Tuesday, 9 February 2016

All change and Under starters orders.....

The expression "every cloud has a silver lining" sometimes is hard to beleive. True enough at the end of last summer when the rivers were at an all time low. Then the idea of a long wet winter really was very appealing and something we all wished for .  But I reckon even in this drier corner of the country we have had enough now.  In my local beck this is just one of a number of landslips caused by recent rain . The ground is saturated now and every new rainshower just makes the chances of more of these even greater .  You will see that  some of our dedicated club members have already started to shift some of it. Our club is fortunate to have a small group of dedicated individuals that do more than their fair share of graft. Whilst you cant get many of the members to a work party for love nor money.

The run of is dumping more mud and silt into the beck.  A shame as one benefit of all the high water has been the washing away of the deposited leaves and muck from the last few dry years.  We havent had a decent flush through for quite a while  .
One real loser in this watery battle has been Chas Burns of Hooks and Tackle in York.  The devastation caused by the floods and the subsequent loss of his trading premises has sadly meant Chas has closed down the shop.  So Chas and Ted his resident pooch are no longer providing that haven for me when visiting York with the wife,  Its a big loss to the local anglers . But Chas is still intending to operate a web based shop and of course still building fine rods. One of which is an order for me .... Its a sad thought that the real "pop in and have a natter" style of angling shop are becoming an ever rarer thing replaced by the online stores and chain shops. 

Despite the gloom and the mixed fortunes of many months of rain on not very many weeks . Things on the river bank are improving. A weekend walk down by the beck to inspect the damage had a few things that are definate signs of spring,  This clump of snowdrops were stood waiting for summer. 

The catkins hung like so many lambs tails, Even the hawthorn buds are breaking.  The hedgrows were full of bullfinches a treat to see at any time of year.  Not sure about you readers but just been by a well loved stream has a real cathartic effect on me.  often in the high days of mid summer when the early season urgency has dissapated a fishing trip ends up been more of a walk with a rod in my hand,    Well at this time of year I have the walk but just dont bother with the rod.

Even Ruby was inspecting the newly imported gravels and checking for spawning redds.  The truth , I am afraid is that most of the winters spawning redds will have been washed out by the floods.  But at least the gravels have been scoured clean of silt and debris.

This is the same bit of beck last Autumn when the river was on its bones and we imported a load of gravel to improve spawning habitat

My usual invertebrate monitoring site is still under to much water , But soon the weather will change , This month sees club AGMs subscriptions due and my thoughts are starting to turn towards the season again .  It cant come soon enough..

Monday, 25 January 2016

A hotel room prayer

It has been four months since I last wet a line tonight in my hotel room I think it got to me.........

 Our father who art in the met office
Hallowed be thy name
let no more waters come
The floods will be done and no more dredging done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our chance to wet a line
Forgive us our trespasses with grayling and fly
As we forgive them who practice tenkara
lead us not towards the squirmy worm
But deliver us from evil
For thine is the season
The rise and the take
Catch and release for ever and ever

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Flooding concerns.....

Despite saying that I wouldnt be posting for a while the flooding that has so devastated areas of Yorkshire and the rest of the North over the last few days stirred me to put the metaphorical pen to paper .  I have huge sympathy with those that have been directly affected by the flooding and hope that those poor unfortunate victims are both asisted now and will in the future be better protected,.

But I fear that once again the opinion of how to provide that protection will make us  hear the clamour for higher longer and more expensive flood defenses . Which I also fear will do little else but shift the problem further down the catchment.  The same with dredging  a hugely expensive and futile operation , especially without correct upland and famland management to avoid silt erosion and depostion.

