Sunday 26 May 2013

Wild Brown Trout Fever Part Two.

 I can't believe just how bad the weather has been this year so far, really can not fathom it out, we are in May and nearly June, today though for once the weather gods were shining down on me and I felt happy to just be out with a fly rod on such a pleasant day, so all that was needed was willing fish to take a liking to my plethora of flies.

 It wasn't long either for things to start happening and by 8am I had my first Trout on the bank, a little female it looked like around the 6oz mark, good little bit of sport really is fun on my 7ft brook rod, never want the scraps to end but the way things were looking I'd have plenty more battles to overcome before it was home time for me, as I left the first one to recover in the net I flicked my blue flash damsel back down to roughly the same spot and a brownie a shade bigger smashed the fly at the same time leaping over a foot out of the water, would loved to have caught that on video, wow.

 Not 5 minutes after releasing that pair I had another two Trout with the biggest being about 10ozs, not large but four Trout in just a little over 10 minutes was a great start and just so entertaining, but now it was time to head downstream to find something that would fight back considerably, my next port of call was a cracking looking piece of river where it sped right up and had a deep recess on the far bank, in that recess I saw a good sized shape but couldn't work out what it was, a Chub or a Trout, it took a few flings with the fly to get the fish interested and when it did finally take it I became locked into a very intense fight, with the Trout stripping the entire of my fly line off the spool!, down to my fluorescent backing I seriously had to try and turn it back up stream, it wasn't for about 3 minutes that I saw the fish I was playing the battle 30 yards downstream, as the fish tired I gained all my line back and she swam straight into the awaiting net, nearly as knackered as I was after that one, thought I'd hooked a freight train.

A lovely high 3lber, cracking fish.
 I can't get over the sport these fish provide, they have been my saviour this spring. Chalk stream Trout are fantastic fun, anyone who hasn't tried I recommend it highly and go as light as you dare, the lighter the more exhilarating every fight is. Back to the fishing and after that latest fish to my collection I carried on down and managed another two lovely Trout to the 1lb8oz region, all of which so far had fallen to the same fly but one, which was a daddy long legs.
 When I got near the bottom of my normal beat I fished a stretch that I normally walk straight past because of the density of the foliage, but today I had a pair of Chino's on to protect my legs from the potent stinging nettles which some of which were reaching above my 6"1" !, like being on a trek through the Thai jungle, when I finally got to river, the next task was to find the fish and then a suitable angle to cast at without hooking all the shrubbery behind me, after trailblazing for 10 minutes I took a couple of minutes to rest up and eat some of my chocolate hobnobs when an enormous Trout leapt out of the water right in front of me, for no reason from what I could think of, but that spurred me into gear immediately, the Trout was in the region of 5lb if not bigger, a large fish for this system so needless to say I put my olive green/blue flash damsel back on as it had done so well today.
Not 5lb, more like 3lb 3oz.
 The large Trout that leapt out had vanished and I managed to cast blind and didn't see any other fish when the line got ripped from my hand as I was retrieving the fly, a savage take which caught me totally unaware but it was another good fight, exactly what I expect of these fish now.
 But the best looking fish was to come but not necessarily the best thing I've seen all day, I'll let the pictures of this beautiful 3lb14oz Brown Trout tell you why, as far as Trout go this was immaculate in every way. 
Need I say more??, oh the water was bloody freezing!.
 But towards the end of the day, a morning and afternoon's great sport and 10 Brown Trout landed and returned safely I was treated to something I've never seen before and managed to get quite a lot of photo's, now I am definitely no Bill Oddie or am certainly not a bird person, but for the Kingfisher I'll make an exception, truly pretty birds, the only shame was my lens couldn't get me closer to the action but these pictures will definitely do. A great spectacle, what a treat.

2 Kingfishers hovering outside the nest.

One of the kingfishers doing what they do best.

