Monday, 30 March 2015

Stillwater Flies

Tied a bunch of lures, buzzers and crunchers for Blagdon and Chew lake. I fished these lakes when I very first started fly fishing 6 years ago. I remember taking a day off work to head to Chew for the opening day. It was blowing a gale, raining with temperatures just in the positive. I stationed myself near the lodge as I didn't know the area. where I could/couldn't fish, and generally worried I would make a fool of myself. A friendly chap next to me ensured me he was there, same spot, same wind straight in the face conditions, exactly a year before and still managed to catch. This gave me a bit of confidence, but seeing as I couldn't cast (I thought teaching myself was an excellent idea) and didn't know what flies I should use (everyone was using "something orange and bright" - which I now know were blobs) it became pretty clear early on the odds were against me.

I blanked, pretty badly. I remember standing between a group of around 8 anglers, all catching, and thinking what have I got myself into here... I only fished Chew twice, and Blagdon once all year that year, and never had a sniff of a fish. But I am hoping I can redeem myself this year. Hopefully with something below...

 Black Viva

 Crunchers (hot spot on a couple)

 Olive Minkie

 Olive Minkie, Viva, Damsel nymph and buzzers

 White Minkie

White Woolly buggers

They aren't perfect, but I am pretty happy for a first try of stillwater flies (had to make some material subs). 

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Westcountry Fly Fishing

Ahead of March 15th I've been researching where I will be doing most of my fishing in the upcoming season. So far I have found excellent fishing on Dartmoor (East/West Dart and the Teign) and the Taff/Usk in South Wales (and tributaries named "Wild Streams on Wye and Usk passport scheme).

Seems to be plenty of choice going through the passport system, with tokens used throughout both West Country and Wye and Usk schemes. So it looks like I won't be joining a club this year, just deciding where to fish the day before - which has it's benefits. Should certainly challenge me as fishing styles/techniques will need to be worked out on new water each time, but hopefully it'll improve the way I look at rivers.
If anyone has some suggestions on good spots gimme a shout!

In preparation I've also been tying up some early season flies - baetis nymphs, gammarus and JT Olives shown below.

And purchased some new waders - Vision Ikon with the Hopper II boots. Very light and an excellent fit all round, pretty good first impressions. Good service from Sportfish also, free delivery and arrived with 3 days.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Hiatus and new beginning

Had a bit of a fly fishing and fly tying hiatus at the end of 2014. I'd been living in Yorkshire for four years enjoying the many fine rivers it had to offer. I moved up in 2010 for work, and loved my time there, however me and my partner had always planned to return to our roots in the West Country eventually.

So when the opportunity came up near Bristol we both took it. This meant the majority of the second half of 2014 was spent house hunting then moving, resulting in very little fishing time (and hence no blogging).

Since then it has mainly been furniture shopping and decorating, plus a return to 9-5 work from my previous shift job means fly fishing is now relegated to weekends. I will miss the amount of time off  spent fishing and tying, I will not miss nights shifts though!

Having finally found a desk and (almost) setup my study/fly tying desk, I thought I'd take some time to organise the fly boxes before the new year. There is quite a bit of space for new flies which will have to be filled before the start of the season.

Before Organisation - 8 half filled boxes, loose flies and 2 new boxes

Organised with plenty of space

Clockwise from top left - Czech nymphs, favourite bead heads, jigs and gammarus, CDC dries

Klinks and nymphs on the left, Caddis +other dries on the right
 As for fishing, I will be testing out Devon/Cornwall and South Wales on the passport scheme, and getting a permit for Dartmoor at first.

Locally is Chew and Blagdon lakes, so I'll be doing some stillwater fishing too, pretty new to it but we'll see what happens.

And I'll have to make the effort to head back to Yorkshire for at least a few days a year, just for old times sake.

Monday, 11 August 2014

RIP fujifilm...2004-2014

An excerpt from my last blog post

"Also, before purchasing a brand new DSLR then immediately dropping it in the river, I thought I'd get practice using a camera on the river which wouldn't break my heart if it took a swim."

Not two weeks after this I was fishing Cod Beck, fujifilm in back pack. I normally stash it down my waders, but I had my waterproof camera there on this day (should've been the other way around...) as I was taking some video.

Anyway, after a few hours fishing I had waded into a particularly deep section, and had to wade back out the way I had come. As I exited the water my heart sank (despite saying I wouldn't be heart broken) when I realised how wet my non-water proof back pack had become.

