Friday, 29 March 2013

March man flu fly fishing...

We are at the end of March and things should be improving weather wise but it ain't! The biting wind had died down today and it was actually nice and sunny at times but still very cold. even the snow wasn't melting much. I'd developed Man flu over the last few days and had to try really hard at home to make an effort washing up etc so it didn't look bad when i said i was still going fishing to the mrs! Nothing gets in the way of fishing, not even illness.

Today was to be my first fly fish for brown trout of the trout season and I'd arranged to meet up with a fishing mate of mine, Steve. I drove over to his neck of the woods and was surprised at how much snow had fallen that way on, still over a foot or more in places.
We jumped in the river and set about casting nymphs set up on duo. The water was extremely cold with the very slow snow melt and it wasn't until we started to get into a few fish that we realised this, even after standing in the water for some time we didn't really feel it. freezing cold water on the hands is another thing though, but.... it meant we was catching fish. All though it was now closed season for grayling we seemed to be finding them and not seeing any trout.
It took awhile to find my first trout amongst the little pockets of grayling here and there but eventually I found one and quite a decent sized one for the small river too. It was quite thin so had not been finding much to eat and in summer condition would have been a good pound.

We didn't do as well as we would have hoped but its not surprising with the water temperature, we did manage a few more brownies between us but most of the days action came from the oos grayling.
I really enjoyed the day and was just what i needed after the start of the year was mainly comprised of blanks and one fish sessions so it was nice to get amongst a few fish. My man flu also did better for a bit of fresh air, although now back at home i can 'pretend' again and get ligged out on the sofa with a box of tissues and a little bell....

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Serious case of cabin fever..

God it feels like a long time ago since i did some proper fishing! The weather we are having right now is totally killing all the lure fishing plans, I'm not even getting to start my fly fishing for coarse species yet either. This time last year i was fishing in short sleeves, at the minute, even if i can bare to go out it a t-shirt, followed by a sweatshirt, followed by a hoody, then a jacket....and I'm cold! North easterlies are a pig!

I'd love to be out fishing and updating my blog with what Ive been up to but its just not happening. I'm going out for my first fly fish of the season for browns on Friday so hopefully I'll have something to blog about, but for now I'll leave you with some more lure building...

These two Loz Harrop lures were sent to me and I was asked to foil them in chub and perch, I'm really pleased with how they turned out, the perch especially.

Monday, 25 March 2013

More building, less fishing...

Well its been a terrible start to the year which has carried on from where last year left off. Since my last post I have only had one session which was only for a few hours and not enjoyable in the biting northeast wind. Either bad colour or freezing conditions is putting a halt to my fishing, this time last year i was fly fishing for coarse species in short sleeves. That still seems like a long way away with the recent weather.
Anyway I didn't blank last time out, only managing a solitary perch on the ever faithful white kopyto, nothing impressive size wise but it was a nice fish and it turned out to be a good photo.

So most my time away from fishing has been spent building ultralight lures ready for the warmer months, im quite enjoying the bean lures so am going to make a whole batch of those next. Allthough enjoyable making lures in the warmth of the house, i'd much rather be out fishing.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

One for sorrow, two for joy....

That dreaded day finally arrived and all morning at work I kept seeing pairs of magpies. Was it a sign of a great days fishing to come on the last day of the river season? I was hoping so but wasn't feeling confident with -5 overnight temperatures.

I didn't have long to fish so had to stay local, deciding on a spot i had tried a week or so ago and seen lots of fish there. I'd been again since and only caught a jack so thought it was worth a shot as those bigger fish might have moved back into the area.
Sadly this was not to be the case and I didn't get as much as a follow. I was in a good mood anyway despite not catching so thought I'd go for a wander to check out some new spots for summer. As i walked along the bank edge i got a flash of silver from the waters edge, It was a dead fish and at first I thought it was a chub as it was of a decent size. I netted it to have a closer look and as doing so I realised it was a huge roach! I wouldn't have been surprised if it had been in the 2lb bracket, it would have been handy sat under a float!

Time was ticking on so i went back to the car and thought I'd go check out another spot. I didn't even want to fish today to be honest but with it being the last chance to fish the rivers i was hoping I'd get a final slice of good luck and maybe land a chunk.
Not long after casting around the new spot I got a thump on the rod and the lovely feeling of a fish on, just when you think nothing is going to come of it, a fish comes from no where and surprises you. Not a big fish but a blank saver and a fish on my last session on rivers so very welcome.

I fished on and after about half an hour I got another fish to round off the session, and that was it, the end of the rivers until June.
Although in the end it was 'two for joy' it wasn't to be the last fish of the day, on the way home my taste buds gave my better side a good kicking and I couldn't get the fish shop off my mind. Fish and chips never taste better than when you get them on a whim after spending time out in the cold and wet. Obviously you have to wash them down with a can of refreshing cold full fat coke! Not something I have very often but very nice after a fishing session in the cold.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Penultimate river sessions

Just one week to go for the rivers closing and things haven't really gone to plan recently. I've only had a couple of short sessions due to my back being in pain. I might get out one more time next week but I'm not fully sure just yet.

