The Good, The Bad and the Ugly!

It appears to me that these days, thank christ, that we have lost our fascination with large, overweight farm reared, rainbows, these things were classed as ‘fish of a lifetime’, why? I can assure you they are/ were and never will be.

Let’s be honest we have witnessed some really ugly rainbows and browns in many fly fishing publications in the past and now on FB and the likes, but these days, thanks to modern fish farming methods and indeed angler’s preferences, trout are normally in a pretty pristine condition, looking good and fully fined, the ‘Saturday night, out on the town trout!

For me, and I’d guess the majority of the UK fly fishing fraternity, a large, grown on or better, wild fish is what it’s all about these days? It doesn’t have to be huge just ‘proper’!

Many of our large reservoirs and even a fair few of our medium sized small waters will see a sharp increase in the size and the quality of the fish being caught form now to the year’s end.

Right now the water is cooling, following some of the silly and at times prolonged temperatures we saw through the summer and the trout are now ‘hopefully’ coming back on the feed. They are looking to pack on weight for the winter ahead and as they do they become a little less wary in their need to survive.

Trout that have been at large for some time are on the prowl and are imminently more catchable. It’s these beauties that we, as anglers, want to catch more than anything.

Trophy trout now are the fin perfect, streamlined, muscle packed variety, not the heavy hitters of the late 80’s early 1990’s, thank goodness.

Unless you’re stalking there is – and this is strictly MY opinion – no skill to catching, massive, recently stocked trout from any water. You can’t see what’s going on, you cast out, with whatever fly, pull it back in whatever way you see fit, and if one of the lunkers manages to see it, then they’ll have it, it’s total and utter luck!

These page three pin ups of the trout world however, take some skill in order to be fooled.

As with most things in life, timing and patience are the key to getting it right.

You’ll need to offer them something that they are feeding on first of all, you can’t get this wrong, if you do you’re not catching.

I recently fished a very difficult and moody Rutland Water, there were only a few stockies playing ball but the big resident trout both the browns and rainbows were there to be caught, tough but if you stuck it out in the right area, you had a few chances.

Nymphs were the majority’s line of attack, Crunchers and Diawl Bachs and Nemos fished on long leaders using a floating line were the best bet. Myself and few others went with little fry patterns. Although the anglers that braved the tough conditions never had many trout, the standard of the ones were caught  were second to none!

Sadly, these fish came on in the run up, three weeks before, to the English National Final, I was catching the for fun. Then, a week before the final, they stopped, weather, pressure or they were just being absolute a*******s! Who know’s, but they were great fun while it lasted, give it a few weeks though and they’ll be back on it and we’ll hopefully, like that bird that’s married to Kanye West, have a great back end!

http://flyfishguide.co.uk/

The GOOD!

 

the BAD

the UGLY

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A Black Cloud On One Side Of The Boat

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Flyfishguide Website It’s funny  the old boat fishing malarkey, your mate asks you for day out in the boat, you go, things turn violent! Okay, I’ve grabbed your attention, they don’t really get violent, but let me tell the tale… … Continue reading

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Summertime Not So Blues

Fishing at this time of the year is a total pain in the a***!

It’s hot, too hot, the overnight temperatures are staying high and the result is a surface water temp of around 20C, algal blooms and trout that couldn’t give a rat’s eye for whatever it is that we throw at them.

I leave the ressies alone at this time of the year but every now and then the urge is too much for me to leave them totally alone. When I see a low rod average I take this as an opportunity to go out and prove that these fish can still be caught. And often they can!

So, at the weekend I hit Draycote Water, I haven’t touched the place since March, I’ve had far more important things on this year, which is a shame really as I really like Draycote, the staff are both knowledgeable and friendly, I get treated very well also the boats and the pontoon, everything is clean and tidy, immaculate even.

Tom making me a cup O tea

 

Super tidy boat

In the car park I see Ben Beckwith and Simon Lucas, two very capable guys but I notice a flaw in their plan. As they are both set up with Di3 and pulling gear.

Ever the helper outer I said, “Guys, take that off and put a floater on with dries. This, despite a good blow on the water… they looked at me funny, “ C’mon Steve, seriously?”

Oh how they would rue the fact that they never listened!

Sinking lines, NOOOO!

I let them get on and I go in to have a cuppa with the boys Tom and Alan, both good lads, ask them anything they’ll help out.

