Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I thoroughly enjoyed the outing and had one more that season when I was fortunate enough to get 5 fish but none as large as that first one.
I didn't manage to get a Pike outing in 2008 but it is certainly something I would love to do more of given the time and money to buy the gear necesary.
You can never say never but if I do get into it, it will not be in the near future as finances will not allow it at the moment - I think my main and only purchases in 2009 will be another trip to Lough Corrib in Ireland and a Salmon licence - it was my 50th year in 2008 and having given in to an urge I've had for some time now (I decided to start Salmon fishing again after many years away from it), my present from my wife was a new Salmon fly rod.
So it could be a busy time at the vice for me - tying for the new Trout season, tying for Corrib and now I'll need some Salmon flies.
Tomorrow is the last day of 2008 and I'm going to see it out with a day for the Grayling - I hope it's not as cold as it was today - it was still -6 mid morning and didn't get above freezing all day.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
The banks stayed frozen all day and with the river looking lifeless I set up with the bugs but sport was slow today and I didn't get a touch for the first hour, then a good grayling came to the pink bug on the point.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
My last outing was a short affair at the end of November - it was during the cold spell, the day started and stayed bitterly cold with a severe frost and a freezing mist hanging over the river.
The start couldn't have been better with fish 2nd, 3rd and 4th casts, all coming to a pink bug - pink works really well for me at this time of year.
These fish all came on the hang - which was surprising as I expected them to be deep in the cold and lifeless conditions, the rest of my catch didn't disappoint with all coming when the flies were at their deepest - takes were gentle with only the slightest movement indicating a take but all fought well.
It was too cold to get my hands wet so they were played to within reach as quickly as possible then gripping the barbless fly, the fish were shaken off and all swam off without any problem.
So my last outing was very cold and very short, and now after a few lost weekends I'm desperate to get out again - looking at the river and the weather forecast it looks like it's this weekend.
Merry Christmas and many tight lines in 2009 to you all
Friday, November 7, 2008
The river looked dead - no flylife about and consequently no sign of any surface activity. It was too cold to mess about with too many changes so I decided the best idea was to zip up tight to keep the wind out, get the bugs on, stick with them and search.
The Eden is a big river down here and those not used to it may find it quite intimidating, but like any other large expanse of water you just need to break it down into likely fish holding areas, then fish what you can and where you can as efficiently as possible.
One method that is becoming quite popular down here is to suspend your bugs below a bite indicator - I know some are against bite indicators and say it's float fishing and not fly fishing - although it's not a method I use a lot as I find it a bit boring I have nothing against anyone that does employ it as on some days, especially in the depths of winter, the indicator can be the difference between success and failure, it can also be a very effective way of searching large and sometimes inaccessible areas of water like we have here on the lower river.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
The river was relatively low and clear, and with no sign of any surface activity we both set up with bugs - the starting method was short line or Czech nymphing.
I nearly had the perfect start with a fish second cast but it dropped off as I brought it to the net, this was quickly followed by a 15 3/4" (39cm) grayling, then another dropped - three chances in the first six casts, the fish in excellent condition and fighting hard - this had the makings of a good day.
We saw our first trickle of olives at about 1230 and the odd fish started to show an interest in them, sport on the bugs had slowed and I was contemplating a change to a team of spiders when Andrew beat me to it, so I decided to persevere with the bugs as I was still picking up the odd fish.
Andrews change was justified when he took a fish on a Greenwell's spider and rose two others before they started to ignore the spiders - a quick change to a dry fly produced a missed take.
Fish continued to rise sporadically throughout the afternoon but on closer inspection we found that there was midge on/in the surface and after watching several olives float downstream untouched we decided that the grayling were more than likely on these.
