Friday 29 April 2011

Monday 25 April 2011

Temperatures are due to drop a little next week, and due to the clear skies, it is forecast that there will be a few frosts. The Wellow yesterday evening seemed a little still with very few fish showing themselves, and I wondered if this was a change in air pressure creeping up on us earlier than expected. Looking at the sunshine today, perhaps not. The River Chew was certainly more forgiving this morning. Faced with these less than ideal conditions, it is worth keeping your options open, choosing the 'Duo' ( New Zealand style, nymph and dry fly).

Easter Sunday evening, on the Wellow:

Vince makes a cast into some deeper water.

Eventually, a fish fooled by the size 18 tungsten PTN, comes to hand:

A fighting fit, wild brown trout:

Fishing the River Chew this morning for just an hour or so, it was a slightly different story. Although there were only a few fish willing to rise, they were clearly feeding well and the duo worked its magic again, finding fish in all the likely looking haunts.

A good, solid lump that was eager to take me into all the roots ~ a healthy bend in a #1 rod...

Another beatifully marked fish, this time falling for the dry fly:

The tungsten PTN was working well, getting down the to fish quickly:

Another fish on the dry fly, this time an example with a paddle like tail:


Friday 22 April 2011

April? Really? It feels more like the middle of August with high temperatures and low flows on the rivers. These conditions are tricky; usually some heavy flies on a short line pitched through the deeper runs are the order of the day during these early weeks of the season, but the last few days have seen the need for dry flies and small nymphs, cast to targetted fish. Spooky ones too - they simply will not tolerate any disturbance - and when you see a few fish bolting downstream of you, depsite your deftest casts and subtle foot steps, the thought must cross your mind of how many have dispersed upstream and just skewed your next pool? Challenging!

However, it would be all too easy to wait for better conditions and I have had the pleasure to fish and chat with some super characters this week. Plus we caught a few fish:

A tough evening with Nick S on Wednesday, but we both managed a couple of fish each and moved many more. Fish were taking midge and it was a Shuttlecock emerger (#18) that did the business:

Nick takes a fish as darkness begins to fall, and the fish grew in confidence:

Another well marked wild fish for Nick:

A small fish for me to an emerger:

Nick casts into a likely looking run. Incredibly, many of the typical spots seemed devoid of fish; the brighter conditions forcing them to seek sanctuary in the deeper pools:

Crystal clear waters:

Thursday was a 'Let's Tackle Cancer' charity day with myself and Vince Brandon guiding Peter Anderson and Pete Tyjas in some very tricky bright and warm conditions:

Peter Anderson makes a great cast into a bubbling pool:

The end of the beat found a fish for Peter just before lunch:

Pete Tyjas hooks a lump and that flexes his cane rod:

Pete extends to het the line off the water as he guides the duo through a fast, deep pool:

A small fish for me (by accident!):

Pete T throws a nice cast into some very glassy water. Nice loop Pete! Narrow enough for you?

A great couple of days. Thanks to all.


Friday 15 April 2011

Grannom were hatching well yesterday afternoon and there were plenty of fish responding. Starting fly choice was an F -Fly and this produced immediate response and a few fish to hand. Fish were rising quickly to the fly and I missed a few takes, prompting me to move to an emerger style - tied on a Varivas 2200BL hooks - alternating between size 18 and 20 patterns. Although smaller than the natural, they were confident to rise to these offerings.

An emerger-style was required to convert the missed takes into successful hook-ups: Plenty of slack was required in the leader to prevent drag. Any hint of unnatural movement in the fly rendered it ignored. Progressing up the stream, I reached faster, streamier water. With so many fish moving to naturals, it was difficult to see takes to my fly, especially amongst the foam lines - and the fly need to be in them to be accepted. So it was a switch to a Hi-Vis balloon caddis (pink sighter) and this continued to bring the fish up:

It is encouraging to see plenty of flies hatching and the fish responding. We are being treated to some decent weather at the moment, and with fish hungry after a cold winter, we are being treated to some really enjoyable sport.


Thursday 14 April 2011

I spent a couple of hours spent on the river yesterday taking Paul, a newcomer to fly fishing, through the basics. He's jumping into the deep end by going on a fishing holiday this weekend. He progressed really quickly, picking up all the key points and I was delighted that he was making such great casts in such a very short amount of time. Here he is going through the roll cast routine:

Good luck Paul - I am looking forward to the pictures of the fish on your return!

The rain and colder weather clearly hadn't put the fish off too much. Whilst practising, there were fish rising throughout the pool. If darkness hadn't crept up so quickly I'd have slipped back to make the most of the evening rises.


Wednesday 13 April 2011

On Monday I had the pleasure to deliver a tying presentation to the Herfordshire branch of the Fly Dressers Guild. A motivated group they are too and I was delighted that they took such interest in the 'Small dress, big catch' evening, where I demonstrated the tying of simple, imitative river patterns.

I had decided to make the most of travelling up to Hertfordshire and found myself fishing the tiny chalkstream, the River Ver:

A tricky head wind made presentation tricky at times. The secret was to take your time with these fish, watching them carefully and slowly gettying into position before making the first casts. After a few spooked trout left a plume of silt, I eventually found a fish holding mide stream, quatering and picking off nymphs as the trundled past. The occasional rise gave hope for a little dry fly sport, but nymphs seemed to the best bet for success. A small shrimp pattern pitched well ahead of the fish seemed to do the trick. Watching the fish turn to take the nymph meant timing the lift perfectly was essential.

Whilst many of the fish were palm sized, careful stalking and peering into the darker pools found a much larger specimen, easily pushing 2 pounds. Indeed, on closer inspection, its bigger cousin was holding in the flow next to it. Tackling these larger fish in such small rivers is never easy, especially as they are easily disturbed.

Nothing there?:

Holding mid flow was a prize brown trout:

A V Caddis pitched above and allowed to sink so it drew past the fish provoked immediate interest. The fish twisted to the side an picked up the bug. At first it kited downstream, seemingly a little unsure that it was hooked. But a sudden darting upstream left my reel singing, a cloud of spray and then all wetn slack as the superb fish parted company. I guess you can't win them all.

Thanks to the Hertfordshire FDG. I will be back to tackle this stream again.


Sunday 10 April 2011

With the temperature forecast to be a very unspring-like 20 degrees, I headed to the river a little earlier. There were plenty of caddis hatching and a few Large Dark Olives taking to the wing. Changing flies ensured the fish were willing to rise to the dry. Covering a persistent rising fish, I was suprised when my first fish of the day was not the trout I had expected, but an out of season chub:

Making my way up the stream, there were plenty of rishing fish and it wasn't long before the first trout can bouncing to the net.

Some big cased caddis: Finishing the morning with a better fish:

Saturday 9 April 2011

Unseasonably warm weather gives us crystal clear water, but fish obliging to a carefully presented dry fly.


Saturday 2 April 2011

The 2011 season starts

Just an hour spent on the river this evening and I was lucky enough to find a few fish. They were rising to the midge that had been plentiful in the air all day. So the first few casts of the season were with the dry fly. Third cast and a perfectly marked brown trout took my size 18 F-Fly.