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 The only down side is it requires 4xAA batteries, and the memory card it uses is obsolete which means I can only take 26 pictures in a day (a whooping 128mb card...)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!


Monday, 21 April 2014

Leaders

I have ordered a collection of mono spools in various strengths to start making my own leaders. I came across this leader calculator from Global Flyfisher (http://globalflyfisher.com/fishbetter/leadercalc/download.php) about a year ago via the excellent NCA blog (http://northcountryangler.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/rolling-my-own.html) and have been toying with the idea ever since. This season I'll be testing some out.

As it is the first time I have gone for some relatively cheap on sale copolymer from Greys, from 02X down to 6X (a bargain ten spools for a tenner, 30m each), so if it turns out terribly I haven't lost much. I'll also need to add some stronger stuff, but its a decent starting point.




Most of the time while nymph fishing I'll use furled leaders from Rodney Dibble (now Luke Bannister produces them ) - the Stuarts Croft range. For dry fly fishing I've been using 9ft Orvis superstrong for years, but they are quite pricey and I seem to get through the pretty quick. So the main aim of tapering my own is for dry fly use.

So far I've made two for a trial run. One 9 feet and one 11 feet, with 3 feet tippet to be added making 12 and 14 feet in total. For these trials I have used old Orvis superstring tapered leader butts which are too short to be used any more, as currently I have no thick stuff. Not sure if it'll make any difference, but I'll be giving it a go.

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 herl 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 tyers 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