Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Chew Grayling into the pink...

Another trip to my great little local Chew. Target species again Grayling. The weather was overcast but really mild with hardly any wind. The river had been coloured and high for the past few weeks but it was looking good today with just a little colour. Met up with Red and guess what another three anglers turned up to float fish on the Bathampton stretch. We went off downstream to Keynsham stretch. I started with the usual patterns but bites were infrequent and I lost the first fish on the Brassie, it was one I hadn't changed for a while so lost faith in the point of the hook. Decided to push the boat out today and changed to a pink nymph. This is one I had tied a while back  - it had a fairly large red glass bead head and flashy pink dubbed body and had never caught for me in the past. It looked heavy and bright and as I felt my earlier Brassie wasn't getting deep enough I thought I would give it a try. I flicked it out under the Klink and within 20 minutes I'd netted three Grayling and lost two. The biggest getting towards a pound. If anything the bead was a bit big for the hook which probably lost me the two.

Next run and I lost both flies in an overhanging tree. I just had one more nymph with a pinkish hue and glass bead head. It caught me a further two Grayling. Pink is clearly the colour for December Grayling. I was also pleased I was not attracting the attention of the resident trout which have been conspicuously pre-occupied with spawning hopefully.

Both Red and I discussed how the recent spates had had quite a profound affect on the river. Clear areas of gravel had emerged and silt had been consolidated in areas where the current had slacked off. This stretch has plenty of tree root obstruction, overhanging trees and fallen debris to create a diverse river environment which is invaluable to spawning fish and makes for some really interesting fishing. It tests your skills but it is incredibly rewarding.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Frosty trip to the River Chew

Met up with Red and fished the Chew this morning. Lovely crisp morning probably the coldest we have had this year really made us wonder what we were doing getting togged up to tackle the river. Even had problems with the rings freezing. Flow a bit higher than in the summer with a slight colour. I fished the first stretch and after about a dozen casts heard a splash and instinctively lifted into medium sized Grayling on the Klink. It took the fly in a turbulent riffle in an area where it was near on impossible to see the post of the fly.

First fish to the dry

For some reason my casting wasn't coming together!

After trying a few other faster runs where I'd caught Grayling before I ended up catching another five Grayling in one confined run just a couple metre square. The fish were clearly shoaled up in specific areas and it was just a case of locating a shoal. The best fish taking the dry while smaller to medium sized ones taking the nymph. Another fisherman, James, on the bank today and also met Rich Denning and Jon from the committee on the return to the car. Glad I made the effort to get out again and great to be on the river after a bit of  lay off.

Best Grayling of the day to the dry

Nothing better to beat the winter blues.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Woolacombe surf pumping

Surf trip to Woolacombe  which served up the goods with a pumping head high swell and strong offshore winds. A bit of crew me bro, Rich W, Paul and Tim met up at Taunton. Can't say I had a great session with really tough paddle outs and blind take offs - still if you were fit and up for it there were some great waves to be had. Only caught a few big ones. Surfed over high tide it gradually decreased over the day and the stiff SE wind dropped. Should have gone in a bit later when things had calmed down but sometimes you have just gotta get out there without the risk of conditions deteriorating. The session was a good bit of exercise and kept me in touch with the ocean. Mild with some sun and no need for gloves or hood. Photos were from after I'd come in on the dropping tide when things were looking more manageable.

Rich on a nice left

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Summers return in November and the Carp on the feed..

A really mild sunny day on the lake today with Common Darter dragonflies sunning themselves on the bank side vegetation. Red and I started on the Rainbows. I managed two on an olive Shipmans and Red had one on small olive Klink.

Common Darter - thinking its spring!
After an hour or so a few Carp just started to break surface. I noticed a nice double figure fish just under the surface 20' out. I had a dilemma do I stick with my 8'6" Greys Xflite 5 weight or do I rig up the 9 weight. In the heat of the moment I went for the easy option and quickly switched leader to an 8lb fluro chucked on my foam bread fly and cast right on its nose. It turned inspected then engulfed the fly in slowmo. I lifted and hit rock solid resistance. It never really ran but sort of used its dead weight to lunge from side to side. After a bit of a tussle Red helped me net, only just about in the net incidentally, a pristine Common Carp of over 10lb - my biggest on the fly to date. I caught another Common at about 2lb before the now resident inquisitive Mute Swan's finally forced me to head for the river.

