Friday, January 20
by Steven Cullen on Fri 20 Jan 2012 02:15 PM GMT
I have had a nightmare of a day, I was supposed to being doing a feature with my mate John Pearson up on the Derbyshire Wye.Checking the river levels this morning it had only risen an inch, great I'll drive up then.
The window wipers were on full pelt all the way up to Mansfield, and hour and half's worth!
We meet up with good old Dave Percival, a nicer chap would be harder to find, and he has access to some out of this world fishing.
Anywhy, after breakfast we get a phone call from the river keeper, "forget it, it's high and it's very coloured" Brilliant!
So it's postponed. BUT, I had a wee look at John's Tenkara patterns, a Japanese thing it is, a fly tied with a reverse hackle. The Japanese call this style "Sakasa kebari".
This reverse hackle thing, and indeed Tenkara was pretty much unheard of until 2009, now lots of anglers are talking about it.
You use long rods for dibbling flies in pocket water. The flies though can be tailored to what you want and John had tied some wet flies this way for use on the river. Sadly we never used them.
I came home and set about tying some, see what you think, I like them and I can see them catching fish, they need to be fished dead drift with the occasional tweak to make the hackle pulse.
Black And Red
Partridge N Orange
They are very nice flies to tie and the world's your oyster for variants, try them.
Wednesday, January 18
by Steven Cullen on Wed 18 Jan 2012 03:23 PM GMT
Well it is soon going to be coming to and end, perhaps one more weekend? I'm talking about the Booby season at Farmoor II in Oxfordshire.
I like to start fishing on this place around the beginning of November, this is when you can expect to contact some real grown-on beauties, albeit a little higher in the water than is normal. Sadly, this year, last year, 2011/2012 there's not been any of these fish.
I think one good one came out about 8lb and I have had one decent brownie and my mate Gareth Jones had a cracker around 7lb but as for rainbows, forget it.
Goodness know what is going on, I'm told it is something to do with the water treatment process somewhere along the lines, but who knows, the fish just haven't fed properly and as a result the big fish haven't put in an appearance. However, the numbers, wow! The fishing over the last few weeks has been nothing short of staggering!
A 'proper' fish, a small one.
The best bet was to fish the Boobies well apart 10ft apart, one at 10ft from the line and so on. Most of the trout were to be caught at the Souths Side of the venue with some coming from the east, the causeway which is normally amazing never really fished.
During this fishing I had one stand out pattern, silly given the amount of fish I was catching but one did shine through here it is…
I call it …Dave!
Monday, January 9
by Steven Cullen on Mon 09 Jan 2012 03:40 PM GMT
Recently, I have been out on the river. How the hell can you do that then, I hear you cry, everything's bloody flooded!
Okay, okay a few weeks ago I was out. I went up to have a look at my stretch of The Derwent and to see if I could get a mate of mine his first grayling on the BUGS!
Arriving there, we were greeted by biblical rain and a rising river, the worst possible conditions for river fishing, a rising river.
I showed him how to get set up and how to position the flies on the leader, so that they would all be in the taking zone - the bottom two feet.
It was the flies that I chose for him that are worth a mention, as the water was starting to rise I went for a hefty splash of colour, in the team of three, in the form of a Red Tag. No not the old fashioned jobby your grandfather used to use, the new, straight from the continent Red Tag!
Tied on a Jig Hook and featuring modern synthetics and brightly dyed Glo Brite this things has been the downfall of so many grayling, I'm tempted to say that if it really catches on it may be as effective as then Pink Shrimp, allegedly devised by Welsh River boy, now carp angler, sad sad sad, why go to carp!! Tim Hughes.
There is something about this little Red Tag that grayling and very often trout just can't resist!
Anyway the fishing was super tough, BUT he managed to catch his first grayling, and his second, third and fourth as well as a very impressive chub of around 3lb, each of them had taken the Red Tag, fished on the middle dropper.
Pretty little flees with plenty of movement...
Another river I visited was a very swollen, sitting at 1073 on the gauge Welsh Dee. I was there to shoot a feature with new River Champion Terry Phillips, on how he fishes certain flies using braid - nothing new there? Want a bet?
Anyway, he went down one particular run with his not so weighty flies and caught about eight fish, some grayling some out of season trout - does that give the game away on the flies he was using? Doubt it. Anyway I followed him down with his method and only managed one take. Now this could be because he'd just fished through or that I was just rubbish, it certainly wasn't the latter, or was it, you decide? : )
Anyway, the water we were fishing was quite slack in the edges, where Terry had fished, but I was convinced there would be fish further out in the dangerously powerful current which was about waist deep.
I went back to my own method, three bugs on braided leader, fished with a short leader, but how could I fish the water effectively, it was fast and deep, getting a fly down was going to be tricky. Luckily I knew that the water was to be big and had tied up some heavy stuff just in case!
Well, with the help of my massive Bombs, some of which feature three, 5mm Tungsten beads lashed to them, I was able to catch three grayling including the biggest one!
Sacrificial flies are a must, buy these ones actually catch. I had two on the Olive Bomb and one on the scary, heavy, devil may care monstrosity!
First, put on your crash helmet...
Make sure you tie some up!
Tuesday, January 3
by Steven Cullen on Tue 03 Jan 2012 12:29 PM GMT
I'd decided that I had done more than enough bank fishing at Farmoor II in Oxfordshire and as the boats are on all year thought I'd try my hand on one!
Now, at this time of the year, this is a Booby water, fish whatever else you want but I assure you nothing, NOTHING is as effective as Boobies fished deep on a sinking line!
I'd set up with the usual, super fast sinking shooting head, eight feet to the first fly, a dropper which held my favourite Olive Barred Booby and on the point a further 10 feet away, a washed out pink and white one. My leader is usually around 8 to 10lb pound, nowt to fancy!
My first port of call was the Lin, Lym, Limn - not sure how it's spelt- tower. Second cast with the shooting head, I was using a steady figure-of eight retrieve to bring the flies back - bare in mind it takes about five minutes to retrieve these flies properly - I took a rainbow on the point fly.
The fish were high up. It wasn't big, none really have been this year, strange that, most years you can catch them over 4lb consistently. It was around the 2 to two and a half pound mark.
I kept catching here with some regularity, basically, every cast or at times every other cast! none of the fish were the big one that I was after, so I decided to move off toward the cages.
The problem here is that it's hard to get close, there are Buoys around the cages and you can't go past these, so you need a pretty spectacular cast to get your flies near the cages - where the big fish lurk waiting for free pellets and dead fish, they eat the flesh of dead fish on the bottom.
Luckily, the gusty wind helped me to get my flies close to the cages, close enough for me to get a a few fish that was for sure.
I was only catching the same old fish though, nothing special, although I did have a nice brown of around 4lb, these are few and far between in Farmoor.
Stopping for a leisurely lunch, it was about 1pm by now and the day was mostly over, I decided that I'd change over to the little Black Booby, a fly the that fishing legend Micky Bewick assured me always sorts out the better trout on this venue.
I put two on, hardly hedging my bets I know but hey ho!
I'd managed a few nice rainbows after lunch but still a big one eluded me!
I then positioned the boat a little further out into open water, just covering some fresh fish hopefully, and cast out a long line, 50 yards plus!
I gave the whole thing a minute to get down and to anchor the head of my line onto the lakebed, before starting my 'Rod Flick' retrieve. This is basically a slow figure of eight with a 'one foot' flick of the rod tip thrown in to create some movement down below with the flies.
Half way into the retrieve and after a flick of the rod tip, something pulled back and it pulled back in such a way that the rod tip was heaved under the water's surface! What The .... !!!
My rod bounced and bucked as my unseen adversity steadily took some line. This was a big fish!
I more or less hung on as it ploughed about deep down below me. Each time I put pressure on it, and I did put pressure on it, with heavy 10ft 8-wt rod, it just pulled back all the harder.
This small tug of war went on for about five minutes before I started to make any head way. I was able to get some line through the rings and start to gain some semblance of control.
After around 10 minutes I even managed to get the head of my line in, the fish wasn't far away now.
I was shaking like a leaf and willing the thing to stay on as I pulled into it putting a very scary bend in my rod.
I had a quick glimpse of something very big, and very silvery about 20 foot down.... it was coming and it was bloody big!!
A few more yards to go and I'd have him. Soon enough the dropper was visible, he's mine I thought!
With another bright flash of silver, and a healthy tug on the line and the fish was off! I'd blown it.
Swinging the flies in I looked at my point fly Booby.... the hook was missing!
I'd lost a monster trout and it was all down to my own stupidity. The last time I'd used that particular Booby, I had put it back in the box - still wet - something somewhere had rusted under the dressing and as a result, it had snapped and I'd lost that fish of a lifetime from Farmoor!
Silly, silly boy!
If you fancy a day on Farmoor, ping me an email....