Sunday, 20 March 2011

Anticipation is half the pleasure....

I remember as a small boy being told that we were going on holiday and I remember thinking about where we were going to go, what it would be like and what we would do when we got there. This state of anticipation usually counted down as "sleeps till holiday" was really half the joy of going on holiday.

As an adult I find myself still doing the same thing, usually its holidays or some other special event, but more often than not its the precious few hours of uninterrupted fishing that I get to do! The start of the new season heralded one of these events and for some months I have been eagerly awaiting the start of the new season. The countdown timer had been ticking and on Saturday afternoon it was finally time to head to the river.

And what a perfect day it was for the start of my fishing season....the sun was shining, there was not much wind and I had a few hours to enjoy the peacefulness that only an angler knows.

It was peace and quiet I was after and so without a second thought I headed down to Lords Bridge. On arriving at the car park it was obvious that the good weather had brought everybody out and there was not a single space to park. So heading back down the road again I parked just outside the bottom of the car park...where there is space for just one car. After donning my new waders and new boots and tackling up I was ready to fish.

Walking through the field to the weir pool brought back all the good memories of the season passed, chats with the farmer turning his hay, introducing a good friend to the joys of angling and catching those beautiful little brownies....

Dropping into the river on the Churnet is never an easy task and after clambering down the bank I was soon in the river and fishing. A few minutes later and the first fish of the season was to hand, sadly it was a grayling but it was at least a fish.

Moving up the river I was soon into yet another grayling and then it all went very quiet. After searching all the usual and more obvious spots it was clear that the combination of the cold and very clear water and the hard winter was going to make catching a brownie a hard task especially so early in the season. And it was about an hour later that I finally hooked into a small yet beautiful brownie who was hard to the bank. What a welcome sight this little fellow was...

As I waded up the river I really felt as though I was fishing an entirely new river. All the usual holes had moved and the river had changed quite a bit through the winter. Quite a few trees had come down in the river, resulting in new channels and some really good holding spots for fish, although none seem to hold any fish.

Another hour just ticked by as it does when you are fishing and suddenly I was into yet another small brownie. Once again this little fellow was holding hard to the bank. After a quick look at him he was released gently back into the river.

I finished the day on the last stretch up the Lords Bridge catching a small salmon parr on my last cast. What a great start to the new season and I look forward...with that keen anticipation that only an angler knows...till the next time I visit the river.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

An interesting day!

Having booked Friday the 28th off in the hope that the Mayfly would be out, I was sadly disappointed with the sustained cold weather that we have had. But despite that a day I wasn't to be too disappointed.

Having had a cracking day on the Churnet a few weeks earlier I decided to head back there as we have not had much rain. The river was the clearest that I have ever seen it before. Rather than fishing the normal stretch I headed downstream some distance. Dropping into the river and almost ruining my waders in the process on a piece of barbed wire fence, I decided to fish the faster sections with the duo. Only company for the day were a couple of horses!

First up was a small grayling followed by a number of small but perfectly formed trout.

Nothing was rising and I suspect that the low water levels was probably not helping. A few yellow mayflies were hatching, so I decided to give my mayflies a bit of a swim. It wasn't long before I had a huge fish on, sadly it was an OOS grayling. Its ironic really, spend all winter fishing and not catching them and now I keep catching them.

A few more fish were happy to oblige by taking the mayfly, but as the sun came out the takes came to a stop. Back on went the duo taking a few more fish, before it was time for a spot of lunch at Ramblers Retreat.

After lunch it was back into the river just below the carpark. I had a few more fish on the dry, this time trying some of the iron blue duns that I have recently attempted to tie! As I neared the top of the stretch I tried in vain to catch what looked like a monster fish to the right side of Lords Bridge.

After much indecision I decided to head to Dovedale in the hope of catching a few fish on the Mayfly. Was quite shocked how low the river was, certainly lower than I have ever seen it before.

Fished up the river with a small Olive on despite not seeing any rises and took a number of fish up to the stones, most which seemed to be stockies, except for this one which gave me a right scrap. I reckon he was around the two pound mark and had a stonking tail on him.

Now who says fishing is boring....Well I was standing in the river just past the stones, when this chap with a rod tucked under his arm and his missus walk by. I prompted legged it out the river and asked him if he was intending to fish. I made sure that I let him know that fishing here was strictly for members only and that if he did decide to fish then it would be poaching. It was then that his missus...a rather large lady full of tattoos butts into the conversation and tells me that he lets all the fish go.

After a bit of a conversation about poaching, etc the chap tells me that it makes no difference as he will fish down by the campsite where they are staying. Anyway he heads off upstreamwith his missus scowling and giving out a bit of verbal abuse...what idiots. It was clear that he was planning to fish, after all you don't walk about with a gun if you don't pllan to shoot something with it.