Needless to say the camera was soaked. I dismantled it and left it to dry for a few days, but alas she is no more.

Lessons learned? Maybe invest in a waterproof back pack, or if that isn't an option store the waterproof camera where it may get wet. Ah well, that's life.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Trusty old fujifilm

I've wanted a DSLR camera for a long time now, but its always been just a bit too expensive to treat myself too. So, as an effort to prove to myself it would be a good investment (ha!) I've been playing around with my old fujifilm, which although it's not a DSLR, at the time of purchase it was a pretty decent substitute. The only down side is it requires 4xAA batteries, and the memory card it uses is obsolete which means I can only take 26 pictures in a day (a whooping 128mb card...)

Also, before purchasing a brand new DSLR then immediately dropping it in the river, I thought I'd get practice using a camera on the river which wouldn't break my heart if it took a swim. Couple this with a few days out on the local beck and the River Swale, below are some of my amateur efforts.

Bank of the River Swale

Cream bodied nymph streamside

My attempt at shutter speed alteration

Macro crane fly

Edited to give a warmer feel

Red-legged Partridge

Macro flower

Beck trout

Easingwold countryside

CDC and Deer hair

Same trout different pose

Cream nymph again

Nothing spectacular but I'm quite happy with the outcome. I have edited a few with iPhoto, which offers all I need (or can get my head around!) at the moment.

Slovenia 2014

After the high success of the trip to Slovenia in September 2013, I decided to go again with Stuart Minnikin plus two others, Neil and Stuart J.

We stayed at Tilnik farm again, which is an amazing place. Remote, beautiful, excellent hosts in Kate and Brett plus some friendly pups.

It was another absolutely stonking trip. I had purchased a new Hardy 7'6 Jet with the CC reel especially for the trip (and beck fishing in the UK) on which I caught my biggest ever trout, a 3 1/2lb Rainbow which tore through three consecutive pools while I chased after it, before finally netting.

Revisited a beautiful mountain stream and had some very interesting hiking to get to the fishing spots! Never sweated as much in my life.

Had some fantastic food and wine, visited a local marble trout farm and had the pleasure of a guided day with Gregor Novak again.

Caught plenty of fish including nice marbles and rainbows, but still no elusive grayling (unlike Neil).

Already planning the next trip!

Fantastic welcome at Tilnik Farm 

"Small" Slovenia lunch on the first day

Fishing an urban stream...

...which produced this 3+lbs Rainbow

Another nice Rainbow

Beautiful Marble

The only Grayling of the trip

Precarious access...

...worth it

Last fish of the trip, my personal best Marble

Monday, 12 May 2014

Late April

Managed to have three days in a week on the river at the end of April, and they were all very different. Condition were similar throughout the week, low river level, although it rose towards the end of the week, over cast and around 10-15 degrees.

The first day I fished the Swale above Richmond. I've only fished it once before and had little success. There is a popular walkway along the river for most of it, and one spot is very popular for throwing sticks in rivers for dogs to retrieve. Obviously puts a dampener on the fishing so I avoid that place. There were a few fish rising so I tried my luck with a jingler, klinkhåmer and quill dry fly with no luck. Once the risers stopped I switched to a quill bead head which brought a single trout to the net. Nothing special, small 10'-er. Moved to a favourite pool below Richmond and managed two more brownies, one around the 1lb mark which jumped 3ft clean out of the water, was not expecting that response!

The next day was spent on two streams in Huddersfield. I'd fished one before after work down there and managed a decent grayling and nice trout. Fished a mixture of czech nymphing, upstream nymphing and dry fly and managed around 40 fish, which is easily the most I've ever caught in a day! Best fish of the day was a grayling around 1lb on a ryac czech nymph. Picture below is a different grayling, thought still a nice size.

 Brownie on a brown czech nymph
 Ryac larva
One of the better Graylings

Then the third day came. Back on the Swale it was obviously the river had risen a little, with a bit of colour and lot of extra power. Wading was very difficult so I had to keep to the tail of a long pool where the flow subsided. Fish were rising semi regularly but there was no obviously fly life coming of the surface. I tried a number of dry flies and emergers covering general upwind/caddis/gnat patterns but only had a few unsuccessful nips. Finally managed one grayling on a Klink, at this point my legs were numb from standing still in the water for a few hours without moving, so I called it a day.

I've now join a club with some beck fishing very close to home, so I'll be trying that out this week, if the levels are good!