Sunday, 10 December 2017

Lets tackle Cancer Update

The floats & Furled Leaders I posted about yesterday have now gone live on the Lets Tackle Cancer Facebook page.

Anyone wishing to bid on them please use the facebook page and simply place a bid by commenting on the items......Lets Tackle Cancer

A Few Fishermen.

It seems like the snow that was forecast diverted away from Yorkshire and went further south as I opened the curtains this morning half expecting to see the white stuff but all was clear, The temperatures however had dived during the night & when I first got into the car the thermometer read -3.

A short trip up the Dale and I was pulling on the layers of clothing then scrambling into the neoprene chesties which was a job in itself but finally I was all snug and headed to the river.

The river looked in perfect condition but I knew it was going to be hard after hearing what the lads had caught the day before, not many but undeterred I set about chasing the Ladies.

It was about 40 minutes before the first fish of the day took the dropper and after a short tussle it managed to free itself, ah well at least I knew my dropper was working.

A short time again and the next fish took the same fly.

A change on the point fly to try & fool the fish and within 3 casts the next fish was on and they were getting bigger too.

Continuing in the pool for the next 20 minutes or so I managed to coax another couple of Grayling and dropped a few in the process too.

With nothing further coming from the pool I decided to get some circulation back into my feet and headed off downstream in search of more fish.

As I was approaching the next pool I noticed a fishermen overlooking the pool but am sure he wouldn't want to stay when he saw me.

Continuing onto the pool there were a few other fishermen already there!

3 cormorants, 1 heron and 2 goosanders just out of shot, I'd say the pool wasnt going to fish much, but I gave it a try anyway and sure enough, not a tug the full length of it.

Moving further downstream I noticed the otters were still feasting on the other pest in the river, with several of the crayfish spread around one specific part that I've seen signs of totters in the past.

The patterns in the ice were pretty as I walked down the bank.

30 minutes or so passed in my new spot before I finally got into the fish again.

Nothing of any weight or size but enough to keep my interest in the fishing as the river was freezing and the air was even colder.

Fishing on for another hour or so I finally decided to call it a day with nothing further coming to the net, which had taken on an erection in the the cold air!

A cold and hard day but very satisfying and was great to be out on the bank again.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Time For Giving Again.

There hasnt been anything in the last 12 months that has spurred me into making a float or two for other people again, quite frankly I've lost all interest in it as some people who I've taught in the past have no scruples and only want to make a quick quid, well you're welcome to it!

One thing that will always get my 100% attention is the charity box that I put together every year with all the proceeds going to either a military charity or a cancer charity. 

This year its the turn of cancer again and a few weeks ago I set about dusting off the lathe and turning some floats. Instead of the normal half dozen floats and a box I decided to broaden it this year to a 50/50 between trotting and fly fishing.

The trotting side of things I decided to keep my hand in so I set about making these from scratch and decided for the paint job it was going to be simple but attractive.

These are the first floats I've made in almost 12 months, and there wont be many more made for anyone else so if you want some of my work you better start bidding. The winning bidder can have their name put on them if they so wish.

These will suffice any angler out during the winter months in pursuit of the Lady of the Stream & into the Brown Trout season where a float fished worm will take an early trout or two. 

The fly fishing side of it Ive covered with making 3 furled leaders, two with built in indicators for nymph / spider fishing and one without for dry fly purposes.

Originating from the legendary Rod Dibble, Steven Dawson (AKA Mr Trout) took me under his wing and taught me all I needed to know about furled leader making and the tapers so I feel its only right this year that a couple of these are put to good use, so that completes the 50/50 split for charity.

These will be donated to the Lets Tackle Cancer Charity that I've supported since the beginning and hope that it continues the good work.

If you want to make a bid for the above items then drop me a note via the comments page on here, otherwise they will be advertised on the LTC noticeboard when I get that part clarified by the lads who run the charity.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Miniature World

It was a lazy slow morning after a night of  interrupted sleep with a few things rattling around in my head, so just before 10am I set off up the Dale for a few hours on the river.

The river looked crystal clear and was at a good height so I had high hopes of a few grayling, making my way to the bottom of the stretch a couple of heron lifted from the water.

Sitting on the bank and tying a couple of nymphs on I heard a commotion on the opposite side of the river and looking across seen a stoat having a go at a rat, the rat was trying to escape and the stoat was on its side being dragged along as it gripped the side of the rats neck.