The place has been fishing hard, the heat, a brown algal bloom meant some days the tod average was up, some it was down, no two days were alike. Turns out later, the day I’m here it’s down!

Looking out over the water, as I get my shiz together, it’s a little bit more blowy than I would have liked, the wind coming over the tower dam and blowing down into Toft. I’d rocked up pretty late, so a lot of boats were out and it looked like, to me anyway, to a man they were all parked up at the boils, BOIL RAGE!! I’d be keeping well away from that lot if I could help it.

I set up two rods, both featuring floaters and dries, one with a team of three flies, close together and one with a team of two, far apart. One or the other would be the best bet, it would be a case of seeing what’s what when I was out there.

The cast that I have every faith in is my two fly set up, a big Carrot fly and a smaller Bob’s Bits, a fly that has accounted for most of my big fish across all the English reservoirs.

Double trouble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dries or dries?

 

 

 

 

 

The fish finders

I head straight up to the top dam, looking to drift straight out to B buoy and deep water. The lake is not a good colour, like a strong pale ale, but at least the damwall is kind of protecting me a little, the water is rippled here not like the two foot waves down the bottom, so I’m happy to see what’s what.

I start with the two fly set up, but I see nothing moving, so just flick and fan cast every five seconds, and in no time at all, a trout sips down the Bob’s Bits. I knew it would work.

I love this fly, love, love, love it!

I drift this area for most of what’s left of the morning, from B all the way along to A Buoy, long drifts and with all of the water pretty much to myself…and I pull fish up, hook them  and even occasionally land them, they are finicky bollocks the day, before the sun gets out proper. I find that once the sun’s out, that’s you, you’re goosed on the dries.

Bingo

 

 

When the sun does come out I have another little trick up my sleeve, one that works for me on most occasions here. The dries come off and I leave on the same long leader, to the end I attach my little Popper Fry. It’s early I know but it can bring fish up in shallow water.

I set up short drift, no drogue over the weeds at the inlet, this little area is a haven for little coarse fish, so it will often hold bigger fish, but they can be an a****** to catch!

It never took long for the first bit of interest, I short cast, give two long pulls on the line to RIP the fly through the water and then figure-of-eight it back.

The water behind the fly started to bulge as something decent locked on, keep going, look away, do not change what you’re doing, if you stop or speed up, forget it. I kept everything coming back to me at the same speed and finally a mouth open over my fly and it vanished in swirl of water and spray. Fish On!

It’s a better fish, a good, grown on rainbow, the fish I’d caught In the morning were smaller, small by last year’s Draycote standards anyway. The trout fight s well in the shallow water, tearing off like a bonefish on crack, but my ‘just enough to keep good pressure, but not enough to snap the line’ drag does its job admirable, and soon the trout is netted. A nice one, but one that keeps going belly up as I try to release it in the shallow water. It’s no good, it’s going to die so it’s shown the priest and kept for my neighbour who’ll have it for his BBQ on Sunday.

“20 minutes later I get a smaller one, more the size I’ve been catching, this one I can horse in quick, and it goes back to the water after a quick photo in the net…

Proper job

 

 

Popperfry guy

That’s it for that area, the sun is too high and too hot and whatever fish were there are packed up and moving on!

I do know that there are fish out to A and B buoy though so I change tack. A four fly cast, fished on my favourite Hoverer fly line, a slow sink inter that does a great job of fishing your flies higher up in the water column.

Point, is a Disabled Daddy, dropper, Hackled Cormorant, next dropper Red Holo Diawl Bach and on the top dropper a Biscuit Fab, simple stuff, Black bits of s*** just in case, and two foam filled flies each side to keep everything high.

I fish the water hard in the above two area for some time, I take another three fish and miss a few other super soft takes, I fish this back with slow figure-of eight, taking care to create perfect loops in my retrieving hand a good habit to get into, the better this bunch of fly line looks the neater and more measured your retrieve.

 

I head out past A Buoy toward the sailing club and see Ben and Simon, they’ve not been so lucky, they’ve had a very hard day of it. I tell them what I’ve been doing but that I have had to switch to twiddling now. I offer them my cast, they’ve just watched me land one so know it works, Simon takes up the offer and I head for home.