Fished the Chew for the last few hours of light on coarse gear. The river was in good form with a nice flow and some colour. Loads of trout rising. Caught a couple of Dace on worm after I'd scaled down my tackle to a Size 16 on 3lb line. Met Rich Denning Keynsham Club president who had had good days fishing catching Chub, Dace and Grayling.
Dace from the Chew

Sunday, 30 October 2011

October blank...

Well I thought I wouldn't have to post this but pressure has brought to bear and yes I fished a stocked lake and blanked. Fished Taylors lake with Red. Despite lots of fish rising and Red taking a nice sized Rainbow on the buzzer I didn't even have a tug. I tried every fly in the box at every depth but nothing. Lovelly sunny start but rain gave me a good excuse to pack in after a frustrating couple of hours.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Piking on the Bristol Avon

As I had my Keynsham ticket I thought I would take a break from fly fishing and dust of my coarse gear for an impromptu late afternoon pike session on the lower Bristol Avon. I covered about a mile and half plugging in likely looking swims. First hit was from a Perch. Under half a pound it took a plug way too big for consumption just under the bank. Then I had heart racing follow by a big Pike well into double figures. It followed the lure in took a lazy look at me and turned to return to the deep. Never sure what do when a fish pauses; whether to stop the retrieve, vibrate the lure or speed up. I cast several times to cover the same area but nothing. A few swims on I finally made contact with a jack which came to the net just after one mammoth surge that saw it break water. Probably between 4-5lb. A second fish came to the net at the furthest point on my hike. It took the lure within feet of the opposite bank and put up a spirited fight. I thought it was going to be a much bigger fish but once in the net realised it was just a bit larger than the first. Despite the scales in the photos I didn't weigh any of the fish and returned them to the water fairly quickly. All fish were caught fairly deep. Some nice Chub rising in the twilight back to the car. I love Pike they are just so impressive a top predator hidden away in our neglected waterways.

Greedy little fellow
First jack

Looks like the first Pike but trust me it is the second!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

RIver season over back on the Rainbow stockies...

Fairly mild day with glorious sunshine. Fished one of Knowle Angling lakes today. I had 4 Rainbows and Red had 2 with numerous other takes. Mine started on Goldhead damsel nymph with most on a black buzzer fished on slow retrieve. Red had biggest of the day abou 2.5lb on the Sedge and surprisingly quite a few Sedge coming off in the warmer patches. A few carp moving but none showed any interest in the bread fly. Went to Bye Mills after to look at the upgraded gates on the weir and assess the impact on the River Chew. Water up a few feet above weir but thankfully changes don't seem to be too drastic.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Some flies for thought..my bankers for River Chew and Bristol Frome

I noticed I blog about fish I've caught but rarely give much info on my tactics. I am not a match the hatch fisherman although I do observe what is on offer and will attempt to look for a similar size on some occasions. Many times in the past I have seen Mayfly coming off only to see fish turn down an exact imitation but for the fish to take a generic Klink on the next cast. Consequently I like to keep things simple and it works for me. If using the NZ style I will fish a size bigger on the Klink than that of the nymph. Usually a 12 dry and 14 nymph or a 14 and 16. NZ style hits all the right points for me - it presents the dry nicely in the water, it often results in a second take after a missed rise or tug on the nymph, and it allows you to search the water.

My olive Klink

Various goldhead nymphs

Anyway here are my flies - not perfect (I am self taught), no doubt downright ugly to some, and pretty simple but the fish don't seem to mind. The Klink is olive floss with flashbou rib, ginger Metz hackle (wound at least 4 times). The nymphs are 2.3mm goldhead (not tungsten), wired body either exposed or dubbed with olive dubbing, flashbou rib if dubbed and hare's ear tail. If a brassie nymph I will dub with black behind the bead for contrast and a bit of movement. In the past I have used fine paint brush fibres for the tail (cheap B&Q ones) and have seen no noticeable preference other than if you use too many fibres they might prevent hooking as they are stiffer.  These cost me pennies to make - beads in bulk from ebay jewellery, copper wire again hobby/beaded jewellery store or old cable, a pack of fine flashbou will last years for ribbing. Main outlay is Metz saddle but it is worth the investment for ease of tying and numbers of feathers. These flies have accounted for 80% of my river fish on the local streams around Bristol. The only variation I would make for chalkstream fishing is to downsize.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Last knockings on the Upper Chew

