Saturday, 20 October 2018

It's Been a Funny Old Season!

Well that was a quick season for me! I managed to get out quite a bit as I slowly built up my fitness. When I did get out it was strange especially with the hot weather in June/July/August. Those especially hot days resulted in very few insects coming off, even into the evenings which were still hot, I recon that the hatches probably happened during the dark hours. I still managed to catch when I went fishing catching excellent stocked fish which Matthew had procured. I also caught quite a lot of wild brownies and some lovely small wild rainbows.

I went to a Bamboo and Silk day on the Cressbrook and Litton water on the Wye in August. A well attended really good day, plenty of very different bamboo rods were cast especially a Bernard Ramanauskas rod which had a perfect action also a lovely Winston rod too with nearly as good an action as the former. I took my 7'9" #4 and 7'10" #5 along and had a fish with the #4 weight late on and took a few browns and rainbows. Altogether a great day which I hope will be repeated next season.

7'9" #4 John French built on a PHY taper with Schukken reel and Phoenix silk line.

7'10' #5 John French built on modified PHY taper with Hardy Perfect and Phoenix silk line
Following my earlier post about my 1st visit, for my 2nd visit I had a good afternoon with Derek and Bill. I used my #5 weight bamboo rod with my Hardy Cascapedia with a Hardy WF5. This works the rod really well, probably better that the DT5. I landed a few fish up to about 2lb and the rod handled them excellently.
The 3 amigos!
Lynn bought me a automatic inflatable life saver as she was a bit nervous about me venturing out alone. I was a bit dubious at first but a couple of reports in the press about some people drowning whilst fishing so that swayed me to wear it!

A "poacher" below Max's Bench Pool!!!

As the hot weather continued the Derwent began to show it's bones, in all the years I have been fishing it I have never seen it so low. This situation continued until the rain came late on, some hope for the final few weeks.

As I said at the start "it's been a funny old season'!

So now onto the grayling, my first visit was last Thursday. I had been into Bakewell and visit that excellent emporium (The Flyfishing Shop Bakewell) for a natter with Peter. I was humming and haring whether to go and have an hour or two and Peter encouraged me to go. So at 1430 I got into the river below Baslow old bridge, I decided to use my Hardy Favourite 7' #2 with a #22 greenfly on. I managed a quick couple of grayling to this fly  then a few trout so decided to move lower down. I noticed a few small rises so worked my way up to them and hit on a small shoal of grayling. the next hour had me hooking loads of grayling from tiny 4 inchers to respectable 10 inchers eventually landing 8 taking my total to 10 grayling for just over an hour and a half and all on the same dry greenfly, RESULT!

So hopefully this sets the scene for the rest of the grayling season, watch this space.

N.B. Grayling Society meetings are held at The Rutland Hotel in Bakewell starting at 1930, admission £4.
October 24: Paul Procter
“Grayling - thoughts and tactics”.
November 28:  Alan Roe
Trotting for game and coarse fish, and including Wallis casting.
December 12: Stuart Crofts
“Put the Fly back into your Fly-fishing”.
January 23: Don Stazicker
“Riseforms, can you tell what they are eating?”
February 20: Paul and Sue Sissons
Fishing for Coho salmon on Kodiak Island, Alaska
March 20: Tim Jacklin
Conservation Officer (Midlands) for the Wild Trout Trust,
Information on the work the Wild Trout Trust are doing in Derbyshire

Friday, 15 June 2018

1st Visit of the season!

