Sunday, 30 November 2014

Its that time of year again when thoughts turn to Pike on the fly..

Red and I have been out roving the banks on those sunny Winter days looking for Pike. We have walked for miles in wonderful surroundings seeing relatively few anglers. Mainly on the Somerset levels and Bristol Avon searching the margins and reed beds with intermediate lines and large streamer flies. Most of the fish have been in the 2-5lb bracket but just occasionally a big one comes along and then its a struggle on a 7wt rod. We have even found that a bit of colour doesn't dissuade the takes.
Lower Avon jack.
Red and a good double figure Pike from the Bristol Avon
North Drain Pike

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Rest Bay mayhem on a good swell

Surfed Rest today with son Henry and friend Rich. We got there an hour after high to find the tide just coming off the rocks with beautiful head high peaks reeling into bay. It was busy and the tide soon started to undo the great swell as it ripped out. At low tide it cleaned up again with some nice 4' peaks hitting the banks down by the golf course. Saw the sun quickly set before departing. A nice trip with the odd good wave. I didn't really get cold but fear next session will see gloves coming out.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

It's been a while but I will recap a glorious summer in the South west...

Spent many wonderful weeks in Cornwall. Kayak fishing and surfing with my family. Lots of Mackerel inshore and a few suprises but no Bass although it is a different story at time of writing with plenty of Bass now being caught along the South Coast.

Little video of two of my lads enjoying prolific Mackerel on the Roseland. One interesting trip out from Portreath saw a close encounter with an Ocean Sunfish and squid surprise. The squid regularly took the feather but rarely stayed on long enough to enter the boat!

 Back in July the Black Bream fishing was superb off the Solent with the shoals feeding on the moving tide and then switching off immediately on the slack.  

The surf was in no way great over the summer but I was super stoked to see my two eldest lads finally getting the bug. Now they know what it feels like to be a surfer!
I need to relocate returning to Bristol and work just doesn't get any easier.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Mixing it up the summer months from Black Bream, to Mullet, to Carp..

Some lovely summer weather has diverted my attention away from the trout to other quarry. My brother and I had a great session focussed on Black Bream from the kayak. Armed with squid and sabiki we headed for the Solent to a mark half a mile out. Within minutes of anchoring up we were into fish and this continued for an hour until the tide went slack. Incredible little fighters and good eating fish made this a rewarding day out. No Bass but plenty of Mullet in the shallows however they were not just not interested. Knowing the tides here is a must too much and its unfishable too little and the fish just aren't there find a happy medium and you will be rewarded.
Talking of Mullet huge numbers now up the Severn but still no luck. I am going to down size to Size 18 shrimp patterns as I observed large numbers chasing tiny organisms on the incoming tide. More success with the carp on local lake with warm evenings providing great sport off the top on dog biscuit flies.


Saturday, 14 June 2014

Its hot and the fish are still making the most of the dwindling Mayfly...

Fished the River Chew on a muggy hot afternoon. Mayfly still trickling off and a few lazy rises from the large fish that frequent this section of the river. I have not learnt my lesson and the first fish, a good fish, snaps my 3lb leader. I change my set up to a 5lb fluro straight through to the dry. I miss a few rises but then hook a nice wild fish of about a 1lb.
The banks are like a jungle as I scramble between entry and exit points with nettles chest high. At this time of year parts of the Chew become unfishable with vegetation but it keeps the fishing pressure down and provides lots of cover. Next fish a stocked or escapee Rainbow that provides a test for my little Fladen, this time taking a brassie nymph on a deeper section. I finish off with another nice Brown that I watched come from a deep undercut to inspect and engulf the dry. I caught some smaller wildies which was good to see as this section is often dominated with stocked fish.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Small stream and kayak exploits in Cornwall

Spent the week in my second home Cornwall with the family. Weather wasn't great all the time and the surf was underwhelming to say the least. However as ever I was out to make the most of a well deserved break from work. The Mullet were out in force and despite a concerted effort I avoided hooking one on the fly. The fish I was targeting this time round were quite a way up the creeks and large in the 4-8lb range. At times I watched as they grazed algae from the boat moorings and tempted the Mullet with green algae flies, red bead head diawl bachs, bloodworm imitations, shrimp patterns, ghostbusters and bread flies. The only one that seem to illicit any sort of interest was the algae fly but not sufficient to result in a solid hook up. Arghhh is all I can say. Still the challenge remains to catch a really good sized Mullet (2lb+) on the fly.