Had day off today as was planning to do some drift fishing out of Weymouth for Bass and Black Bream but last minute call off due to strong WNW. As a result I thought I'd have another go at Upper Chew. Fished lower beat from lake up. Still painfully low flow, sun out with brisk NW wind. For the first hour very little sign of any fish despite a tip off at the returns box that fish had started moving up from the lake. Making my way upstream I finally found some groups of trout. Caught a couple of lovely buttery Brownies. One about 12oz  although not totally convinced it was a wild one. Then started to hook a few small Rainbows and boy do they fight for their size. I have just started tying a few small, for me anyway, Goldhead Hares Ears (size 16) with a flashbou rib and these were certainly doing the business. I did get one Brownie on a size 12 Klink. Ended up with about 6 Brownies, of which 4 were just finger sized, and 2 Rainbows. Surprisingly, a few fishermen about today obviously hoping for some good Rainbow sport but today it did not deliver on that front. Just like me the fish are waiting for some rain!

This one took the dry

Stockie or wild?

Nice little wild Rainbow

Sunday, 25 September 2011

September Surf - Woolacombe

Surf trip to Woolly today with bro Rich and Tom. Had two sessions one over low tide in the morning and a second on incoming tide in the afternoon. Swell was at its peak in morning and wind was light SW. About 5' on the sets with some good rights coming across. After about 1.5hrs the tide had ripped it to shreds and getting a wave in was tough. Really got to grips with my new Firewire Firefly today which seem to race down the line on some nice rights across the middle of the beach. Afternoon session a bit less in size and chopped up by an increasing SW wind. Still had some OK waves in the sunshine. Nice day out - mild and sunny with relatively few in the water. My wife's good to me - thanks for the weekend!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Upper Chew late September sun..

Fished Upper Chew lower beat with Red. Another fellow angler Nick was also on the beat but we failed to meet up - its easy to pass each other as the stream is hidden in a tree canopy and stealth is the key to success. The morning had stated rainy but cleared up to be a pleasant late summer day. Slow day with still a very low flow coming down from Litton.  Crane flies in abundance. A few rises to the dry, most I missed. I also hooked and lost several fish on nymph. I was using size 14 or larger and assume most of my missed fish were small. In the end finished up with a couple of small Brownies and Rainbows both taking nymph and dry.  One small Rainbow was particularly striking in colour. Red caught a wild Brownie of about 1/2lb which is good wild fish for this section stream. No sign of any adult Rainbows. Nice day for some scenic shots of the stream.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Bristol Frome rising water gives up some big wild Brownies

Spent last couple of hours of the day dodging heavy showers on the Bristol Frome. This time up from the dog beat - only the occassional passer by and camo guy regularly shooting beer cans under the carriageway bridge on this stretch - I am assuming I am safe if I remain on the west bank! I have also seen some 'different' individuals wild camping in the caves further downstream from this stretch and groups young men clearly intent on taking home supper home if they can catch it. The delights of fishing beneath the urban sprawl. Tonight only the shooter to contend with - I just keep my distance. Anyway two Roe deer hinds startle me just 10 yards away on the opposite bank. Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail don't disappoint also passing me on my way downstream. The water is rising and slightly coloured. This river moves up and down like a drain - I suspect in all reality it is with all the tarmac above. After loosing 3 fish on the dry I finally hook a beauty rising under a tree - my best ever Frome Brownie. I follow this up with another good sized Brownie just a few yards away. I move back upstream and tackle a fish I missed on the way down this time persistence pays off after covering the fish six times it finally takes the Klink. Three good fish in the net and safely released I go home a happy man. This Bristol Frome really is quite a good little trout stream.

My best Bristol Frome Brownie to date of over 1lb

Who said it looks like the North Bristol drain?