Today has been a long time coming following my triple heart bypass in March! Don kindly offered to accompany me on this visit as I felt a bit nervous about wading however I needn't have been as it was a "doddle"!
I met Don down at the bottom hut around 12 and after a brief chat and one of Mr Hancock's pork pies we set off. We started in the pool below the bend and it felt strange to be out for me first trip with the season almost half way through. There were still plenty of mayfly spinners about with the odd dun hatching but unfortunately rises were quite absent possibly due to the bright sun. As I worked my way upstream it felt good to be on the river and suddenly I was into a fish, a rainbow of about 1½lb to a mayfly nymph. Don was also taking fish to the dry and nymph.
Matthew arrived and after a long chat about the river, crayfish, insects etc. we made our way down to the next pool down. The small run just above usually produces some lovely small wild browns but not this time babe due to the river being exceptionally low. I put Don in the run-in and he was soon into fish, myself I struggled to get a knock so switched to a Phil White 1-up-1-down mayfly dun, this mayfly is my go to fly when the mayfly are about, I do not fish with any other dun pattern. Soon I was into a lovely brown soon followed by a second. Mayflies were everywhere together with plenty of small dance flies, some sedges, blue winged olives and yellow may duns. I have still to see a fish take one of the latter!
Derek came up about 4'ish but had completely missed us so was further downstream any it was a good time to break for a cup of tea. We spent a good hour chatting the 3 of us before Derek departed. Don and I went down to Max's bench pool but there was someone in there so we got in above and proceeded upstream. This is Derek's favourite pool too and it was not long before we started to connect with fish using the mayfly dun. We both had some lovely wild browns topped off by some in the 2-3lb class with spade like tails. We made our way back to the pool below the hut arriving around 8 to a mass of mayfly, two, yellow may dun plus unrecognised (so far) spinners, it was a magnificent sight. We spent the last couple of hours covering rising fish with the PW's mayfly dun which also does a good representation of a spinner taking fish a losing some!
We ended around 2145 Don taking well in the teens of fish, me finishing with 9 landed. It was good to get back on the river again and many thanks to Don for his support.
Roll on my next visit!

Monday, 2 April 2018

A Wet and Cold Start!

April 1st was very wet and the Derwent was well up although I suspect that there may have been one or two people out fishing especially if they had travelled a distance as the river was only carrying a small amount of colour. April 2nd dawned  with snow and the Derwent was even higher and very coloured so nothing down for today.

As for my season, well, it will be a while before I get out following my triple heart bypass just over 2 weeks ago! I am hoping that by the end of May I will be fit enough to wet a line in the meantime all my piscatorial DVDs have been viewed again and numerous books re-read. I am looking forward to those balmy evenings when I can get my new bamboo rod out.

I have cleared out all my fly boxes of the flies where hackles are a bit awry or I just don't like the look of them also those flies which you tie and never use. So at least I will have plenty of time to replenish my stocks.

Here is hoping everyone has a productive and enjoyable season.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Friday 23rd February

Today was an odd day, we were eagerly awaiting the birth of our second grandchild so plans for a reunion of work colleagues was cancelled so to appease me Lynn suggested I go fishing. Needless to say I did not need prompting twice.
A raw day looking upstream from the cattle drink
It was a bitterly cold day although the sun was out and I knew that 2 hours would do me before I started to lose the feeling in my feet. I decided to go above the works again and get in at the cattle drink. The river was still up by about 8" and was running reasonably clear with just that peaty tinge. Naturally there was nothing hatching not even any midges so it was on with a fox squirrel nymph with a tungsten bead to get it down. I worked my way up but only landed an out of season brown which whilst it was quite thin was otherwise in exceptional condition with a large spade of a tail, in a few months time it will be in even better condition. Needless to say no grayling came to hand, maybe the higher than average water had moved them. By the time I reached the top of the pool I was quite chilled so a walk back to the cattle drink and a 5 minute warm was enough to get the feeling back in my feet. I got in again but went downstream for about 10 yards and started again but this time with a pink shrimp. After a couple of casts a lovely grayling was landed soon followed by a second from practically the same spot, could this be a shoal? Again after a few more casts a grayling was dropped off however immediately after two more were landed successfully. By the time I had got level with the entry point I had another out of season trout and the breeze had got up and I was cold so although I could have carried on I called it a day with four grayling landed in a couple of hours, a good day. Only a few days left of the season now when it will be closed for March then open on 1st April.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

1st outing of 2018!

A happy new year to all my fellow bloggers and followers wherever you are, hope 2018 is a good year for you.

After a difficult few months I decided to wet my line with my new bamboo rod which I "picked up" from a reputable emporium in Bakewell (Bakewell Flyfishing Shop). This is a 7'10" 5 weight and is built on a Paul Young taper which is and I quote "possibly the best taper in the world" but please don't rip into me with comments!  It is from the same stable as my other 1, John French, a man who picked up all the Marcus Warwick gear together with a list of all the usual tapers from the various American and English rod makers of the past. A really interesting chap to talk to and very informative.

