Monday, 28 July 2014

A week of fishing, kids and Mrs free

The rest of my family has gone away for the week as i couldn't get it off work, how terrible being left at home to go fishing all week...

I have a few longer sessions planned for mid week so thought id start my week off with a short session so i could get a good meal in me because the rest of the week is going to be full on fishing straight from work into the evening so not exactly when or what I'm going to eat!

Thought I'd have another crack at the carp but this time with a few floating flies, I tried a heavy duty foam beetle i tied first and it wasn't long before it was taken when i cast it right beside a clump of weed that a carp was feeding in. I must admit a fair bit of luck was involved as the carp turned and headed right under it. That is the most difficult part Ive found with carp fly fishing, you've really got to get it right or have a bit of luck that the carp will swim right under your fly. If you cast too close they either spook or ignore it and if you cast further away from them you have to hope they keep on that path as often they change direction. At first, even with the subsurface lures i got into a habit of constantly re casting in front of them in a panic and this just doesn't work.
As Ive mentioned before the key is finding the fish that are more stationary or actively feeding, trying to catch a steadily moving carp is hard, if they there moving at a certain speed they will not see surface flies in time to stop and rise for them.

After the fish i caught today i think the rest of them had realised something was a miss as they wouldn't take again, i had a few come up and i clenched thinking they would take but they almost took the Micky by just lipping the fly and then turning away. I got a result to keep me happy though and i love the dark wild looking colour of the fish.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Taking opportunities

You know those times when your out fishing for certain species yet you see other fish that is always nice to see and you start to think it would be good to be able to catch them. For me that's what fly fishing offers, it gives me all the things i enjoy from lure fishing but I'm able to target and catch any fish that swims. So when i see fish that i fancy catching its a case of making the most of the opportunity. That's another reason why i like to change what I'm doing as it keeps my fishing fresh and I'm always out catching something, rather than the conditions not being right for certain species and just letting my fishing go stale. For me I'll catch any fish, i get more enjoyment from certain species but its all about the enjoyment of the approach than just sticking with the same species all the time. I always say to people, 'im not one for sitting on a box all day waiting for the fish to come to me' and that's true, i don't like to knock those that do enjoy that, it must be relaxing. I'm just not a person that can sit for any length of time i like to be active, fly fishing has really changed my enjoyment of fishing as a whole because of its versatility and as mentioned it gives me all the same things i enjoy from lure fishing, the freedom to move, the fact that I'm busy casting and working my lure/fly and the flies themselves, don't get me started on them, if lures in a box is'nt enough to excite you then a box full of neat little rows of flies tips me over the edge! Even the casting alone, i find it very therapeutic.

I'd been frustrated with trying to catch the carp so mid week i had a few hours doing something different just so i didn't get too frustrated with the carp, I'd spotted a load of roach and dace the week before in one area but i only had flies for perch so thought I'd go back with dry flies and small nymphs.

I had a fantastic couple of hours catching roach and the odd bleak, most were caught on nymphs and one in particular which the roach seem to really like, its my go to nymph now for roach.
I caught a few hybrids too which fight really well for there size, the disappointing moment though was when i had a decent roach of maybe about a pound, id gone to lift it just out the water to hand. In hindsight i shouldn't have been so lazy and netted it because I'd underestimated its weight and it kicked and snapped me off.

When i was out fishing for the carp, I've been using an #8 fly rod as this also gives me the option to quickly change my leader if i fancy saving a blank with a pike or even just switching and fishing for the pike. I'd spotted a jack in the margin and did just that, a quick change of leader and fly and i tempted the bonus fish.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Rewarded for my efforts..

For anyone that reads my blog regularly you will know Ive been trying to get a carp on the fly rod by targeting them with cray and damsel patterns, to lure them into taking basically. Ive caught carp before on a daddy long legs fly and also a bread fly, but have always wanted to catch one on a subsurface fly. Its been a slightly frustrating time as Ive missed a few chances and its taken me about 8 attempts to finally get a fish which i did today!
The whole point of it for me was for the same enjoyment i get out of lure fishing, working a lure or fly to get a fish to eat it, reacting to what it is your imparting into the lure or fly. Its the satisfaction of knowing its what you did with the lure/fly that got the fish.
Don't get me wrong id catch carp on dog biscuit and bread flies any day of the week for the pure fun of it, but the fish i found were wild river fish that would not respond to bait, they needed something extra, that was the challenge. Along the way i had to learn certain things and i suppose if i carry on the pursuit i will learn much more. Often i would turn up and have to spend an hour or two just searching for them in shallow water, then id maybe even only get a few casts a session as they might not respond or i might only find the one fish. Then i had challenges of water conditions and the fact that if i found them feeding in the silt they would stir the water up and i could hardly see them, so i then had the problem of knowing if they were near my fly or even eaten it, or could in fact even see it.
I had to think about what it was they were eating and how i would present this without fouling up in any weed etc, it was starting to feel like an impossible mission but it had really got to me now and i couldn't stop trying. I started to wonder if i was wasting my time and i was certainly wasting opportunities to fish elsewhere by going after them. The thing is, i always had in the back of my mind that it was possible and how good it would feel if i ever pulled it off.

