Sunday, 20 April 2014

Trout season 2014

19th of April before my first day of the trout season. I would normally be disappointed but an early holiday to Thailand and Cambodia means I can't really be.

I joined a club on the Swale this year for a new stretch of river. I've fished it on day tickets a few times and its excellent value for money. Arriving at around 10.45 I was very happy to see rising fish and a hatch of LDO's, and I immediately tied on a jingler I had prepared the day before for this exact reason. Cast to a rising fish with the jingler, however it just wasn't sitting right, I couldn't get the correct presentation and ended switching to a smaller imitation that sits lower in the water while resting the fish. Its my own design but nothing groundbreaking at all.





Its a simple stripped hero body with a light dun hackle clipped below the horizontal (coachman hackle in the picture above). Once the fish had risen again, I cast to it and it rose first time. I have heard many a time at this time of year people comment on striking too early, and I have been guilty of it, so I tried to stay calm. However, I was too patience (if possible) and I missed the fish. Third cast it rose again and I struck faster, a small 9-10 inch grayling, so I let myself off for missing it first time.

I saw another fish rising about 20m downstream so I waded out of the river, walked downstream of it and managed to land another, slightly bigger grayling. A couple of fellow anglers a lot further downstream were having similar luck, so I decided to start from the bottom limit of the stretch and work back up.


Switched tactics to czech nymphing and manage to land a much nicer grayling on a ryac, and lose another. The pools upstream didn't lend themselves to czech nymphing, and the hatch had died off, so I switched to a size 12 LT klink with a size 16 mary copperhead beneath. This landed quite a few fish throughout the pools on the way back up the river, the best being a grayling around 15-16 inches and I'd guess around 1 - 1.5 lbs ish. The only disappointment of the day was the lack of trout, and chatting to the other anglers only one person had landed a solitary trout. Ah well, fingers crossed for next time.


Sunday, 9 February 2014

Quiet Winter

It's been a quiet winter as far as fishing goes. Had a couple of days out but nothing memorable, Christmas and skiing holidays seem to have taken over. But I've tried to keep busy at the fly tying desk, and with most of my Christmas/birthday gifts focused around fly tying there has been plenty of motivation to idle away at my new muskoka vice (fantastic).

Booked up to go back to Slovenia in June this time, can't wait. Hopefully it'll be as successful as Septembers trip, just a lot hotter I imagine!

Thoughts are moving to the new trout season and where to get a membership this year, tried a few places and I think I'll get a few memberships with the more economical clubs. Polite way of saying I'm a bit cheap...spent all my money on fly tying kit and holidays apparently - results included below.

Here are my first attempts of patterns from Oliver Edwards fantastic fly tiers master class.


Baetis nymph


Beetle



Ryac pupae


Cases caddis

Some simpler, less realistic flys for general restocking for the start of the season.



Hares ear jig


Tungsten jig back


Hot head hares ear


Black and silver jig


On another note I am currently researching cameras and lenses that would be good both macro insect/fly tying pictures and also take a decent scenic picture. I'm leaning towards a Nikon D80 with a 50mm f1.8 lense, but I'd love to hear any suggestions!

Tight lines for the coming season

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Slovenia 2013

Way back in Feb I managed to get myself involved in a six day trip to Slovenia which I returned from last week. This was my first ever organised fly fishing trip abroad, and it turned out to be a stunner.

The rivers where we fished varied from big powerful waters, to tiny streams tree lined streams, with some urban streams thrown in too. The bulk of the catch consisted of rainbow trout but there were some browns and marble trout also. The marble trout is indigenous to Slovenia, and rainbow are stocked by fisheries as they don't breed at the same time as the marbles, and so the marble strain remains pure (this is also why browns aren't stocked as they breed at the same time as marbles resulting in hybrids). There also adriatic grayling with beautiful golden bellies, and I managed to catch all varieties except the grayling - this is one of the many reasons I will be returning!


 Mountain stream

 Brown/marble hybrid

 Fishing a deep flow using v. heavy nymphs

 Into a decent rainbow

 Rainbow on a streamer

The pictures below give an idea of the scenery in Slovenia. We fished a variety of waters but all were in absolutely stunning environments.







