Tuesday 12 November 2013

Grayling season

The grayling season is well underway here in the UK, well technically it has been since July but most of us only really concentrate on them once the trout fishing stops in October. The initial part of the season has already been kind to me and I have landed 3 fish over 2lbs from two different rivers. The River Test in Hampshire gave me the first two large ladies in a ten minute flurry of action on the Wherwell beat, my French leader was tightened by a lot of grayling that day as the fish have not been pressured heavily yet and were not as choosy as they can be.

I have also been lucky enough to land my first Welsh 2lber from the River Irfon in mid Wales. It put up a good account of itself and I was pretty sure I would lose it as it twisted and coiled in the strong currents but thankfully my buddy Nick was there with the net and the result is below. 2lbs 2oz of prime Welsh grayling.

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Nick also did rather well that day, but did not quite hit the magic 2lb mark.

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Thursday 8 August 2013

Quick update

Well it has been a long time since anything has been written here so a quick update just to get the ball rolling again. Lately the fishing has been dire, high water temperatures couple with low levels have left what little sport can be found in the very late evenings. I did get out a few times but it was a struggle with a few fish caught each time more by luck than judgement.

Early season was a different kettle of fish however. Fantastic would be an understatement, I wish I had kept a journal to keep track of the large fish caught but it was obscene and the cream of the crop was an absolute brute. The fish were feeding hard on a mixture of large brook duns and large dark olives and a lot of the sport was with the dry fly, nearly all my big fish were caught on a simple CDC dun pattern in a size 16 or 18.

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Plenty of good fish were caught between us on dry flies early season (up until the middle of June) unfortunately the lack of water and heat soon put a stop to that for July with the fishing becoming rock hard.

The brute I mentioned was a real warrior, Nick was the first to hook him but he bore straight down under a rock and managed to snap the hook clean in half. I was luckier when my time came, he behaved himself and the fight was strong, long but not spectacular with no really long runs or snags.

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6lbs 2oz of solid cock fish to crown a brilliant start to the new season.

The best fishing in the weather was in the smaller streams where the mountain springs kept the water that bit cooler and the fish feed that much harder. They are pretty places and filled with little jewels of wild trout.

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Thankfully we have just had a period of very hevay rain and a flood is just subsiding, the water has been cooled and the fish are feeding once more. A quick trip last night found fish feeding hard with more fish than I deserve caught in my 3 hour session with a couple over the magical 2lb mark including one that was closer to 3. Back to normal then!

Thursday 18 April 2013

The Airflo Story

This video has been doing the rounds lately and I found it really interesting so thought I would share it.

Follow Airflo's Production Manager Richard Wothers for a behind the scenes look into the development and production of Airflo fly lines. An on the water and in the factory tour explaining Airflo's patented materials and processes.

I am actually doing a test of one of their latest lines at the moment, the SuperDri Elite 5wt floater, comparing it to my trusted Rio Trout LT, and preliminary results are good. It is a lovely casting line, floats nice and high but does not sit as straight as the Rio on the water. This problem may well be solved after it has had a chance for a bit more stretching as it was noticeably better by the end of my session with it (after 4 2lb+ fish gave it a nice stretch for me!).

I will put up a full review of it soon and will be using it a lot over the coming weeks as the business end of my new toy, a Guideline LPXe 9ft 5wt which is a phenomenal rod.

Sunday 3 March 2013

Think I may owe John Tyzack a beer

Had a session for opening day today and had a memorable start to the season with some crackers on the dry. They refused my normal split wing CDC dun but a change to a JT olive (size 17) did the trick for fish feeding hard on LDO duns.

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2lbs 10oz of hard fighting brown with the JT olive in it's lip

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Simple flies are ALWAYS the best!

Cheers JT, definitely owe you a pint


Saturday 9 February 2013

Snowshoe emergers

I have just started playing with snowshoe hare as an alternative to CDC in my fly box, tonight's results are a definite improvement on some of the earlier ones!

Size 14 LDO emerger

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Size 19 emerger
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Also knocked up a couple of caddis pupa, still not found an imitation I am really happy with but getting closer.
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Monday 21 January 2013

Why Pink?

I am sure those of you crazy enough to venture in to the tundra recently (I most certainly was) had a few bright flies with you. All year I try to fish imitatively, well almost, with drab browns and olives being wrapped around hooks to give some suggestion of life. However when that thermometer plunges and my mind turns to winter grayling I break out the flash.

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Anecdotally the evidence seems to be there, most of my grayling recently have fallen to the above pink grub and it could not be much brighter. The flash in the abdomen is enhanced by wrapping the semi translucent material over a layer of silver tinsel, the photo does not do the effect real justice so you will have to trust me. Most of my friends have been doing the same as well, luminous Czech nymphs, tinsel jigs, hot spot pheasant tails the list goes on. 

