Sunday, 9 October 2011

Wet and Windy Raygill

Due to the forecasted windy weather instead of going to Stocks and fishing from a boat, we retreated to the not quite as windy Raygill fishery near Colne. There are two trout lakes and two course lakes at the fishery a well stocked shop and a cafe that serves great all day breakfasts. The fishing was a challenge, the constant crosswind and rain making life a little uncomfortable and fishing a bit complicated. If you could get your fly in the water however, there were plenty of fish to be had in the shallows. Most of us wet our nets with a fish or two by the end of the day and we all agreed that this place is worth another trip in milder conditions.
My only fish of the day!

There are a couple of boats for hire, but it was definitely a no go today.

Go on Mike you can do it!

Best fish of the day from Dave at 3.5lb. And I was reliably informed that it fought its fins off.

The fly you need to catch a 3.5lb Raygill fighter.

When the weather got too much, we entertained ourselves  by feeding these beauts with trout pellets at 20p a shot.

A nice blue for Phil who as per usual had a few!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Fishing Florida

6' long Tarpon just swimming around the boat landings. Hooking one of these babies on a small boat is called the, 'Florida sleigh ride'.

World Wide Sports, Pro Bass shop on Islamorada. Just about everything you need. 
Two weeks holiday touring Florida was very frustrating for me being a fisherman. everywhere we went it seemed there was no time, the guided fishing price was too expensive such as in the Keys at $750 a day, I had the wrong gear/bait, or I was with the wife!
In Florida fishing seems to be the local pastime and everyone is doing it. I managed to persuade my wife to come party boat fishing with me but it was not the best fishing day and for the most we caught a few yellow tail reef fish although there was a Barracuda and a shark caught by some anglers using the yellow tails as live bait.
Yellow fin reef fish.

I eventually bit the bullet and paid to do some sport fishing around Naples on the Florida West cost. I was taken Back water fishing around the everglades with a guide using live wapping great shrimp as bait. Not being the most accurate of casters with an open faced reel led to a lot of tangles with mangroves and way off casts. Eventually after more missed takes than I care to remember I managed to hook this beast. It put up one hell of a fight and the light wait tackle we were using made the adrenaline rush even more potent. The dock behind me in the picture would have been the fishes refuge if it wasn't for the captain screaming at me, "get it out", over and over.

An average size Snook.

Friday, 19 August 2011

North East Cumbria's rivers revisited

It was a planed weekend to fish the rivers near Penrith that I had been looking forward to for weeks. Unfortunately the weather had been unkind for days and we had been nervously watching the river levels all week. Despite this the Eden was still very low up until the morning we arrived! Starting out on my favored Eden beat we were met with increasingly heavy and persistent showers that were soon to become the main feature of the weekend and the Eden became blood red and on the way up the bank very quickly. As we struggled to find fishable waters I felt a bit like Goldilocks.  We tried the River  Eamont which was too low. As a last resort we decided to take a trip over to the Lowther and it looked just about right! And so it came to pass that it was the Lowther where we finished our trip that turned out to the best of all. The rain stopped, the sun came out and we had just a bit of dry fly action that will be in my memory for a long time to come.

A very low River Eamont.

A lovely ravine that looked as fishy as the soon to be rising fish confirmed it was!

Geoff disappearing into a Gunnera's on the river bank. Makes a nice change from the usual  knot weed and stuff!

One of very few fish that were caught that weekend but this one  made it all worth while. Nothing special  just a great take on a delicate dry that I was poised in anticipation for, (for a change).

Monday, 18 July 2011

River Hodder

An olive waiting with anticipation in the river bank rushes.

Best Grayling of the day, small but perfectly formed and there were plenty to be had.

A Yellow May Dun, spotted just as I got back tot he car on the windscreen!
Perfect day for the dry fly. Fishing the Hodder on the lightest tackle and the smallest dry flies is my absolute favorite type of fishing. The river was very low but this made it easier to se the good runs that were hiding small pods of grayling in the shadier pools. At times the action was fast a furious with almost a take a cast at times. The fish were mostly small but good fun.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Going French!

I attended the International Fly Fair at Stafford over the weekend and picked up a few tips, and parted with a few pounds! The best purchase so far seems to be a French leader that Tyzack and the 'Fish On' team were promoting. The leader is six meters long and is made up of knotted together sections that reduce in diameter to give a gradual taper. When I finished work today I was itching to get down to the river a try it out. My local river is nothing more than a brook really but with a 7.5ft, 3 wt rod and a duo set-up with a clink and a hares ear nymph, the leader cast like a dream. I trotted the flys with a slack downstream cast. Cast one - clink went under and lifted into a fish that I bumped off. Cast two - same story. On the third cast I lifted more gently this time and I was into a fish that turned out to be this lovely brownie.