Anyway I went above the 1 Arch Bridge in the park which is usually a good spot to pick-up grayling. The Derwent was up a bit but reasonably clear however it was just above freezing or at least it felt like it. I slid down the bank, a good start, stripped some line off and took my fist cast. The rod loaded easily with the DT5 and I was able to make both short casts and also get a fair amount of line out if needed. It was performing great! This really is a different way of fishing with bamboo than graphite however I will still use these for the times when they are necessary. On another day like this I would use my 10' 4wt as this time of the year it is usually slinging heavy nymphs to get down to the grayling. It was hard going with not a bite in sight as I worked my way up to the bottom weir. I decided to call it a day after a couple of hours and had a few last casts where I got in and blow me a small grayling was landed right at the last call.

So my new rod was christened, looking forward to the new season when it will get a lot of use on those clear balmy evenings when the sedge and spinners are active.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

2nd Half of the Season

As the trout season has now finished here in the UK I thought I had better update my blog!

Adam joined me for a day in July which proved very successful for him catching several fish during the afternoon and early evening. Here he is in Max's bench pool where he covered a difficult fish rising right under the trees on the far bank and landed a lovely brown.
Got 'im

The above 2 fish from the same pool, completely different markings.

The season continued to be productive however the balmy evenings were definitely absent consequently the evening rises were few and far between. It seemed to be that once the sun disappeared behind the hills the temperature dropped and so the fish went down. July produced 12 browns, 7 rainbows and 5 grayling from only 4 visits

Adam joined me again on the 6th August where we fished from the Willow pool down to Bar Brook and then back to the sycamore, Adam ended up with 8 fish and I "managed" 2 browns and a rainbow. On the 14th Derek and I met David down at Beeley for lunch, I got in at the run-in to the hut pool and although rises were not consistent Ia few favourites runs produced a couple of browns. In the hut pool I had to go down to a size 26 black parachute to get any response from the 4 browns which followed. The last visit was to the sycamore and up towards the cattle drink, this afternoon was hard going and i only landed 1 brown and 1 grayling to a brown sedge.

In September I only got out twice as we were on holiday in Cornwall. On my first visit I was met by a very coloured  Derwent with no fish rising, I eaked out only 1 grayling. Later in the month the park beckoned and I started off at Mary's Bower where I picked up a small brown. As I worked my way back to the Cricket pitch I resorted to a small brown nymph and landed 2 more browns, 1 rainbow and 2 grayling, not an easy afternoon by far, all fish hard fought for.

My last visit to the Derwent was on the 6th October, the water had a slight colour to it. I started at the Sycamore and worked my way up. Some fish were showing but difficult to see to what! So, a small size 20 black parachute did the business and 2 browns and 2 grayling were landed with many missed or "long released".

My final visit was to the Wye on Cressbrook and Litton courtesy of My Percival where a sumptuous BBQ was produced. Banter followed and a great afternoon was had by all, unfortunately the wye was up and colouring up and even though I had a few flicks and missed a couple nothing was landed.

I used my bamboo rod and 2 other fishers also had the "wood" out. Here is a neat photo which could have been taken 50 years ago!

Roll on the grayling!

Monday, 5 June 2017

Willow Pool Take2

This evening I went down to the Willow Pool again to see if I had more luck than last time. There were many spinners of various types about, not too sure what this one is though so any help would be gratefully received, I think it may be an olive upright spinner?

I had on my usual mayfly as there were lots of mayfly spinners about too, the odd one being taken. After a couple of casts a brown took but after a second or two slipped the hook. A few minutes went by and I knew I was covering fish but nothing so a quick change to a grey olive parachute but still nothing took. Fish were rising but I could not see to what even though they were only a rod length out, something small. Nothing was on the surface which they seemed to be taking even though spinners and duns were there which were not really being taken, confusing! The temperature was also dropping and very now and then the fish would stop rising for 5 minutes then start again. A switch to a griffiths gnat only resulted in 1 fish again as I knew I was covering them. I was beginning to get frustrated and moved up to the top of the pool were again spinners were dipping into the fast water. A rusty spinner produced another brown before the temperature dropped considerably and I started shivering so called it a day. All in all a frustrating evening but encouraging to know that the insect life is unbelievable and the crayfish have not had everything.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

A Hard Afternoon and a Dunking!