This continued for a few moments in & out of view before finally the rat succumb to the stoats determination and it was dragged into the roots out of sight.

(Picture for Graphics Only)

From time to time its great to see a snap shot of nature and I feel privileged to have viewed it.

The fishing was slow and after around nearly an hour of feeling nothing I finally hooked into what thankfully turned out to be a Grayling.

I was confident that the nymphs I had on were doing the job and it was just the fish that were not in a taking mood and around 20 minutes later I felt a small tug and lifted into a beautiful Grayling in miniature.

Fishing on up the stretch it became very evident that the fish were not in a taking mood and also that the river bed had shifted immensely in the last big flood with one part in particular taking the full force of the flood and the bank having receded over 5ft back into the field.

Looking upstream onto the next flat I saw a bit of movement close to the bank on my side and thought that a fish was rising, as it was very mild and a few very small midges were hatching, but the movement became more clear when I finally reached the spot where I had seen it.

The first casualties of spawning for these salmon, with the first one quite dead and up on the shingle,  a wild fish as the stocked fish that the hatchery introduce have their adipose fin clipped and this one was intact.

By the looks of the 2nd fish it wouldnt be too long until it would be joining the first.

covered in fungi and clinging on for life it hardly moved when I came close to it to get a photograph.

I have not seen as many fish on redds this year as I did last year and can count this years redds on one hand compared to the several I came across last year.

I sat and watched the fish struggling for another 10 minutes before heading upstream and stopping for a coffee saw this little fungi this time out the water and not clinging to a fish.

 Fishing on up the stretch I got a few small fish from here and there as I went.

Both these showing off how beautiful these fish are in all their miniature glory.

None of the larger Grayling were making an appearance at all, but it was very nice to find some sport on what was turning out to be a very hard day indeed with stealth tactics having to take precedence to get the fish.

I thought I had initially hooked into a larger Grayling in some faster water but it soon transpired to be a trout, so a quick snap and it was gone again.

Fishing back downstream for a little way and grabbing another small Grayling before finally calling it a day.

A few hours out in the mild weather was a great antidote and cleared the head a little bit and some stunning sights all be it in miniature.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

All I Saw Was Red Spots

It was doubtful if I was going to get any fishing in this weekend as the river midweek was almost at record levels of flooding.

With many large trees and other debris left well high and dry over the opposite side of the flood berms which the farmer had built to try & protect his pastures, these were no match for the floodwaters which had went right over the top of them.

I was looking forward to seeing what the river was like as the levels had dropped away dramatically since the flood mid week and if I hit it right there would be a good colour running off , just what I like to fish the river in.

I got to the river and peered over the top of the flood berm and was pleasantly pleased the river was up but a fishable level and the colour was dropping out, which I knew fishes well.

Setting up and dropping down into the water a couple of Salmon sped off upstream from my entry point the first I've seen since the season closed and soon they will be on the redds.

I was about 10 minutes into my session when the line halted and I lifted into the first fish of the day, instantly I knew it was a trout the way it sped off. Netted and safely released it went back to its business a very dark fish which was now hollow indicating that it had spawned.

A few moment later and a couple of steps further down the run the line went taught and the 2nd fish of the day was on, again another trout but this one was in excellent condition.

whilst it was recovering in the net a quick snap before releasing back to where it came from. I was pleasantly surprised at what good condition the fish was in seeing as what time of year it is.

Continuing down the run a further two smaller trout came to my nymphs.

Walking down the bank to the next piece of water I wanted to fish and the frost still hadn't lifted from this side of the bank and the north wind blowing was severely cold.

The snow hasnt quite reached this far down the Dale but the high peaks further up are covered in snow, just a taste of whats coming our way.

Fishing in the next piece of water produced a further two trout, it seems the heavy water has spurred the trout into feeding and put the Grayling down as I hadn't touched one so far.

I fished on down the river picking up another couple of small dark trout before coming across this one, again in excellent condition and in fine fettle.

Like the other a quick picture as I lifted it from the net after it recovered from its tussle.

What amazed me was the vast difference in trout which I had caught today, most were really dark fish and in not the best of condition but amongst them were a few fighting fit fish in excellent condition as if it was the middle of the summer.

