Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The Wye & Usk to close with ...

Having not fished in South Wales for several years now I felt it as good a time as any to make a quick foray down the M4 for one final hurrah before the 2016 trout season comes to a close. My wife made the trip with me which made for a great weekend.

Starting with the Maes-y-Beran Beat on the Honddu and ending the the Escley Beat 4 which is a high gradient, fast-flowing upland trout stream that flows off the eastern edge of the Black Mountains into the Monnow at Longtown. Really tricky conditions (cold, windy, low water - am I sounding like a fisherman !?) made for only a single brownie of approximately six inches. Nevertheless great to be up there again and the opportunity to stumble across a kingfisher nest and have them flit about us for several hours on the Escley made it even more worthwhile.

A few photo's below ...

Friday, 2 September 2016

Looking North...

Another summer, another holiday fishing trip! Discussions surrounding potential destinations always start early season - a ritualistic shaking off of the winter cobwebs (blues) - an agitation or rather excitement at the anticipation of the coming season after the long dark haul that is the British winter. The likely choice of venue for any persons foolish enough to go camping for a prolonged period of time in the British Isles, would be to point your car in a southerly direction and drive until you reach the Atlantic Ocean hereby increasing your chances of reasonable weather (note the word "reasonable"). Injudiciously, we pointed the car northwards for our 2016 foray into the great outdoors - the Yorkshire Dales being the venue for this years outing.

Fly fishing in this neck of the woods requires deeper pockets than previous excursions to the likes of Wales, Devon or even the Lake District. An opportunity to cast a line in such picturesque countryside makes it all the worthwhile however. The River Wharfe which, for the majority of its length acts as county boundary between West and North Yorkshire. The name Wharfe derives from the Old English weorf or the Old Norse hverfr meaning winding river (thanks Wikipedia) which I can attest to most certainly is the case after having walked, fished sections.

Unfortunately due to me starting a new job and inclement weather (did I mention the weather in England tends to be better the further south you are !?) I only managed a single days fishing on the Wharfe at Bolton Abbey. If you could only have one day's fishing up here - this is where I'd most definitely do it.

Stepping stones at Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Cavendish Memorial Fountain

Local butterfly - seemed very prolific in the area - not sure of the species...

The Yorkshire Dales - Wharfedale

First few casts resulted in the first few misses - as it turned out this was not going to be an "easy pickings" type of day... the trout up here are by no means opportunistic and were very particular as to what they deemed to be a meal...

First trout of the day - after almost an hour of tying on different patterns (both dries and nymphs) the key was a) increase leader length to about 12 feet b) reduce tippets down to 6x c) add to this Size 26 CDC emergers before any interest was shown.

Biggest river brownie I've caught to date - I'm guessing a touch under 2lbs...

All in I had five fighting fit trout out on that single day - not a lot but definitely a very satisfactory outing. One of the locals I got speaking to said, "You'll certainly enjoy your beer tonight" - he was right except for the use of the singular "beer" ! Hopefully another foray up there again in October when the grayling season comes into play. Watch this space ...

Sunday, 19 June 2016

A Late Start...

New job, weather, family commitments all conspired against me this year resulting in June being the first time I managed an opportunity to cast a line this summer... and a great way to open the season it was. Hogsback's finest ale and sandwiches were served on the river bank a few hours in - a treat indeed... I could get used to this type of fishing! (And we managed to catch some of the Wey's residents)

A huge thanks to Val & EJ for a great evening on the Wey - here's to the next outing

Monday, 21 September 2015

The Trout & The Woodcutter

You'd be forgiven for thinking this is the start of some vain attempt at writing a kids story - fear not !

Read on where all will be revealed...

In a bid to capitalize the good weather over the last few weekends of the 2015 trout season another foray on the Wey was called for on Sunday morning. Car boot coffee whilst threading rod eyes and flies in a misty autumnal morning saw us on the water at about 9h30. My main aim was to try and land a particularly large brownie I'd been fortunate enough to catch a few weeks back.