1 lb brownie taken on a 14 hares ear nymph.

I was unsure about this hand to line technique as described by the likes of Jeremy Lucas etc and wondered about the potential technical nature of this type of fishing. Despite this with such good results first time out I am definitely going to use these French leaders more especially for duo and double nymphing etc. It will be interesting to see how they perform on bigger rivers and how well I can cast them at longer distances. The turn over is very good considering that you are casting with mostly nylon leader and very little fly line.

Monday, 13 June 2011

A slightly damp River Ribble!

Members, or rather three of us dedicated souls fished the River Ribble at Mitton on Sunday, (I think the fair weather fishermen were kept away by a bit of precipitation)! Despite the weather the river was running low and clear and the fish were seen to be rising at times for the surprisingly varied fly life that continued to hatch off the water all afternoon & evening. Between us we managed a total of eight fish including grayling, Brownies and even the odd chub.

Martin James Capturing the imagination of the audience with tales from his fishing exploits.

A nice Ribble Brownie taken at the head of a fast flowing pool.

In the morning some of us attended the Prince Albert Angling Society open day at Ribchester. The day was very enjoyable with some great bargains in the second hand tent and some great talks were given on everything piscatorial by speakers including Charles Jardine & Martin James.

The fly that worked for me on the day. A hairs ear Clink fish Duo with a hairs ear nymph underneath.

Other methods that were successful included Czech Nymphing and North Country Spider styles.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

The lake district part 2

I decided to ask my old mate Phil to come along and fish some of the spots in the Lake District I explored with my wife several weeks ago but did not have the time to cover fully because of more important things like shopping!

The weather did not bless the trip but we made the most of what we got and fished hard on the first day covering the Eden in two spots and Ulswater in the evening. Fish were slow to rise and when they eventually did it was hard to guess what fish were taking at times with everything coming off at once including, sedges, mayflies olive spinners as well as black midge. Phil managed to get into a few fish but by the end of the first day I had a big fat zero to show for my efforts. On reflection I was not concerned the fishing had not been easy and I had enjoyed the day and Phil's company. On the plus side we had both learned a thing or two about wet fly fishing with some flies that Phil brought to the party that worked a treat for him on Ullswater just on last light.

On the second day we decided to take a trip up to Small Water Tarn despite an increasing wind that only got stronger the higher we climbed. When we got to the tarn before I had even had a chance to set up Phil was into fish including two double headers! I fished the windward side whilst Phil fished the lea shore. After an hour I was cold and fed up with no fish to show for it. The lea shore was far more sheltered and after lunch I changed my flies and started to fish. I got a few takes and then a fish on, not a bad size brownie came to the net and put the smile back on my face, mission accomplished.

By mid afternoon the wind was so strong that it blew me over, not good if you are wading right on the edge of the drop off that plunges away into the deep blue depths. I watched in ore as the gusting winds whisked the surface on the other side of the tarn into water funnels up to fifty feet high, time to go home!

Not so small,  Small Tarn  Brownie. Took a Blu Zulu.
Phil makes it over the top to the tarn. What a view!

Another shot of the same fish because I only caught one!
Oh, and beetles were being blown onto the Eden as well just to make  it harder to try and match the hatch.

The first big Mayfly hatch I've seen this year, the fish did not seem to be interested though, I wondered if they have been gorging on them over the last few days already?

Monday, 9 May 2011

Fishing in the Northern Lake District

I took a break to do some fishing in the Lakes, (in between entertaining the wife!) Success was mixed and I'm not going to make excuses for my shortfalls in catch numbers but they were small and the few fish that did take I lost mostly. It was however very refreshing to fish some different spots and I enjoyed exploring new ideas and places with some pleasant surprises. I managed to cover Ullswater, the river Eamont, the Eden and Small water tarn.

Stoneflies, feeding fish in the early dawn light.
The lake can change in seconds from a eerily serene calm to white horses in the time it take to change your fly. 

Olive spinners coming of Ullswater in the evening.

 First stop was Ullswater. I got up at dawn on several mornings to fish the lake to be greeted with some rising fish in the shallows of the bay. After some looking round I could see Stoneflies falling from the trees and landing on the water only to be gorged on by waiting trout. I managed to get a few takes on F-flys which seemed to be the closest imitation I had.

Small Water Tarn, (Hawswater down below).
Crystal clear water showed the deep drop offs very well where the depths plummet from a few feet to nearly 100ft!