 I spent around an hour just watching them, diving on the shoals of 3spined sticklebacks that line the margins and hovering above the surface attending to what I believe is there nesting site, then flying down past me and then back up river constantly, for these photos I just put the DSLR onto burst mode and held the trigger, these are just two of around 40 taken in the hour or so spent there.
 I did also have just one last fish that was in the shape of a Chub just over 3lb but it looked like it had seen better days, it must have had a very rough spawning session this year, lumps missing out of it and still very red and sore on both flanks with a chunk taken out of it's head aswell, after putting that Chub back at around 6pm it had been a long day with more 10 hours spent out on the bank without taking a seat for more than five minutes at a time.
What a days fishing, 10 Trout to 3lb14oz and a Chub over 3lb, taking my Trout tally to 29 in 7 trips.

Saturday 25 May 2013

Time to play catch up.

 The last two weeks have been pretty busy at work but I had managed to squeeze out a few hours on the bank in search of Carp and Crucian Carp during the day and Eels during the night, with the Carp and Crucians I tried a couple of different fisheries, one of which was new to me and it didn't disappoint with a couple of Common Carp caught but nothing large but no Crucians unfortunately, with the biggest between 7-8lbs and a small solitary Perch, closer to home I had two trips out early in the mornings with one being a total blank with not even a touch and the other trip producing just the one Carp around the 10lb mark again nothing substantial but it gave a good account of itself which is always welcome even if it was the smallest in the shoal that decides to push two 20lb + Carp out of the way to snaffle my bait, sods law that is.

 The Eel fishing has been fairly dead so far with two trips out so far in search of the much maligned species, although I haven't put a lot of time into it, with the time put in I know the rewards will be reaped, an angling pal of mine had a 5lb15oz Eel on Tuesday night whilst fishing for Carp that took a mainline Sel boilie on a Zig Rig, so I know they are there to be had, I hope my lucks in.

The Eel dinner bell had rung with no takers.
Great fun on the Centre pin.
Nearly a double and a lovely golden colour.
Where are the Crucians??. "Show me where", please.

 Now for the instalment of the Jungle warfare take on wild Brow Trout fly fishing.

Sunday 12 May 2013

Wild Brown Trout fever.

 As the coarse fishing season on the river is fast approaching, my time that I've been putting in to the fly fishing sport will quickly disappear and be spent on other species, but whilst that time hasn't yet arrived my quest for these proper wild brownies is still on.

 With some dodgy weather coming around today I fancied getting out early to try and miss it, the tactics that I have deployed over the last month or so have proved to be devastating with 16 Brown Trout to 4.9 caught in just five trips, so I chose to stick with what I know works.

 Considering the water I have been concentrating my efforts on is very small but brilliantly intimate I feel the return for my hard work has been extremely rewarding and I have encountered some fantastic battles off some pristine and quality fish, also with the mandatory homework done and a couple of trips just scouting was to simply understand the waterway and how to best approach it, over the last 10 years I have done this every season and this is reason why I feel I have done so well, 10 years ago there was maybe six Trout every mile or so, now that figure maybe tripled and some I know are approaching the dizzy heights of 6lb + and I have heard rumours of bigger but the fisherman's tale will forever remain fact or fiction, but there's nothing to say why not.

 My late morning/ early afternoon trip was a case of the missed takes, with the two being totally fluffed - both Trout I saw rise up for my Daddy long legs fly and take it with some serious tenacity but my line management hindered me in the early stages of the day whilst I accustomed myself to the ever changing swirly wind that plagued me all day and if it wasn't the failure to hook them it was the impossible positioning of the others.

 This Brownie was anything between 3.8 to 4lbs and good sized fish but casting to it was definitely not going to happen as a tree line behind me prevented me from doing so, but on my travels downstream I came across a pukka looking swim that funnily enough I never fish as I always travel on the other side and it folks off so I never fish it but today I decided to travel the west bank for once and I'm very glad I did as I came to this quaint little weir which screamed Trout and on I think my third cast my reel screamed off with a Trout in tow, a very spirited scrap in the shallow weir pool, it took around two minutes to overcome it and she was soon resting up in my net but during that fight another Trout between 3 and 4lb chased my fish around until the net went in then it darted back into the weir.