I pretty much followed them up the river, casting here and there, but keeping a beady eye on what they were up to. By the time they got up to Lovers Leap, I think they finally realised that I wasn't going away and they headed back to the carpark.

Whilst sitting having a cup of tea on the new Kelly kettle by the stepping stones, it seemed that the sun was shining down on reward for chasing off them poachers!

I tried the odd run back down to the carpark with teh duo on, picking up a the odd fish here and there. All in all a great day, with loads of fish, only thing missing was meeting up with a certain Stoke bloke!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

The perfect afternoon....

Well with all important activities sorted for the day, the missus happy and the kids busy I decided to pop off to the river for a few hours. With a round trip of two hours to get to and from the river I usually hesitate if I can only go for a few hours. Dovedale always seems the obvious choice, easy parking, easy access and you are fishing within minutes of arriving.

However I was desperate to try another section of the river and so this afternoon I decided to head to Lords Bridge. I've fished this section before and found the wading treacherous, so was a bit apprehensive about fishing by myself!

Having parked and tackled up(and realised I'd forgotten my camera) I walked down the river bank looking for somewhere to drop in. The most difficult thing about fishing Lord's Bridge is getting into the river. Having found an ideal spot I dropped into the river and waded slowly upstream.

Having just watched a video on the Fly Forum( on how to fish the duo, I realised that I was probably not fishing this quite right. So I was determined to try and get my setup right. After a bit of fiddling around with the depth and size of fly I was finally into my first fish...a cracking brownie with bright red spots synonymous with Lord's Bridge.

And the fish came all afternoon, from tiny little brownies to a real lunker with the biggest tail I've ever seen. Thrown in were a few out of season grayling which were quickly released!

Around four o'clock a small hatch started and fish started rising all around me. Off came the duo and on went a small Olive and within minutes I was rewarded with a brownie of about a pound. Fish continued coming to the dry for about 15 minutes and it provided me with some heart-stopping action....there really is nothing better than watching a fish come up and suck your fly down, and then lifting into it as it swims rapidly off upstream.

The best thing about the few hours that I spent on the river was the complete lack of was just me and nature! The only sounds that could be heard was the river and the odd bird....perfect!

A long holiday....

Well the holiday in Tenerife which was meant to be a week turned out to be two due to the Volcanic ash cloud. It wasn't all bad the holiday company put us up in a 4 star hotel, half board....and we had an extra week of some real sunshine!

The first thing that we noticed on our return was that spring had definitely sprung, the trees were green and the grass in the back garden was in desperate need of a cut. With a few days off in May, I managed a pass from the missus one afternoon and headed down to Dovedale for a 2 hour session.

It had been quite warm in the morning but by the time I arrived at the river it had clouded over and the temperature had dropped to 9 degrees, with a northernly wind. I knew the fishing was going to be hard...but it was better than not going at all. On went the duo and I dropped into the river fishing all the way up to the stepping stones. The water was gin clear and the river seemed quite low.

There were no fish rising and the usual spots seemed devoid of fish, but I did hook into three fish, but just couldn't seem to keep them on for more than a few seconds. An enjoyable afternoon but lets hope the weather warms up soon and gets the fish rising!

A good start to a holiday

With a week away in Tenerife planned, I decided that the best way to start my holiday would be to spend the day on the river. So with my new Kelly packed and with Clive driving we set off for Mildale.

This was my first day out fishing in the new season, not a perfect day at all the sun was shining but it was still very cold. After a couple of hours both Clive and I had each had a fish, but unfortunately they were both grayling. We fished all the usual spots but the trout were just not there at all. Time for a tea break!

With the Kelly christened we pressed on downstream and I was rewarded with my first brownie of the season, a beautiful fish perfectly formed and no bigger than my hand...success!

Obviously the water and weather meant that the grayling were still feeding and it wasn't long before both Clive and I were into some good fish.

Its ironic really, I've been waiting all winter to catch grayling, and now when we want some trout all we could catch was grayling.

A few more hours fishing and another cup of tea brewed in the Kelly and Clive and I decided to call it a day. It certainly had been hard fishing, but it was good to be out enjoying the river!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

First day out of the new season

Having finally managed to get out for a couple of hours on the river for the first session of the season I decided that I would head up to Crowdecote. To be honest I just fancied starting away from the crowds of Dovedale and being back to nature.