I fished on for a further hour before the biting cold wind got the better of me and I decided to head home to warm up and sit and see if I could improve on a couple of imitations that I had taken with me today which needed looking at before I take them for a swim again, all revealed when I get them right, as yet very much still in the trial process.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Nature at it's Best

Travelling all but a mile from the house this morning I looked across into the field running parallel with the road and saw 5 herons all standing around in the field, and  running up the edge of the hedgerow was 2 Roe Deer,  coupled with the umpteen pheasants flying & walking across from the wood on the opposite side of the road, thats what I like about living in the countryside, you just never know what you're going to see on route to the river.

The morning was cold, bright & the river was low & clear, so I knew from the off it was going to be a tough day and the 3 cormorants lifting off the water as I approached didn't help any either.

The frost was still lying in places where the sun's rays still had not penetrated, making it crunch as you walked across it.

Walking down to the very bottom of the stretch didnt take too long and I was sat on the bank surveying the river in front of me and making my decisions on what to fish. A kingfisher flew up and sat on the end of a willow branch on the opposite side of the river, surveying his side of the river as I was, I moved my arm to see if I could get the camera out without disturbing him but he took to the wing heading upstream, I never tire of seeing these little beautiful birds on the river.

I slipped into the clear water and started casting across to a likely spot where fish might be sitting under some overhanging branches and almost immediately my first fish too the point fly.

Nothing of too much size but it was a Grayling, the first one for a couple of weeks with only trout coming to the net last trip out.

I fished upstream until I was almost halfway up the stretch and hadn't touched another fish so far, it was tough going but still very enjoyable with all sorts of things happening around me, the mallards were gathering on the opposite bank and still hadnt realized I was there as I was out of their sight due to the high bank but I knew as soon as I moved over the bank they would be on the wing immediately.

I noticed a broken branch which a couple of blue tits were feeding on and as I walked by seen they must have been pecking around in the algae that was covering it.

Nothing much was happening on the fish front, I had fished all the runs through hard, spending a bit more time making sure I covered every inch of them with only one other small Grayling taking my offerings.

I was surprised not to see any Salmon so far, as this time last year they were on their redds but this year I haven't seen any signs of them either on the riverbed or splashing around in the water, maybe they are waiting for some water to push through, before getting down to business.

I was approaching the runs up to the top of our stretch of river, I like this part of the river as its more suited to my tactics which I had chosen to fish and normally you can see a  fish or two smut to a hatch but as yet nothing was moving on the surface.

I seen another club member off in the distance walking down so decided to get into the run I was looking forward to fishing the most and see if I could fish it through before he reached me. 

I was almost at the end of the run when I heard him approach behind me and call out a greeting and almost on cue a fish took my dropper.

I knew this fish had a bit of clout to it as it made off downstream in the current before I could turn it, I definitely didn't want to loose the fish especially with all eyes on me, and after a short but powerful battle I slipped the net under this lovely Grayling.

The camera doesn't capture the true beauty of this fish, every way you moved it the emerald green colours down its flanks changed and it was simply stunning, virtually in mint condition apart from a small nick out the bottom of its tail, a lovely fish for this river as there isn't too many of this size caught from here. My fellow fisherman was also full of praise for such a beautiful fish.

After parting with a couple of spare flies of the same pattern I had took the large Grayling on my club colleague dropped in below me as he was only down for an hour so I decided to hang back and have a coffee and allow him time to get clear of me before I started fishing again.

About 20 minutes or so later I packed away the coffee and slipped back into the river.

Fishing down where he had been I picked off another Grayling from the faster water but nothing else until I had reached the bottom of the stretch again.

I wasnt going to thrash the water into a lather looking for fish and to be honest I was contented and chuffed at seeing such a beautiful fish earlier so after watching what I thought was a rising fish in the corner of my eye only to turn around and see a dipper appear from the river moments later I decided to call it a day and head back up the fields to the car.

My trip over for another week but a fish caught that would stay with me for quite some time to come.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017


When Im not fishing for Grayling, then Im reading & researching about them and a few months ago I seen a picture on the internet which I would love to have hanging in my tying room, a search turned up nothing on the artist till last week a friend posted a link to a site where a sea trout had been drawn so I had a look and low & behold I had found my Grayling artist.

