Sunday, 22 April 2018

Tough but Enjoyable

What a very tough day. With the rain this morning and the wind I decided to hang on to venturing out until after lunch.

Just before 2pm with the skies still very dark & grey I was sitting beside the river with a westerly wind blowing straight across and no hatching insect life at all, so opted for a team of spiders in the low clear water.

Just as I was about to slip into the river this daffodil caught my eye, not your usual daffodil shape and looked absolutely stunning.

Finishing down throw the faster but very clear & shallow water I managed to net a couple of very small Grayling, at least I wasnt going to dry net but still no sign of any fly life nor trout.

Getting down to a large corner I was hoping that the trees would block out the westerly wind and hopefully some sort of fly life might start showing away from the wind, I sat for nearly 30 minutes observing and saw no movement but it was nice to sit & watch a pair of oyster catchers in a courtship.

The marsh marigolds all around as I sat in the lea of the bank away from the wind.

Decisding to slip on a minnow pattern and try the deeper pools to see if I could get a response from a trout.

Fishing back upstream I came to a deep pool and fished the minnow through and got an instant response straight away but I suspect from a salmon as it sped off at a very rate of knots and it felt heavy but the fly and the fish parted company and I was left after a brief run with a limb line. I decided enough was enough and started to make my way back to the car and just at that a hercules flying low came up the Dale, first one I've seen in a few weeks now, as they are a common sight flying low up through the Dale.

The sight of the hercules reminded me of the letter I recently received form RAF Leeming for the donation from the AGM where I took some furled Leaders and sold them in aid of a Cancer charity and airmen who has been struck down by the horrible disease.

Telephone numbers removed for obvious reasons, a small donation but am sure will help in the overall scheme of things.

A couple of the fishermen who have my weight forward furled leaders out on trial are sending back positive feedback so far, but a few more weeks of use before I can say if Im going to continue with it.

Tester 1
Had a quick play with the leader today on a wee 6' #5 rod. Turned over well and would allow me to put slack into it to allow for drag free drifts. It worked well in a breeze today so all is good

Tester 2
Brilliant leader was out today, turn over and everything was spot on. It was windy where I was and it done the damage, good performance good presentation, well happy with it.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Sulky Day

I decided after the mild weather we had yesterday that although the forecast was for heavy showers in the Dale I would head further up the Dale just incase the water decided to rise  and also see what it was fishing like, this being the first trip up that far.

The drive up was very moody with low cloud and mist blanketing the Dale & I hoped it would lift soon.

The river looked in fine fettle when I first seen it but standing for a few moments observing the river for any movement of fish there was a really cold southerly wind blowing and it felt really chilled against my face and the mist was just sitting like a blanket over everything.

Starting off on a couple of spiders I made my way downstream towards the wooded area fishing certain spots as I went without any joy.

On entering the wood The birds were chirping all around & the wood seemed alive with bird calls.

I sat against the big tree for a few moments and observed the birds feeding on the pine cones up in the bare branches above me.

It was a free for all, Blue tits, Coal tits, Chaffinches and I saw a couple of Goldfinches too, it really was nice to sit & watch them all jostling for the small cones and extracting the seeds from them.

The wild flowers in the wood were all poking through looking for some sunlight from the Wild primroses, to the wood anemone. It was nice to see the wood starting to come alive with sound and colour.

Moving downstream I managed to connect with my first fish of the day, not the species I had come for but it was a fish nevertheless, A small Grayling.

A few steps downstream and the next Grayling and the next, 5 fish in total in the space of 10 steps, all falling for an early season spider pattern.

Continuing downstream I was finally rewarded with my first trout, a lovely wild fish in perfect condition.

Sitting for lunch with the cover of the high bank behind me to shield me from the slight chilled wind that was continuing to blow I seen my first rise of the day in a streamy section of water so eyes peeled I continued to watch and seen it rise a second time. 

Switching to dry fly was an option &  I really wanted to continue testing my weight forward furled leader I have been formulating and working on & with the slight wind it would be the ideal conditions, so after lunch I switched across onto a dry fly set up.

It took less than 3 casts of the dry fly before the first fish broke the surface and took it down, alas another Grayling which was showing no signs of any spawning, so a quick photograph as it went back to the depths.

I moved on after no further success in the fast water and found another fish rising at the tail end of a large slack, first cast and up it came and took the dry.

Another Grayling and better sized this time and again showing no signs off spawning at all, another quick photograph and it was released to go on its way.

Moving to the bank to see if I could observe any further fish before the darkening skies reached me, the marsh marigolds gave colour all along the bank. 

I had literally only just sat down when I felt the first signs of rain on my face.

 The sky was almost pitch black so I headed towards the car hoping to make it before the heavens opened but it was not to be, I was half way up the field when the heavens opened in torrential rain  which saw rivers running down the road in front of me into large pools where there was pot holling in the road. 
Throwing my kit in the car, I jumped in with waders still on and waited till the worst of it had passed, It was about 20 minutes or so before I finally decided it was light enough to get stripped out of waders and back into normal gear, Thankfully I had remained dry as my jacket and vest had taken the brunt of the downpour.