The majority of my fishing was upstream nymphing, switching to dry fly if the fish were rising. All fishing is single barbless fly only, which can be challenging, but it is done to protect the fish numbers. From what I gather historical almost everything was taken, but now there is definitely a healthy population.

 Rainbow from a stream that didn't look big enough to hold fish this size!

My fish of the trip, marble trout around 2.25 pounds



Friday, 12 April 2013

Fly tying progression

I have been thinking about the progression through fly tying for myself recently. For fly fishing I've read a couple of different ones, like:

1. Catch a fish
2. Catch more fish
3. Catch a fish on a home tied fly
4. Catch bigger fish
5. Catch fish all over the world etc etc

I've also read about why people get into fly tying, to save money etc so here is my thoughts on the progression through fly tying:

1. I want to start fly tying to save money, tied nicer flies than some store bought creations and its a challenge to catch fish on home tied flies.

2. Hmmm.....some stuff is expensive. I'll try cheaper options. Ah, some stuff can be bought cheaper, others (e.g. good quality hackle) I need to shell out for. I may not save money doing this...

3. I definitely won't save money doing this...

4. So far, my flies do not look as good as quality store bought flies....

5. To solve this I need to buy more stuff.

6. I need more stuff.

7. I WANT MORE STUFF.

8. Where can I find fly tying stuff in everyday life (I call this the "magpie effect").

9. I WANT EVEN MORE STUFF. SERIOUSLY.....MORE STUFF.

10. Ok, I've reached a standard where I can catch fish on my flies....now I want to tie realistic flies!

11. Oh man, I need a ridiculous amount of new stuff now....How naive I was 10 bullet points ago saying I could save money....

12. Ok, I've got a fly box full of (semi) realistic flies. I'm at the river. Which one to choose? Ok, I'll use the same 4-8 fly pattern I use all the time. Why did I start this?!?

13. I can't stop. I now have no issue spending 45mins to an hour tying one heptagenid or baetis nymph (copying Oliver Edwards et al) whereas before hand I didn't have the patience to sit still for more than 10 minutes...

This is about the stage I have reached right now. I think it is becoming a full blown addiction, fulfilling my fix of fly fishing during the weekdays, ready for actuall fishing over the weekends. Luckily I have a supportive girlfriend and family who like like to feed the addiction at any birthday or xmas!




First day, new stretch

So last Sunday was my first day on the NAC stretch of the River Nidd. I was pretty keen to get out on the river, as most of us were after the terrible condition over the past year. To be honest, the day could've gone better....

1. I got 20 minutes down the road before I realised I'd left my membership card, parking ticket, fly vest and all my fly boxes, tippets and leaders at home.

2. I accidently chose the wrong road name on the sat nav and drove to the middle of nowhere meaning a 40 minute drive now took 1hr 30 (not including the turn around to get my gear).

3. I realised when I finally got the the river I'd left my full coffee pot at home and I was gagging for a cup.

4. I blanked. I'm not that bothered about this, as I rose three fish under poor conditions, but I was a little annoyed at how rusty I'd got as I rose three and missed them all!

Conditions weren't great, around 8 degrees air temperature, maybe 4 in the water (legs went numb at one point while targeting a sporadic riser). Had tied a few CdC olive patterns in anticipation for a hatch, which obliged at around 1.30pm. Nothing major, just a trickle of small olives. Speaking of identifying upwings, read Oliver Edwards article in FFFT this month, very interesting.

Rose the fish using a klinkhamer, no interest using the upwings. In total I think I saw around 10 dimples in the space of 2 hours, which isn't bad considering. Absolutely no interest in any of the nymphs I tried, had some baetis imitations on, a tungsten PTN flashback, striped quill nymph (from barbless flies - very good!).

Saying this, it was still a great day getting back out. It's a cliche heard a lot but I still love being on the river in beautiful surrounding, catching fish is the bonus. It's also a great stretch of river, tricky casting with alot of over hanging branches and trees common to the Nidd which meant I was casting over the wrong shoulder or left handed most of the day. Good practise though!

All in all, things could've gone smoother, but I am heading back this Sunday (15-18 degrees apparently!) so I'm hoping I'll be casting better...and I'll remember everything this time, fingers crossed.