Another proper Brownie at 1lb 10oz.
 After reviving the scrapper I checked my tippet for any abrasions, with that all clear I cast back out and braced myself for a proper fight if I was to latch into that one I saw chasing the first one around the pool, I stuck with the same fly as well hoping that it would still chow down on my perfectly presented imitation, with in 15 seconds I saw the line shoot forward as the Trout took the fly, I immediately struck and as I expected, all hell broke loose as I had hooked the Trout I see just five minutes prior but I didn't see it for a minute or so as it just kept it's head down in the white water trying most things in the book to shake me off and even tail walked in the hope of busting me up, but I held firm and after a powerful fight he was mine, yes another male!.

 3lb 7oz of brute strength and what a fish not my biggest this season but I think one of the best looking, no marks and the colour was superb, exactly what I came out for, always a good tonic for a long week ahead of work. Again that lovely specimen went back to carry on it's legacy and hopefully make some new additions, after that excitement it dried up fairly sharpish, I didn't see a Trout for over a mile if not close to two miles, they must have been on the move a lot recently, unfortunately I bumped into a couple of anglers again fishing with feeder tactics after Chub and no net!, I kindly reminded them of what they were doing was illegal but seemed to only have one thing on their mind and was to carry committing an offense with no care as to what they were doing and then the father turned to me and said "I don't understand how you can fly fish here there's no Trout or Salmon here", I thought to myself, "oh ignorance is bliss, isn't it just, only if he knew", my reply was that "at least I was fishing the correct method at the correct time of the year", If only the EA were just a little more pro-active at obscure times of the week they will nab so many more wrong do'ers.

 My day didn't finish there though and I did have one more Trout and that came on one of my last casts of the afternoon, when I flicked a olive green and orange flash damsel downstream and drew it up through a small shoal of Chub a good spotty nailed it and in the very fast water I struggled to bank it so I teased the fish through the flow up above the inlet where the water was much calmer, another 2lb + Trout landed.

 2lb 13oz the further downstream the Trout the more silvery they are.
 I just released that fish and the rain started that heralded the end of the trip and just a shade over a month until the season for everything else starts, can't wait but it's gone very quickly I admit. Now it's 19 Brown Trout in 6 trips, with a majority over 2lb and at least half a dozen over 3lb and the solo 4lb.


Monday 6 May 2013

The boys are back in town......

 ......Fluff chucking Part Five, over the last few weeks I've been really hooked on the wild Brown Trout, so naturally I went out in search of more but the only thing missing from my recent trips is a specimen Trout, these are really hard to come by recently for the simple fact is that they are spreading out as they get older and becoming more territorial hence I'm only seeing the occasional 'big one' here and there rather than shoals of three to eight in small pockets that would average 2-3lbs the large ones now rarely keep other company.

 The expedition was the same as usual but with a lot less time as I had to be somewhere in the evening and I only reached my first spot at just gone midday so I didn't leave myself with much time to lose, I started the day with a selection of wet's and dry's fishing a pool where Trout do congregate albeit usually small ones but the occasional beast does slip in and out so I always work it just hoping to tease one into nailing the fly but after ten minutes or so, with not a touch I decided to move on and try elsewhere, casting from the bank does have it's difficulties, within five casts I lost two flies in the vegetation and trees lining a path behind me so I started to only pick the swims where the casting was easy and loss of tackle kept to a minimum.

 So easy swims is what I picked and it wasn't long before I had my first fish on, taken on the Mayfly it was the first of the season for me and a very pretty one it was too, at a massive 8oz or so, it was the smallest I think for me as well this season but they all count and touch wood in 5 years it will be a 6lb+ target, with that lil guy put back, next cast, I was into another, then another and one more after that too, within 7 casts I took 4 Trout to 1lb 1oz, all  marked really well and nice colouring, plus two of which were young male Brown Trout, you could tell by the small kype forming on the lower jaw, this season I have only caught one male Trout so far, almost all have been females ( no kypes ).