The arguements and expert opions are well known and well publisised but seem largely to fall upon deaf ears .  The few that seem to be willing to put their heads above the parapets and dare to suggest that perhaps the answer may lie in upland management and holding the rain where it lands are dismissed as radicals .  Yet the experts agree and the governement ignores them, desperate not to upset the landowner and farming lobby . The governent not only denies the experts it even kills its own EA report which states that dredging is not the answer


The health of our watercourses gos beyond the angling community, its wildlife and the people that live along and around it .  Isnt it about time when we can send men into space that we learn to manage the rainfall that falls on the land,

All that water in the picture is simply rain that fell on the land and then we contrived to allow it to run off the land quickly and flow through a network of rivers that we have managed into highly effective drains , the conclusion is obvious . It reaches a pinch point which is usually a valley bottom  around a settlement and bursts its banks . Its obvious to me surely its obvious to everyone.   Ignore the global warming and climate change red herring the facts are plain and simple but it seems the government just cant see them.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Having a bit of a break... but as they say.. I`ll be back

If you find yourself landing on my blog for the next few  months . Its entirely possible that you will see absolutely nothing new.  Now this may make a refreshing change for you or you may feel a need to rush about wailing knowing that one less thing is available to break the shack nasties otherwise known as the close season.

This winter through till the spring I have taken a contract to work for a client who will send me to various far flung corners of the country. Beleive me from what I have seen so far it doesnt get much far flunger than  Somerset .  Oh and I know flunger isnt a word but I kind of like it.  If you are from Zummerset dont be offended you know how us Yorkshiremen are for other counties...

Anyway that and the fact that I have just lost my mum after she suffered a long battle with dementia has rather left me in the state of mind that I really dont think I will feel like writing much for a while.

Should a I awake from the torpur sooner than the spring . I shall get back to it.  As it is have a tremendous Christmas and for those hardy souls amongst you still fishing , Tight lines.....I will leave you with a pic of what it`s all about.....

Friday, 16 October 2015

Funny how things turn out.

Yesterday was a lesson in how you never know how things are going to turn out.  After only realising at the weekend that my daughters passport was out of date and us travelling abroad very soon ( I know I know such things shouldnt happen but its a long story) . Anyway I had to reschedule my already very busy works diary around when I could get an appointment at the Durham passport office to get a 4hr passport turnaround.  I really wasnt a happy chap knowing that my day was ruined and that I would be hanging around Durham for at least 4 hours.

But then the penny dropped and I remembered that I had this spring paid to join a small angling club up that way with fishing on the river leven.  The leven was where I caught my very first trout on a fly way back in the 1970s and havent fished it since .  It was an itch that needed scratching .  It would be about 30minutes to drive from Durham to the river and I reckoned I could easy squeeze in a few hours fishing. Id heard the stream had grayling.

Well kit was loaded and following my passport office visit I shot of down the A1 . I had never fished or even seen the stretch of river and arrival it was certainly a little larger than I remembered but it was a long way downstream of my old stamping ground.  Parking  at the bank I was foolish enough to answer a phone call and ended up back in work mode for 30 minutes.  I then got kitted up and headed off to inspect the stream. Very wild very overgrown and steep banks but it did look fishy.  After walking downstream for a while I fished one run and blanked ,  A little further down I tried another nice looking run. Straight away I was into a small grayling then a better one of probably a pound which hook pulled when at the net.  Another couple of casts working up through the pool resulted in no fish but my feet told me where the deep point was in the pool and I probably had walked through the best of the fish. 

Anyway after walking downstream a while and only having a couple of tiny trout to show I thought I would head back to the car.  As I passed the pool I had caught in earlier I just thought I would work through it again as I reckon I had not fished the best line the first time.  Second cast in and wallop, trout I thought as something very strong hooped the 9ft 3wt around.  The as the grey flank showed I though shit better be careful.   After a fair scrap I only realised just how big and fat the fish was when I drew it to the net and realised its head was halfway up the handle before its tail was over the lip.  At the second attempt I netted it . Note to myself buy a bigger scoop net. The scales went exactly 2lb1 oz. Couldnt beleive it.. Waited a long time for a 2lbr and to catch one in a Northern stream made it even sweeter.  After writing last month that the season hadnt seen one notable fish I would like to retract that statement. PS sorry about poor pics, I had such low expectations of the day I didnt even take my camera, So pics courtesy of my iphone.