Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Fly Fishing - New tactic - Day 22

30th June 2015

A hot summers day with the mercury reaching 30' according to the weather app, kitted up in chest waders, fly jacket and a shirt i felt like i was on some sweat fitness program. Regardless i was keen and made my way down to the river. As i arrived i heard a crash and a splash, confused i looked down the embankment to see a roe deer clambering in the water, luckily it found its footing in the shallows and hurried ungracefully over the rocks into the knotweed downstream. I had ran down the hill as this happened as i thought it was going to be some animal rescue moment, but fortunatly i wasn't needed and i had spotted my first wild deer. strange to see one at midday in hot summer sun surely?

I reached my first run with the intention of testing my new tactics on losing less fish, which basically was let them swim for a bit and avoid getting them to the surface. I felt that alot of the fish were lost during the jumping so i was trying to avoid that as much as possible. I cast into the tail water and was in almost instantly, netted and released i was happy that things had started off quickly. Reaching the riffles i lost a trout but then somehow managed a miracle catch, a damned stone loach.  The first trout had taken the czech nymph but the loach had taken the  shiny black and white ribbed fly, i wasn't using much weight today. 

The pool were i have had big trout lost and my biggest trout caught brought nothing though i did lose a fish on a slow stretch before it which had never produced a fish before. just above the pool in a very rocky section were i've had a couple before i pulled out 3 and lost a very small one. all on the shiny black and white ribbed which in fact caught the rest of the fish today.  i saw a trout in the shallows about 20 feet ahead, average size but i was happy to see i was adapting to river fishing noticing trout lay on the bottom, 2 casts it ignored the flies and the 3rd it spooked.

A long wait between my next hit, nothing in the shaded areas strangely, maybe as i had dark flies on or they had moved to warmer waters in the river. my final section i reached were i have had 27 trout so far in had a foreign couple spinning in it and a family with 3 kids around the age of 6.  I had a chat to the guy to see if i was ok fishing with him spinning and he said he was heading down river soon anyway.

Second cast i had a trout on but the families dog raced in the water and tried to grab it, giving it line to swim away it got off the hook and i gave a threatening look to the owner. I could cope with sharing the river as long as they didn't interfere or endanger the fish.  I lost a  few trout, played them for around a minute the 'bigger' ones but all lost when they flopped around as i pulled them towards the net, a couple slipped off while i let them run under water, a small trout swam through my net before i could take it's picture (around 4 inchs) and i managed to land 6 more trout, despite the families kids showering the river with stones.

A few people came down to this stretch as well and a young group of college aged lads and girls had a chat they were respectful saying they were going to move as i was fishing but i said they could stay as they were doing no harm unlike the others.  Shows there is a difference in people, those who have respect and those who don't. i enjoyed my fishing, difficult conditions and difficult people but could of had more had it been quieter but the river isn't private i'm afraid.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Fly Fishing - The losing game - Day 20 & 21

 25th & 26th June 2015

Thursday, an interesting day, rushing out in the early afternoon to try catch some fish before the expected rain resulted in a hot humid day instead.  With some new flies in the box, i got chance to test one as the water was looking a little colored strangely despite only very light showers 2 days previous.  I was trying to use more barbless hooks and my new Hot Head Peasant Tail Nymph was that. with a size 14 on to match the size of the olives in the rocks i worked my way up.

Keeping it brief it was a slow start, losing only 3 small trout before i caught my first which was half way round my stretch. Was a funny catch as like the others it slipped the barbless hook when it jumped out but landed on the hook and foul hooked itself. You can probably see the small mark near its front fin. it bled a little but it swam off confidentially. i'll recognise this fish if i catch it again.

Nearing the end of the run i lost several more on retrieve, but i managed 2 more trout, nothing special but trout all the same. As i waded to my final run, through a long slow deep section, nothing rises here but i always watch the far side. i turned to check my footing to see, what i first thought was a large pike, a huge trout of easily 10lb compared to internet photos. I was merely 10-15feet away when as i stopped it spotted me and swam into the deep pool opposite. I had mixed emotions, a sickly feeling for not noticing this trout in the shallows as i watched the deeper section, a missed oppurtunity surely, a weird feeling about being in the water with such a large fish, yes i may have caught 27lb pike back in the day but i was never in the water with it. kind of a 'you don't know what else hides down there' and a feeling of excitement, knowing there are large fish (spotted 2 large chub further down stream) in my section is very much exciting but how to tempt them from a slow deep section if the don't rise. i can only presume it was eating the minnows in the shallows as there are always thousands here.

i walked home and witnessed a king fisher dive in the shallows, hoped it would do it again but only videoed it landing in the tree in front and looking at me, which i funnily said 'hello' too before it flew off.