Picture above is where some smaller fish were rising. Standing at 45 degrees to them I had to cast over the wrong shoulder to avoid getting hooked up into the tree behind, and side cast to keep in under the branches seen above. A bit tricky to say the least!

Tight lines to all out this weekend.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Last day before the new season

Last Sunday I had nothing to do, and with my girlfriend doing a craft fair/workshop I thought I'd get out on the river for one last time before the new season. As a member of Bradford city AA the majority of rivers are closed from the 14th - 31st of March, and the River Swale and Cod beck is one of these.

I'd never fished this section before, but I'd driven past the Swale a few times and been intrigued. I decided to give it a go, the weather and levels were good, overcast and around 8 degrees celcius, so I was inwardly optimistic.

I managed to get to the river around 10am, after a rather precarious drive down a bridle path/road which quickly turned into a mud path. I suited up into the new waders I treated myself to in the January sales (Patagonia Gallegos and river walkers, both half price, absolute bargain) and set off to the river.

First impression were good, the Swale was a bit larger and deeper than I am used to having predominantly fished the Wharfe at Buckden last year, but I started with a home tied tungsten bead pheasant tail with a flash of tinsel along the back. I normally get a feeling about how each section will fish after 5-10 mins, and I wasn't too hopeful that I'd pull anything out in this section. I don't know if it was the time of year or conditions, but it was pushing through very fast and deep in parts, which meant I struggled to get into certain positions, nearly getting my legs taken away once! Anyway, there is always Cod beck I thought.

So, after a coffee break and a quick chat with a fellw Bradford member who was up for some coarse fishing (good chubb and barbel I was told), I headed over to the beck. It looked fantastic, only about 6-8 feet wide but reasonably deep, and very clear, I could see the bottom for almost the whole stretch.

I swapped between an unweighted and weighted pheasant tail depending on the depth, turned a few stones to see some tiny stoneclingers (heptagenids I believe...I'm trying to learn as much as possible about entomolgy!). Unfortunately I didn't see a single fish in the whole stretch. I was as stealthy as possible, although access was tough with steep banks, but I persisted with some prospecting but the day was a blank. Still, its always nice to see a new stretch of river and I'd like to come back over the summer.

Also looking at joining a club on the Nidd this year which will mean some fishing a little closer to home. I always like a picture or two, so here is what I'll be thinking about for the next 30 days.

 
 
 
 
Tight lines for the coming season everyone!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Lack of fishing

There has been a distinct lack of fishing for me recently. Due to weather, birthdays, moving house and the like, I haven't been out since 26/10. This has also resulted in a distinct lack of blogging...mostly due to my laziness but in part due to a lack on internet in the new house.

I have, however, joined Leeds fly tying group, which has been a fantastic weekly fix of fly tying and fly fishing chat. I was previsouly self taught, which wasn't too bad with the plethora of youtube videos and other instructional material available. But what I've learnt from the group so far has been invaluable, and the ability to ask questions is a massive bonus. So, if its feasible, I definitely recommend joining a group if you're thinking about taking up tying.

Anyway, after a few weeks of fly tying inspiration I sat down last night to tie a few to fill some of the (many) spaces left in my fly box from lost flies. Somehow this quickly turned into reorganising my fly boxes which resulted in all flies emptied onto large piece of white paper on the floor. Not the best idea I've ever had, but (fingers crossed) none escaped. It did let me filter out some of my earlier attempts at flies, which now look awful. They went to the recycling box, which begs the question, does anyone else attempt to  "un-tie" flies just to reuse the hooks?! I have a couple of times, but it always seems like way too much effort.

After the reorganisation I only had time to tie a couple of dries and nymphs, nothing special, but fun as always. One thing I definitely need asap is some good quality hackles, another lesson learnt from the fly tying group!

And since I drafted this post three weeks agon I have in fact been out fishing using my new Tenkara USA Iwana. Lovely presentation and a fun addition to my fly fishing kit, but unfortunately no fish.... Oh well. To cheer myself up I bought some new Patagonia Rio Gallegos waders in preparation for the (fingers crossed) good spring/summer weather!