It’s been a tough old few hours, but I managed to get things working, and hopefully put the rod average up a touch that day, as it was pretty low form what I heard.

Smooth

 

Disabled Daddy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, dont get Sainsbury’s Roated Veg Pasta for your dinner, even with me buying and adding my own tomatoes, it was blander than several ‘Pro Team’ members facebook posts!

Blander than bland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s my last trip out in the UK for some time, Grand Cayman next week, ‘DIY Boning’, nope it’s not a sex act, it’s bone fishing without the rigmarole of a guide!

My website

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Testing The Water

It was way back in early 2013 when I last posted… a BLOG.

Jeezo that’s a long, long time ago! So why the lay off. Well, simple really…. kids… !

Boy, oh boy do they take up your time, like you just would not believe, love them like you can’t imagine but hard work. Two things you never expect to happen to you:

Your six-year old daughter painting your nails, and doing your make up..

Having your little boy – who by the way is not so little – jump off the couch, reach an apex of around three feet and land full force, knees first, into your private parts.. oh the joys!

But they’re getting bigger now and so I can afford a little more time on other things, things like this BLOG nonsense.

The plan is, I’ll use this BLOG to get over some nonsense stuff, stuff to do with fishing, fly fishing. Oh and fly tying, the house is getting a major overhaul just now and when it’s done I’ll have my own little ‘Man Cave’, Turntables, Techno, Flytying bench and Photo studio, so I’ll share some cool patterns with you too, ones which I hope you’ll like. Trout and grayling patterns to saltwater and everything in between, flies like this little beaut, a hybrid wet fly….

I should also try and get some video, who knows it may work, also expect lots of cool photos of fishing related shizzle, like this…

When was the last time you saw a white horse eating grass on an island in the midle of a river…?

So, that’s the brief overview, if you’re interested, then follow me, can  you do that with this thing, not sure I hope so…, you can also keep pace with things here:

Mywebsite

Much Love…

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The Thrill Of Shrunken Rivers, one, 50-yard stretch

The heatwave has been long, longer than we’ve seen for some time now, and by the looks of things, it may well continue.

People mump and moan, “it’s too hot!” These are the same people that have a moan at the weather when it’s, wet, cold, windy, muggy, overcast, snowing, bright etc etc, in fact these are often the same people that spend most of the time in the house sitting on their arse! The ‘do nothings’ , however come work on Monday they moan about the rubbish weather, despite the fact they spent the weekend looking out the window at it!

I’m loving the heat, although, admittedly a lot of small waters are suffering, the larger waters, too have become rather tricky, which I like as the BLOB brigade are toiling trying to nail the stockies. I’ve found the best methods to be a di8 and buzzers over 40ft of water as the fish are about 30ft down, still there, just deeper!

The rivers can be a tough and challenging place when we’re suffering in the heat, but the grayling and trout will stay play ball, just tailor your tactics and you’ll have a good time catching both.

A recent trip saw me on a very low Derbyshire Derwent, the regulars were struggling, in fact most were spending their evenings on the water, rather than enduring the slow fishing that was being experienced during the day.

However, having fished this river for several years now I know that the river can be exceptional during a heat wave, you just need to know where to look, the fish can be in very localised areas.

When it’s hot and bright, and the water temperature is up, then you’ll find lots of grayling and trout in fastish, shallow water.

My starting point was slightly deeper water that came off very shallow rapids, dropping from a foot to two and finally into about three foot, not fast water and not slack, just right.

The key here was small CDC flies 19’s and 21’s just bits of fluff really, fished up and across, with maximum drag free drift, on 0.08 point with the aid of a 9ft tapered leader.

This first section resulted in several nice grayling, five, none big but good for this part of the river, 12 inches to around a pound and a bit, awesome, super-fast action.

Once i’d fish it up, I quickly swapped the tippet to 0.12 and the fly to a huge, size 10 sedgey thing, all foam, deer hair and hackle.

I fish this across the ripply water, high sticking and then, keeping the rod high, kind of make my arm jiggle, like having a small seizure, so that the fly skitters across the surface. this technique can be devastating on this type of water and even more so on slow on dead, lifeless summer pools, fish seemingly just can’t help themselves!

It proved to be te case here to, four more grayling and a trout, lovely.

Next step. Walk back to the top of the run, same leader, change the dry fly to a 3mm tungsten beaded PTN, size 12, with a bit of funky, Spectra as a thorax.