I arrived at Crowdecote, tackled up with the duo and walked down to the river which was surprisingly quite low and very clear. I waded up the river popping the odd cast in here and there, trying to avoid the trees and all the snags. When I got to the first pool I noticed two fish rising just on the bend of the river, as usual the most difficult place to cast to. Leaning against the river bank with rod in hand, off came the duo and one went a small LDO. I carefully waded to the bottom of the pool taking my time so as not to put the fish down. The first cast, a roll cast, was a total mess but fortunately was downstream from the fish.

A minute later the fish rose again, and the game was on again! So it was another roll cast this time hooking into the branches over hanging the river...damn trees! One went another LDO this time slightly bigger, as usual your last fly always ends up in a tree. A few minutes later another rise....I decided to wait a bit before I cast...calm the pounding heart down and focus on the fish. Next cast, absolutely perfect about a foot and a half in front of the fish...wait...wait...I said out loud. A second later up rose a beautiful little brownie and slashed at the fly, but I was like a coiled spring and lifted too quickly and practically took the fly out of its mouth....damn again.

I waited a few more minutes but no more rises. I put the fly over the same spot a few more times but I guess they knew and had scarpered. I wandered up the river for another hour or so taking in the scenery and just generally enjoying being out and about on the river. The Dove here is such a different river and small river tactics, a 6ft rod and absolute stealth seem essential.....

After heading back to the car I decided that I would stop in on the Dovedale stretch and give it a go, despite promising myself I wouldn't! Arriving in the carpark Dave informed me that the fishing was hard and after speaking to two LADFFA lads, Phil and his mate, who had not caught, I began to wonder if I should have spent more time further up river.

One getting down to the river, I found it to be in perfect condition, not gin clear but with just a touch of colour. On went the duo and I slowly worked my way up to the stones. As usual having to deal with the - "You caught owt mate?", and people letting their dogs and kids jump in the river....but hey this is Dovedale...even had the Bhangra boys up there, car parked by the stones pumping out the latest "bump and grind" tunes!

Despite that managed to hook into 3 fish, but just couldn't seem to keep them on for too long, nevertheless the feeling was fantastic...

Why is it I ask that I get such pleasure from standing knee deep in water casting a line with an imitation of tiny insect made from feathers, fur and cotton and then hooking a creature who is one hundredth of my size with the brain the size of a pea?

I'm really not sure but it sure feels good and I plan to do it again, very very soon.....roll on the new season!!!!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Not a ladies man.....

Severn Heaven, that's what Glen had told me...a place where monster Grayling lurk. That was all the encouragement that I needed to join the lads, Glen, Guy and Phil for a day on the Severn.

After a restless night dreaming of monster fish, I woke before the alarm went off at 05:30 on Sunday morning, to find the garden covered in 10 cms of snow. That certainly wasn't going to stop me and off I set crawling along the A5 mainly going sideways. Just 7 miles and 30 minutes into the journey Glen called to say that one of the lads had dropped out and we decided that given the weather it probably wasn't worth going. So disappointingly I set off back home just about making it back home and almost smashing the car in the process.

Just an hour and a half later Glen called to tell me that snow or no snow, he and Guy were on their way. Well there was no way that I was going to let them catch all the fish, so it was back on the road and just over 2 hours later I was with the boys on the side of the river.

After an introduction to Phil, who had already had some fish, it was time for a quick discussion of tactics and flies and then to business. We were all fishing using the Czech Nymph method, a tactic that I was yet to master.

After just a few minutes Glen was into a cracking fish with Guy following close behind. And that was the to be the tale for the rest of the day, the lads catching some of the biggest Grayling that I have ever seen in my life!!! Check out their blogs for some "hard evidence" if you don't believe me!

The lads kindly tutored me in how to Czech Nymph spending their precious fishing time giving me tips and tricks and of course providing me with a few demonstrations on how to handle big fish.

The surroundings and the river were fantastic and we all agreed that it looked like we were somewhere else in the world.

Despite only catching two small grayling, one which became a flying fish and almost hit Guy on the head, I must admit that I had a fabulous day. And so in the words of an almost famous angler....Lord Pointon - "In angling you always get another chance!"

Thank goodness for that.....

Sunday, 14 February 2010

A little lady makes my day....

Hadn't planned to go out fishing this weekend, but as I sat looking rather idly at my fly tying vice, the missus asked me what the matter was!

"I need to go fishing I told her" and then much to my surprise she promptly said "Oh well then off you go, back make sure back by four!". Well I definitely didn't need any more encouragement and ten minutes later I was on my way to the River Sence. I only had two hours to fish but that was sufficient for the fix that I needed...

Given the nature of the River Sence which is mostly shallow, I decided to fish using the duo and my fly of choice was going to be one those Flashback Nymphs that had arrived in the post from JT yesterday morning. Twenty five minutes later and I was tackled up and ready to start fishing...

