Well its that time of year when I get out between Christmas and New Year (or try to) and fish for Grayling when I don’t have other commitments. It used to be called ‘Freeze your butt off’ but that has gone out of the window this year. So yesterday I paid a visit to the Avon near Stonehenge. The clouds were giving that dull light level and it felt damp but the air temperature was pleasant for the time of year. The river was a nice height but the water was murky apart from the slow fast runs where I could see the bottom (just). A few large dark olive were seen hatching from about 11am with a alot of midges about, they seemed to be in very large numbers at times. The midges that I saw appeared to be a brownish colour hence the reason that the small minkie dry works so well.
I started with one of the nymphs that I mentioned in my my last post and got a couple of strikes but nothing positive. Then I tried another two or three in different sizes with the same result. I really don’t think that the bigger fish were munching. I noticed a few smaller fish moving in the shallower, fast runs so through a nymph or two at them. Then I tried a small dry fly, size 16 or 18 which had a red thread tag, peacock body and blue dun palmered hackle. Strikes came think and fast but I only managed to actually attach to 5 or 6 of the little Grayling. Oh, there’s always next time.
The river Avon
While I was driving home I was thinking over my fishing this year and what I learnt, or didn’t.
The title may be confusing but it is the name of the two main dubbings that I am currently playing with for my winter grayling nymphs. Both are available from fly tyers dungeon, the K. R. A. P. dubbing was originally available only in one basic colour and is the product of the scrappy left overs after other dubbings have been processed and bagged up hence its name. What they have now done is taken that and added a dominant colour to create a set of colours that offer the tyer the opportunity to tie a more versatile range of flies. This dubbing can be used for dries as well as nymphs and when wet, the body of the fly has a kind of translucent effect with all the colours from the blend showing through. I have tied set of shrimps with a bright spot in the centre and a shell back which has so far proved effective. More testing next week!
The sunburst is relatively new and has been in development over the past year or so with the latest colours arriving earlier this year after the initial test dying. Both the test set and the current produce really nice flies of what appears a glow when wet. But, the colours seem to be a little solid, so a little experimentation with blending has produced flies with a magical halo with all the colours shining through. More colours have been added since my initial set arrived and these have arrived today. I have a few ideas concerning blending for this dubbing including a trial that involves gold crystal twisted tinsel.
The flies shown above are just a tip of the ice burg and I plan to try others, blends of one type of dubbing and others that are a combination.
Today was the first time that I have escaped recently to fish due to the recent wet and windy conditions. In reflection I think the only way to fix this excuse to to fish the stretches that are sheltered. This does of course mean that I will have to fish all the stretches of river that are available to me in order to know which bits are going to be sheltered in any given wind direction. Now that is one good excuse to fish more (big grin).
Has mentioned the UK has been blighted by storms, but due to the dry summer the ground has been soaking the rain up and so the Chalkstreams are only slightly up (not flooded as I expected) and only tinged with colour. The temperature though is mild and fishing was a little pleasant with no frozen fingers, feet, etc. Last year was mild but this year has been slightly warmer and this means a change fly wise as well as fly behaviour. Normally a heavy weighted nymph would be called for but last year and this year small flies (mostly of the dry variety have been best despite the lack of rising fish and bugs). Not just now but earlier in the year, remember the Mayflies still hatching in July! This all means that the fisher and tier as to adapt which makes preparing for the coming season difficult if tying for certain hatches.
As for the fishing, difficult! There were very few fish rising so in this situation I went straight to nymph, just like my host. But, oh so wrong! The few fish that were in a munching mood were the ones looking up. Early success with a pink spot shrimp tied with a new version of dubbing from the flytyers dungeon took a nice out of season brown of about 2lb’s. Then nothing, a switch to a dry fly starting with a size 18 Super pupae got the fish going. But only just, I switched to a green fly and took a couple then lunch.
After lunch we hit a different stretch of the Avon and I took a few more on the Supersedge. What was noticeable after lunch was that the clouds had moved in again, the wind risen and temperature had dropped a bit. But, still, I was happy. Both of us were frustrated with the fish inactions at time particularly my friend who had nothing to show for his efforts.