So last Tuesday I headed for a small river i fish, hoping conditions would have improved as the last few times there the colour was still pretty bad. I got there to see the level was really low but the colour was still as bad. I'd been here twice before recently and the first time I had 4 takes and missed all four and the second trip resulted in a blank due to the increasing colour. I really wanted to get a fish at least as it would probably be the last time fishing it this season. It wasn't good from the offset with the colour and the fact that the best two spots were already taken, this meant allot of the water had probably already been fished and by all accounts it wasn't fishing very well, in fact nothing had been caught.
The best thing i could think of was to head away from these areas to find unfinished water. it took some time but i managed a fish before having to leave. The fish took right at my feet making me jump abit but it was very welcome, nothing special but it was a stocky fish that seemed to have quite big fins for its size which probably explained the fight it gave me.

On Friday I had a few hours on a spot I had recently found, the first time there I had allot of follows from big fish. I met up with my mate Neil and had been looking forward it all day as those fish I'd seen last time were swimming through my mind. Neil does abit of dead baiting as well as fishing the lures so we thought it would be a good time to show myself the dark arts of dead baiting. Generally I'm a lure and fly angler and bait fishing really isn't my thing but recently I have been thinking of its potential to turn a session around from time to time when things are not right for the lures.
Anyway the plan was to fish the lures down the stretch to see if the fish we there either in the form of takes or by seeing them following in. Nothing at all was showing, with only a 2 fish following in at the end of the stretch. We headed back to the first swim and had a few more casts, luckily I managed to tempt a fish albeit a small jack but it saved a blank. I took a photo as it had unusual dark black markings on its fins for a small fish.

We then changed over to dead bait rods with floats and every 20mins we would leap frog the rods to cover abit of water. It was great at first doing something different and having a sit down and a natter. The anticipation of watching the floats expecting them to move any minute was kind of fun. As time went on though it was getting abit boring and felt like nothing was going to happen, I suppose at least with lures you are physically doing something even if the fish are not showing.
It was a nice change but sadly that was it, my penultimate river session ended with a small jack.
On the lure building front I have mainly been hard at it with the ultralights still, trying to get lots finished to generate abit of extra money for a family trip away.
I've not been doing much work on the bigger baits this year yet, just a few re-finishes Ive had sat around for ages, some of which I still need to finish this next week. Below are some Mark Berrisford Big Fat Slappers that I was sent and asked to re-spray that I have just recently finnished


Sunday, 3 March 2013

Too expectant.... AGAIN

I had planned to go fishing today and again I was getting myself into a frame of mind where I was too expectant to catch. I planned to fish a small river first that had been coloured for months now and it was showing signs of clearing. I was disappointed when i got there to find it still very coloured, only about 3-4" visibility. I thought I'd have an hour anyway and set off casting various lures around. I had walked for quite awhile with nothing showing and i knew i was wasting my time to headed back to the car to go somewhere else. As i changed direction on my first cast a small jack sprung up from below my feet to take a spinnerbait. It saved a blank and saved me from my second ever blank on this venue, Ive only ever not caught once there. It was a stunning little jack with really nice reflective colours on its face that didn't really show up on the photo.

Now back at the car with nothing else to show for my time, i headed off for another river spot. On arrival I could see a couple of cars parked up and when i got closer there was already guys fishing there so no point in me adding to it! I turned the car around and pondered where to go next, there wasn't really anywhere close i could get on the river so i headed back for a canal.
After about another hour on the canal with nothing to show for my time, I was starting to get a little bit annoyed at the fact that my plans were not really working out, was it to be another day of driving around chasing fish and not getting any?
I went back to the car for a think, an area on the river suddenly came to mind, I wasn't sure on the banks being safe or not but thought I was wasting my time anyway so even if it turned out to be just a recce I thought I'd at least go have a look.
On the bank i could see it was accessible and dry banks, i just had to be careful climbing about. First cast and low and behold a big fish comes following the lure in, looked a good double. I ran out of room and the fish turned and swam away. Second cast and again a follow from a fish abit smaller, this time it also had a friend in tow! Third cast in the opposite direction and another follows from a double...this was crazy, and not one of them was taking the lure! I fished on for about an hour trying different lures and was amazed by the amount of fish following in from different swims sometimes two or three of them at a time, and some big fish too one could have been a twenty. I started to wonder if they were more into pre-spawning mode with them coming in together, the fish were obviously starting to group.
Well I ran out of bank to fish so headed back to the start to do the stretch again, this time i had a total lack of follows but also had a take and a fish was on at last! A good scrap and the fish was in the net. I got a photo and put the fish back as it was obviously full of spawn, what a fatty! It was also in a mood as the second photo shows, i actually got slapped round the chops as the fish kicked off. Not the first time Ive been slapped in the face by a fat lass.

I fished on abit longer and sadly missed another take that felt like a bigger fish, it was strange really as all the follows dried up yet i got two takes. If they had been in full feeding mode at the beginning I would have had one hell of a session. Although nothing else happened i was pleased to have found another spot worth fishing again, it will probably be a winter spot as the banks will be far too overgrown by the time the rivers open again. I have been talking to my mate Neil though about putting his boat on the river, so who knows what that will throw up in this area in summer!

So again abit too expectant of catching plenty but in the end happy with seeing all the fish and banking a half decent one. I don't feel Ive had much luck this year so far, i think that's why i get expectant as I'm waiting for my luck to change and that bumper session to come along but its taking its time.... maybe next time?

On the lure building front I'm still on with lots of ultralight lures and also used some free time yesterday to try out a lead bar mould. I use the bars to weight my lures as i can drill the same size holes and snip the bars to the according weight and slot them in the holes. I made the mold below out of beech which should hold up to a few usages, but I have been contacted about the production of an aluminium one which would get endless use without falling to bits due to the heat involved.