Back to more successful forays. I fished the smallest stream in a wooded valley in the heart of Cornwall. My 7' Fladen totally over gunned but adequate to flick a leader of 4' 3lb fluro into the crevices and creases of the meandering stream. Some of the pools (puddles) gave up some beautiful adult wild miniature browns. Stealth and patience were fundamental to success as the fish readily rose to a passing dry fly should it land with success. Such was the confining space at times I was not sure who was most startled after disturbing both Dipper and Roe Deer within feet of me. 

On the sea and a couple of kayak trips brought a variety of fish including Lance, Pollack and Wrasse. Pollack were abundant although small in size. The Mackerel and Bass seemed to be taking an extended Spring break!

Typical inshore Pollack

A wonderful Wrasse caught on some small feathers.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Mayfly megaladons come out on the Chew...

Spent the afternoon fishing the River Chew as the Mayfly starting streaming off creating clouds across the field margins. At first things were quiet on the water but a bit reconnaissance located a group of large fish leisurely sipping Mayflys under some overhanging trees. First fish took a while to realise I'd hooked it but once it had it sped downstream beneath me at breakneck speed snapping my 3lb tippet with ease as I tried to pay off line rapidly. I thought it must have been a big Rainbow. Thankfully the fish were still feeding so I let the run settle and composed myself to target another fish. I increased my tippet to 6lb. Next fish again ran me from bank to bank, but I felt confident with the strong leader. After a colossal struggle it shook the hook - damn this was getting frustrating. I waited patiently for the fish to gain confidence. I cast to this large fish which was feeding confidently again:

It took the fly and I really bullied it to the net as I did not want to loose another. All I can say is it was a beauty, the biggest Brown I'd caught to date at well over 3lb. A large cock fish with full kype armed with a row of serrated teeth. To my amazement my earlier fly was nestled in its jaw next to the paradun I'd replaced it with. I was so pleased as I never like the thought of releasing a hooked fish although its jaw was so big it looked like tiny speck. I released it quickly finding it difficult to get a good shot due to its size without causing to much distress.

As the afternoon progressed and the sun dropped fish began breaking surface with confidence and I went on to catch two further big Browns and several obvious wild fish of just under a pound. A further fish broke my 6lb leader which was on the scale if not bigger than my first fish. 

What the fish and fisherman has been waiting for..
I have to assume some of these fish due to their size must have been stocked but they were all fully fin and fine condition.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Late evening urban wild ones on the dry....Mayfly time starts.

A couple of hours before dusk on my urban local for the first time this season saw a couple come to a Mayfly paradun. I lost several bigger fish for whatever reason as they shook the hook. A small hatch of Mayfly trickling off - the fish I caught had clearly been gorging on the feast.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

The Yeo finally gives up its secrets....

Bright but breezy afternoon took me to the Yeo which I had not fished for a long time. My previous visits had been relatively unsuccessful. The stream has a lot of cover and large woody debris but suffers from poor water quality. A number of factors contribute including the fish farm at Blagdon and run off from the agricultural land in the valley. I covered well over a mile of the beat fishing likely runs and pools. I was heartened by hooking a few small wild trout from the start however a pervading smell of sewerage was confirmed when I turned a corner. I was faced with a grey water cascade coming from what appeared to be a water treatment wetland that didn't appear to be working effectively. 

Upstream of this the water quality improved and the gravel was predominant rather than the black silt. The fish started to show more readily rising to the Klink where the canopy opened and let shafts of light in.

In one medium depth slow run a number of fish were rising and after catching a few palm sized wild fish I was not prepared for what happened next. My klink was engulfed and after a battle in the jungle I netted a Brownie of about 1.5lb. The fish was a fully finned beauty with a kyped jaw. 

I went on to net a few more smaller fish and watched a couple more large fish holding station in deep undercuts which were impossible to cast to without spooking. Three years on and I watched perhaps the same Tawny Owl I had seen on my last visit quietly glide up the stream channel only to be harassed by song birds on its landing. The Yeo is not fishing for the faint hearted and requires a commando approach. I returned to the car exhausted and wet but glad I had made a return trip.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Making the most of a few sunny hours...

Three of us made a visit to a wonderful Somerset stream on a showery and windy morning. We managed a few hours before heavy rain and coloured water made for difficult fishing. Most fish came to the nymph although fish were rising and a well presented dry brought the odd hook up if not in the net. Lots of small upwings coming off together with the odd large Mayfly. Kingfishers very active and Dippers out with young on the River Chew already.

Red plays a nice Brownie to the net.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

More Lilliput Rainbow fishing...

A couple more sessions on the Upper Chew has resulted in plentiful catches of Rainbow parr to about 8 inches. This has been interspersed with the odd wild Brown one of which one was a particularly good fish for this little stream. Black Knats have been giving me some frustration when I run out of flies in the box. The fish seem pre-occupied with them at times. The meadows have been alive with Damsels and Orange Tip butterflies attracted to the Lady's Smock. Recent rain has kept water levels up well whilst the Kingfishers are busy tending young in the nests high in the undercut banks.