The drive home was as equally entertaining as the rain came back with a vengeance and the standing water  was no longer standing it was running in all directions all along the Dale roads, the river will rise for sure with this amount of water that fell in such a short period already on sodden land. but thankfully a week of rising temperatures should take care of it all before my next trip out.

If any of my UK readers are after some new aluminium dry fly boxes I have a surplus of 2 spare (brand new still in boxes) which Im willing to part with for the sum of £15 posted, exactly like the ones in the photograph below. I recently took receipt of 5 of these boxes and am keeping three for myself so the other two if anyone is interested simply post a comment and we can take it from there.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

A few for the box

After the success of the few hours at the weekend and after moving some of my dries to another box to simply keep the flies of the month in my box which is in my waistcoat I noticed I was a bit light on the jingler patterns so remedied  that the other night.

#14 Jinglers in natural brown and partridge, a great fly to me over the years and always worth its weight in gold early season when the large upwings are on the water.

I received a note from a friend who fishes them also to great effect but he has added a twist to his in the way of colour & swears by them when there is a large dark olive hatch on, so with his recipe I produced a couple to try for myself.

I received a request from a friend in the USA for a furled leader with the sighter on the butt of the leader instead of the tip like I normally make so who was I to refuse, the butt coloured red with the tip in the normal green colour.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Two for Two

With the river risen after yesterday's rain I decided I was going to be wise and just head out after sunday lunch and see if there was a rise happening.

The morning was spent pottering around the garden doing a few jobs that the bad weather had stopped me doing earlier and after a hearty lunch whilst watching my friends daughter Corrie Scott compete for Scotland in the Commonwealth swimming I headed up the Dale for an hour looking for any signs of a hatch.

This part of the Dale looked a lot clearer than yesterday and it was actually dry & a few degrees warmer than yesterday so the waterproof jacket remained in the car as I set off  up the river.

I sat at a spot where I knew I could observe a good 50m up & down the river and could see if there was any fish rising or if a hatch was on.

The fragrance from the wild garlic behind me was very pleasant and it wont be long until it is in flower, as the buds are all but popping from the centre of the plants.

There was no sign of any hatch and I never seen a single fish move so decided to tackle up with a team of spiders and go in search of some fish. Walking up the riverbank I got to see my first song thrush that I've seen in a long time, they used to be a common sight when I was younger but nowadays I hardly see them at all. 

Deciding to head for a bit of moving water which would be fishable even though the river was carrying a few extra inches of water than I would have liked it wasnt long until the spiders were soon moving through the stream and before I knew it I was tightening into my first fish of the day, unfortunately not the quarry I had come for a small grayling.

Fishing on I took a further 5 grayling all around the same size and still not showing any signs of spawning, so a move to the next part of moving water to get away from them and leave them in peace.

The resident geese on this part of the river are either now use to human presence or couldn't be bothered making alarm calls as they simply moved out the way without a sound as I walked past them.

The wild daffodils were all along the banks and it was nice to see a bit of colour in amongst all the drab and bare branches which have yet to bud and nice to see the baby blue eyes adding their colour albeit very small amounts.

I settled into my next part of the river and after 10 minutes or so the river erupted as a trout decided it liked my dropper spider and tried all aerial aerobics to try and throw the hook in the first 10 seconds of the fight, but the hook held and the net soon slipped under it.

A lovely wild fish and in very nice condition.

Partridge & Orange 

With no further fish I decided to head for the car and bumped into another two anglers on my way back, both had the same idea as me looking for a hatch but were very much disappointed that there wasnt one and after a few words we parted company, the fields still very much holding a lot of excess water.

Heading back I stumbled across another couple of fish which I have to admit I never caught and they certainly weren't caught & released...  

a nice 2 hours on the river again and rewarded with my second Brown trout, two trips, two trout, makes up for the few weeks where I was unable to get out when friends got out but came up short.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Ready, Set, Go....

With this weeks river levels looking like the outline of the Cairngorm mountain range and more rain forecast for today there was only a very small chance of getting out onto the river and it being in a fishable state so after lunch today I decided to dip my toe for the first time in 9 weeks and see if I could at least get an hour on the river before it rockets back up again after todays rain.

I had literally driven a mile up the Dale when the rain started and it was coming down heavy, I thought about turning around and forgetting it but I was determined to get at least one cast in this years Brown Trout season,  so I kept going.

The fields all around the river are like giant lakes with all the water that has hit the Dale.

Even the pine wood looks like something from a swamp.

I stood at the edge of the wood watching the river for any signs of movement and after a short period of time I seen a single fish rise then another so it could only mean one thing, a hatch was happening.

I clambered down into the water after setting the rod up with a dry line to see if I could determine what was hatching and it didn't take long to see them breaking surface.

Dark olives, lets hope the fish would continue to look up and get a banquet.

First cast to a rising fish and it took my artificial and sped off at speed, next thing the fish and fly parted company so that was a great start...Not!

At least it gave me confidence that I had chosen the correct fly and was soon casting to another rising fish and it took it again almost immediately, only thing being it wasnt a trout but a small grayling so quickly unhooked it was slipped straight back to continue the feast.

