During the week I took delivery of my new wading boots to go to Finland as they have a no stud policy and all my wading boots have them fitted, so I decided to treat myself to a new set of zipped Ikon chest waders and a pair of hopper wading boots as part of the package.
Not wanting to turn up in Finland in and find they were uncomfortable I wore them onto the river last night and have to say they felt like slippers on, very light and comfortable over my normal simms wading boots but time will tell if they last the distance of the simms boots.
The river like everywhere else is well down and struggling for water so it was a hunt to try and find the fish at all, searching out the well aerated and faster water the smaller trout obliged as normal, taking almost all the patterns that I pushed past their noses and after 11 of them I decided to head upstream in search of larger fish.
The air was alive with fly life as you can see from all the small dots in the picture but nothing was moving to any of them, the trout were keeping their heads down in the cooler deeper water.
Fishing upstream searching out the deeper faster water I found this trout slightly better in size than all the others.
I came across my favourite wild flower for the first time this year, the wild mimulus commonly known as monkey flowers, growing wild amongst the stones on the dry river bed.
Soon afterwards I seen an elderly angler approaching me as I was sitting watching the water in the shade of some Gorse bushes and we exchanged the usual pleasantries and got chatting about what tactics we were using etc, Howard was the gentleman's name and what happened next took me back 41 years to a time when I was a schoolboy and I was sitting in the shed of my fishing mentor, Peter Skelly who lived over the back fence from my parents house and taught me almost everything I needed to know about fishing and other country pursuits.
Howard was the old school fisherman and more importantly old school spider fisherman, I love spider fishing more than anything and my knowledge of them is reasonable to a good standard but the things Howard was telling me and showing me last night rekindled some of the tactics Old Peter had taught me all those years ago but the knowledge had somehow been lost in the depths of my mind, the most crucial tactic, which I had long forgotten about, fishing a team of spiders with no droppers!
I remember being taught how to do it, but like other things unless you kept up with it, it slips from your mind so Howard rekindling that tactic last night brought happy memories back, The spiders normally a team of 3 but can be more if desired are tied direct to the tippet and sit at perfect right angles to the tippet, totally dispensing with the need of any droppers which can tangle and wrap around the main tippet line., After a few tries myself it was like a duck to water the knowledge was firmly back in the forefront of my mind, and will go forward with me not only for spider fishing but also nymph fishing which Im sure it will be just as successful.
His spider box was like a sweety shop to me, filled with patterns which I recognised instantly and some patterns which had me scratching my head but was soon put right by Howard.
The fishing stories he told me of about not only catching trout & Grayling but also hooking a few salmon on a team of 3 greenwells spiders, a fly that is never off his shall I try this tonight list, like all good anglers he has millions of flies and like everyone uses only a small percentage of them, no need to clutter up your pockets he says, here in the Dales I can count on two hands how many patterns you need and if you dont catch on them then go home your wasting your time! Wise words indeed.
Another tactic which had me reminiscing to by gone days with Old Peter was the tactic of putting on a team of flies of all the same pattern which in turn tricks the fish into the thinking that there is a hatch of those specific flies happening and they start to feed, a tactic Old Peter and I used on many occasions on the Clyde and Avon and a tactic he uses frequently high up in Swaledale where only wild trout reside.
It was an absolute delight to meet Howard and be enlightened to old and new tactics and fly patterns, and two hours quickly passed and it was turning dark by the time we shook hands and parted company. I honestly hope I have the pleasure of meeting him again, needless to say the thoughts of fishing was well and truly out the window as I walked back to the car, going over the last two hours again in my head and my knowledge enriched from meeting Howard.