 Just read an interesting report online from 1997 collating data from the early 90's which suggests very few sustainable populations of Rainbows in the UK - well I have news for you guys you need to refresh your data!

The Upper Chew is acknowledged has having isolated breeding Rainbows but indicates Browns are dominant. Not sure it still stacks up but interesting reading nevertheless.

Monday, 21 April 2014

The Rainbow dilemma

I fished the Upper Chew on a beautiful spring day. Ladies Smock together with Wild Garlic decorated the banks and the stream glistened in the sunlight. The water was clear but flowing well exposing the clean gravel. For a while the pools seemed lifeless but as the warmth of the afternoon approached fish started to dimple and rise in the head of the deeper sections. In the space of about two hours I handed in at least a dozen young Rainbows up to about 8 inches. A rare but welcome sight were a couple of small Brownies. Although the Rainbows livened up the day with their spirited fight I couldn't help but think how this stream must have fared before its incarceration between two reservoirs - it would have been wild Brown Trout heaven without the pressure of cormorants and mink exploiting the local fisheries. After all the Rainbows are no more deserving of being on the stream than Signal Crayfish or Himalayan Balsam that have now become recognised pests in many of our waterways. The saving grace is that this small stretch of river is confined and I don't see parr cropping up regularly where rivers are not subject to the levels of Rainbow exposure this stream has. Perhaps therefore the Upper Chew can viewed as a local treasure which should be cherished as an oasis of North America/Asia within Somerset. My conscience eased now, I have to say I really enjoyed the fishing!

Later on I went in search of our native Brownie on the lower Chew. Unfortunately the previous days rain had coloured the water this far downstream which made fly fishing difficult. However I managed to tempt two nice fish to the surface with a klink on an otherwise quiet stretch of river. Always worth a speculative cast even when there are no fish rising. 

Sunday, 20 April 2014

2014 Easter in Cornwall, where else when the sun comes out...

What a week in Cornwall. Wall to wall sunshine with some nice 3-4 foot clean surf at times resulted in some quality time. Spent some great family days on Crantock where the banks produced some good waves semi sheltered from the light north winds.

Friday, 11 April 2014

2014 First Friday fish on the Chew

Fished my beloved Chew for first time this afternoon joining a few other fisherman on the bank. It didn't disappoint in the glorious spring sunshine. An early work finish with no pressing family commitments conspired to give me a few precious and rewarding hours on the river. Water clear but a reasonable flow with some lovely gravel bars emerging after the turbulent winter. Early fly life was abundant with numerous rising fish. Mid afternoon saw a wild Brownie taking the nymph this was followed by a nice out of season Grayling that was quickly and carefully returned. 

As the afternoon progressed the Dace were evident rising to the dry regularly but rarely hooking on the Size 14. Loads of wild trout parr were taking the fly which was nice to see bearing in mind the number Rainbows that constantly appear on this stretch.

As the afternoon wore on a lovely big Brownie fell to the nymph which was followed by another good Grayling. Last pool I fished exclusively on the dry catching half a dozen mid sized trout that were clearing the water to take the fly. Its a good feeling looking looking upstream into the riffle: seeing and hearing silhouetted fish break surface while the evening birdsong tells you spring really is here. One downside was that my botched Aquasure wader repair has not done the trick. I am running out of options as to where the water ingress is coming from and feel the need to invest. 

Saturday, 5 April 2014

2014 Trout Season opener in the West Country

First trip out closer to home Red and I fished the Midford Brook and Wellow.  Red was first in to the fish on an Olive Klink. A dry fly enthusiast in all but the most difficult of conditions Red connected with a number of good sized wild brownies further upstream of me. I hooked with a good fish on the nymph but its silvery flanks led me to believe it was not a trout and it shook the hook in the fast current before I could net it. In the run Red had gained success I immediately netted a nice brownie which hammered the dry. What a great start. Shortly afterwards a real surprise a nice Grayling which came to the Klink again - I had no idea they were in this stream. 

After a few hours we moved up to the Wellow which I have to say looked pristine with a good clear flow and plenty of rising fish not to mention a number of small upwinged flies coming off. Stealthy fishing netted me a fair few beautiful brownies both to the dry on the shallower runs and to the nymph sunk deep into the pools. I love the meandering nature of this little brook as you turn a corner and see a dimpling in the corner of a pool. It taxes the mind of where to place that fly to seamlessly cover the fish and the all important first cast has to count.   The weather remained fairly dry if overcast for the day - its just a shame my Greys GRXi waders one season on couldn't give me the same comfort!