For the first time in what seems like ages but actually just over two months I got to visit my beloved chalk streams for a few hours. Due to the extremely wet weather one or two stretches were closed to fishing due to safety concerns. This is a first for the club but I remember the water being very high a few years ago and these closures didn’t happen. They are slowly being reopened although one or two will not be open for along as they close at the end of the trout season any way.
I visited one of the open stretches of the River Avon just north of Salisbury this Sunday afternoon. This is my favorite times of the year to fish. Most fishers are of doing other things after the ‘easy’ early part of the season. I find that the fishing at this time of year is much more fun as well as rewarding because the fish are in better condition as well as hungry…looking for food to stock the fat up for spawning and winter. The hatches now are steady or at least seem to be with some days prolific. Today hatch mostly consisted of pale wateries and small spur wings, there were also sedges in browns and blackish, and special appearance from a E.Dancia Mayfly.
Todays fishery was one of the few club stretches where you book a sort length out for your self (some call these ‘beats’). Mine was one of my favorites, number 7, always hold fish and is good for the right handed caster (me). As usual the main bit held the fish,with a few fish of various sizes rising, picked the bigger looking fish but had to contend with the swans which were feeding just down stream. At one point I was working what looked like a decent fish and what happens? One of those swans goes and sits on top of the fish.
The fish didn’t want the duck wing emerger pattern that I first tried, or the parachute. They did however seem to like the Snow Shoe emerger, I cann’t remember where I got this but think its one of mine from the past couple of years.
A little while later the rises seemed to die down but what was left moving were larger better fish who wanted a CDC dry that my good friend Kevin Smith introduced me to.
It was the CDC olive that resulted in more action from the Browns. With a nicely marked one on the last cast.
The joys of tying for friends is that occasionally they ask me to tie for their over seas trips. This past week I have been tying for one friend of mine who is off to the Zambezi river after the Tiger fish. Not having any knowledge of these fish apart from the rare article where people have written about their trips I had no idea what flies to tie. My friend sent me a load of flies that he wanted doing as samples and picked the ones that he liked. I had also done my own research (mostly centered around asking questions on the Virtual Flybox email list).
The flies were alot bigger than the ones that I normally tie for myself but I actually enjoyed tying these big things, will have to do more saltwater stuff (read… a Stripped Bass trip may happen or maybe some Pike fishing).
The picture above shows the full set (sorry about the bad picture), all were tied on Gamakatsu B10S stinger 1/0 and 2/0 hooks. One or two like the SF Minnow Blue and chartreuse…
…..look really good. The SF minnow looks fit for Stripper fishing and it introduced me to Steve Farrer blends. I had to order this from the US as I cann’t get it in the UK. Because I used alot of black I’m a bit lowso I will have to order some more.
The Zambezi Deceiver was another good looking one, possibly OK for Pike.
The rest of the flies were largely rabbit strip flies and Clousers in various colours.
Its not very often that I get to the coast but recently I was working in mid Wales a few miles from the sea. So I took the chance to fish, taking my 8 weight and butt pack I travelled the few miles after work on a Sunday afternoon to Shell Island where I have been before. The spot I picked was on the northern side the Harbour. Not having bothered to check the tides before (I actually forgot), I arrived to find the tide going out. This gave me the chance to see the sand bars to the right of the harbour mouth. Once I reached the waters edge I noticed the odd fish in the waves, not big, but fish with the very occasional one moving further out. During the afternoon I managed a few follows and snatches but no hook ups. A lot of time was wasted removing weed from the hook.
There was no clear indication of what they were feeding but it is likely that the way they were acting, sandeels were on the menu. The fly that bought the reactions from the fish was the trusty white and chartruse clouser, with some interest in sandeel pattern involving congo hair and pearl tubing. Alas, I hadn’t checked my boxes before leaving home so had very little in the way decent clousers, I’m sure I would have had a better chance if I had. Once I did get back home I had a restocking session.
I have found that the addition of painted eyes on my bait fish flies improves them and for some reason, red seems to attract fish more than yellow. I have heard that orange is also good.