the first couple of smaller Grayling were in the net, falling for my fly, although again I seen very little surface movement in the way of terrestrial insects. I continued on missing a few and catching a few  all around this size, It was about 20 minutes later that I got the first sign of a decent Grayling as I seen it shoot up from the depths and roll on my fly, I missed!

It was a sign that I was doing something right & that my pattern was pulling the larger fish as well as the smaller fish which gave me a boost.
After missing the first bit of interest I continued on and I dont know if it was the same fish or not but soon I got interest again & this time my timing was spot on.

The next 2 hours was pretty much more of the above, loosing fish, grabbing some smaller fish & then some better fish making an appearance.

In all I had only covered about 300m of river 
and had over 15 fish in the bag, so to speak all released safely again.

The day was turning out to be a classic dry fly day with some lost, some caught and small to medium fish making an appearance, I couldn't ask for anything else & before I knew it, it was time to think about heading home as I promised I would be back for a specific time to help the wife with a task in the house.

there was always the one last cast...

and another last cast....

It was really time to go home or Id be in trouble with the wife so with that I left the river and headed home, another weekend session to remember with over 30 fish all to Dry Fly, I couldn't have asked for anything better & my earlier apprehensions about fishing the stretch had been long forgotten about.