An inauspicious start comprising of a few hookups and other such blunders saw "The Woodcutter" take matters into his own hands by removing obstacles preventing a successful cast ...

Tactical "military style" trout fishing ...

That's better ...

Putting such tomfoolery behind us, we pushed through the undergrowth to the pool where the aforementioned trout was lurking (I'd hoped at any rate !) A few casts towards the head of the pool saw me come up dry. Alwyn on the other hand nailed it and well placed roll cast later saw the below beauty come to fruition

Catch of the day !

Spirits lifted and confidence back at an acceptable level we moved on. A brief interlude was taken which involved "The Woodcutter" attacking an ill placed tree with as much gusto and vigour as pensioner in a brewery ! A valiant effort opened up a significant stretch of water which was otherwise un-fishable. After a cooling dip in the river (hot work this bush clearing !) we forged on.

Fly of choice

The rest of the morning was whiled away, picking off small fin perfect little trout ...

It's a kind of magic !

Those colours ...

Tools of the trade

Yet another cracking day out !

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Last of the summer wine ...

Moving on downstream on the River Rother where I left off last weekend, saw myself and mate Alwyn tackling up next to the rugby club early Saturday morning. Not having fished this stretch of river for about three years I wasn't sure what awaited us but memories of fin perfect, fighting fit brown trout spurred us down the overgrown banks of the Rother. Straight away it became evident that roll casting was going to be the order of the day what with fallen trees and all manner of foliage making casting a challenge.
A few hook ups, leader entanglements and an "incident" in the mud which almost prompted a mayday phone call to air rescue saw a small brownie make a stab at my parachute adams only to foul hook itself. Not the start I had envisaged !

Being the keen guys we are we forged our way, careful to avoid the tyres and various lager cans that seemed to litter the river bed (the residents here sure like their beer - pity they can't throw the cans in the bin !!) to the small open pool where dogs enjoy a good dip. Having always had a fish or two out here I felt reasonable confident we'd bring something to hand. And that's exactly what we did ...

Watching my small 2 weight contort itself into a near perfect circle to the point I saw pound signs flashing in the air anticipating the cracking of carbon fiber, the above beauty came to hand. Probably the biggest brown trout I've had from a river. Awesome !

So we pushed on - feeling a lot more confident having landed such a fish. Alwyn being the next recipient of a good sized brown trout.

A few more fish each saw us making a well timed exit from the river to make it home on time for family duty. I've fished this stretch many times in the past and have never landed fish of the size and quality we did today. Most definitely worth negotiating this little piece of river and dealing with the frustrations of fallen trees, brambles, nettles and near lethal hidden mud filled holes threatening to swallow a man whole to be rewarded with such incredible fish.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

River Gold


It was with some apprehension that I returned to the stretch of the Rother I've written about previously (see post "Fishing the Improbable") - I guess because you never know what you'll find after not having set foot in that area for a few years. My initial fears were realized when I saw the state of the river when dropping into the water in my usual entry point. A plethora of plastic, tin and other trash people have without conscious dumped into the river. A few yards up I stumbled across a dumping site for garden refuse including old plant pots, plastic bags - you name it ! In the past this was a near definite run and pool in which a fish could be extracted however this was not too be. I pushed on nervous as to what was underfoot as the going was dicey to say the least. Eventually I entered into a "cleaner" stretch which seemed to hold a bit more promise. A small rise up ahead elicited a stab of excitement and anticipation - fears of the river having been stripped of fish slowly abating. A gentle roll cast saw the parachute adams in the right vicinity - a few seconds followed a sip of the surface and we were in.

Relief ! Not bad at all for the first trout of the day.

I continued for another two hours, missing more than I landed but the fish that came to hand were of great quality. What a testament to these little fish that surviving the murk and waste that is this stretch of the Rother is in fact achievable. What a shame to those sociopathic individuals who see no issue in tipping all manner of waste into a small stream with so much as an iota of consideration for the environment or others trying to enjoy it.