Sunday, 29 December 2013

Oh to be on the River!

I honestly didn't think I would get another fishing day in this year but today I managed just that.

I've been watching the levels of all the Dales rivers over the last week and they have been up and down like a YO-YO, and Fridays heavy storm didn't help any and I thought that would be it till the New Year but as I watched the online river level on Friday Night / Saturday Morning on one of the rivers there was a glimmer of hope but I wasn't holding out, so had the day out with the wife following her around the shops of Harrogate looking at the Sales, but there was method in my madness as the Orvis shop & the All Water Fly Fishing were both open so after she was finished it was my turn.
On arriving home the river was still dropping but not by much and after seeing the Swale & the Ure still in the fields it didn't look good, so had virtually wrote it off until around 8pm last night when I decided I was going to get up and see what the levels would be like and at the very least have a walk, so there I was at 2030hrs on a Saturday night armed with a head torch & shovel going through the compost heap for worms which I managed to gather enough for couple of hours fishing at the very least.

I awoke at 0600hrs this morning only to find the levels had not been updated since last night so I took the decision to go and if anything it was a walk along the river, something I've not done since the 1st December, which seemed a lifetime away.

I arrived just as dawn was coming up over the horizon, something I will never tire of seeing.

 I couldn't see the river, but I could certainly hear it and it didn't sound good at all, as normally I dont hear it where I park the car so it only meant one thing high water still coming down.

As I got a sight of the river sure enough it was still well up on what I would call fishable levels but with some careful choice of locations I might still be able to dangle a worm.

I sat and waited for light before fully setting up as I wasn't in any hurry to get fishing as I wasn't sure of what all the floods had done to the river and how it looked and I wasn't taking any chances. The streams which normally run dry were now all flowing into the river from run off from the hills around.

 I found a glide close to the bank which I knew had a bit of depth in it during normal conditions and it wasn't too pacey so set myself just above it and started trotting down a worm. An hour or so had passed before I got the first signs of a fish and it hit the worm as if its life depended on it, at first I thought it was an out of season trout the way it tore off but as I got it head up in the water I seen that it was a reasonable Grayling.

I was contented and whatever else happened it was worth the early rise, purely to be back on the river after nearly a month and the fish was definitely an added bonus.

I gave it another half hour or so in the run before finally calling it a day there and cracked the flask only to almost be sick!
The night before I fish I always prepare my flask with the Nescafe 2 in 1 dry powder mix so its just a case of poring the water in, but the last time when I had planned to fish I went back to bed as the levels came well up overnight so just put the flask away and last night brought it out to add another 2 nescafe sachet's without checking so it was like sweet treacle now and totally undrinkable so that was swiftly poured away.

 The fungi are still clinging onto to life in the mild weather

I moved to another swim below some overhanging trees which I knew would cause me trouble if I hooked into a fish but there wasn't many fishable swims so I would cope with that if the need arose.
I didn't have to wait long within 10 minutes the float dipped away and fish on, luckily it moved towards me allowing me time to clamber out from below the trees and get the rod totally up so I could play it properly in
the high water, another Grayling in the net!

 Back below the trees and another 30 minutes or so and another Grayling to the net, via the end of a branch where the line had got tangled on, I wont embarrass myself with the story of events lets just say the fish didn't come easily.

 The fish has been attacked at some stage in its life with severe scarring across back all becoming too regular an occurrence with the black death on our rivers!

Thankfully nothing major and the fish is quite healthy & if looks count its a bit better from the other side. A walk up the river which had now turned out to be a beautiful day with the sun shining, a light breeze and the sight of seeing a Buzzard soar on the wing overhead, made it just great to be back on the river.

Not too long after the resident flock of geese arrived like something from 633 squadron low and fast over the river to land in the field they are normally found.

An out of season trout came to the net next from a shallow pacey run that if I were to be honest with myself didn't expect which like everything else was returned safely to give sport another day.

A short time later trotting down the side of a pacey stream seen another Grayling succumb to my dangled worm.

                                        Another nice fish, well proportioned & very welcome.

As I was walking back down to where I had first started as there was no longer anywhere safe to fish due to the banks and high water I noticed that the wreath by the side of a big pool had been renewed.

 I dont know the story behind it but at least 2 or 3 times a year flowers are laid at the base of this tree & a wreath of some sort it attached to the tree, Somebody somewhere remembering a loved one.

A few trots down the stream which I had started at seen the float dip away again and another Grayling came to the net.

I left the river around 3pm, a happy & contented man and what a fitting end to 2013.

 Id like to just add to the end of today's entry a thank you to my mate martin who out of the blue sent me a wee present which I found waiting on me yesterday on my return. Thanks Martin they will all be put to good use in due course.


  1. Well done George, good to see you were rewarded with some fine Grayling in the high water conditions.

    1. Thanks Brian, I wasn't expecting any if I were to be perfectly honest but it was a day out in good weather for a change and the fish were an added bonus.
      Cheers & All the best for 2014


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