Monday, October 27, 2008
The Eden in the fields downstream of the M6 motorway bridge at Carlisle
The forecast for the week isn't too bad and hopefully we'll be out at the weekend, so I'm busy replenishing my bug stocks
I did manage an outing on the Eden the weekend before last with a couple of clients (Christian and John) - it was their first ever outing on a river and the Grayling didn't let me down - fishing a mixture of bugs and spiders they caught five Grayling to 14 inches and missed others
Christian into a fish
Two happy Grayling fishers
Friday, May 30, 2008
At nearly 42,000 acres Corrib is vast and although tempted to go it alone, we decided to book the services of local guide Larry Macarthy of Corrib Angling ( http://www.corribangling.com/)
Larry's vast Knowledge of the lough proved invaluable - on the first day he took us to the southern end of the lough where he said that there were some big fish - how right he was, he suggested that we start with a team of buzzers (apparently buzzers account for a lot of big fish)and I had a fantastic start to the week with a magnificent brown trout of approximately five and a half pounds on our first drift.
The next two days were windy and wet at times, more condusive to pulling wets and fishing dries, so that's what we did and we got fish - mainly small ones with the odd better fish of approximately a pound to pound and a half.
The second best fish of the week for our party came on day 2 - a two and a half pound fish was caught on a dapped natural mayfly by Tim Rowley - we collected naturals on some of the many islands that we stopped on for lunch.
Although we managed to collect good numbers of naturals on the islands we didn't see good numbers on the water and locals reported that sport was slow because the fish weren't on the Mayfly yet .
On day four the wind was up and down and during a flat period we witnessed a shoal of fish cruising around picking midge from the surface but they never really got within casting range - long casting did produce offers but all were missed.
We witnessed the potential of this great lough when a trout that must have been very close to double figures launched itself clear of the water in front of us.
We stayed on the lough late on day four in the hope that we may get an evening rise, something that the boys said was worth witnessing when large trout can be seen working areas picking off midge and sometimes picked off with a carefully placed dry - unfortunately the temperature dropped and the rise did not occur.
Day five brought windy weather and mainly small fish to pulled wets.
For anyone thinking about a visit I would definitely recommend it, but if it's your first time I would also recommend you book a guide, although it is a beautiful lough, is it also a potentially dangerous lough with large areas of shallows and some very large rocks close to the surface to catch you unawares.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Take this weekend for example, I had a fairly good idea earlier in the week that I wouldn't be working on Friday so I started to check the forecast out to plan a couple of outings - one on Ullswater and one on the river.
The forecast for Friday was for a bright start with light winds in the morning, clouding over with the possibility of rain in the late afternoon - not very good for the lake so we went to the river.
What we got was a cloudy start, quite windy with showers, heavy at times, clearing skies late afternoon and a sunny cloudless end to the day - not quite what was forecast.
We had a decent day on the river, there were a few Large Dark Olives coming off and the odd fish rising, we stuck to the dry fly all day and did quite well.
Back to the weather - as I write this at 1630 on Sunday afternoon we still haven't had a drop of rain this weekend, not that I want any but as a fisherman trying to plan a day out on river or lake based on the forecast, it would be nice if they were a bit more reliable.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
I was using my new Sage ZXL today and have been really impressed with the way it performs when playing good fish in fast water, I've found I can stand my ground and really play them hard (without fear of a break off) to get them under control without having to chase them downstream, as I have with previous outfits.
The Eamont produced some really good fish last season - the best on Penrith Anglers waters was a 4lbs 5ozs. specimen taken on a dry fly and a number of fish around the 3lbs mark were reported - judging by the quality of today's fish, this season may be the same, my fourth and last fish of the day also came to the nymph - another hard fighting beauty measuring sixteen inches.
A very heavy and prolonged shower of rain at about six o'clock convinced me it was time to call it a day.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
A bitterly cold northerly wind and wintry showers made an afternoon session with a client on the Eamont a bit uncomfortable at times - Ullswater is still pretty full so the river was at a good level and carrying a touch of colour.
We hit the water at 12.30 just as the wind eased and a trickle of Large Dark Olives (Baetis Rhodani) came sailing down the river - enough to encourage a rise, you would think, but not today, apart from two oncers the fish were keeping their heads down. Nevertheless a few speculative casts with the dry was worth a go but it was soon obvious that the dry wasn't going to produce so a nymph was added - 'The duo' can be a good searching method giving the fish the option of dry or nymph.