A female Trout 1.1. ( Epoxy buzzer black with a white head ).

 I had decided to change fly in case they wised up and the buzzer never fails on here, so a mix of flies did the business here and a great 15 minutes of fun, fishing with light gear just adds to the fun too, let em scrap, I say. I believed there was more Trout in that shoal to be had but I left the remainder to frolic for another week unhindered, but when it gets quiet I'll be paying them another visit, see if any bigger ones are home.

 Walking around my usual spots I found a variety of swims that had Trout in but they all seemed to look at the fly and expect it to have a hook in it, clever sods aren't they?!, a good half a dozen fish watched my fly land in front of them and all showed a slight bit of interest but no conviction at all, this scenario happen for nearly two hours until a good one came straight up to and sucked in my blue flash damsel, just for me to go and miss it inexplicably, after so much practice that's two in two trips I've fluffed up, just goes to show all the practice in the world doesn't make you exempt from a mistake or two.

 With time though hastily ending my trip, I did have one last chance, that chance came when I walked the same route I do most of the time and always hope to see a fish sitting up and never do but this time there was and it was a Brutus just what I've been searching for, a specimen Brown Trout, now I was actually in a dilemma here as I didn't know what fly to send down to it and on a whim I looked in the edge of the water and noticed some water-boatmen, the closest in my arsenal were daddy long legs flies, so I tied one on to my tippet, did all my line checks and then breathed in deep and cast down the 20yrds required to get within it and hoped it was interested, the closer it got to my fly the more my heart started pumping with adrenaline, as the fly got to within 3 or 4 foot of the fish, the Trout gained that distance in a blink of an eye and the line slammed taught, the take was ferocious and the fight that I endured was the best I've ever had off of a brown Trout without a doubt, an immense fight where at least twice I had to gain 30 feet of line as it stripped it, then thundered back towards me upstream, if you've ever been fly fishing and a fish has done that to you, you will know how hard it is to retrieve the line and keep tension on the fish, as all my flies are barbless due to a strict catch and release policy enforced by most of the fly anglers on this river, any loss of tension could have lost me the fish and that would have been a travesty.

 For about five or six minutes this fight lasted, I was truly amazed and when the fish finally got close to the net I noticed a kype on it, I had hooked a big male. First time of asking he came straight into the net, where I then left it to revive before photographing and weighing I also needed to catch my breath as I had used a fair amount of energy overcoming it, after such a cracking fight he still had plenty of get up and go on the bank too.

 On the scales he went an impressive 4lbs 9ozs, a proper specimen and my biggest for nearly a year, but I know a few larger ones lurk around here somewhere, but for now this amazing creature will certainly do!, after a couple of photo's it was home time for us both.

Who ate all the pies....... sorry I meant flies.


Saturday 4 May 2013

Crucian Fishing at Marsh Farm.

 Over the past few years I have been wondering as to where I could fish for the Crucian Carp as they are not as wide spread as the other King Carp family, I have struggled to find somewhere to have a good chance of coming across one and for quiet a long while now been keeping an eye on Marsh Farm and it's resident Crucian's and also the Yateley complex but today it was Marsh Farm I was to tackle, with quite a lot of research done on the fishery I felt quietly confident in doing ok.

 At just over an hour from my front door to the fishery office/shop it is extremely accessible for me and relatively cheap considering the specimen fish available, on the train up I did a heads or tails as to what lake I'd fish ( Harris or Richardson ), tails it was and followed the wind to peg 23 on Richardson lake, over the years I've done very well for Crucian's nothing of epic proportions by heading to swims where the wind has blow the surface debris which with it will go the food.

