Sunday, 25 September 2011
No fish coming up, but, during the midge hatch, there was the odd 'bubble' at the surface - not a rise as such. I am interpreting this this season as the fish feeding on pupa sub surface, and occasionally this takes them into the film.
I tried just about everything, but without much result. Yesterday, two fish (and one a sprat! lol) in three hours fishing wasn't unusual for me this last few days.
This morning I had a play at the vice, trying to tie up something that might pass for a midge pupa - at least in a back alley on a dark, moonless night.
Hook: Verivas Wave #22 Thread: Olive. Small gold bead. Overbody: Shredded carpet backing.
I would have gone for a #24 if I had had any.
The hole in the bead was too big, in the sense that it would slide over the hook eye, so I had to build up a thread stopper. I tied these in olive, yellow, black and cream - yellow / cream seem to match the colours of the midge I have seen hatching these last few days.
The necessity of the thread stopper got me thinking. The other evening I was talking to Karl Humphries (fly fisher and tyer of some renown!) about a story I'm working on at the moment. Rather cheekily, I asked him for any advice regarding these frustrating sessions, and we got talking fly tying in general. Karl was talking about tying in 'hotspots', and that in his opinion they should be at the head of the fly. Given the need for this thread stopper on this midge pattern, I thought that here was the ideal opportunity to try out the theory. So I put on my sunglasses and got out the Lureflash:
Yellow underbody this time.
Went out onto the river and fished a team of two, with the punk fly on the point. Now conditions weren't as they had been this last few days. They were similar inasmuch as there was very little fly life, and no rising fish, but the midge hatches were sporadic rather than in the density of the last few days.
But, the flies caught fish. The punk fly caught me three before I lost it - and the only one I had with me. But, the others caught for me too. Satisfyingly, on two ocassions, I saw fish 'bubbling' at the surface as they had been doing in the dense midge hatches, and by pulling this pattern quickly through their general location it caught fish.
So, wouldn't go so far as to say problem solved, but I feel happy that problem is identified - which is half the battle! The 'hotspot' pattern was interesting though - near instant results. Will be trying that again. I suspect today would have been another very frustrating day without these flies, so must be on the right lines.
Sunday, 11 September 2011
On one stretch though, a good old Sawyer's PTN was picking up fish one after another.
Think I must have made double figures in the end, but hey - who's counting? ;-)
Lost one decent fish though, soon after hooking up, which no one likes to do. I'd guess a pound plus.
Good session though, and a nice bonus - unexpected.
Saturday, 10 September 2011
Thursday, 8 September 2011
Shipman's Buzzer - Black">
Shipman's Buzzer - fire brown">
Friday, 29 July 2011
I'm tying it on #12s and #14s, and it is a tungsten bead. With that very sparse body it sinks like a stone! lol It has often been taken on the drop, so quite what that says about imitating the behaviour of the naturals I'm not at all sure! I'm also retrieving it quite quickly so it doesn't snag on the bed of what is a small stream, so again, quite what this says about imitating the natural I don't know. But the one thing I do know, is that it is catching.
But, there I am with my fly fishers / tyers ego, happily thinking that I am imitating the stonefly, when in actual fact, the fish are probably taking it for something completely different. But, taking it they are.
This was from the first cast the other day:
Just as I was unhooking that fish, the camera fell from my top pocket and landed with a splash right beside it. Ooops.
The fish darted off, and cursing loudly, I retrieved the Fuji Finepix and gave it a good wipe down.
Moving upstream, I was rather surprised to discover that the camera fired up when I switched it on, so I took a shot of the river.
Apologies for the distortion, but please note, that is genuine Peak District river water you are looking at there. Perhaps I should add - there are easier ways to obtain interesting filter effects than dunking your camera in the river for thirty seconds. But I am pleased to say that after a couple of days thorough drying out, the camera has made a full recovery.
Sunday, 12 June 2011
Wednesday, 18 May 2011
This is tied on a Partridge Klinkhamer Extreme 15BNX #14. Pearsall's primrose silk well waxed, a few pheasant tail barb tips as a tail, 5lb Mono coloured brown with a pentone pen as a rib, and a mid-dun genetic cock hackle tied as a reverse parachute.
Sunday, 15 May 2011
As it happens, whether or not I stayed in contact with the fly didn't matter a jot, as for the first time this year, my scrap of carpet failed to bring up a fish.
