Wednesday 31 August 2011

FFP Gallery Contest

Take a look at the Fly Fishing Point Gallery competition... this has to be one of the best line up of prizes I have ever seen - and you just need upload a gallery of your own pictures to stand a chance of winning.

A sneak preview of the competition can be seen here: FFP Galleries

Full details and guidelines to the competition are here: Gallery Contest


Sunday 28 August 2011

The River Eden

Wednesday found me making the drive from West Yorkshire back up to the Lake District to fish the River Eden. I was in good company too, meeting up with big-trout expert Paul Procter. He knows the river very well, so I had every hope that one of us would latch into a good sized, wild brown trout.

Paul's ability to spot and stalk fish is really something to experience and, within minutes of tackling up, he had spotted a huge trout. Although this fish didn't oblige and it was a real reminder that when faced with large, wild fish, you are faced with many obstacles. These fish are large for a reason and will melt away at the mere hint of something unusual.

This is a game of watching and searching, keeping well back from the river and off the sky-line. Observation is key. As we approached some promising water, Paul made contact with a lump.

Paul slides the net under a large, wild Eden Brownie

2lb 10oz of pure wild Brown Trout

Whilst I would have loved to have latched into such a specimen, it was a delight to watch this fish be caught and landed. We covered alot of water and found some very good fish feeding, but the weather was against us and, whilst we hooked a few smaller fish along the way, we were forced to leave the water early. The hunt for big fish is an absorbing and the time seems to disappear all too quickly. A great excuse to return soon.


Saturday 27 August 2011

Next was a short visit to the River Calder, a major tributory of the Ribble. This is a very pretty river, alternating between fast riffles and long deeper slow glides. The weather had been unseasonably cool, supressing any decent hatches. Even the caddis were slow to show and the fish were equally less willing. However, the river was holding its tea-stained appearance and I was confident of finding a few fish. Indeed it was a grayling from some faster water that kicked things off.

A change of fly was needed before approaching some very promising water. Whilst there were very few rises to be seen, the river is rich with some very tempting lies.

The net was slipped under some very pretty trout. Notice the dark colouration and apparent lack of red spots:

Trying to keep off the sky line, a cast is made just into the foam line above a weir pool:


Friday 26 August 2011

August, Summer: Hot sunny days & warm, balmy evenings..? No way!

Having just spent a week flitting between Cumbria and Yorkshire, I can definitely confirm that 'warm, balmy evening' were non existant. Not that it stopped me from exploring a few rivers, but perhaps it limited the chances of finding decent insect hatches and frenetically feeding fish.

My first casts were made on the Hebden Water, a tributory of the River Calder. This fast flowing, boulder strewn and over-grown stream is a challenging environment for the trout.

The Hebden Valley: mist tracks its path through the woodland:

Small dry flies fished on a short line was the order of the day. Fast short drifts allowed all the likely pockets and riffles to be explored:

Small trout were in abundance, willing to snatch the offerings. Dry flies pitched in the slack water behind the boulders were met with instant results from small trout. What they lack in size was made up for by their impressive, caramel coloured flanks:


Thursday 18 August 2011

Sea trout can be fickle creatures, preferring to make their migratory run under the cover of darkness. Anticipation was high last night as I waited patiently with Nick Steedman for the last of the light to disappear before making our first casts. Hearing fish jumping heightened our expectations. Conditions couldn't have been better and it proved to be a productive night's fishing. Mission number one was to get Nick a his first ever sea-trout.

Ready for action

I was delighted to hear a shout from Nick within just a few minutes that a sea trout had taken his fly - his own pattern tied on a single. Mission one accomplished!

Nick's first sea-trout

The cloud cover was clearly playing to our advantage and Nick's fly proved successful again very shortly. A slightly bigger fish this time, it was keen to put on a display before gracing the net.

Nick was soon to find success again; it was starting to become quite a night's fishing for him! I was finding some interest with small tube flies and hooked a fish in some very inviting water in the head of the pool. Luck was not on my side though and it parted company... for me this was becoming the story of the night as I had lost several fish.

As the bright moon started to shine through, the river became quiet and fish's interest in our flies seemed to diminish. As the clock turned 2am, and just as I was thinking of retiring back to the car, my fly was gently plucked just as it was swinging to the dangle. After a few lost fish and spirited fight, I was well pleased to see a decent fish lying in the net.

At a little over 2 pounds, it was a well conditioned fish. There was a little red in the adipose fin bringing into question whether this was a sea-trout or a brown trout. Either way, a decent anjd very welcome fish.

Identifcation was also tricky on Nick's last fish of the evening. Possibly a brown trout this time with its red dots and coloured adipose fin, it was a fine fish:

A great night's fishing... which makes the 4am drive back seem rather more palatable.


Friday 12 August 2011

The estuarine waters that feed tha Hampshire Avon and the River Stour in Dorset, offer rich pickings. The wealth of fishing opportunity in unquestionable - there are bass, mullet, sea trout, salmon and no end of coarse fish throughout the system.

Darkness falls on Christchurch harbour, looking up the River Stour:

Christchurch harbour is a special place to me - as a teenager I spent many hours fishing for mullet - both thick and thin lipped. There were salmon and sea-trout to be seen jumping too. So the chance to revisit this area was snapped up. Both myself and Nick Steedman headed South with the anticipation of mullet and bass in the afternoon and the challenge of sea trout after dark.

Nick hooked a very big fish on the spinner which soon parted company. After landing a school bass, it wasn'lt long before he hooked up again into a decent mullet:

... and safely in the net:

The mullet were keen to put in an appearance and it was clear there were significant shoals of fish moving in front of us as this tidal area flooded. I managed this fighting fit specimen:

As the light faded, mullet moved into the shallows, bow-waving around. They weren't interested in the fly though. Throughout the evening, sea trout were jumping, raising our hopes that after dark we may find some fish further up the river. We were even treated to a display of jumping salmon - one fish was easily into double figure weight.

Resting the water and avoiding the likely sea-trout lies earlier in the evening paid dividends though. After a solid take on a small tube fly and a superb fight, I was relieved to land this beautiful fish:

A great evenings fishing. The sea-trout itch doesn't go away easily though.


Wednesday 10 August 2011

Yesterday afternoon, Jim Hewes joined me for some casting tuition. With some fishing already under his belt, we were able to work on understanding and controlling loop size. It's always really interesting to examine the huge effect body angle has on the success of casts. Tiny changes in stance can make huge changes in the cast.

There had been a few fish rising whilst we had been roll casting in the river, so Jim made a few casts at the end of the session with an emerger pattern. He made contact in just a few casts with a pretty wild brown trout. Well done Jim - A fitting end indeed!

A perfectly formed wild brownie:


Tuesday 2 August 2011

A sedge imitation proved too tempting for this lovely grayling: