The other week I found myself working in an area that would mean that I could fish on the way home. I had the choice of a simple stop one way, to fish a small stream which I may have mentioned before in an area of industrial development. The other option was to visit the Forest of Dean. In the end I opted for the first plan, this was mostly due to the weather being down right wet, this posed the threat that the other streams were in flood or at least high water. I also had something else I had to do. So on a decent evening when I wasn’t to tired and the sun was out and warm I struck.
I pulled into the layby by the little stream in the Stroud area and got the little new rod out tied on a size 16 grey Elk Hair caddis and went down to the water edge. The stream was a little high for the time of year and a milky white. The colour wasn’t nothing to worry about because this is a limestone stream. I made a couple of casts and bang, a little 6 inch Brown with lots of colour, this spot was easy access so I presume it hadn’t been fished for a few days. Good start! I had tried this spot a couple times before and had nothing so I was happy. I made my way upstream, missed a couple then a nice 10 incher took the fly and I was done I couldn’t make it further upsteam because of fence so I went home, I hadn’t realised I had only fished for 20 minutes.
I can now say, with great pleasure, that after a to long I will be returning to Ireland that I enjoyed for so long a few years ago. I am starting by going to and tying at the Irishflyfair. The dates are 12th and 13th November 2016. I will be sharing a tying station which means that I will able to have a look around the show and make contacts for tying and future fishing trips. I hope show some flies that didn’t appear at the BFFI and plan to have a better display (wine corks just don’t do things justice). Hopefully I will make enough contacts to enable me to return next year to fish Loughs Sheelin and Corrib.
The website is Irishflyfair.com
I knew I had saved the best to last, the last day of my week off to fish the mayfly, after the previous few days of chill temperatures mixed with occasional warmth and Wednesdays rain which died of over Thursday. I fished the Itchen, the legendary water which I may have fished many years ago and always thought no chance to fish again. Then I remember the free stretch that runs through the town of Winchester. But this days fishing was by invitation. The mayflies had started to hatch on this river a few days before. The hatch isn’t the same on all rivers, it occurs at different times on different rivers so the chasing the hatch can go on for weeks. The weather promised me that it wasn’t sure what to do but by lunch time it had warmed up nicely, perfect in fact.
Anyway, the mayflies hadn’t quite got going when I arrived. I managed to pick a couple of fish up on the roadkill wulff then switched to the Andelle. Not magic at first but slowly built up over a few hours. My friend admitted that he had hated the fly at first but it had become his best mayfly pattern. I was able to have some fun walking the river and picking of the fish several over 2lb. It was very visual which made it all the more fun. The end of the day I was somewhat tired but happy.
Today was day two of my weeks fishing the mayfly. The weather forecast said that it was going to rain but it wasn’t raining in the morning before I left, so I went but there again I don’t really care about rain when I am fishing. It started on the way, a light shower or two and what… I realised that I hadn’t put the rain jacket in the car. I had a thick fleece so wasn’t really that bothered (I was to regret this thinking later).
When I arrived there was no rain, just overcast but not much rising or hatching and it felt a bit chilly. I timed my arrival quite well because it was not long before the first rise was seen along with the mayflies. The rises started on a bend in the river, slight problem was the trees and bushes only had a small opening for casting thankfully it was just enough to get the fly out to a Grayling, more to the point several as several rises in the general area were seen. The one that took was rather nice at about a pound and a quarter. It was at this point that the rain started, slowly then gathering pace. Did I care? No!
As I stood under quite nice sized willow trees I watched a very steady, although picking up at times a hatch of mayflies with the chill and rain they seemed to take longer taking off from the water. Thus a plan was hatched. I would watch the water, see a rise or two to pin point a fish, go to a point on the bank cast then land the trout. Next I would move to the next seen rising fish and wait in the shelter of a bush. Once a trout was located I would execute a cast or two then retreat to the shelter. The final encounter didn’t end well, the fish which large broke the tippet at which point the rain add decided to run cold down my neck, time to go but a much better day than yesterday was had.
The dun and the husk
Yesterday was the start of my weeks fishing the Mayfly hatch this. I have actually taken the time of work to spend a week just fishing the mayfly hatch with full attention on the fishing and not just grabbing a few hours here and there when I can. The mayflies have been hatching for a couple of weeks now, possibly a bit more because they were early this year. I actually caught a couple of fish at the start of the hatch two weeks ago early on in the beginning of the hatch. Well, all I can say is that the hatch had truly got going because thousands of flies were coming off. The hatch seems better this year, although the conditions yesterday were perfect, cloudy in the morning with warm bright sun in the afternoon and a still evening which was perfect for the spinners (gnat). The day also happened to be a bank holiday which meant loads of people with lots of fishers (they had escaped from family duties and so the river was busy). What was nice today was that a father was seen to have taken his daughter fishing, I cann’t actually remember the last time I saw a young person fishing, I would like to see more out but alas I have little faith.
With the hatch seeming larger in fly numbers also bought the thought that after the past two or three years when the flies seemed to be smaller they had got big again. This means visits to the vice to tie some bigger flies, thankfully I had a few of the bigger size ten flies in the box, deep in the corners mind you but still there.
I was fishing a stretch of the Avon which can get busy and thanks to the ease of access and parking can get hard hit. This may explain the spooky fish, several people said the fish were coming short or being spooky but didn’t seem to wonder why. They are hard hit after being fished for heavily especially this time of year, I wonder how many grey wulffs and variations there of they have seen. I found a pods of feeding browns but there seemed to be Grayling aplenty in the usual spots, I thought I would check the lower section in wading section but fished from the bank. Several fish were seen rising to the mayfly and one or two seemed rather big including one of about 4 to 5 pounds. It and some of the others came to the fly but didn’t take, some came to have a look or took and didn’t hold. I tried several (about a dozen) different patterns and sizes but no, they weren’t interested. I managed one Grayling of about a pound and that was it. I will return to this stretch later in the season when its all died down. Oh well, tomorrow could only be better.
The first trip to the chalkstream for this year was about a month ago, although the season began on the first I didn’t get the chance to get out. With a meeting near Warminster I was able to trap a couple of hours on the River Wylie. I also took the chance to try the new six footer for the second time, an Orvis superfine 2 weight which some how landed in my hands just before Christmas. This was with mixed feelings because of the wind that the valley is famous for but it handled it pretty well with the odd tangle. With the north wind there was big of chill in the air compared to the previous couple of days. The odd large dark olive and midge was seen hatching. Within a minute of getting to the river a fish rose but I thought that I would leave that one until later. The odd fish were seen to rise up too about midway when a few dish was seen to rise, they didn’t look big but who cares, after a long winter off rain, rain and more rain any fish will do! The rod performed nicely and felt good in the hand, I will try a few more trips with it before a write a decent write up. The fish were half hearted to come to the fly until I tried a Piechke Dark Olive which was lurking in the fly box for years and never used. A couple of fish quickly came to this fly so maybe it will be worth a few more outings next spring with this fly.
(note- I wrote the draft for this a month ago but had to edit it for now).
This past week I have been wondering if the Striperheads 2016 Clave is going ahead because I normally have heard something. Now I have, the clave is being held Thursday September the 29th through to Sunday October the 2nd. It is late this year has it is hoped that there will be more chance of getting lower temperatures that are more associated with fall and hungry Striped Bass.
The clave headquarters is Nickerston Camp site, Area 4 with a pot luck food get together on the Saturday. Most people stay for longer, I hope to get the time of and make the long journey over the pond but it will be for a week only.