Saturday, 17 October 2015

Fly Fishing - The Quest for Irwell Chub

My quest for Irwell Chub has taken me further afield around the Irwell, generally walking an hour or two too a new run, fishing the deep holes and slow runs, but still the chub have avoided me. The trout have not come in too big a number either thankfully but the one's i have had have all been nice trout, one i thought for a second was sea run it was that silver, only darkening off to a creamy mushroom colored back.

Now these little adventures haven't been all bad, in fact i've found some cracking spots to fish especially during the school holidays as they are hard to reach and dangerous to the foolish.  Thankfully the water has been crystal clear and easily 5 foot visibility allowing me to see the dark deep sections and the dangers underfoot. Creating a mental map of the areas for the future.

I have been under aquaducts and bridges, to old rotted wooden weirs to hair pin bends against 100 feet cliffs with a deep pool to match. How many dogwalkers? None. I have fished alot of last light water, it is amazing how quick the dark can come on so i'm always giving myself plenty of time to get out of the river before it is dangerous.

It's a damned shame there isn't any Grayling in our system as the water seemed so perfect in the places i was but that is the problem. It is sustainable it's just the amount of incidents that occur would kill them off in a year. But thankfully we have good people fighting our cause and maybe not to far into the future we will be able to reintroduce them.

But these chub are proving illusive, it's all trial and error and when i do finally manage to tempt one other than on the dry, which i won't risk in the off season, then it will be a tactic worth expanding on. Funnily the only course fish i caught was a small perch as i spoke to someone on the canal bank which i use to quickly navigate the river.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Fly Fishing - Chub Chasing: Sods Law - Day 49

9th October 2015

With the close season in full effect and a couple of hours to spare before last light i decided to put some chub chasing research into action. There isn't much about fly fishing for chub on the internet, but the general gist of it is to allow a nymph to swing in an arc from directly in front of you to 90' downstream, then a slow retrieve. With this in mind and the water being high and dirty after the much needed rain i looked towards the deep pools at the end of faster water. Basically well oxygenated pools were food would accumulate.

It was 5pm when i first started out so the dark was already drawing in, with 4 pools in mind to fish, i decided half hour on each was fair game. Pool one was where i hooked and lost the biggest trout i had seen personally, yet alone landed but knew i had lost that fish due to snags. It was only a couple of flies i'd be losing this time, with my new wading stick i was able to salvage most of the flies by getting closer. I know one snag is a huge pine tree branch as only the smaller branch would come up the weight of it too much for the wading stick and too deep for me to grab it.  No hits here.

Moving to the second run i knew this had the odd snag, and it wasn't long till i found out how large the piece of metal was that popped up above the water. Surely it's an aeroplane wing or something? Regardless the barbless hooks allowed most of the snags to ping off with counter directional pull. Again here nothing. I decided to head to the next run but failed to compensate the time it takes me to get to each pool in my fishing time, so i was running out of light fast and would only be able to fish one more pool.

The last pool has been productive for trout in September with several 14 and 15 inch trout coming out. Would it be the same for the chub? 10 minutes went by until i got my first hit and it was a slow heavy take. Initially thinking it was a moving snag as it gently flowed downstream, it suddenly bolted down. It was a fair weight and i knew it was a decent fish, was it the chub i was after? I'd seen a few knocking around these runs in the summer of a good few pound but so far they'd eluded me. It wasn't swimming fast, mainly using its weight to hug the bottom, then it decided to bolt to the far bank, dragging line of the reel i stopped it dead in a risky line grab as it headed straight for the far side, i know there is a sunken tree branch on that side. The momentum caused the fish to pendulum up through the water column and out of the water. It was a trout. 

That was its power, yet it didn't want to use it, it was a still a strong fighter and resistant to turn but i could constantly feel a downward pull rather than a pull up or downstream. After around 2 minutes the constant turning and retrieving of line i had it on it's side, after one squeaky bum moment at the net when it decided it had a short sprint left, i had it soon back in. It slowly plopped into the net. Barely. I have a 16 inch diameter net and it was bigger than that!  It was the offseason however so joys and frustration were mixed. No fancy photoshoot for this old girl. I presume it was female as she was as fat as my arm. A belly of gold and grey. A quick picture in the net before i set her for release, a quick measure against my arm as i laid her in the water showed she was from the tip of my finger to the crease in my arm.  A good 18 inches once i measured at home. She swam off in only a couple of seconds and i packed up set for home.

Turns out my chubbing technique avoids all fish except my new personal best trout. Who i couldn't give the full glory of the camera.

Sods Law Eh!.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Fly Fishing - Low River Grayling Hunting - Day 48

4th October 2015

With the close season in affect myself and Mike were on our way to my usual grayling river, there had been no rain all week and upon arrival it was very shallow.  The morning was brisk and cold and a light mist hung around the air.

Using lighter nymphs the first run produced a couple of fish for us, but we was catching snags more, and trees. alot of flies were lost throughout the day which is a danger of nymphing but is always more prominent when the river level is so low.  We reached a wier and fished that whole area, expecting fish due to it's depth but it only produced 1 each, mine being a very young grayling, a good sign though.

Moving on to my usual stretch i caught a trout early on but nothing for a while till we hit deep, slowish water, more snags hiding down there and a few more flies lost. could do with a good rake out this river! A couple of fish here till we continued on our way.

The slow pool produced nothing but the second weir did, a hard fighting small grayling. The long stretch above it to the bridge where i got the 16/17 inch grayling led me into another decent grayling but it pinged off the hook to my despair.

We continued our way up, i caught an even smaller grayling who didn't want a picture unfortunatly, and only caught 1 or 2 more fish later on. One trout took me under a snag in a deep pool and it took a 3 minute operation to get the snag out of the deep pool via wading stick and free the trout.

We had some food and a brew before deciding to head off to a section where we thought there'd be a little more water in. it did have! obviously extra water here would of been great to but it had some nice pooled areas and we bagged just over half a dozen between us.

We ended the day with a total of 22, 5 trout for myself and 2 for Mike, which equates to a point deduction as they are out of season, and 8 grayling for myself and 7 for Mike, so the scores ended with Mike on 5 points myself on 3.

It was a good day, very hard fishing, but shows we are capable of bagging a few with no water. Hoping there will be some decent conditions next time we go!