 My peg was in a bay and the wind blowing down the lake into my swim everything seemed right, so I got set up and plummeted the depth so that I fished the waggler about 4 inches off the bottom as I believed the fish were probably still a little sluggish and sitting deeper than usual at this time of the year, and I would just deepen it or shallow it up depending where I'd find them, after about 10 minutes I got my first enquiry so I just sat back and waited for the bites to get more clear cut, one thing I know about Crucian Carp is that they are very shy biters and you can miss twenty takes and only hit one, trick is to get them confident, but I was to find out that I had a lot more in my swim than just Crucian's, first hittable bite and I was in to a fish, which decided to stay deep for a while but after a bit of a scrap I got it to the top, it was a Tench around the 2lb mark.

Missing almost all of it's paintbrush tail.

 It was a pleasant surprise to catch so soon on a new fishery, my confidence grew as the late morning turned into the afternoon, with a selection of fish coming to the net, 2 small Perch, 2 small Common Carp and another 5 Tench, two of which I had almost at the same time, the average being a shade under 3lb.

Chunky Common the bigger of the two.

The Tench twins, proper scrappers.

 My float barely stayed still all day which is something I wasn't expecting, most of the other anglers were struggling with two guys fishing to my left packed up early because they couldn't buy a bite, so I guess I was doing something different to everybody else, but also picked up some great tips for fishing the lakes for future reference, but I still hadn't had my target fish and by this time I was on 9 Tench to 3.11, so I changed the depth by 2 inches so I was fishing a little shallower and was met almost instantly with a quick bite which I connected with and I was locked into battle with a big fish and powered through the swim and on the centre-pin which was my choice of reel today I could barely control it and after about 30 seconds the hook pulled, unfortunately I didn't get to see what it was but my hunch was a decent size Carp or a big Tench.

 That coincidentally was the third fish I'd lost in a space of 4 hours, I put it down to striking to early and the bait wasn't taken properly, but it's hard to sit on your hands knowing if you weren't quick enough you'd miss the chance, so I left the swim to settle for a few minutes and then recast, immediately the waggler sailed under and I was in again, the fish again stayed down but it then careered up to the surface and thus showing me it's identity, it was a Crucian !, I then eased off on the pressure as I didn't want to rush it and risk losing it, but I played it cautiously and within a minute she was mine, my first Crucian for over a decade!

 Not one of the beasts that the venue is renowned for but at 1lb 13ozs it was an extremely welcome fish, I've waited years to catch one of these and it was target acquired after 5 hours of fishing and hammering through the Tench population I could rest easy and see if the tactic would bring me any more joy.

 I couldn't stay until closing because I had to get back to London for training at Crystal Palace, so as the afternoon wore on the bites started to slow down and the Perch started to move with earnest grabbing my bait on the drop with every cast so, I changed the depth again so it was an inch off the bottom and after a wait of about twenty minutes my float slid away and was latched into a better Tench which turned out to be the biggest fish of the day at 5lb 2oz, a good end to an unexpected day of quality fishing.

 My overall feeling about the fishery is that it looks very well run, but as a commercial fishery unfortunately the fish aren't in the best condition, which is a shame but I guess with the volume of people fishing it, that comes hand in hand with the pressure and the unfortunate handling of some of the fish by a very small minority, but the Tench do certainly fight well here, great sport and I'll be back in search of a resident beast of a Crucian Carp, they are here just got to find them!.

5lb 2oz Best Tench of the day.

 Daily scorecard: 17 Tench to 5lb 2oz
                           2 Common Carp to 3lb
                           1 Crucian Carp 1lb 13oz
                           4 Perch to 5ozs.

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Stalking for Carp.

 Up bright and early to head out and do some Carp fishing, 5.30am my alarm hadn't even gone off I could hear dad - James Snr already getting ready downstairs so I thought it would be about time to get out of bed and join him.

