Monday, 10 December 2018

If You go Down in the Woods Today....

Another weekend where mother nature pushes the river levels over the top, with all rivers in the Dales pushing through the water, the water scale looking something like the elevations of some of the Pennine Peaks within the Dales.

Not to be deterred I swapped the fishing rod for the camera and had a walk around to see what I could discover.

The old wheel house was my first stop. 

Not much to look at from the side view as nature has worked its magic over the years & covered most of the building in Ivy.

But move to a different angle, into the laide where the water once ran to power the wheel and it opens up.

All the old fixtures where the wheel slotted into the stone work still evident on the inside. 
The mechanism would have went on the left side as we look into it and is accessed by the door on the left, now just merely allowing light to flood into the building, with another access door on the right, unsure how they got to the 2nd story as I seen no evidence of any stairs but I suppose these would have been rotted out long ago as all thats left from  the original wood is the heavy rafters.

With the laide now sealed off the water tumbles over the stones at various locations along its length.

Just walking around the small wood which now encroaches the wheel house, its amazing what sights you see that many would simply walk past.

Switch lenses and get down to their height, past their best now but still very beautiful and intricate in every detail.

Not the fishing trip I had hoped for but still very enjoyable and took me back to my child days when exploring old buildings & messing around was the order of the day for us.

A couple of snaps on the way home.


The Cistercian Abbey at Jervaulx

A view across the Ure back to Thornton Stewart

Sunday, 2 December 2018

So thats what those buttons do!

With the rivers in the Dales all topping the fishable levels I have set for them it was a weekend of rest & recuperation, as by god I need it after the last 2 weeks! Long Story which I will not divulge, those who need to know already know.

Martin a friend of mine asked if I would make him some indicator furled leaders & I have had them ready for several weeks now and it wasnt till he telephoned last night that I actually got to confirm his postal address so these will be in the post to him this week at some point, but before they go I wanted to mess around with a lense I got for my camera.

Im not the greatest photographer around by any means but I do like dabbling so decided to snap off a few shots and getting my head back into the manual that I bought to accompany the camera, with a couple of hours light reading it jogged my memory to what most the buttons and settings were for.

The 3 indicator furled leaders martin asked for.

As with all fly tiers close up or macro photography shows off our creations to all and to get the best out of your camera you have to mess around so thats exactly what I did with things I had lying around on my desk.

From this with my normal lense fitted.

To This, with the new lense.

Still some work to do on the focal points but it's still early days

Another with a few floats lying on my desk.

With all the photography messing around It got me looking through some of my favourite photos I've taken over the last few years, some have been on the blog before others have not.

Seaham Beach as the tide is coming in.

Tommy at night, taken in the early days when he first arrived and was surrounded by grass, I believe this has now all been paved over.

I couldn't believe when I processed the photos & saw this one, taken earlier this year as I laid my hat on the grass & he actually landed on it.

two photographs from a pool in Sri lanka  when out on holiday which I simply love.

And couldn't end without a photograph of the prettiest fish around in my eyes.

A river Earn Grayling.

You dont need to be a professional to take good photography a few hours messing around with settings and you would be amazed what you can achieve, If in doubt write it in a small booklet / piece of paper folded & keep it with your camera, I do!

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Artistic Flair vs Reality.

Without doubt the age old tall tales by some anglers rumbles on, they have a new phrase in these modern times though they seem to call it artistic flair, Myself I just chuckle at what people will actually come out and try & pass off as being genuine.

I decided yesterday afternoon with a bit of time on my hands to slip on my wellies, grab my SLR camera and have a look at the water to see what it was going to be like for today's outing.

Whilst out the first angler I bumped into was a guy who I see frequently on this particular stretch & he is a decent guy who I know fishes hard and has the experience to back his claims up. So as not to disturb him  I sat on the bank behind him and watched as he finished off in the swim before he turned and came & sat on the bank beside me. We started chatting and he was saying it was extremely hard going, he had been out for almost 5 hours now & only had one small Grayling to show for it, the river was up but looked ideal for nymphs but he had tried all his go to styles with no joy, I said I knew how he felt as the last couple of trips for me and all the anglers I associate with have felt the same, it's been hard going.

We chatted about a few things in general & he was just finishing off so decided to accompany me upstream as that was where his car was parked anyway, we had gone about 300 metres when we saw an angler stood at the side of the river tying on a new fly.

We exchanged greetings and as always we asked if he had caught anything, which his reply was about 40 fish the biggest over 3lbs!