The rain started up again and it was heavy and the fish stopped rising so I headed back towards the wood for some shelter till it had passed.

10 minutes or so had passed before the rain eased again and I seen another fish rise so slipping back into the river I cast above it and it almost immediately lunged on my fly and it was on.

Not the biggest of fish from the river but it was the opener for the 2018 Brown Trout season and it was a wild fish.

I took another two fish but both small grayling before the rain started again so I decided to go for a walk along the bak to see if I could see any other feeding fish.

All along the riverbank nature has started to reveal itself  from the buds on the willow trees.

To the daffodils.

and the gorse
I had noticed several rabbit carcasses which I think have been caught out in the flood waters lying all over the place, this one looking like a martian poking out the sand.

With no further fish seen I started heading back to the car just as the heavens opened again, passing the resident Geese along the way.

Although only just under two hours away from the house it made a world of difference, to get out & be on the river again, definitely good for the soul.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Let's get Jiggy Jiggy.

The old furling jig was fantastic however it was a bit on the heavy side and restrictive in the sense that I could only produce one size of Furled Leader on it so time for an upgrade.

What can you do with a 8ft plank of timber....

The first thing was to cut it to my desired size in this case I wanted a 6ft board but something that could be stored easy so cut again into two 3ft lengths and I would put a hinge in the middle so it could be stored closed and a lot easier than trying to store a 6ft length. Allowing room for the hooks and backboard I made the base unit a little longer so that the hinged section would fit into it for easy storage.

The next thing was some sort of securing mechanism to keep the board securely closed and I had a couple of magnets lying around for an old kitchen unit door so a couple of each side took care of the securing issue.

I had an idea of making the board a multi function jig which would cater for multiple lengths of furled leaders and came up with 6m sleeves and threaded rod, the sleeves would be drilled into the board and secured and the threaded rod would be drilled into the base of the pegs, allowing the pegs to be moved to any position I wanted.

After a bit of research on the internet & a few emails to my mentor who taught me to Furl, I soon had the peg distances from the back board and had them drilled out & secured, all that was needed now was pegs to be made and the board to be painted. 

Pegs made and rods fitted in the base of them and smoothed so as not to catch the threads.

To make things easier on my eyes with such thin threads I wanted to paint the board white so the threads would show up more in less light.

A couple of coats of white paint and some black pen work to mark the different peg positions the board was completed. With new furniture being made for me in the way of a new tying desk,  I didn't want to take the chance of the board scratching or scraping the new furniture so a backing of some old carpets tiles were added to just finish it off.
Easy stores in the closed position & the pegs fit inside a drawer where I keep the furling tools and threads.

And opened out it gives me multiple positions to make leaders through the range of 3 ft, 3.5ft, 4 ft, 4.5ft & 5ft, with an added one which I've yet to test which is a 5ft Weight Forward Furled Leader.

The first Furled Leader off the new Jig.

Soon followed with another couple to make up a 3ft, 4ft & 5ft trio.

The 5ft Weight Forward has also been made but Im holding back on that until I have time to test it as yet I've still not got any fishing done, 9 weeks without casting a rod! but looking at the results by friends who have been out, Im not missing too much.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Tidy Up & AGM

Today was one of my clubs pre season work parties followed by our AGM & Dinner. It was nice to see everybody again and meet some new friends.

The river although a bit high with all the recent rain is starting to look good and we were even privileged to see a few fish rise to a hatch of olives as we worked our way downstream.

The craic was as always great and our minds were never too far away from the upcoming trout season.

A few pics of the guys.

One of the members getting to grips with his lopers.

How many men to get a strimmer to work..

Committee members doing what they do best....chatting.

Nice to see Steve still has a smile on his face

And as always the sights along the bank didn't let us down, as we walked back up through the wood we were greeted with 5 or 6 large hares scrambling up the bank to get away from us, and the brief glimpse of the dippers always brings a smile to my face.

The daffodils are standing proud in the mild weather.

With the work party complete and an hour or so to kill before the AGM I headed downstream to our other section on the river for a walk to see what that was looking like.

The normal residents were there as always.

but unfortunately one short which didn't make it through and has either been caught by some predator or has died of injuries sustained.

The colours are starting to show through both on the trees and on the ground with the willow blossoms turning the bare trees white.

And the flowers are poking through on the banks.

The teasel seed heads gently blowing in the breeze

Walk over I headed to the venue for the AGM and still a bit early decided to investigate the sound of rushing water I heard as I exited the car and and a short stroll from the Pub, I found this tucked away.

The AGM went as planned and it was nice to see a few new faces amongst the club members Unfortunately I couldn't stay for Dinner but am sure everyone enjoyed themselves. Thanks to Dave for the donation of a set of woodcock & snipe wings to add to my tying kit they will do rather nicely in boosting the stocks of spiders.

As always I made up some furled leaders to be sold to members for charity and £30 was raised from their sale which will be donated to The Macmillan Nurses which my wife Karen & other members at RAF Leeming are currently raising money for. All thats left to say is Tight Lines for the New Trout Season
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