This day was going to be one of moving around which can be fun and end up with a bit of variety in size of river and hatches encountered. I had been invited to fish with a friend but no idea where we were going. I woke up early so with a few hours still to go and not able to sleep I went to fish a club stretch and ended up on the R.Avon near Amesbury. The day was still cool but I fully expected it to heat up later, the weather had been very hot over the past couple of days with temperatures reaching the 30’s.
With not much clue as to what was hatching I went down to the water before 6am and several sedges were flying around with the very odd fish rising. These turned out to be mostly Grayling with the trout having a ‘layin’. I found that the fish were keyed in on sedges, in particular a sedge with light olive body and a wing of light dun high-float fibre with elk hair over the top. No Hackle. I did manage a trout but not very big with several not to big Grayling. About 8.30 ish it was time to move, the river keeper turned up to cut some of the weed and I decided to go to a nearby cafe for breakfast.
At 10am I met a friend to drop some flies off and waited for my fishing partner, on arrival it was decided to go to the river Wylie. We made our way down the A303 to a stretch I haven’t fished for a while. Fish were rising and so was the temperature, the sedges were about but only in the shade but a few pale wateries were flying about. The sedge from earlier came off and on went a size 18 parachute.
A simple fly but was found to be all I needed, I will likely change the hackle to a ginger variant as I think this hackle is more buggy. As made my way along the stream I found alot of fish spooky so resorted to stalking on my hands and knees which made a big differences with several nice Grayling including one of about a pound and half coming to the net. Then came lunch, many pubs in the area were found to be shut but thankfully one was found near another stretch of the Wylie.
Now came the third stretch of river for the day. Pretty close to my clubs stretch but narrower for some reason. The fish were once again spooky in the clear water and the sweltering heat didn’t help. Has hinted along the previous bit of river there were a few Mayflies still hatching and the fish were after them. A size 14 roadkill wulff did the magic with several nice trout (some not to big) coming to hand. I had miss judged the rod bring with my latest toy, an Orvis 9ft 6 weight proving itself once again. Who needs a rod of several hundred quid when one costing below 200 will do the job. At least the length allowed me to control the line and get over the bankside cover. By 4.30ish the heat had taken its toll and we headed home.
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.
This past Monday saw me fishing again, would have gone before but my daughter was over on Saturday and stuff needed doing. what was really frustrating was looking down the garden and seeing the Mayflies dancing, I swear that this years hatch is the best for a long time. If this is the case then I strongly suspect the lack of floods over the winter as something to do with it.
Any way, of I went with a stretch of the Avon in mind that I first fished during the winter but expecting it to be crowded. I got there and no, just one other fisher which was a surprise. Speaking to other members later on I found that there was a consensus that the rivers were quiet for the time of year. The reasons are generally unknown at the time of writting. I suspect work and family though.
Upon arrival I saw the odd Mayfly fluttering over the river which in places was covered in willow fluff. I saw the odd fish moving and so did I, heading up river. Near the end of this section of river I saw a few fish moving. I really couldn’t decid if they were big, normal or small. Indeed the first was small, a brown. The second though took me by surprise. The rise said average brown the grumpy fish pull said otherwise, my biggest Grayling of about 1 3/4lb. I always get my best grayling during the Mayfly but hopefully that will change! From this point I really couldn’t go wrong fishing the Annadel (sp) Mayfly. After a while a also managed a couple of decent browns including one of about 2lb, same fly.
I then moved onto West Amesbury, oh, the hatch here was, I am sure the best in years. Flies and fish everywhere. Now, here is a theory. Each fish seemed to either take, look or not bother when the fly past over while rising steady or with a varied frequency. From this I am thinking that each fish is keyed in on a particular stage of the hatch OR colour within the flies spectrum. I did try the Emerger May with a couple of missed fish but nothing (more on this in a other post, it has evolved!). I took a few more fish including one on a foam bodied lively may although this as now progressed beyond the original it needs a new name. This fish took the fly with such gusto that it made the reel scream as it took of but it ended up being only about a 1 1/4, thought I had hooked something bigger.
