Monday, 26 September 2016

All too Sloe

This weekend was sloe collecting time, so to tie in both my fishing and sloe collecting I decided to split the day yesterday, morning too fishing and afternoon to collecting sloe's.

The river looked spot on when I arrived but I knew it wouldn't last long as the overnight heavy rain would filter into the system as the morning drew on. I sat and watched the first set of runs for any movement as I had seen a few small hatching duns coming off in the early morning sunshine, so was hoping the fish might react to them but alas nothing did so it was to be a start on the nymphs to see if I could tempt anything.

It didn't take long to the Par intervened with both trout & grayling coming to the nymphs.

What they lack in size is made up in beauty.

after capturing almost a dozen of these small fish I finally got into a better grayling

I was hoping more for trout but I wasnt turning my nose up at grayling, as this will probably be the last time Im out this trout season, not that Im complaining as the trout season for me in just a filler in until the next grayling season comes around, as grayling fishing is my passion, and always has been since the very first time I caught one all those years ago.

20 minutes or so went by with nothing moving at all and just as I was about to head up to the next pool the line went taught again, another grayling.

The water was starting to colour over & I knew it wouldn't be long until it started rising so I headed up to fish the final pool before calling it a day and heading out for the sloes.

The damp weather suiting the fungi growing off the trees on the riverbank.

As I rounded the bend a heron took off and headed upstream and as I approached where it had been standing the place was littered with crayfish shells obviously a delicacy for the bird and very welcome to know that its eating them but I fear not it the numbers we would like.

The last pool produced nothing and the river was coming down at a rate of knots now with branches and other debris that it had picked up off the banks so I decided to call it a day and sure enough when I seen the river levels on my return home it had risen from 0.32 to 0.66 in less that 30 minutes.

It was also nice to receive a message from a friend who is a fly tying instructor further down the Dales and he had picked up on the Supa Pupa pattern I learned from John Roberts and wrote about in an earlier blog entry. He had taught his students how to tie it and this was the message....

 I've go to smile George. Just had a phone call from a very excited student of mine. He has just caught a 1.5lb grayling on one of your Supa Pupa I taught him to tie. He is still stood in the middle of the river too.

Lovely to see that the knowledge is being passed on and people are using the fly to their advantage. Long may it continue.

The walk back to the car gave me time to try out some of the settings on the new replacement camera on the old buildings.

A short drive took me to my happy hunting ground for my sloes and I have to say the bushes this year were absolutely dripping with sloes.

A quick bite to eat then I started the picking. About an hour or so later and a few cut fingers from the thorns, but all worth it, I walked away with my plastic bucket full.

Now the fun really begins with washing them off, and the time consuming job of removing the small wooden stem on every sloe. A few cups of coffee and a stiff back later, I had 17lbs of sloes bagged up ready for the freezer.

I like to add 2 lbs of sloes per litre of whisky so this will see me through 7 litres and I have a 3lbs bag as spare  or if I see more sloes in the next few weeks I can collect a few and make them up to another 2 x 2 lbs bags.

If you want to try sloe gin or whisky making for yourself now is the time to get out and get them picked, I can honestly say you wont regret it if you do.


  1. Great pictures and update - must be happy with the new camera

  2. Thanks mate, I still prefer the old camera if I were to be honest but they no longer make that type so had to go with a canon, but like everything else you get used to it after a short time, am sure it will grow on me although I am looking at a waterproof compact :)

  3. Nice post George.
    Beautiful colors on that grayling dorsal.
    Congrats of a successful sloe hunt.

    1. Thanks Alan,
      My favourite time of the year, such stunning colours around :)

  4. Now you got me thinking about a tipple or two, buts its hard to turn away from my single malts.

  5. So you don't fancy a bottle for the New Year ;-)

    1. To be honest, No, my sister works for ballantines, mother in law also works in the whisky trade and I have an uncle who works at a well known distillery on Arran ;), like I say so yesterday....lol


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