I'd love to see a photograph of that fish I said as I had never seen a 3lbs fish out of this particular river so was genuinely interested in what it would have looked like, Oh I dont have a camera was his reply, ah well no worries, so what did it weigh on the scales? Oh I don't have a set of them either I just knew it was over 3lbs was his reply, at that both myself & the other angler just walked off, that must be artistic flair we both said as we chuckled once we were out of earshot of the angler, there is a lot of anglers in the Dales with this artistic flair, for I heard another today but wont go into any great details so as not to embarrass the particular person.

Well I can honestly say there won't be any Artistic Flair on this blog, what you see is what you get no matter what happens on a days fishing trip. 

After seeing what height the river was yesterday I decided to head a bit further up the Dales in hope of better water & hopefully a few fish, After a bit of a lie in & a decent breakfast I headed out. The day was overcast & dull and I hoped that would be in my favour when it came to the fishing. 

I  arrived at my chosen spot after a short time and as soon as I got out the car I felt the icy easterly wind hit me immediately, not good!

As I wandered down to the river I was taken back at the amount of sloe berries still on the hawthorn bush right at the side of the Path.

Being where these are located I would have thought they would have been picked by now, or people are just not engaging in the sloe gin / whisky making in these parts.

I have sufficient for this year so left them where they are for somebody else or for the wildlife to enjoy when things get hard.
On arriving at the river I found it to be carrying a bit of extra water too, but sometimes not a bad thing, it just meant some of the places would not be reachable due to this but plenty of water to have a go at anyway.

I was soon feeling my way downstream in search of the Grayling and nearly 40 minutes later I got what I had come for.

No record breaker, no figment of my imagination, what you see is what I caught, a lovely small Grayling which I was very thankful for.

It wasnt going to be an easy day, like my friend yesterday I was working hard covering all the water where I thought fish would be lying with not much showing but thats fishing, and I was just so glad to be out, watching the dippers hop from stone to stone, the flash of turquoise head upstream as a kingfisher flies by and listen to the cock pheasants try to outcry each other.

There was plenty to look at as I headed downstream in search of the fish.

The view back upstream wasnt too shabby.

Golden wax cap mushrooms spreading along the ground & up onto the tree branch.

An hour had passed since the first fish of the day when I felt a bite and lifted into my second fish.

A better fish and she was showing proud her beautiful dorsal fin for the camera.

I was hoping that I might get another fish or two from this particular pool as it had always been good to me over the years, but after fishing it to the bottom I was only rewarded with a small OOS Brown Trout which was released back in the water immediately, it looked thin and felt very empty inside.

Stopping for a coffee and a warm up as the easterly wind was biting cold,  I spied these wax caps amongst the undergrowth beside me.

Feeling a bit warmer inside I decided to go back to the head of the pool and fish through it again, It wasnt too long till I got interest but I bumped off the fish, I was halfway down the pool when I felt the next fish take my nymphs and I slipped the net under another Grayling soon afterwards.

Another reasonable fish which I was grateful for.

Fishing back on until the bottom of the pool I felt no further fish so opted to try one more spot before calling it a day.

On my way downstream I saw a little wren disappear into a hole in a tree, am 100% sure the wren wasnt the original owner of the hole.

Fishing through my next spot I never touched a fish so decided to call it a day, 4 hours hard fishing, 3 Grayling, 1 OOS Trout and a bumped off fish, better than my friend had done yesterday who gave me an honest answer but nowhere near as good as Mr Artistic Flair.....lol

My parting view upstream as I made my way to the bank & headed back to the car.

Sunday, 18 November 2018


The drive up the Dale this morning was  fine one minute & thick with fog the next, all depending on which part of the road you were on. As I arrived at my starting point it was foggy but I knew by the drive on the way up it wouldn't last too long as the sun would soon burn it off.

A couple of geese were in the field adjacent feeding on the grass shoots & by the look of the wing on the bird on the far right it had a bit of wing damage.

The river was lower than I would have liked it to be as this part always fishes better with  a bit of water in it, but it's a nice stretch and I enjoy coming up here as there is some nice Grayling if you can manage to find them on the feed.

I stood on the bridge at the top of the stretch  looking down the water for a good 10 minutes to see if anything was moving along the stretch, normally there is an odd fish dimpling the surface below the trees in the pool, but nothing was showing today so it was a spider approach with a single nymph on the point approach as the water just wasnt that deep for a full nymph setup.