Up and across casting try tracking the flies back and then letting them swing to the vertical, and then fanning to casting down and across. None of this needs and indicator, on the upstream, track the fly faster than the current, takes will be felt, also keep an eye on the minicon leader, it helps register anything.

On the downstream to vertical, flick the wrist so the rod tip rises six-inches to a foot every now and again, basically you’re doing induced takes throughout the retrieve.

By the time I have finished with this small stretch, I’ve taken another two grayling and a staggering, seven trout, two wild and five that probably went in at the start of the year.

An amazing few hours fishing, and all that in a 50-yard stretch of water.

Awesome fishing, and in a summer low, all very surprising.

Fancy a day out: http://flyfishguide.co.uk/index.html

A lovely brown, high-sticked on the numf

 

 

They love a teeny dry fly

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I’ve ‘peed’ bigger streams!

 

I’ll fish for anything with the fly and pretty much anywhere too, ask my friends, it’s embarrassing!

I’ve fished in ditch at the back of the Tesco store in Rugby once, that got me some looks, catching large perch and some half decent jack pike too, a white rabbit, tied large usually fools these greedy little buggers. It’s silly that I fish for them as I’m actually quite scared of the things but hey ho, needs must and all that jazz!

I had a great trip recently to a tiny totsy stream, my mad as a brush, and to be frank he looks likes one, all hair and bones, the legend that is Skateboard Dave. This guy knows small rivers and trouting on them too also knows about coarse fish on the fly more than anyone I know in the UK, by a mile!

A great story, Dave was at some fly tying fair, and he was introduced to Dom Garnet, the guy that wrote the Coarse Fish on the Fly book, in the words of Dom, ” NO WAY, YOU’RE SKATEBOARD DAVE!”  That is true!

Dave looked at Dom’s book and he reckons, in his words, “the guy is where I was about 10 years ago!”

The man is uttterly eccentric but a great fly tyer and the number one person you want with you when combat fishing, in amongst the undergrowth or in the urban sprawl!

He told me of his new ‘secret place’ a little river, little is an understatement, it’s teeny and  is in the middle of Leicestershire, I shan’t give the name away though, tis special!

“It’s full  of trout Steve, you can’t believe it, I can’t believe it!”

I needed no more prompting.

I picked him up the following day, silly really as it’s such a small river it needs rain, we’d had none before the trip, it was on it’s arse when we got there, I saw it and said “Dave, are you serious?”

No matter, wee rod, one fly and catapult casts were the order of the day and so we proceeded, pool one we spooked everything, including, I noticed, several fish of half a pound or more!

Two pools up and Dave had one, small about 8 inches, I was impressed nonetheless, next pool was mine and what a beauty, a tree had fallen creating a deeper hole up against a tight bank on the bend, it must have been all of two foot deep, fish heaven in small stream

Creeping up and lowering my fly down – a black bugger, size 6!!! into the floating raft of mush, I jiggled the rod tip up and down… Whack something nailed it and shot under the tree, I leaned over the bank and put some pressure on, you can with 6lb fluoro, no messing!

I had it out of here in no time, it was a cracker, wee but very handsome!

This continued all the way upstream we were spooking fish, some small and some not so and taking a few from all the likely looking holes, twas AWESOME!

After a while we decided to go down stream, it’s different totally open and featureless, not like upstream, tactics are lean the rod over the bank, THERE IS NO COVER, and swim the Buggers up past any overhangs! This was SOOOO exciting, one minute you were watching your fly the next a large dark shape would shoot out from under the banks and nail it!

Each one was like an electric shock, Jesus I loved it!

Soon enough we came to a manky horrible looking stretch where a barrel in the water created a large pool, but the whole pool was covered in brown crappy foam, we couldn’t see anything!

“Get your flies in there Steve, there’s a biggy in there!”

“You sh***** me Dave! It’s bowfin!”

“Go for it”

I did, I could feel my fly hit bottom, I lifted it and started to jig the thing when the it was nailed and nailed big time, a trout, no kidding all of three pounds came hurtling out of the brown crap, it jumped all of two feet high, before hitting the barrel, bouncing off and slipping the hook in the process… Bollocks!

If this is the river when it’s fishing crap imagine what it’s like with some water the things will be going nuts, probably their only chance to feed properly!