Now I never know if its good to catch on the first cast or not but I certainly wasn't complaining when on the first cast I hooked into this little lady.

She was only a small fish but gave a good accounting of herself and promptly went back.

Sadly that was to be the only landed fish of the day, but as I always say if I've caught one fish then I'm happy! And the truth be told after catching that first fish I would gladly have gone home.

Shortly afterward I hooked into a large brownie in some of the faster water, who ran right into the deeper water of the pool above and promptly came off and missed another small grayling just before I finished fishing.

This will probably be last time I fish the River Sence as my membership in the club finishes in March.

A couple of the runs that I shall miss......

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Hard work....but worth the effort!

Well Saturday morning bright and early, far too early in fact for my liking, Clive arrived at my house keen to get to the working party on the Dove. With talk of fishing adventures past and those to come, we past through the fog and mist on the hills to arrive at Crowdecote, a part of the river I have yet to fish.

After a brief wait for a few other members to arrive we all set about removing the old barbed wire fence. To be honest it was hard graft, but there's no better place to be working than right beside the river. Of course I would rather it had been a fishing rod and net in hand than a pair of pliers and a hammer.

The hard work was interspersed with talk of fishing, peeks at the river and possible lies and some useful tips from members who had fished the section before. And of course the odd bit of humour which mainly came from Alex almost falling into the river. He had been removing a post with barbed wire and two seconds later it along with some of the bank had collapsed into the river leaving Alex desperately clinging to the new fence with a rather worried look on his face!

What was more funny was the fact that Rob was quite happy to stand there and laugh at him and I was too busy trying to get the camera on my phone working, to help the poor chap out.

Nevertheless no committee members were hurt in the shooting of the picture and work was successfully completed. After a break for lunch and a cup of coffee, Clive and I decided that our hard work deserved some reward, so off we set for Milldale.

On the way down we bumped into Adam who had mentioned at the work party he was going to give the river a try as well. On inquiring he told us he had already had 3 small grayling. We pressed on down the river a bit further and dropped in near the "wasps" nest. I opted for Czech nymphing and Clive for a single bug on an indicator, nevertheless after an hour neither of us had had a touch. By this point Adam had worked his way down river and was in the pool in front of me when he hooked into a lovely grayling.

I chatted with Adam to inquire what he had used and he had caught his grayling on relatively small bugs, which he had drifted from some way upstream. Then opening his fly box he kindly gave me a couple of JT grayling bugs to try out. However knowing that I had not caught yet he kindly invited me to fish the pool that he was in, giving an indication of where I might find success.

I must admit I found that gesture extremely gentlemen like, after all if you've caught one grayling in a pool, you undoubtedly stand a pretty good chance to catch another and yet Adam was quite happy to give me the opportunity.....what a credit you are to angling Adam...and a fine example to each and every one of us!!!

Sadly though after just a few minutes more fishing, I heard the peal of girls laughter from behind me and turned to see Clive looking slightly wet and not at all amused. In my usual sadistic way I burst into laughter when I realised he had tripped and fallen in the water...not good....but very funny!!! Given it was quite cold we hurriedly headed back to the car and then set off home.

And so another day by the river ended, this time with scratched hands from the barbed wire fencing, still no "ladies" in the net and yet still happy.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

That's fishing.....

As excited as a 5 year old is how I felt this morning as I joined up with Dave Wood for a days fishing. It seems like ages since I've been fishing and I was itching to get out and catch some ladies.

We started out at Ellastone, the river been slightly high according to Dave, and fished for around 45 minutes before we decided that we would head to Dovedale to try our luck. Before leaving I took a quick photo of the river so that everyone can see how high it is.

We arrived at Dovedale and after a quick change of tackle and a cup of coffee we headed to the river, where the Jammy B***er - Dave's new nickname, proceeded to catch the first fish of the day a little out of season brownie. We pressed on up the river and onto the nursery pool where I caught an out of season brownie and decided to try out the new waterproof camera.

After a brief stop a "Rocher Rock" for a Mars Bar lunch - sorry to lower the standards Lord Pointon, we pressed on up river. Shortly afterwards Mr Jammy B***er manage three very beautiful ladies, one after the other.

And was assisted by a dog, who seemed keen to help....

Decided to try out the camera again for the release, check out the dorsal on this lady...beautiful!!!

We moved on upstream as far as Ilam rock, where Dave missed a fish which decided his klink looked tasty, reminding us both of the coming balmy days of summer when we would be fishing the dry...proper! We trudged back to the car park, stopping to try our luck as we went and talking about whisky and fishing, both feeling tired but satisfied!!!

And so ended another day fishing no grayling for me yet again but then that's fishing!!!