 Stalking for Carp is the best and only real way to fish for this crafty species, any other way does not seem to give you the same satisfaction as this technique, well that's my opinion, each to there own though I suppose, but finding a fish and waiting to see what it's reaction is and at the same time remaining totally out of view then, picking the correct time to cast and getting the cast perfect first time, because anything less almost always ends up spooking the Carp especially in clear water, but today both my dad and I managed to successfully stalk a Carp out each.

Dad's Carp was the first to be caught when he found a large Common, that was followed in by another 3 or 4 Carp and this one that he caught was one of the other fish and after a good scrap of about 5 minutes this 17lbs 5oz Common was banked.

 Then as the early morning session drew to a close, I did also manage to get a fish in the form of a fantastic looking Mirror Carp which also did put up a great fight, but something very uncanny happened when we weighed this fish just before the photos, the weight was the same as the ol' man's Carp of 17lbs 5oz, we weighed it twice just to double check but it was true the second time as was the first, very uncanny indeed but who cares we both went home all square and an enjoyable mornings fishing and well worth getting out of bed for.

Fluff Chucking Part Four.

 On Tuesday, I popped out for a couple of hours with my fly rod again to use a couple of spare hours and spend some more time in the sun, the wind again was a pain in backside but it's becoming a constant theme with my fly fishing escapades, I started the day using a range of flies, some of which I have just purchased and had arrived in the post just before I was planning to leave, so the timing was great.

 I began my latest quest by starting at the bottom for a change in scenario, but I didn't see an awful lot in the first mile or so that I had walked when I bumped into a Kingfisher working one of the beats, flying up and down at a 100 miles an hour in typical fashion.

 I did manage to get a picture of it but as it was flying away from me, they are so hard to picture and for Mark of 'fishing for memories' to photo the one he did is amazing and I'm not a bird person at all but Kingfisher's are a nice species to see.

Peek-a-boo, I see you, noticed the chest in the branches.

 But after a long walk I did manage to find a Brown Trout and fairly large one as well and it wasn't long before I got into a casting position and had a chuck for it and on the second cast I got a slamming take as the Trout nailed my fly.

 A fight ensued for about 4 minutes after hooking up and it played around quite well in the deeper water, much to my delight and it was a good scrap as ever on the light gear.

  Another quality Brownie at 3lbs 10oz, absolutely pristine - not a mark on it, after a picture and a quick weighing she went back to join the rest that were in the swim, I then headed up where I found plenty of Trout between a few ounces and 4lbs but I couldn't manage to hook one, Stu had finally made it up to the top on his bike, a long way up for him and unfortunately he didn't get to see a fish on the bank as I did get another take but I managed to strike but not set the fly so it got away, but another day.

Operation Clean Sweep Part One.

 Over the last month or so since the season had finished, myself and a couple of my angling friends and youngest brother have been walking the banks of one of my local rivers and finding the swims that need some heavy work done to them in order for them to become fishable, not to mention make some of the less aesthetically looking swims much better to improve the flow as well.

 A few weeks ago I also did a days work on the river in another stretch where I removed a king size mattress, 2 bicycles, about 6 traffic cones, trimmed back a lot of dead branches and trees, about 15 bags of recyclable materials.

 After 5 hours of hard work on Monday, my brothers Richard and Chris and myself put in some hard work to remove a load of debris, which consisted of a large moped, a ton of mixed rubbish, plus loads of submerged electrical cable about 30 meters of it that was mostly buried under layers of gravel and silt, which we managed to extract after about half an hour of pulling and cutting, also as we were blitzing that small area Stu was keeping an eye on base camp as we toiled out in the river, most of the debris we pulled out, we believe has actually come from the allotments of the other side of the river, where it has just been easier for people to dump the stuff over the bank and into the river without any sort of consequence. (excluding the moped).

Just about everything you could think of was here in this swim.

What A Start!

   Since the river season ended I've taken a 3 week hiatus from fishing, work as usual the excuse! Storm Kathleen however was predicted ...