The second day we took a trip up to Small Water tarn which lies above the Hawswater Reservoir. The scenery was absolutely stunning and the weather was very kind. Fish were rising all over the tarn just as we decided to push on up the pass I discovered that the fish were feeding on the thousands of Iron Blue Duns/Spinners coming of the water in droves. I have never seen so much fly activity and at such an altitude made a fantastic site.

Beautiful Iron Blue spinner.

   Absolutely K******d. It was quite a steep trek but still only an hour or so from the carpark.

Olive Duns also hatching off the tran.
Was that a rise? The rising fish were just outside my casting range on the drop off.  (note to self  , learn how to cast further or take a pair of waders next time).

A windy river Eden.
The Eden near Eden Lacy was hard to fish with the gusty downstream wind and eventually I gave up on Dry fly changing to Czech  nymphing which produced far more takes and a nice Grayling.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

A day on the river Ure with Stuart Crofts

As a member of Bolton Fly Tyers I attended a trip arranged for club members. We started out very early with a long drive to the wrong side of the country to fish the Ure near Masham. Stuart Crofts was to be our guide and Mentor and he met us as we contemplated the day ahead over a hearty breakfast.
A cool easterly wind greeted us as we approached the river, swirling around in the Ure valley. The fish were rising confidently in the the bright sunlight but they weren't going to take just any old fly and to be fair we all struggled that morning. After lunch Stuart provided us with a fantastic bug identification session looking at the different nymphs to be found and what they turn into.

 "Don't be too hasty- let the river invite you in first!", wise words.

Hawthorn flys - not hanging about!

Rhyacophilidae larva

A large Olive just hatched from it's shuck.

Brook Dun nymphs

Lots of beetles being blown onto the water by the keen easterly breeze.

A nice river Ure Brownie, fin perfect with a buttery belly!

Between us we caught eighteen fish up to a pound or so.

The boys, kicking back and taking five from their tough fishing regimen! 

What more can be said, apart from a big thanks to Stuart for a great day that will remain in our memories for a long time. We just hope that the tips and knowledge we gained will not only improve our fishing but will also enhance the richness of a day by the river looking through Stuart's eyes.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

River Hodder

My first visit to the Hodder this season and it didn't disappoint. As usual for this time of year the river was teaming with life and the fish were rising confidently in some pools and appeared to be taking aphids, olives and even the odd Brook dun that was hatching off. Most of the fish taken were small trout but there were the odd bigger fish or two lurking in the slate channels. Bright sunlight at times made the fish easy to see in the clear water and despite this some careful wadding managed to get us very close to the rising fish upstream. The Lancashire public were out in force however, kids dogs and all, and at times I did have to stop myself turning into the grumpy old angler with retorts such as, "Do you you know how much I pay to fish here?!!", etc.

 My best and only Grayling for the day.

 The fish seemed to be taking Aphids but we struggled to replicate them with our flies.

The odd Brook Dun, (I think that's what it is anyway).

Sunday, 17 April 2011

River Dee

A perfect Dry Fly day! Insect life was in full swing today with prolific hatches of Olives and Sedge on and off all day long. The fish were responding to the abundant food source which meant great dry fly action all round.

Best fly of the day a Cal-de-Cannon 16/18.

 Caddis retreats could be seen all over  the rocks which I think were from the, 'Saddle case caddis-Glossomatiddae'.

One of millions of Caddis hatching and flying upstream.

 A Brook lamprey eel!

A good spot!

And of course odd Grayling or two plus lots of trout par which was nice to see.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

River Irwell

Phil and I had a great day on the unbelievable Irwell! It either seems to be feast or famine this season so far with my fishing. Some lovely small brownies were taken in the fast water gorging on hatching Olives.

What a nice Brownie! Phil is first to put this beauty on the score sheet.

Pretty good fish at just under 2 1/4bls!

Phils fish taken on a Orange and Partridge Spider.

Of course, not to be outdone I managed this big fellow!

This is my biggest Brownie ever at just under 3lb.

My fish was taken on a Olive style Paul Proctor Clink fished Newzeland style with a black Tungsten beaded Hairs Ear Nymph.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

River Ribble

We Fished the same stretch of the Ribble as last week with a little more success. I suppose it will take a little time to get used to this beat and the best way to fish hear seams to be Across and Down with Spiders, (not something I am that good at yet!).

One fish caught, 6oz approx. - Salmon Parr.

Olives were hatching like mad, in swarms!

Fell to the deadly Black Peacock Spider, Olive-ish I suppose!

 Phil, as always showing that he can walk on water when it comes to fishing and managed two Brownies!