Saturday, 19 April 2014

A glimpse of summer.



Spring fishing days are usually days charged with mixed fortunes and blessings.   The anticipation born out of long cold winter nights so rarely is fulfilled . Instead those cold rivers and colder winds all to frequently produce a day that just teases our expectations of rising fish and hatching upwings .  Friday was my birthday a day that as well as marking another year older also is a reminder that April is passing and that May that wonderful month of balmy days and warm evenings will soon be here.  





In May the rivers whilst still running cool will be moving with rising fish . Insects will be hatching and the fish will start to remember which way to look.  Friday was a day when for a brief moment the river hinted at those days. One corner of the river protected from the cold wind, for just a brief moment shed its winter coat and came out to play.   I sat on the bank top and watched the trout in the shallows ,   Rising fish were there. One in particular took my eye a good fish more than a pound maybe a pound and a half and from my vantage point clearly a wild fish.  It has found itself a good position below an overhanging tree.  Protected from view and from the anglers cast from below and from upstream.   I will be planning its downfall this summer now I have marked its position.




 Now looking back what I am left with is a bunch of memories , mental snapshots of that spring day laid out in my mind comic strip style like a story board rehearsal for the main feature in May and June.  A kingfisher heading of downstream  the trace of colour leaving an image in your eyes like headlights at night that leave a trace even when they have passed..  The swallows nests under the bridge thinking how soon they will be full again and that perfect image of that big brown trout turning in the clear water heavy shouldered and dark spotted holding station near its shelter and the colours of a perfect tiny brown trout that in the hand seems so vivid yet in the stream so perfectly camouflaged .  Yes its nearly here....




Monday, 14 April 2014

April sunshine


I stole a few hours on Sunday afternoon.   It was one of those days that when looked at through the windows it looks like summer is here ,  but when you step outside you realise that the wind is cold enough to cut you in two. But  It was a beautiful day in a chilly sort of way.  Also the wind that was blowing down the valley was of course always in your face  making casting interesting.



I arrived and put on all available clothing and ventured forth ,  the wind was whipping up a fair wave on the longer pools and spotting rising fish wasnt going to be easy . Assuming of course that any would be looking up.  Anyway I decided that as I hadnt fished this stretch of water for 20 years I decided that a walk along the bank would be a good refresher as well as warming me up. 




The countryside is just starting to really get going now, all the spring flowers are in full bloom.  Trees are all coming into leaf and wildlife seems to be waking up everywhere.


After wandering around for an hour or two with just a couple of fish to show which were gleaned with a nymph from various runs.  I headed back to my car for a drink and the possibility of heading of downstream.




This long pool was the view from the car.  Whilst I was stood watching I thought I saw a solitary rise.  Very tight to the bank , but it could have been a wave hitting bankside vegetation .   I continued to study the area and as the wind rose in strength again there seemed to be another splash tight against the bank.  The area was the small patch of water around the tiny island of debris and leaves on the inside of the bend in the picture above.  At first I dismissed the possibility of rising fish as when the wind dropped for a minute or two there was nothing to see in the calmer water.  But then as the wind picked up I was teased with the same possibility.  Eventually I got in and worked my way upstream to where the shadow on the river is on the opposite bank in the photo. When I was there I realised that the when the wind did pick up it was blowing stonefly of the little island and the fish were mopping them up .   I ended up with four the larger fish with the outsize paddle tail which looked like an overwintered stocky  and several smaller wildies .




By the time  I had caught them four I had put down all further activity so I had a wade upstream to the little exposed bank of debris.  It was as can be seen below, as well as many stoneflies there were a few olives .   How easily  I could have missed this little pocket of hatching bugs. They were the only hatching flies I saw on the day .  It just gos to show how isolated these small pockets of activity can be. 


















Friday, 4 April 2014

Clear as Gin and twice the price...

The title is an old analogy but has more than a thread of truth to it.   I have recently joined a club which has water on one of the east Yorkshire chalk streams .  I am sure that the stream like so many  is a shadow of its former self and that predation by otters and the black plague has taken its toll.  This together with water abstraction and climate change has changed a once pristine trout filled stream beyond redemption but.......



 For me it is the realisation of a long held fascination.  I have fly fished for nearly 40 years and have fished a chalk stream on only a tiny number of occasions.  Since I first picked up a fly rod the chalk streams have been hailed as the ultimate and so the opportunity to have a rod on such a  stream was to much to resist. So the opportunity was seized.

Today a dull dank day in early April was my first day on the bank.  Logic told me that I should wait till the month end or even May the hawthorns would be about then and the fish would be looking up.  But like a kid with a shiny present on their birthday I didnt want to hear wait till the summer to open it I wanted it now.  So with an optimistic view of the weather I took to the bank.  Tying  a size 18 cdc f fly to the tippet at the car I was making a statement it was a fish on the dry or no bloody fish at all.


Today there was a cool breeze in fact I would go as far as saying that even on a stifling august afternoon there is always a cool breeze on the wolds anyone who has fished there will testify. As I walked upstream the first fish I saw was darting upstream spreading panic as it went.  Note to myself.  The water is clear dont let the buggers see you..






After half an hour or so of taking in the scenery  and the signs of summer including the mallards nest  and looking at the circling buzzards and bands of goldfinches I was relaxed and then I saw them . Those distinctive expanding rings of rising fish not just one but a few under an overhanging tree and near to a small inlet they were small but they were rising.  I would like to say the the first cast was a brilliantly executed cast that landed perfectly and was instantly taken because of my perfect presentation .  The truth however is that my first cast hooked a cattle fence on the back cast and ended up having to change the tippet and the fly.  Whilst I was doing that I became aware of another nearer fish rising steadily.


The cast that followed was decent the fly drifted drag free for long enough to deceive the trout that with the enthusiasm of youth fell to my deception.



After that fish a couple more enthusiastic small wild trout followed suit and then optimistic nymphs deceived a couple of stockies in the deeper pools but that little small wildy was the days highlight.   The summer is looking brighter already,,,