This got me thinking, are we catching more fish on bright flies because we are fishing mainly bright flies, or is there something more to this… my research seems to suggest there may be but I am not sure I understand it.

During the summer trout eyes detect light mainly using a pigment called rhodopsin and have low levels of a second pigment called porphyropsin. In the winter the ratios are flipped, the flip occurs due to changes in both temperature and shorter daylight hours. Interestingly it also occurs in salmon and seatrout as they prepare to enter freshwater again.

All well and good but what does it all mean Basil, well I am not sure. Porphyropsin absorbs light at a longer wavelength than rhodopsin, the highest sensitivity for rhodopsin is in the blue/green area and this shifts more solidly in to the green area. This also means that in the winter fish eyes should be more sensitive to red (and therefore pink) light and less to blue. Could this be the reason for the success of pink and hot orange flies in the winter? I don’t really know. All I can say for sure is for the next six weeks there will be a lot of pink on my leader.

Monday 8 October 2012

Eyebrook Competition

Last weekend I did something I have never tried before, I fished a reservoir competition. My dad needed a boat partner and he scraped the bottom of the barrel and asked me to join him, me being a bloke who fishes a reservoir perhaps once a year and never really does very well. But we only bloody won it, luckily for us it was a bloody hards weekends fishing for the two day comp, I think the average for a PAIR of anglers was 1-2 fish per day. We only managed 2 on the first day and were put near the bottom of the table, we struggled for mosty of the day but then found a shoal of fish right at the death to get us on the board. The next day we went back to the same spot and managed to do well when others were struggling and managed to finish the day with 10 fish and won the competition by over 5lbs.

I must say here that I did not enjoy the fishing, our successful tactics were pulling lures on Di7 lines at a rate of knots, in my eyes fishing should not leave me exhausted at the end of the day, I would rather feel refreshed after my fishing thank you. In fact I now have bruises and a swollen hand from the weekend!

On the upside the prize was a weeks fishing holiday on the fantastic River Suir in Ireland, and that is some fishing I can get excited about! The pain was well worth the reward.

So if any of you comp guys out there want a boat partner with a 100% success rate in comps you know who to ask, can anyone say beginners luck?

Saturday 22 September 2012

Tackle Review – Airflo Streamtec Nantec 10ft 4/5#



Got this rod from Fishtec, they are a company that I get a lot of my gear from now. Partly because I know one of the guys that works there but mainly because I think the delivery is reasonable and the service is fast-
Airflo streamtec fly rods

After hearing  a lot of good reviews about the Airflo rods I decided that my next rod investment would be from their line. My two main river rods are both Grey's Streamflexes and I love them, however I am a student again now and could not afford to purchase a third, I needed a cheaper alternative and this rod seemed to fit the bill.

Description from Airflo: 

The natural evolution for Airflo's ever popular Streamtec range was the addition of Nano Technology into the blank, making it lighter, stronger and even more responsive than previously possible.
The Streamtec range of rods has a silky progressive action that works exceptionally well at short to mid range and due to the soft tip light tippets can be used without fear of being broken off. The 10' models are particularly useful for either Czech or French nymphing techniques. So if it’s a river or steam rod your after there’s something in the Streamtec Nantec range for you.

  • Single leg chrome rings
  • Lined stripper rings
  • Custom reel seat
  • Cordura Travel tube
  • High grade cork handle
Description from me: 

First impressions of this rod were all positive, the cork is as good as that on some of my more expensive rods and the matt finish is seriously sexy, all in all a nice aesthetically pleasing rod.
I got a 10’ 4/5# mainly for fishing techniques such as the duo and Czech nymph styles on the river and this is where it has been tested the past few weekends. It will soon also get an outing on Eyebrook reservoir where it will be used as my dry fly rod if anything is up on the top.

On the river it handled itself quite nicely, it handled medium range casts with ease and has a nice medium/tip action which gives good confidence when bending in to the fish. Currently there is a 4 weight line on the rod which in my opinion is not ideal, once a good length was out it casts really well but at short range (which is most of my fishing) it is pretty unresponsive. I am sure upping the line weight to a 5 will sort this and one has been ordered so I will report back on this when it arrives.
My only complaints about the rod are that it is a little heavy after extended use, almost a whole ounce heavier than the Streamflex equivalent from Greys (4.2 vs. 3.3 oz) and the handle is a bit chunky although others may find this comfortable I am more familiar with a thinner grip.

For the price I think the rod is phenomenal to be honest, £110 makes it much cheaper than the Streamflex (£240). The nantec may be half the price but it is certainly not half the rod, it is attractive and really nice to cast, once I get a 5# line on I hope the short range casts will be as good as those longer. Definitely a good investment.