Thursday, 27 August 2015

Fly Fishing - World Record Hunting - Day 38

27th August 2015

After my grayling hunting it was to be an interesting fishing session with no polaroids. Someone somewhere will hopefully find them and put them to good use, but what do i do about fishing? With some rain fall this week i expected cloudy water and probably slight increase in water level. Not worth risking life and limb when you can't see the bottom. The bright sun wouldn't help as i couldn't cancel glare out. So i decided to head off to the furthest reaches of the Irwell and fish a small brook.

It was slightly murky but the shallowness allowed me to see the bottom, the hidden dangers of silt and by crikey the small pools were very deep considering the running river level was inches. I spent an hour or two scouting the river, cutting through 5 feet high himalayan balsam and nettles (boy did i get nettled) which was quite easy being 6ft 8 but the bees weren't too keen. After scaring off a couple of trout 1 around 3lb which was quite a disheartening surprise. I did manage to sneak up on one, with my klinkhammer and a long nymph below i cast ahead of it. Spooked it instantly. The shallow water wasn't as easy as it may appear.

I worked my way back along the path i had created casting where i could when i could and all of a sudden there was a tug on the line. I was fishing half blind as i didn't want to disturb the river side growth as i worried about spooking more fish. With the short line i had out it rattled the end of the rod, i lifted it out and into my hands came a roach! I have had roach on the fly before but not in the river. 

Several casts in that spot resulted in nothing, i headed upstream further still to see flashes of silver near a tree. It was quite a productive tree, resulting in another 4 roach, i lost a few due to the bardless hooks and lifting them out as i was on the bank as not to spook the fish.  It was quite surreal watching them dart in and out from this tree cover which had sticks built up against it from heavy rainfall. They weren't feeding on the bottom like i thought they would be, but roaming more and there was some big roach down there but they seemed the cleverest unfortunately.

The roach bites stopped and then i started hitting minnows. But these minnows were massive compared to what i'd caught miles downstream.  It then became kind of a 'world record hunt' for minnows. Which i didn't know till i got home was only half an ounce!  Well i'm pretty sure i beat that today as these were long and god almighty fat. Somewhere long and lean but the fat ones. Christ it was actually fun catching huge minnows!

(there is still more story after the countless minnows)

They were impossible to see, unlike the roach, with their dark backs so it got a little frustrating when i was getting bites and when i struck nothing. On around the 50th strike i knew why. Stickleback had moved in! Never dreamt of catching a stickleback again in my lifetime never mind on the fly and i ended up with 4.

Now i'm not sure what the trout eat in this river as i hadn't seen any fry but not long after the stickleback had stopped biting i got a huge hit. Straight into the tree and off.  Perch? One of the big roach? I cast again and got a small roach. Again a whopper of a minnow and then again BAM. Into the tree again but i was aware of it now pulled left and low i pulled the fish out, drawing it back and up i saw it was a trout!

After all the commotion i didn't get another nibble for 10 minutes so decided to call it a day. It had been a fun day and possibly a world record minnow that has been released back into the wild. With some cracking river roach and a nice trout to end the day.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Fly Fishing - Grayling Hunting - Day 37

24th August 2015

Had arranged to fish this week with Mark but it took some serious weather watcher, river level charting etc to ensure the conditions would be right. why? because we was hunting Grayling on a river we hadn't fished.  We arrived at about 9 with a mist hanging above the water and after a walk down the river we picked our getting in spot and rigged up. i choose a hairy jig with the beadhead i caught my first grayling on while Mark selected similar options.

It wasn't long till i was into my first grayling, strangely it didn't fight to hard, but once in the net it was constantly freaking out. This would be how all the Grayling would act, little fight, plenty of net action and to top it off a reluctance to go back. happily sat swimming round our boots and needing a gentle nudge to get them a safe distance away from us.

Wasn't long till Mark was in but his Grayling beelined for him with a huge jump causing slack and popping the hook out.  We thought it was a good sign, however this trip was a tale of two halves.

10 minutes later i was into a bigger Grayling, again very little fight but really hated it's picture taken, and then again not long after that an even bigger Grayling, with hurried pictures due to the amount of fight they were giving i wasn't given half a chance for brilliant pictures. But now with 3 fish and Marks fishing gone quiet we started to question what was different. Flies! so we changed his flies and continued.