Friday, a dull overcast and very wet day, it wasn't heavy rain yet but it was 'the fine stuff that wets you through' a employed a new tactic in my nymphing with the use of a foam twist on indicator, which would help me adjust the length of the tippet for each section individually, the first riffle where i know where there are trout but hadn't had a hit there for a while actually produced a fish, however it jumped out the water to grab the nymph strangely and was quickly lost as it bounced down the rocks.

I was still using the Hot Head PT as the water was more colored due to the rain.  Further up in a run that had only produced one fish, which was a nice fish to be fair, i had another strange take, i saw the trout rise up from the dark and grab the nymph, a quick fight and it was off again. At this point i was questioning whether they had initially seen the indicator and gone for that and took the nymph instead but how would i know what trout think they change there mind every day.  Further upstream i lost several more on retrieve, a steady wave of frustration was creeping in, i believed a mixture of barbless hooks and quick reactions meant i was striking to early for the hook to set in to a better section of the mouth.

As i neared the end of my run i was in again, another loss... then again! finally i had a fish in my hands! A minnow... i laughed to myself, if this was the only fish i caught at least it wasn't a blank. despite several more losses i managed to land 2 trout. An old couple had taken residence on the bank watching with several cocker spaniels, all barking wildly, so i showed them a trout before i released it. Hoping to enlighten the people in the area as i heard a comment from one walker on the Thursday 'are they even fish in there?'

Yes, yes there is.


Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Fly Fishing - Big Fish Problems - Day 19

23rd June 2015

A cloudy morning lead to a hot humid day and with a few days of odd showers i expected the river levels to be higher but they were barely up an inch or two. Reaching the river i changed my flies from the canal set up to 'The Depth Charge' and a hares ear and worked the first riffle, nothing.. but i seen a few small trout rise and then a big ripple rise in the slow section above, so i quickly swapped my nymphs for an emerger and a dry and worked the run but nothing.

Disheartened at the loss of time without a fish after seeing a few rises i swapped back on to the original nymphs and moved to the pool i have been quite successful in, well unsuccessful as i have lost the last 2 big fish here but an 11'' and a 15'' from here is quite good. casting at the beginning of the pool i felt the bottom a couple of times before i got a hit and a got my first trout  just bigger than the average ones but the girth on them is increasing, had a white trim on its anal fin.

Moving to the top section of the pool where the underhang is i cast and thought i seen a slight take, striking, i felt solid weight, didn't really feel movement just seen my line moving as it was right under the rod tip. Then it bolted, climbing up the pool bank to the shallower area i seen a long line of gold under the water, clenching teeth i said a loud, 'i got it again' thinking back to the big trout i lost here last time, after pulling about 5 feet of line off it turned back into the pool and shot down, i pulled some the lost line back but maybe should of left more as my rod tip bent under the water from around 4-5 feet up (i can't raise the rod higher due to the tree cover) it turned again and then ping, the hook was out and about 10 feet up in the tree above, gutted i was, it had been a quick battle only 20-30 seconds or so. i managed to get my Depth Charge back but lost the hares ear so i replaced it with another one and begrudgingly made my way upstream.

It was fairly quiet in the open runs i caught a small trout in the wooded area again but lost a decent size trout just before the net, gave quite a fight to be fair, didn't bend the rod nowhere near like the other trout did.  Moved up the shallow bend that runs between 2 deep sections, managed a small trout and lost 2 other tiny trout on retrieve. by this time it was getting quite late in the day so with an hour to spare i decided to do a quick fish back in the odd spot. 

Going to the start of the last run i cast into the deeper pool which i try to avoid sometimes as the water slows alot here and has numerous snags, so weighted nymphs tend to just sink like a stone with no movement  but i was in on the first cast and it was off downstream,  i gave it a little line as it started to jump and dive, scared of losing it i pulled it towards the shallow gravel and raced out to meet it, at least i had rod room here. scooping the net under it the fly pops out. just in time,

Very decent fish, about 10 inches as it was the width of my net, good girth and great condition!

Wasn't the monster i keep losing (3-0 now as Mike pointed out - need get my war paint on)

Friday, 19 June 2015

Fly Fishing - Losing it big time - Day 17 & 18

May 16th & 19th 2015

I'll keep this pretty brief as it covers 2 days of fishing. Was fishing on the Tuesday and it was a sunny day, not too warm like it had been of late but warm enough to enjoy it.  I started off in my usual run, working the riffles and the back eddy, it's a prime spot for a trout so to not get a nibble made me change. i decided to but on the czech nymph and a epoxy buzzer and within 2 or 3 casts i was in to a trout. Worked the rest of the run but to no joy but at least i knew they were biting.