I fished my way downstream to the woods without touching anything, and I was just about to get out of the water when I heard a lot of movement in the woods behind me,  at first I thought it might have been the cattle from the field that had found a way past the gate and got into the wood, when the next thing around 10 or 11 Roe Deer came through the wood at speed, leaping the dry stone wall and taking to their heels up the field, something had certainly scared them to be moving at such speed.

I made my way out the water and headed through the wood in the direction they had come from without seeing anything untowards. A couple of large Hares ran up the banking and away from me as I entered the fir tree part of the wood.

Emerging from the bottom end of the wood back onto the river, a couple of cormorants lifted off the water, these birds are really getting everywhere now, even into the high parts of the Dales.

I do like that particular piece of river where the wood comes right down the to bankside, it just surrounds the river like a blanket.

Making my way down through the turbulent water I managed to get my first fish of the day, just as the cast was coming round and about to be lifted, a Grayling snatching at the point fly, in this case a little pink wired nymph I tied up during the week.

Fishing all the runs hard for the next 40 minutes or so produced no further fish so I opted to get out & up onto the path & head downstream to the next part of moving water.

A couple of shots along the pathway as I went.

The holly laden with berries.

and the wall thick with fallen pine needles

Dropping back into the river at my next chosen spot, a small Grayling took one of my spiders on the first pass.

I fished hard for the next hour without seeing another Grayling but an OOS trout kept me interested about half way through.

With nothing further coming I decided to head back up to the top of the section to see if anything was moving on the large flat as I had seen a few flies hatching off as the sun's rays hit the water.

As I exited the top end of the wood I was met with this big boy eyeing me up, thankfully he wasnt that interested in me, and I passed him by quietly but still keeping an eye on him as I went.

I came across a few mushrooms that had popped up in the middle of the field which were still intact although all the cattle had been walking through them.

Sitting at the top of the stretch for a further 15 minutes did not reveal any fish moving so a challenging few hours but very much enjoyable and some great sights along the way.

Sunday, 11 November 2018


My medals were cleaned, my shoes polished and a suit ironed it was a day of remembrance for all those brothers & sisters who had paid the ultimate price.

Like most veterans we all turned up UK & World wide to pay our respects to the fallen, many we did not know & some we had the privilege to serve beside.

It was particularly nice to bump into Jason an old Battery member from my last Gun Battery I served in, 129 (China) Battery, two old dragons together remembering & reminiscing.

Afterwards it was my own personal time & for me there is nothing more soul searching than getting way from it all for an hour onto the river, and thats exactly what I did.

The Dale looked gloomy in the rain and mist that was blanketting it.

The river was carrying a bit more water due to all the weekend rain we have had but I was determined if nothing else to get away for an hour so dropped in at my chosen spot and started off on nymphs.

Thankfully the rain eased off and the sun came out to play for a half hour or so, as the clouds broke from time to time.

It was about 45 minutes into it when the line twitched and I slipped the net under a small Grayling.

Tied up the other night they had accounted for the only fish of the day.

I managed just over an hour on the river and as I was walking away I turned after hearing all the resident geese lifting off in a frackas as something had clearly disturbed them and sure enough a fox crossing over the field where they had just come from.

just over an hour away but very satisfying. 

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

A night of Tying

The dark nights are now upon us, I leave for work just before it gets light & drive home in the dark, Deep Joy!
The box in the corner of the living room which we pay plenty for not to watch, as there is nothing that interests me is hardly switched on after the 6pm news. Complaining...... Far from it!

It just leaves me even more time to enjoy my Tying Dresser made for me this year by Craig Hilditch....hilditch wood design

Radio on in the background knocking up a few patterns to try for the Grayling, sheer bliss!

Simplicity at it's best, these nymph skin bugs have accounted for a lot of Grayling over the years on a middle or top dropper # 18.

They say the ladies love pink, a couple of #16 for point & #18 for droppers.

These worked well on the Industrial rivers I fished courtesy of my good mate Martin last season, so have a spot in my box again this year, #16 for point & #18 for dropper.

Whilst working with the wool as tags, I decided to knock a few orange tags up with brown bodies and these were the result, again #16 for point & #18 for dropper.

And one pattern that has been synonymous for Grayling over the years, a red tag always has a spot in my box. #16 & #18.

A lot of variations to these have been shown recently by tyers around the country. This is a pattern that I first fished as a lad on the river Clyde 42 years ago, with & without wire incorporated so nothing new, I've seen some weird names for them & it simply makes me chuckle..... reinventing the wheel....nothing that new in fly tying that hasn't been around the block already!

These combined with what we called Chaddy nymphs accounted for hundreds of Grayling for  us on the Clyde all those years ago.