I was into a 4th Grayling and lost a decent one due to a light strike with the barbless.  Then things got interesting i got a hit and struck, the fish i had one bent my rod right over as it swam hard right, turned as it hit the shallows and swam straight off downstream, as it dragged line out the hook pinged out the fishes mouth at such a force that it left a ball of tangled fly line and tippet around my rod. That bad i rerigged my set up but used the same flies.

2 more trout later, and we was having a good chat. At this point i stopped fishing, trying to figure out the mystery around Marks 'blank'. Stripping everything back down indicator off, new flies and a longer tippet i let Mark lead to see if that was the problem also! I let my line drift downstream as i watched only for my indicator to twitch and i struck into a fish. Turned out it was foul hooked in the corner of its tail and despite being bardless hooks pulling a fish backwards upstream i managed to land it.

Why was i still catching? Then 5 minutes later in a shallow riffle i got a huge hit. Swimming in the current i tried to pull the trout out but it turned and went downstream, having to hold the rod with my left hand to navigate a tree i kept the line tight and brought it back above me so i could allow to drift into the net. It was a nice trout 14 inches but very fat, huge tail on it.

Caught up with Mark after i almost fell in on the slippy bottom and i decided to literally strip it all down to a blank. Giving him 6ft of my new hardys line as well. We headed into a very slow deep section which had enough current on one bank to carry a nymph but we quickly became amused by tens maybe hundreds in total of Grayling rising all around us literally within arms reach, some were trying to eat Marks fly line! i managed a trout and i was fishing fairly close to Mark as he lost a second fish adding to his frustration. I cast a little to close to his line so pulled out and waited, rod over the shoulder until i was free to cast, as i cast i felt a pull and in disbelief found a Grayling on my nymph! Who said presentation means everything?

Mark lost another Grayling as we headed upto a well overgrown run and Mark finally came good. 3 fish, 2 of them Grayling and a bonny trout in the space of 5-10 minutes.  Was good for Mark to break his duck and also bag his first ever Grayling. We actually both caught at the same time. Mine however a small trout. 



Thursday, 20 August 2015

Fly Fishing - New Water - Day 36

20th August 2015

Organised a trip with Mark to fish a section of the Irwell he had only fished with conventional methods.  He'd had some good fish from there before so decided to give it ago. On arrival had a good look around, it was muggy but cloudy and the water looked fishey. Very slow but fish were rising so it showed they were here.  We walked up to a weir and fished the pool. It was very deep and i am still unsure how to fish weir pools on the fly, trying a klink and dink method with new flies didn't work as the klinkhammer sunk slowly with the weight. We worked down a short riffle which had some deep cuts perfect for fish, except for the big dead tree lying in the middle of one. Still nothing.

Wading down we reached the deep slow water we previously spotted and had to wade across. I hate wading new water as i am unsure of whats below especially when it's up to my waist. Not being able to swim plays on your mind.  Safely across we fished the far side where there were a few rises. Alot of small rises with the odd big rise showed a mixture of fish. I got a couple of sniffs and one decent take but it didn't take the hook but i did notice it was a very silver fish.

We pressed onwards and seen some very nice pegs but the water was so slow here the wind was blowing everything back upstream. So we headed down towards the bridge where we became Lara Croft, shimmying around a wall above a very slippy weir ledge and over a very deep drop off. Again it was good water but the 'food lane' was too far to present a fly as it crossed to many currents.

Heading downstream we came to more shallow riffles with nice cuts and a couple of fish rising in the deep tail water. our casting was on form but even when they started rising like hell they wouldn't take it. Heading back up we seen a big rise under the bridge so i fished towards it, a few rises around the pool and still nothing. Only a mink slipping out of the water and hoping along a small shelf under the bridge made me see why they weren't taking at the bridge. We headed back to where the fish were taking before for 20 minutes and i eventually hit into 3 chublets.  My first chub on the species count but we had expected bigger things.  Perfect water for trotting or a waggler but not so much for fly fishing. Regardless the banter and the adventure was worth the hassle as we look onto a little adventure next week.