Now last two times i fished this next section i had a 15'' and an 11'' trout so i tempted fate once again. Watching the line slide under slow i struck, it was a weird feeling, i didn't feel a particular feeling just resistance, but alot of it, and the only indication it was a fish was the fact my fly line was now hurtling off to the other side of the pool. Now this pool is probably 10 feet wide or so but it is about 8 feet deep under the overhang at least, and this fish was keeping me down there swimming round dragging some extra line out to reach the bottom, i kept my rod up and fought back hard managing to turn it round and make it swim up the bottom of the pool towards me, retrieving some line the fish turned round to go back into the pool only to realise it had less line so couldn't do that, so it jumped. the line went loose. i swing my line towards me to see that it had snapped my line.  Now i only seen it briefly as it only jumped once but it was far bigger than the one i lost previously upstream. i was gutted as it had taken both flies as well so i can only hope it manages to clear them so i can have another pop at it again.

i managed another 8 trout that day, all average size of what i've been catching and a rather green bellied minnow.

Today i went with Mark Thomas​ to share some tips i'd been taught as being a newbie myself it was all fresh in my mind and it was good to see us both with very similar ideas on our approach. I explained how we would use different flies to cover more ground and at the first riffle i caught nothing, knowing this isn't right i popped on a duo and Mark bagged a trout at the eddy. 

We moved up to the run where i had lost the big trout on tuesday and Mark fished the slower water managing to bag another trout.  Now we was fishing quite slow as i was changing my rig alot, so i put on the depth charge and the czech nymph and cast into the shallowiest riffle going and hooked a tiny trout only for it to drop off. Damn it.. well at least there taking these flies.

Fishing up the river and saving ourselves of a good few snags, i waded in for one stuck to the knotweed on the far bank which Mark had caught, can't lose a fish catcher!  But it was pretty quiet and we was nearing the end of our stretch and i was still on a blank.

Mark caught another trout at the start of a pool and ideas were quickly running out for me. I hadn't blanked in ages. then it dawned on me, i had bought some maxima line, chameleon and ultragreen, now i had chameleon on so i decided to switch to ultragreen.  Went to a shallow run and thought i felt a couple of hits and believed i saw the flash of the fish but i wasn't believing it till i caught one. Next cast i was finally in! Mark came up to meet me and caught another trout in the same run and as he was unhooking i pulled another 1 out. 

After another hit and miss it went quiet so we decided to go to our last spot on the run, we spotted 3 king fishers at this point, now i told Mark about the river life and despite this area being a really nice looking section i have only caught 1 or 2 here and the rest minnows but luckily i managed a small one. At the start of the day we had upturned rocks and seen the invertabrates that live there but here we did it and it was bare of all life but for leeches and a lone tiny olive. With a sewer outlet only 10-20m upstream i can only blame that.

It was good fun fishing, quite tough at time but was good having good company and hopefully a great confidence boost to Mark who i'm sure is going to just crack on with pulling trout out.  As we walked back home we stopped to watch a trout rise.

I decided to go fish on the canal for a bit of a laugh and the Mrs was staying at her mums. Changing to an emerger acting as a float and putting a midge on i cast to the far reeds, caught a small perch on retrieve and then noticed my emerger was moving against the wind so i struck to find a nice roach on the end.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Fly Fishing - Fisherman Tales - Day 16

May 12th 2015

Thursday night i had agreed to go kick sampling with Mike again, despite being in very much the learning process i am enjoying it alot. Bumped into a guy named Ian, who had fly fished for a couple of years but mainly on lakes and asked to tag along.  The kick sample showed how the water life changes, some invertabrate that were prominant last time were almost non existant at this time with a new one bringing up big numbers. The results showed alot of nymphs.

We did only a little bit of fishing afterwards, probably 20 minutes total, seeing fish rise under a tree we made our way down to that spot, at this point i had the depth charge and an olive on, but as i got to the waters edge i noticed a shoal of minnows, so i swapped to an olive and a prince with gold rib, basically trying to cover the nymph life and imitate a small fish chasing, second cast i was in, the area was nice and open so playing it was fairly straight forward, it happily slid into the net and had taken the prince. a good fly change after all.