We had just started to work our way up a really fishy looking riffle when we were interrupted by eight canoeists so there was no point in carrying on and we moved upstream to another run where I hoped the fish would have had time to settle after the canoes had been through.
A change to two nymphs and a BB splitshot (a nymph fisher should never be without his splitshot) to help them reach the required depth produced a take but it was off in seconds.
The rest of the afternoon was slow - the river seemed dead and I began to think that the conditions had beaten us, but a change to a pair of nymphs fished upstream produced the goods.
A lovely Brown Trout weighing 2 lbs 4 ozs. came to a weighted Pheasant Tail nymph on what was literally the last cast of the day.
I always think that if you have the methods you will always have a chance - no matter when you go to the river and whatever the conditions - we tried a variety of techniques throughout the afternoon - dry fly, duo, north country spiders (down and across), czech nymph or as I prefer to call it, short line nymph, upstream nymph and were eventually rewarded with a good fish in very difficult conditions.
So, you may ask, why so many changes in such a short session ?
- Dry Fly - our arrival coincided with a hatch of olives, two trout rose and the amount of olive duns on the water was increasing so there was a chance that more fish may be looking to the surface
- Duo - no more fish rose so maybe the fish were on the emerging nymph, so the combination of a nymph and a dry gives the fish two options as the hatch increases
- Czech or short line nymph - we moved to another area, a fastish run, the fish were very unlikely to be in the head at this time of year but could be in the deeper mid section, so we had to look at depth required and water velocity. To fish this area effectively required two weighted nymphs plus a BB splitshot fished on a short line to minimise drag and to fish at the right depth and speed - one fish hooked and lost
- North country spiders, down and across - We moved to an area of water that could best be described as 'flats', a relatively broad expanse of water with even pace and depth - the fish could be anywhere on the flats at this time and a good way to search the area is with a team of flies consisting of a pair of spiders on the droppers and a nymph on the point fished down and across or maybe across and down would be a more appropriate term
- Upstream nymph - after fishing the spider/nymph combination down the flats with no response from the fish but still convinced that there had to be fish in the area we had to conclude that the fish may be lying deeper and as this area of flats did not really lend itself to short line nymph then the right method would be to work our way back upstream fishing an area of what seemed to be a slightly deeper channel with a pair of weighted nymphs - result: a 2lb 4ozs. Brown Trout
So in my opinion, to be consistently successful Trout hunters we have to be prepared to change methods depending on water types and changing conditions encountered throughout our fishing sessions.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Saturday, February 9, 2008
I did a few jobs to keep the better half sweet and then it was decision time - Newcastle were playing Aston Villa on Sky TV, so should I stay at home and watch a load of overpaid primma donna's prancing about a field or should I give in to temptation and hit the river.
Not a lot to consider really - I was on the River Eden just after one o'clock for an afternoon session for the Grayling.
Even though it was a warmer day than we've had recently I didn't expect any activity at the surface so it was on with the bugs and a spot of Czech nymphing.
They didn't let me down - third cast I dropped a fish and two casts later I was into the first of the day - a 43cm (17") Grayling to an Orange bug on the point.
Judging by the scale samples I've taken in the past, a fish of this size would probably be about three year old (a third winter fish) - Eden Grayling tend to be fast growing and three year olds are usually in the 38 - 45 cm bracket - my best measured Eden fish was 49cm (19 1/4") and weighed 2lbs 14ozs.
The Eden has produced some very good fish in the 40 - 47cm (16" - 18") range over the years but the downside of fast growth is short lifespan and we have yet to find a fish over four years old.
My second fish came soon after the first, quickly followed by a third and one dropped in between - all coming to the pink shrimp on the top dropper, these were 28 - 30cm fish.
Another one came to the pink shrimp in the next pool down plus a few tentative tugs when the flies were on the hang and that was it.
The Flies for the day - The Orange bug and Pink shrimp
In 2007 the Eden Grayling population definitely seemed to be on the increase again, we've been in a bit of a trough for a while so hopefully this is the start of a peak period, which we haven't really seen since the late 90's - long may it last.