We caught about a dozen between us but when it’s got flow, we’d be looking at that each and more!

I’ll be back!

Oh by the way the best fish Dave and his mates have had, 4lb 3oz!!

www.flyfishguide.co.uk

A wee beauty

What River?

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No Beer, well very little, fishing and fly tying

I’ve not blogged for a while, I’ve been busy, so busy in fact, I’d make a worker bee ashamed of it’s lack of activity, fact!

Our baby is due any day now, the wait is killing us, but it’ll be worth it. One of the downsides to waiting for the bay to come is that I can’t really drink beer, BOOO!

If Bethan suddenly says, in a  pained voice… ” It’s coming!” I need to ensure that I’m able to jump in the car at a moments notice, so very little beer for me. Don’t feel too sad for me though, I’m lucky in that my job, means that I HAVE to go fishing.

 

A couple of weeks ago, my mate Glen and I finally managed to get on our ‘big fish’ river. We’d been waiting, waiting for the river to get something like a reasonable height as it had been too high since the middle of December!

We met up, and headed off. The water was still high and pushing through with only a slight tinge of colour, it would not be great but we figured if we never tried it, it may well rain again then we’d be buggerd for even longer!

I set up with my usual, braid, straight through to a five foot section of tippet of 4lb fluoro, these are big fish we are after! Three flies, bomb on the point, and two little flies, MY BUG and a Disco Shrimp were the dropper flies of choice, can’t go wrong with these two actually!

The day was a long one, we walked frickin miles and after all that rain everything was sodden.  When we were out of the water it was like walking through treacle half the time. Still we managed a few fish, but too many, bare in mind ‘big fish’ river.

At the end of the long day we must have took 12 to 14 fish between us, BUT we did both manage fish around the two pound mark, steady. Glen’s on his Soft Touch shrimp and me on the Discos.

Can’t wait to get back, next time we’ll hit it at a perfect height!

A belter of a round a couple of pound, it took a Disco Shrimp.

Hairy Wee Flees

Next on the hit list of things I’ve done recently is fly tying, lots of.

As I’m housebound at weekends, if I get five minutes, usually when my daughter becomes engrossed in a film, goes out with mum or falls asleep, then I’m on the vice like a shot. I love fly tying, good fly tying not the Blob fly tying, proper flies for proper fish.

I recently received some wonderful turkey biots from my mate Toby at Funky Flytying and couldn’t wait to give them a go.

There’s a fly wee, actually it’s HUGE use up in Scotland it’s called the FMF, I shan’t say what it means – that would be rude, but it works, and works well for big, tricky fish.

That’s why it’s so popular. There are two version, the dunn and the emerger, I love both but thought I’d have a tinker with the emerger and get to use my biots in the process.

Stevey Thornton is a pal of mine and a great tyer he is too, one of the best at rivery stuff, one of his flies that I love is the CAM Emerger, a pain to to tie but very effective. I wanted to marry his CAM up with an unsinkable Klinkhamer.

Here’s the result, it’s obviously good as I’ve had several people call me to ask me to tie them some up, what do you think?

 

While I was at the vice I tied the one below up for Hugh Skeoch, a pattern that was shown to me by Tor Groethe over in Norway.

Hook: Hanak 130BL, size 12

Thread: Nano silk

Tail: Coq De Leon

Body: Stripped herl

Thorax: Fox squirrel

Wings: Paired CDC

Hackle: Genetic cock, stiffer the better, make sure you cut an inverted ‘V’ from the underside, it’ll land upright on the water each time:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BIG Surprise

Shooting a feature the other day, I had a field day, I caught so many fish I lost count, and on a very unusual method in the end, I’m calling it the reverse hang, twas carnage.

Anyway not long after starting, I caught this, big and scary eh, but even more impressive than this, was the fly I caught it on, a size 18 nymph! I can hardly believe it myself, what on earth was I doing fishing a size 18  lymph in the first place!?

http://flyfishguide.co.uk/index.html

Massive fish, with a tiny fly, can I get a Blue Peter Badge?

http://flyfishguide.co.uk/index.html

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Mouzer and Monster Browns!

What can a man do to make sure everyone’s aware of the testicular and prostrate cancer? Become a Mo Brow and grow a MO.