Is this a fishing hut or what?
Our fishing hut is finished now and a right ol' place it is! All mod cons and looks the part, many thanks especially to Matthew who did the lion's share of work on it and the rest of the team too, a great job!

Some neat roof work!

 I had arranged to meet Bill and Derek down at the hut for lunch today so that we could fish the mayfly. After a natter we started fishing in Max's bench pool, mayfly, yellow sally, yellow may dun and lots of other assorted fly were coming off in droves. The odd fish was rising which I suppose was to be expected as the sun was shining too. I started off with a mayfly nymph and had a few tugs as I worked my way upstream, maybe the fish are still wary of the mayfly as this usually happens and only the odd fish take them until the word gets around. A fish rose to a mayfly under the trees where I had started so I retraced my steps and put on my go-to mayfly, Phillip Whites's 1-up-1-down. I covered the fish and 1st pass it had it and a strike and a nice brown was landed. A 2nd fish had also risen as I had made my way down and I covered this and on the 2nd pass it too had it but it either missed the fly or I struck too soon! I continued up the pool and a couple more fish had a slash at the fly and appeared to take it but on striking there was nothing there. Maybe these fish are still a bit unsure as usually the take is very definite. The rises stopped even though the mayfly were still coming off so I switched back to a mayfly nymph and took another brown. As I was planning to fish this evening I only ended up fishing for an hour or so and returned to my car through the thick clouds of mayfly spinners.

In the evening I went down to the willow pool (again) and sure enough fish were rising but I could not tell to what, certainly not mayfly. This time I started at the top of the pool and worked my way down covering fish and getting nothing just enjoying myself  minding my own business when someone decided to get in at the tail of the pool and fish up! I could not believe it, talk about fishing etiquette, it was not as if they did not see me. Consequently once I reached a point of where I could have probably cast and hit him I decided that enough was enough and attempted to get out whereupon  I stumbled and fell in, SH!T or something similar! Needless to say that put the lid on my evenings fishing, thanks whoever you are.  I know I don't own the river but when someone is fishing a pool you don't just get in with them unless invited or am I being too touchy? Rant over now.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Another Good Day

I arranged to meet Derek at the cricket pitch this afternoon, it was very warm with bright sun, maybe too sunny? Anyway I was a bit late and Derek had got in above the new (old) hut and was working his way upstream. After a brief chat I tackled upend went down to the cricket pitch. It was very odd as there were no fish rising nor were there any flies hatching! I had put on a grey olive klink but nothing showed any interest so I switched to a nymph. Only one half hearted tug was all that I got in the whole of the pool. So off to Bar Brook I went, the odd fish was rising but nothing consistent so I covered a rise with an olive paradun and a take! A blue rainbow was landed but that was it for the afternoon, I gave up soon after 4 as it was obviously too hot and sunny for the fish and me!

In the evening I went down to the works and got in at the sycamore pool, there were loads of fly about just like last evening, gnats, a few duns and spinners including a couple of mayflies! I had on an olive link and eventually a fish took and brown was landed. This continued as I worked my way up the pool with fish showing all around me, I switched to a griffiths gnat as the swarms of gnats around were amazing and started to take fish on this too. It was a lovely evening and although I only fished for 90 minutes I ended up with 5 browns and 3 rainbows.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

1st Evening Session

After today's duties I decided to try the evening session to see whether there was anything happening. I went down to the willow pool and in the car park the only car was leaving, they said it had been "quiet" in the willow pool but it didn't put me off. I got down and put on a general grey olive parachute a couple of rises were covered but nothing showed an interest. There were loads of fly about from spinners and duns to masses of gnats. I managed to catch a few in my net and the spinners were not blue winged olives but slightly bigger and a brown olive colour. I put on an olive paradun and immediately a brown was landed. Another couple of misses and then a rainbow came in. The amount of fly about this evening was amazing, looking downstream what I thought was a mist turned out to be masses of gnats. I switched to a black gnat and again after covering a few fish another couple of browns came to hand. A few fish were head and tailing which to me means they were taking spinners and the only thing I had closely resembling was a pheasant tail body and a pale hackle. I tried off the bottom hackle so it would sit right on the film and luckily a fish took it and a brown was landed. The light was falling now and I could just make out the light hackle on the fly as another final brown took and was landed. I called it a day at 2130 as the light also called time, a really good evening with many more to come.