I got this shot of a Mayfly thinking it wouldn’t work, what a surprise when I got home.
Until next time…
A new year and I have already started as I intend to go on. I went fishing, I meant to go yesterday as well as earlier in the week but one thing or the other prevented me. It had significantly warmed up since yesterday and was drizzling and dull, not good due to the sudden change from freezing conditions of the past week or so. I had promised my self that I was going and that was that, so I went. It still didn’t look good when I arrived (once I found it) thanks to the weather but on top of this the river was somewhat murky but I continued.
Despite my best efforts I was not able to get so much as I slight tug. The conditions suggested a heavy nymph so that is what what I used (bright pink and a creamy larvae type thing). Nothing, I saw no fish rise and only one or two small flies about. But It was not a wasted day as I was able to locate this new to me stretch of river which despite being available to me for years I hadn’t bothered with it but after today I have it ear marked for summer trout when hopefully the river will be in better condition and the fish will be visible.
When I last fished I got thinking about the colours used in one of the most effective flies that I use for Grayling. The Red Spot Shrimp has been one of my go to patterns for many years but there are times that I feel that it should be working when it isn’t. Still, I may be using it when I shouldn’t! So, my thought was this, what if I changed things a little. Over the past couple of years I have found that pink is very effective on Grayling and trout at times so why not swap the red spot for a pink one?
The top shrimp is the dull pink version with the bright pink dubbing example below.
It was with this thought that I sat at the tying bench and set to work. I found that I had no suitable bright yarn to use but had the next best thing. A dull pink which was similar to one of the dubbings that I use was found in the drawer. The resulting fly looked OK and will be tested if the conditions are OK this week. I also tied a second version with a bright dubbing which looked even better and will trial this one this week.
I have also felt that the fly may also better tied in colours other than an orange/orange mix and may benefit from other dubbings as well (I’m looking at rubber legged ones and possible different seals fur mixes) the variations on this is end less. It all seems to be an endless excuse to play at the vise, more fun in the winter evenings! (beats the crap on TV) The flies in the picture were tied with K.R.A.P. dubbing from the Flytyers Dundgeon which is basically the scraps left over from the dubbing mixing table (apparently).
I was able to once again able get out to the river yesterday, this time by kind invitation. The river Avon was the target although there was originally mention of the Wylie. I was told by my host that the river keeper who looks after the Wylie for his club had told him that the weed had disappeared this year and that the fish were extremely spooky, after TuesdayI can say that he isn’t kidding. His club also has the last day of September has the last day of the trout season although mine has October 15th has the last day and this on the same river! Why is there no standard? So to days target was Grayling.
We fished two stretches. The first had sections of river that had the appearance of being fishless but the streamy stretches had fish rising. It was simply a matter of working out what they wanted. Has it turned out it was either really small flies size 18 or 20 Griffiths gnats or small spurwings/pale wateries. But the better fish took heavy nymphs, namely the Red Spot shrimp size 14 (always a great fall back) and a pale pink czech nymph. The best grayling came to the Pink fly which doesn’t really surprise me as the bigger Grayling rarely venture to the surface preferring to feed near the bottom unless there is a really heavy hatch such as the Mayflies in May/June. Unfortunately I was unable to interest the really big 2 Grayling that I saw in a section of river that was now more like a canal due to a bank breach during last winters floods which means most of the water is going else where.
The Grayling themselves appear to be taking the beautiful Autumn colours although at the moment this seems to be confined to the larger fish.
The second stretch was a little wider and streamer but the was a section below that was calmer and with visible Browns which my host had told me in the morning were out of season. I couldn’t help it when they took my size 16 hares ear version of the snowshoe rabbit emerger. Nice fish to, one being about 2lb and the other closer to 3lb. The fly also took a couple of grayling while the fish in the streamy section liked the size 20 palewatery version.