Each Mo Bro must begin the 1st of Movember with a clean shaven face. For the entire month each Mo Bro must grow and groom a moustache. There is to be no joining of the mo to the sideburns (that’s considered a beard), there’s to be no joining of the handlebars to the chin (that’s considered a goatee) and each Mo Bro must conduct himself like a true gentleman. ‘Don’t I always?’

Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November and through their actions and words raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.

While doing so, they may well look a right tit, like me!

Sadly, I have never been blessed with any facial hair growing abilities, my undercarriage however could be harvested and manufactured, to be used as matting that could put to good use as stuffing for dog baskets. Anyway, I thought I’d give MOvember a go, seriously, what was I thinking? I have been likened to Blakey from ‘on the buses’ a sad comparison but even sadder, one that is true!

The MO, has not however hampered my fish catching abilities.

On a recent outing to  small water , a friend and I took several, small semi wild rainbows from the surface using small dry flies and thin tippets during small hatch of buzzers. The action was fast and furious and I must say very enjoyable with or without a beard.

As my friend played one fish out in the crystal clear water, we both saw a rather hefty BROON TROOT give chase, this fish, make no bones about it wanted to eat this 1lb 4 oz rainbow!

Interesting, very interesting!

We worked our way around the water taking many trout off the top as we went. At the other side we opted for a change of tact, Lures on slow sinking lines. I went with a colossal three inch choccy brown Minkie. My reasoning was the abundance of small roach and rudd, I was hopping for a fry feeder.

We caught stockies more or less straight away but my mind was still on the big brown trout. I got myself into the fish’s vicinity, cast out my heavily-leaded fly and began a jerky retrieve. Ten seconds later… BANG! Fish on. As soon as it took it came to the surface shaking it’s head like a mad thing, it was big that was for sure but was  it the brown I’d been hoping for?

Yes, yes it was. it fought very well in the clear water but given that the fly was tied on an 8 lure hook it was NOT getting off!

Soon enough I had him netted.

What better way to show off the MO than with a pearler of a bownie to take the focus away from it?!

Look at that trout, oh and the hairy lip!

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Fishing Fun With Very Little – in the way of numbers – Fish!

This year past I haven’t spent as much time on running water as I would normally. The main reason is that my river fishing competition stuff was curtailed as the rules, in the heat  I wanted to fish in, changed. I was not comfortable with the new ones, so I pulled out.

This meant a lot less time on running water than I’d enjoyed during the previous few years. I’ve spent far too much time on the bigger waters, putting in plenty of hard shifts up and down the country so I could get used to fishing different waters. Brown trout and rainbow venues were visited at various times to see how each fished through the season, all great fun, but I missed the call of running water.

Having been brought up next to rivers, I fished them from a very early age. Running water / river fishing is by far the best form of fishing there is in my eyes, in fact the best by a country mile. Don’t get me wrong I had plenty of river fishing trips this year, but none in which I totally immersed myself in, which is what I would usually do.

Last week I was offered an amazing trip on a stretch of river that I have never fished before. I don’t often get too excited when I’m looking forward to a trip or even when I’m fishing, others would disagree with me, at the least little bit of interest to my flies, I squeal like a girl! This trip had me excited though as I knew that this little stretch of little river held big grayling, with 2lb fish not too uncommon and with bigger ones also putting in an appearance. BUT, they were few and far between, and take a modicum of skill to fool, right up my street. Unlike some of the so-called river fishing techniques I’ve witnessed, these grayling need to be approached with caution and with a great deal of river fishing ‘know how’. There’s no place for bungs and multiple droppers in which to harvest juvenile, uneducated fish here. This is proper, a bit of tact is called for.

I met my host, Glen, a great guy, and full of patter who’s super, mad-keen on fly fishing, any fly fishing. He was all excited about these new flies he’d created and wanted me to see for myself how good they were.

As we chatted over a lovely breakfast, a free one, as the hotel manager and Glen were good friends, he told me stories of his last trip to the river only the week before when the river was higher than normal, due to some heavy rain in which he managed five stonking grayling all of which were over 2lb!

I’m not too sure where Glen hails from but his voice sounds… STOKIST.

“Sereeoos Brootha, them grrrrayling are Huyooj Man.”