Friday morning 9.30am. Never really get the chance to fish at this time and was pleased to see the sun hadn't shown above the trees on my back yet.  Starting with an olive and the prince, i worked the first section, nothing, i expected at least a take here, but thats why i use it as my 'testing' area. If nothing takes the flies wrong as the stretch is good water for trout. I changed to a hares ear and amber Czech nymph and a midge buzzer. Moving my way up the next run a few small trout jumped but after missing one they soon disappeared. I finally reached the pool were i caught the 15'' Brownie a couple of days before.

Working every channel i reached the top side of the pool which undercuts the bank under some trees, i felt a take and struck, the rod height was limited to striking was tricky, i felt the fish, i saw the trout come up with the strike but it wasnt hooked and it sunk back down into the murky depths, it was a decent size and i was undeterred. Casting in the same channel the same happened again, had that put the trout off taking it a 3rd time? unfortunately when the hook pinged out it flew into to the tree. Arghh! pulling the branch towards me it was just out of reach, i didn't want to step into the pool so i hooked my rod round the branch to pull it closer and i managed to rip the end leaves off freeing my hook.After untangling i cast, cast and a cast again.

As i pulled up to cast again i felt a weight, and movement, the fish must of took it as moved with it, and the direction of the rod at this point allowed a full strike.  I suspected it was the same fish but i hadn't seen it yet, it dove to the bottom of the pool, fighting hard, but it had a nasty trick up it's sleeve as i sensed it's direction to the tree roots in the undercut. Pulling hard back across i steered it towards me, pulling the line in my left hand to shorten the leader i brought the fish up to the surface and i quickly grabbed my net on my belt and glided it in.  A nice 11' or so trout.  First fish of the day again.

Now i caught 9 trout (including this one) and 2 minnows this day. some of the 'average' size ones had a decent girth on them and put up a decent fight. Lost only 2 as they neared the net and about half a dozen came off just after striking. But there was one other fish that eluded me this day and whether a fishermans tale or true i leave you to decide.

I was around half way round my stretch which is about the 7th section that is easily fishable, i had caught my first here on the wednesday.  After catching a small trout in the pool at the end of the riffle i worked it a couple of times with some hits but no true takes. Then i had a take and my rod keeled over like a small tree with wayne rooney climbing it. Shudder, shudder, shudder my rod bounced up and down as the fish i had fought like crazy at the deep of the pool against the current. I tried to force the fish up early but my rod height was limited to around 6 feet high as i was fishing under heavy tree coverage. Everytime i fought back the rod tip would bend almost to the surface, kneeling down in the water so it was only my upper half showing i tried to fight the fish but it was playing me instead. back and forth, so deep down threatening to race off downstream, i gave it some line as my rod bent yet again, scared of the hook just pinging out with the elastic forces at play. it went around another 10 feet downstream and i followed it, it had swum behind a big rock so i leant out so the line wasn't scrapping the rock but thankfully it wasn't sitting around long. After what felt like an eternity, probably around 5 minutes i started to make line back and could see the colour under the water as it started to tire. Finally it was there, body flat on the surface and i tried to guide it in, which was difficult as i couldn't raise my rod, i had my net ready when i realised the darn thing wouldn't fit in, well unless i brought it in headfirst (if that makes sense) it was probably 20' or so. 

The trout neared the net when it then decided it was no longer tired, and it took off again like a steam train, this time it was in surface dancing mode, every shake of the head as it reached the length of the line, dragging it off the reel, i was flapping at this point, i had seen the size of it, and i was in the 'fuck fuck fuck' phase. it dragged another 10-20 feet i don't know but i knew it wasn't giving up, this carried on as the line shortened it would jump around. I don't know how long but it must of now started to tire as i brought it closer. Now came the predicament, with all the flapping in my head i was unsure how to 'net' it, as the trees stopped me bringing my rod up, several hundred methods, 99% stupid, came into my head on how to bring this fish close enough to net it, hand line it or drag it sideways and net it as it came across even though i really needed it's head. I chose sideways, as i dragged it across the hook pinged out. Fuck. i spoke outloud i know that. It was a surreal moment to be fair, as the trout had tired at this point. so as the hook came out, it sat there, for a couple of seconds. long enough for me to contemplate jumping on it, though my net is elasticated and clipped to my belt, and it slowly melted down back into the bottom of the run. I had several emotions, angry, confused but proud as well, i must of done something right to fool a fish of that age. With another person with me to net it it would of been a doddle but a sole fly fisherman in the wilderness has everything against him. 

Till next time Mr Brown. Till next time.