Needless to say I bought a signed copy as they are a  limited edition of 100.

copy 34/100 will soon be hanging on the wall over my desk.

Anyone interested in pencil drawings then I can highly recommend Robin the artist, have a look at his work.....Robin Woolnough

Sunday, 12 November 2017


Like most military & ex military around the world, today was a day to remember fallen comrades and the sacrifices they have given.

Dusting off the beret & doing a bit medal cleaning I joined others in remembering.

An addition to the village Wreath laying this year is a small stone of remembrance with a cross for every soldier from the village who has paid the ultimate sacrifice.

With my duty done I headed out for an hour or so hoping to hook a Grayling or two, but the wind was severe & very cold, nevertheless I decided to give it a go and headed downstream of my normal haunt in search of some slightly deeper water as the river was low and crystal clear.

Fishing my way back up stream nothing was happening until I slipped my cast behind a large boulder and the reel creamed off instantly, I knew this wasnt a grayling for sure and after a short battle I slipped the net under a large & annoyed brown trout.


Giving him a second to recover before releasing him back to where he came from I grabbed a quick photograph, The water was freezing as I held his head upstream in the current and with a flick of his paddle like tail he was gone. 

Giving myself a second or two to warm my freezing fingers, I sneaked a photograph of a tree standing proud, holding onto the last of its leaves as all others around were now bare.

fishing upstream I managed to hook another two smaller brown trout which were released back to where they came & on arriving at the car that was it, 2 hours of hard fishing in a very cold wind made for an early lunch so I headed home to a large bowl of Lamb & Mint soup, just what the doctor ordered.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Going For a Wander.

Not the usual view from Up the Dale this week.

Instead this next picture should show where we were heading to.

The wife & I headed up to Scotland at the tail end of last week for a couple of days with family & friends and as always the fishing gear took up a little corner of the car which was filled out with Christmas presents and alike as this would be our last trip home this year.

I had arranged with a longtime friend Davy, to have sunday out on the river, so instead of the normal up the Dale, we went this time to one of the shires, there's only about 34 to choose from, but we both knew which one we would be heading to.

The morning started with me having to defrost the car as the temperatures had dropped like a stone overnight and the car was completely iced over, but before we knew it the miles were behind us and we were pulling up beside the river which looked in top notch condition.

Kitted up we headed downstream to our first stretch we wanted to fish and got started, on the 2nd cast through with the nymphs, my line stopped and I lifted, I knew instantly it was a decent fish  with the way it was behaving.

 A lovely Grayling and if this what was to come it was going to be a good day,  I was however very satisfied no matter what happened.

A few moments later my second fish of the day was hooked, smaller in size but by means no less beautiful.

Fishing downstream for a considerable way and it was now Davy's turn to hook into a fish, and this fish was most definitely not giving in easy, it was doing ever trick in the book to try & free itself, it was leaping out the water, taking long runs in the fast current, but finally it succumb to davy's efforts and the net was under his first fish of the day.

A lovely fish which would bring a smile to any Grayling anglers face...even Davy's!

We both fished hard up until lunchtime and never touched another fish so it was time to regroup back at the car and have get a bit of heat as the wind had been harsh and very cold and what better way to reminisce over the mornings fishing than a scotch pie in a roll and a cup of coffee, Heavenly.

We both decided to split after lunch and try our luck in separate areas, and it soon paid off for both of us with the two of us taking nice fish throughout the afternoon.

I had fished to the bottom of my stretch so decided to head back upstream in pursuit of Davy, taking in the surroundings as I went.

 The fungi  absorbing the last rays of sunlight of the afternoon.

And a sole acorn which as yet had eluded the clutches of the grey squirrels in the trees.

I soon stumbled back upon my fishing partner for the day, working the stream in front of him as the dappled light shone through the trees.

and continuing to catch a couple.

We continued to fish on until I looked upstream and saw Davy was merely a silhouette in the fading light.

So we had come to the end of our day and we both thoroughly enjoyed it, a couple of Grayling fanatics back on the river again enjoying each other's company and everything nature has to offer,  14 fish between the two of us on a cold day that when the wind blew it would split you in two, but very much a positive day and loads of fun, Until the next time a memory to reminisce on with a dram in my hand.

PS. I never managed to raid Davy's nymph box, it was tied up tight but he did make off with my packet of tippet rings! Good job I know where he lives....lol
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