Not that there was ever any doubt as fishing will always come first but my decision was confirmed when I got home to discover that Newcastle had produced another poor performance and suffered a 4 - 1 defeat.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
On the tying front I've got my stillwater box well stocked with my Ullswater flies.
The Ullswater series started about 14 years ago, I wasn't into naming flies then, so it was just, my palmered hare's ear. The fly was so successful for myself and my good friend, Andrew Dixon that he said I should give it a name - as it was tied for the lake it had to be 'The Ullswater'.
Since then I have added - The Golden Ullswater, Silver Ullswater, Olive Ullswater, Orange Ullswater plus muddler versions of them all and the Golden Slipper (Originally tied for, and very successful on the peat stained water of Keilder reservoir)
The Original is still my top fly every season but the others aren't far behind and the golden version nearly pipped it last year.
The olive version and the Golden Slipper come into their own once the Mayfly (Ephemera Danica) time starts but are always worth a go if the others aren't producing.
As most lake or loch fishermen will tell you, it's not just Rainbows that want the flies moving and creating a wake, sometimes the Brownies love it too and this is when the muddlers shine - you don't always need a good wave either, I remember having a great day with a size 10 Olive Ullswater muddler, in a very light ripple it was part of a three fly cast and the fish picked it out every time.
The Ullswaters do work elsewhere, Andrew had success with them in Sweden while practicing for the World Championships (he has been a member of the England team for some years now) and they have worked for me on other wild trout fisheries I have tried.
Once word of them got out, they became quite popular with local anglers and are now sold by John Norris of Penrith.
One of the things I love about fly tying is that it gives you the freedom to experiment and I certainly do that - I am always trying different patterns or variants of traditionals on both river and stillwater, to me, that's what it's all about - it adds to the challenge and enjoyment of this great sport.
Monday, January 28, 2008
When it was first published in 1950 it was described as being far ahead of it's time.
In chapter three Marinaro describes what the trout sees, it's window of vision and the importance of the 'footprint' - the impression that the fly makes on the surface of the water and seen by the fish in the mirror before it reaches the window .
A Large Dark Olive Dun (Baetis Rhodani)
In my opinion the footprint is not always that important when fishing our northern freestone rivers. For example, when fishing the dry in riffles, this water tends to be faster, more turbulent and shallower - trout in this type of water are closer to the surface therefore their window is smaller and they will not get time for a good inspection of the faster moving fly, and they are usually not so fussy about what you chuck at them.
As the riffle slows and deepens into the pool then this is where we should, on occasions, think of the impression our fly is making in or on the surface. Here the fish may be lying deeper, it's window is larger and it gets a good view of the mirror around that window, and anything that is piercing or creating a footprint on that mirror.
So when I'm tying my dries, I try to cover whatever the fish may be on - emergers, drowned or crippled duns and a variety of duns in the hope that on any given day one of them will create 'The right footprint'
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Then plans were changed again on the 5th after rain on the 4th brought the river over the gauge which meant it was five foot plus, and dirty, and definitely not going to fish.
With the busy lives we all lead nowadays we can't always go fishing when we want to or when conditions are perfect, so in my opinion, to be a successful Trout and Grayling hunter you need to be versatile and be prepared to fish whatever the situation demands.
This means that you can no longer decide before you leave the house 'today I will be mainly fishing the dry fly' which you probably could have done some years ago when hatches were better and there were more fish in the rivers, although we do tend to look back through rose tinted glasses - from my recollections, going back some 30 odd years, it wasn't always great, although they were more regular and predictable than today, there were days when there was no hatch and apparently no fish in the river.
Hatches can still be relatively good on occasions and you may be surprised at how many fish are in the river when they are really 'up and at them', but we aren't always able to be on the water at the right time, so, to be successful you need to be able, and prepared, to fish spiders (upstream and down), upstream nymph, czech nymph, duo or New Zealand dropper, and streamers if necessary.
We will still have our favourite methods, my personal favourite has always and probably will always be the upstream nymph - I have always found it a very enjoyable method and there aren't many occasions when it doesn't produce results.
When it comes to the perfect rod for the versatile fly fisher, I think a 5 weight takes some beating, it's a good all round weight that will cope with most methods.