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Nadder and the last Mayfly on the last day of summer?

Took a days leave today and met up with my bro Rich today to fish the Nadder at Salisbury. A beautiful sunny day with some light cloud and hardly any wind. The river looked beautiful almost gin clear with sun glinting on the boils and turbulence of the riffles and runs. We both started to work our way up the beat and immediately Rich hooked into a Chub under some Willows. After a bit of struggle he'd netted a good fish of at least 2lb on the dry.

First take of the day resulted in this lovely Chub.

I hooked up with a nice Grayling on the nymph but failed to net it. After a quiet next few hundred yards I found a great little run where the river kinked around a small bend with a little Willow tree just breaking the flow. In about 30 minutes I managed to catch 3 Grayling, 3 Brownies, a 2lb Chub and a nice Dace. Some of the Grayling on the dry and all the others on the nymph. Its amazing how the feeding fish congregate in such a small area when large swathes of the river fail to produce any response.

My 2lb Chub
Ended the mid day session with some hand size Brownies near a confluence with a feeder. Rich netted a Brownie and another two lovely Chub. The last one put up one hell of scrap and took several minutes to net in the fast flow.
Rich plays another Chub to the net.

After a couple hours break to do the school run we popped back for an evening session. The dropping temperature had obviously put the fish down despite a few Mayfly still coming off! I did net one fish, my best Brownie of the day on the nymph, and Rich caught a small Brownie. Still Rich had bagged up on all the Chub earlier in the day so I didn't feel too bad. Lovely sun set whilst leaving this little Nadder oasis in Salisbury. Known as a coarse stretch this section of the Nadder can still provide excellent sport on the fly for a very reasonable day ticket price.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Fishing for dogs on the Bristol Frome

Spent a couple of hours this morning on the Bristol Frome between Frenchay and Oldbury Court. Lots of fish about but these fish are wary and difficult to catch on the fly. Immediately caught sight of lovely trout - looked at least 2lb and some Chub between 1-3lb. I thought I'd start downstream and work my way back up. Loads of Dace just breaking the surface. Ended up catching quite few Dace on the dropper and the dry, lost a good Brownie of about a 1lb that jumped and shook the hook, a number of record breaking minnows on the nymph, but failed to tempt any of the Chub or the big trout I'd clocked. Next time I'll take a freelined maggot! Note to oneself never fish here on a sunny Sunday morning - more dogs than crufts and half were taking a dip. No wonder the fish are wary. Lovely views of a Kingfisher taking Minnows below a fallen tree.

Best Dace of the day - on the dry

Friday, 9 September 2011

Upper Chew ...last visit of the season?

Friday afternoon fish with Red on the Upper Chew. Tried the lower beat downstream of the bridge. Quiet and from the book infrequently fished with not many stocked fish being caught. Had a mare of a start - obviously out of practice in confined spaces put that together with some Airflo leader that was some years old and I had created some lovely crochet patterns in the line. Once I got my act together managed to catch a few wild Brownies - most on the Brassie in the deeper pools but the best coming on the dry. Interestingly enough caught three Rainbow parr all about 5 inches. Had a real suprise in one pool where I had solid resistance on the nymph under the bank and the fight was deep and sluggish. I never saw the fish before it shook the hook but am convinced it was not a trout - eel? Saw one Rainbow of about 1.5lb jump clear of the water but it was not tempted by what I had on offer. Still low flow of water comming through despite some rain over last few weeks. Tawny Owl and Kingfisher interesting distractions from the fishing. Also found a dead Brook Lamprey - pretty intact so did not look like result of predator.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

River Chew and then matching the batch..

Fished Chew at Compton Dando with Red. Warm and muggy but generally overcast. Banks massively overgrown with Himalayan Balsam and low water. Although the amount of debris on the banks gave away what must have been some high water a week or so back. Fish were difficult to locate and missed a few takes both on the dry and nymph. Ended up with a small Brownie and Chub both on the goldhead. Talked Red into a couple of hours carp fishing on the fly which was a laugh as we watched numerous double figure carp either nose or half heartedly take the fly without success. We both caught good sized Rainbows on the top and I managed a 1/2lb baby Carp on the bread fly.