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.
I recently got rather busy but managed to get out a few times, all to the chalkstreams as I was able to combine the trips with dropping flies of. Currently I am trying to fish once a week. This is so that I can make sure that I have time to myself. Mostly I am working or spending what little time with my son and daughter I can. They both work over the weekend so trying to get togeather is difficult at times. Mostly Saturday…leaving Sundays for fishing and with the odd public bank holiday I get to fish. But factors such as dealing with the garden also seem to factor in. Oh, well!
I have managed to get to the chalkstreams, namely the Wylie and the Avon, coinciding with dropping flies off. The Wylie seems to be a favorite of mine during the Hawthorn hatch, which is actually a terrestrial. The little wild browns and hawthorns seem to go well together but that day was cut short when I ran out of hawthorns or rather the apes**it flies which I am now tying on size 12’s with the body going going round the hook bend a bit. They seem to work better.
Next up was the River Avon, I some how managed to time this with a good hatch of sedges. I took a few Browns and Grayling on a green sedge with a scraggy thorax with very fine rubber legs. A couple of busy weekends resulted in missed weekends but then it was Mayfly time with the flies seemingly a little early. The first week the fish were kind of interested but I was only able to catch using snowshoe emergers tied on a size 18.
With each week brings further attachment of fish to the Mayfly and thus a result of me running out of none mangled flies…until next weekend which may also see me on the Usk for the yellow mays and Brook duns.
In the mean time I am happy to announce that once again I will be tying at the Irish flyfair in Galway, Ireland.
Yes, I’m still behind but getting there, maybe I’ll catch up today as I am off work with a bad foot…maybe get some tying done.
Its been about 3 weeks since I last went fishing, it was only a few hours but it was fun. I had a phone call from a friend a couple of days before to go and fish the chalkstreams with him and has always I accepted (I needed to fish). We fished a private stretch of the River Avon not far fro Amesbury for Grayling. I could see the very odd fish rise upon my arrival but they looked small. So I ignored them and made my way up stream with a small dry attached looking for better fish. I spotted one of about 1 1/2lb but it saw me about the same time and moved off. He later moved back to his spot because my friend saw him in the same place.
I found a stretch of roughly 200 yards with fish rising at regular intervals, it was noticeable that they were in varying sizes with groups of fish seemingly bunched into size. I picked one spot with what looked like good sized fish with the odd brown mixed in. The fly live was small spur wings, Sedges and Pale Wateries as well as lots of little midges things. Most of my fish came to a size 18 Griffiths Gnat. Other fish came to size 18 snowshoe emergers in a pale yellow colour. Because of the action I hadn’t really noticed until the last hour from 3.30 that it was still warm for the time of year. That may explain the decent hatches but the fish still knew that the mild weather won’t last and were busy adding the fat needed for winter.
Its always nice to fish with someone, in the case its someone I have known for years and its nice to get the low down on the rivers and find out what is happening.
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.
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.
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.