I tried a couple more combinations to no effect, and I was beginning to think it was not going to be my lucky day.
Thursday, 28 April 2011
I've no idea how long these pottery fragments have been in the river, but worn by water over the years, all their rough edges have become smooth, and the colours taken on a beautiful, muted character, more water-colour than oil.
I used to collect these shards myself, when fishing, and send them to a friend who made jewellery from them.
The irony is, if I caught someone now throwing a bottle into the river and breaking it, I would call it an act of vandalism. Yet after a hundred years of water-wear and grit, it becomes a thing of beauty, a jewel for a child.
But what a great way for a kid to spend a morning, and what a superb resource is a river to its town.
Wednesday, 20 April 2011
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
That might sound like I live in some country idyll, but I don't. I live in a town in the Peak District, UK. It is quite a busy town that was built on its mills, its textile industry - built on its rivers. No river, and there would have been no power for the mills and there would have been no town.
This urban river cuts the town in two. It can have a hard time of it, the river. There are not just the natural hazards to contend with, like the last harsh winter and flooding that is eating its way at its crumbling banks. There are the other, man-made hazards too. We have fiddled with it for centuries now, from pumping up its weirs to chucking in our rubbish.
I was talking to the fly-tyer and fisher Roy Christie the other day about this. Roy has done a fair bit of urban river restoration in his times. As he says, everything ends up in the river. And so it is with mine.
Bottles and bags...
Traffic cones... and sometimes even ducks!
But it is not all bad news. I've had some beautiful little brown trout out of this stretch, that runs alongside the factory:
I have written a story about this which appears in the current Spring 2011 edition of Waterlog Magazine. It is called 'The Urban Angler'. Briefly, despite the short-comings of fishing my industrial - or post-industrial stream, I would choose to do so over the pristine and famous Derbyshire waters that may be less obviously contaminated with the results of human activity.
I like the constant reminder of human endeavour as I am fishing, of necessity, the remnants of the industrial past that surrounds me. It reminds me of why I love fly fishing so much myself - that hunting instinct, a different facet of that same struggle, that need to survive, to eat.
Monday, 18 April 2011
Here is a fly that first came into my mind as mentioned in the first post of this blog.
The butterburr is starting to come up now in the wetland beside the river. The pryramid flower spikes first, followed by the leaves that just seem to get bigger and bigger as the summer goes on.
Butterburr are put on this planet for two reasons: the first is to use the leaves for shade on hot summer days, like handily positioned bankside parasols.
The second is for children to use the leaves as boats, put insect passengers in them, and float them downstream and out for far off adventures at sea.
Providing they don't get in the way of my cast while they're doing it, I'm cool with that.
Sunday, 17 April 2011
There was a time when I would be out in the field with my hand lens and wild flower book to sort them all apart, but these days the only one I can identify with absolute confidence is sweet cicely, as it fills the summer days with the delicious scent of aniseed. Actually I think the photo is cow parsley, but umbellifer is good enough for me, these days.
And here is my hound, returning more than a little shame-facedly, from another run on a cat. He stands on the edge of the river bank, scanning the field opposite that ends in a steep bankside, scanning for signs of feline life.
Saturday, 9 April 2011
If he only had his rod with him.
Fishing or not, if the fly fisher sees the ring of a rising fish he will catch it, if only in his mind. He will determine the lie of the trout, the speed of the water, its colour and depth, the insect that had tempted that fish up to break its cover.
Then having determined all this, he will take out his imaginary fly box and select from it a fly fit to fool the feeding trout, and tie it on to the finest tippet the river will allow. Twelve feet long for a delicate presentation.
Then, as if by magic, in his hand will appear the perfect rod for this small stream, and he will watch the rise, time the rise, then cast a line so delicately that the fly lands gossamer on the water, a siren call to that feeding trout.
Then the wait. The tenter-hook wait. Then he just sees the nose of the trout approaching his fly and in an event faster than his thought the trout has sipped and taken his fly, and the fly fisher has lifted his rod and the fish is on. The deception complete. All is release.
This morning, walking my three saluki hounds beside the small stream I fish, I saw the first trout of the year rise.
Just as I caught it (it was on a small midge pupa pattern) one of my hounds saw, on the other side of the field on the other side of the river, a cat, stalking mice in the grass. With two bounds he was across the stream and was off, muscle and sinew effortlessly straining, relishing in the purpose of his pursuit.
Just a Spring morning, and we were all at it.