After brekky we jumped into Glen’s work van, full of sparky gear and soaking wet waders and a stinking wee landing net, his neoprenes were kicking out a right pong too. Driving through a series of farm gates, we finally, after about 15-minutes get to the ‘secret location’. We park up and get the geared sorted out, the plan is Glen is gong to fish his normal way, two of his light shrimpy patterns and one slightly heavier one on the point. He’s fishing French Nymph style with a coloured indicator between leader and tippet as a register of any takes. I on the other hand, being a big river man, go with one bomb and two size 12 little grub type things, which I catch shedloads of river fish on.

I think that I may have made the right choice, when we saw the river it still had a little tinge of colour in it, it was largest than I’d expected too. The plan was to go fish for a fish, or swim for a swim, whatever came first.

Glen entered the river at the bottom of a stunning looking run, the river here came through a narrower stretch pushing the current toward our bank with a lovely fast seemy flow pushing down our side. Working from the bottom up he covered the water toward the best part the faster moving water at the head, the water comes over bedrock and drops into a hole, from two feet o five foot in a blink of an eye, ideal grayling habitat. They were not playing ball, he had one take that was it, no fish!

A familiar voice called out behind us…”What are you two doing here?” I think he thought he’d have it to himself through the week. Another mate, and another river fisher John Tyzack appeared. Glen and I got out of the water and had a blether with him, he wanted to try the pool, so we headed downstream to another.

This time a small confluence had been created by a small island and Glen was sure he’d get fish from where the water joined. Typically, his first cast and sweep through and the indicator shot forward before burying under water as an unseen fish dived deep. Seconds later it was in the net, a wee grayling, all 12 inches of it. What on earth was that doing in there? This was not in the script.  Glen fished the pool out and it then, finally, it was my turn.

He laughed when he heard the splash my big bomb made when it hit the water, can’t blame him, it was like sparkplug hitting the water. Halve way down we heard a cry from up river, JT was in. I gave Glen the camera, but as he headed up the bank to get a photo of JT’s fish, I made a point of asking for his net, just as well that I did! I had made my way down to the tail of the pool, the inside track where I was wading was treacherous, bed rock and slippy at that, but the main push was over a nice gravely bottom, ideal grayling feeding area. I had delicately LOBBED, my three flies up stream, into the fast push and allowed the current to sweep them down the inside line over the riverbed…

My Set Up: Big bomb, two 4mm Tungy beads on a size 8 shrimp hook, leaded body and covered in Nymph Skin, point; one of my grubby things, with small copper bead, dropper; and a pink / Disco Shrimp on the top dropper. This is all on 3lb G3 Fluoro, only 6ft long, two foot dropper, two foot dropper two foot point. I normally use 0.10 Stroft ABR for most river fishing, BUT not ‘Bugging’, it’s just not up to it. The less length of line you have the more sensitive the feel. I use an indicator in the form of s six inch section of two tone coloured braid, The main line, if you want to give it it’s technical tern, is straight-through braid, 20ft of thin 18lb stuff, you’ll feel everything. I never bother with magic marker stuff anymore, preferring instead to have the braided indicator as my take detector.

…As I led the flies down and into the streamy edge, I could feel the bumps and jolts transferred through the braid as my ‘big bomb’ trundled the dropper flies perfectly just up off bottom. As the flies came towards, me leading the flies, a little faster than the current – pick a bubble floating down and move your flies ahead of it – the soft bumping turned into solid pressure, like hitting a snag, before I felt the thump and pull of a good grayling.

I started shouting, “Glen, Glen, Glen!” Followed by whistle, whistle, whistle until I heard him call back. “I’ve got one, and it’s a good one!” I shouted into the wind and rain.

The fast current meant playing the fish was a slow yet careful affair, but finally I had him over the rim of the net before I walked it over to the shallows to wait on Glen.

“You got one then? John’s just had a nice one!” Yeah I’ve got one, is it as good as John’s? I held it up in the net. “Nice fish, about the same size mate”, he told me.

It had taken the middle dropper, the wee buggy thing with the copper bead, like I knew it would! We had a few photos and then slipped it back.

It’s amazing how you become immersed in what you’re doing, believe it or not that was nearly two hours away! We all decided to retire to the cars, for a brew, which ended up turning into a can of Stella each, cheers John. We talked of the fishing here, well they regaled me with tales of monster fish. By the time we finished I was feeling rather giddy! Stella for dinner what was I thinking, still the patter with the boys was good. We went upstream to, one of the river’s hotspots. Again this was shallowish neck running into a deep slow pool, given the colour of the water we couldn’t see the bottom. Glen pitched in and John worked his way across to fish it from the other bank.

Glen worked upstream while john worked down the other side. Within a fee minutes of starting Glen was in, and like John’s previous fish, and mine this too was a good one!

Glen played the thing for ages, milking it I’m sure for both John and I. “ I just can’t do anything with it boys , it’s too big and powerful, the speed of the water isn’t helping either, I just can’t do owts!” Well, he could, it wasn’t to long before he had it in the net.

We’d all had good fish, albeit one each BUT like I said this is proper fishing hunting big grayling that are few and far between, hence they get big. I took photos as the boys worked their way downstream, after an hour or so, I got the shout, “Steve why don’t you have a go with your mackerel rig?”

Nice one boys, let me in.

Now let me explain this so that we have it right, the boys had been through the water, one with the French leader, up the way, the other with the same leader down the way, BUT they both fished the deep water that was pushing into the bank at the other side of the river. I thought I’d try the shallow water that they had just walked through.

It was tricky as I was fishing the heavy point fly, so I had to fish my flies fast to avoid hitting the bottom, I still did, but it wasn’t too bad. Glen was watching me, he’d never really seen anyone fishing in this manner before, he’s far more used to fishing smaller rivers, ones that have not got the massive deep, fast runs that I’m used to fishing.

I took a grayling on my third cast, a small one another 12- incher.

“I’ll get another one of these Glen if they are in here” and I did, the very next cast. John came back up and watched me. Just in time too, as I reached the lip where the shallow water gathered pace as it sped towards the next set of rapids before going into the downstream pool, I hit into something  far more substantial.

In the shallow water I saw the silver flash of the grayling as it took my fly and tried to get back to it’s lie, only this it had my middle dropper in it’s mouth, so it struggled a bit. Given the fast, shallow water it took it’s time coming in but eventually, I had it. It wouldn’t quite go 2lb but still it was another cracking fish from a tough stretch of water, again on the same fly.

John, at this point- it was after all about 3pm- said… “PINTS?”

We all retired to the hotel bar.

A class day in which not a lot of fish were caught, the patter and company was brilliant, and for once, in nearly ten months, I was in to it! Guess where I’m going this weekend?!

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Eggs Over Easy

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Eggs, Over Easy

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If you think that fishing with eggs is not your cup of tea, then bugger off now, I’ll only offend you. Oops, perhaps I already have?!

No matter. Everyone in the UK is aware of how good Egg patterns can be when you are visiting small still waters, even more so on fisheries that are daft enough to stock with sexed fish, oh dear what are you thinking, they are soooo easy to catch at spawning time!

Anyway, Eggs are often banned on these waters they are that effective.

I remember, a long time ago now, 20 years? Fishing at Raygil up near Skipton, after the cages were broken in a storm, there were so many fish swimming about it was obscene!

Have you ever seen a pod of fish fighting over a coke bottle top, I have, I’ve also seen a brown trout of about 6lb swimming around the margins of said water with a chicken leg in it’s mouth, a witty local thought he would see exactly what the trout would eat!

We – a few Borders boys – were the first to fish the Egg down there, or so I believe, who knows? We came up with the idea, after seeing fish we’d netted release eggs, and sh** loads of trout coming into the margins to take them, as they fell from the net. Next thing you know it’s egg fever.

I know of one guy who fished 20lb nylon and five eggs, four on droppers, highly illegal, but he casts out and pulled in five fish on three consecutive casts!

Mayhem!

Needless to say they were promptly banned, rightly so, too they were just far too effective.

However, recently, well for years really, I have been playing around with Eggs for river fishing, mainly based around little Fritz patterns, very effective they are too, on rivers which have salmon runs. BUT it’s been yarn eggs and the sight fishing on both chalk and limestone rivers that has really been an inspiration recently!

I have cast my little Egg, into numerous pools and that initial cast is always the same, virtually every fish in the pool comes over and fights for it, trout and grayling, and big ones from both species!

They hurtle over, swim around it as it descends before finally nailing it as it lands on the riverbed.

I’m not giving too much away, but I have been out now with two very able, seasoned river fishermen, both of them have been blown away by the success rate!

Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!

 

 

 

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