Things started to come together for me when the weather warmed up, this made them move to feed higher in the water and instead of silt sifting they would rummage in the weed and even come close to the surface to investigate the surface rafts of weed. I had my first glimmer of hope when i cast to the side of a fish feeding in the weed, i had a damsel nymph on and it turned towards it and i saw the mouth open to my fly but as it tried to suck it in the fly became lodged in weed! very frustrating. I presumed the fish thought the nymph had come out of the weed it was disturbing, so this was my next plan of attack, to find the fish weeding in this way.
It took a few sessions before i got my next chance and this time i was using a bigger mouthful in the form of a cray style carp fly, hoping the bigger and more livelier fly would attract them more. It worked and i had to endure the failure of having two fish suck in the fly only for me to pull it out again on the strike!

So today it finally happened and it was one of my most satisfying angling moments to date, it felt so rewarding as i knew id put allot of effort in and id learnt allot. The thing that made the difference today was something my mate Mart mentioned to me, saying to strike sideways and in the opposite direction the fish was facing, it made sense and whether or not it was this that made the difference i don't know but i hooked the fish and watched it tear off stripping my fly line like a poor mans bone fish! fantastic!

I was in a bit of a panic taking the photos and with it being hot i didn't want to mess about too much so there not the best but they will do.

I will sleep a very sweet night tonight!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Still on the fly

I planned to fish the fly more this year as last year i didn't fish the fly rod much at all. I wanted to try and introduce more of it into my fishing so i was fishing about half lure fishing and half on the fly, however i seem to be enjoying allot more fly. Ive kind of been obsessed recently with trying to 'lure' a carp on fly. By this i mean i wanted to catch a carp by tempting it to take a subsurface fly that I'm imparting action into. Ive caught a few carp on surface flies but Ive always wanted to catch one on a craw fly or damsel fly. Ive come quite close recently and i am getting nearer to getting the result I'm after, i will talk about that more in detail when i get a result.

So the other day i wanted a break from the carp so went to try and find some perch on the fly instead. It didn't really go to plan and there just didn't seem to any about. My first fish came in the form of a small pike which really surprised me as Ive fished the venue probably over 100 times with lures and never had a pike yet.
My first fish came in the form of a 2lb perch which really pleased me as it made up for the lack of smaller fish. It was an odd looking fish as proportionally its head looked far too big for its body.

The flies Ive been catching perch on are tiny bait fish streamers, these are great little flies and catch loads of different species of fish too. I tie my own but it was my mate 'Mart' that came up with the original idea of using Jig hooks and tungsten beads to create a kind of tiny jig head, combine that with funky fibre and you get a really nice flowing effect in the water, when slightly jigged the funky fibre undulates in the water which looks very enticing. You can find out more about the flies and even order yourself some from MScustomFlies

I could still not find many perch but was gutted that I'd left my other fly box at home as there was fish everywhere just under the surface, id have really cleaned up if I'd have had some dry flies. Amongst all the roach, bleak and dace i spotted a slightly bigger fish which i suspected was an ide. A quick route around my box and i found a slightly smaller bead head fly, probably too big for the roach and dace but i knew ide were a bit more aggressive and i wasn't wrong. As soon as the fly hit the surface the ide was on it and turned around to hammer it, they really are aggressive little things, i must go fish for them on a small drain i know of where big fish up to 8lb have been caught in the past!

Monday, 14 July 2014

An old fly reincarnated

I was looking through my fly boxes yesterday when i stumbled across the very first fly I tied, i took it out to fish after i had tied it and had a fair few takes on it but missed them all!

The fly compromised of various flash fibres that i basically tied to get rid of them as they had come in a cheap set. I started off with a white fibre body then added a load of peacock flash to the belly, a small hint of blue flash on the flanks leading up to brown and black flash across the back. To finish off i gave it a red throat and some gold eyes. It really was very basic but Ive always liked it for whatever reason so unlike allot of older flies Ive never butchered it to recycle the hook. I never actually use it because it was tied on a rubbish hook and i put that down to all the missed takes.

I still had a load of those flash fibres so thought I'd try and re-create it but on a better hook and improve it slightly hopefully. The hook choice was a Tiemco TMC 600SP lethally sharp and a butch looking hook!
The finished fly is below, i think if i tie another i will add less blue flash fibres as I'm not so keen on that addition where as the original just had a couple of strands tied in.

So today i went back to that same venue to try that fly out again and hopefully hit any takes this time round. The fly after a swim....

I'd had a couple of slow follows off small pike but nothing was really having a go at the fly like the first time id tried it. Then as i was running the fly down the near side margin thinking a pike might be tucked under the vegetation, out came a head and sucked it in. At first i thought it was just a decent jack, but every so often it would shake its head and id get a good view of it flaring its gills, its amazing how big there heads look when they do that. I still wasn't thinking this fish was any more than a jack even when i netted it, which i had to do to reach over the margin. I got a bit of a surprise when i lent over the marginal weed to lift the fish and it felt very heavy. It was a strange fish really, quite stunted length wise but with a big head and tails fins, it was also fat and very wide. despite it not looking so it would have gone mid double which was a really good result and i was happy with that, my old fly pattern had done its job!

And this is what it looks like after a pike has chewed on it.....

Saturday, 12 July 2014


I'm hardly getting out fishing much at the minute and I've that to look forward to now its the summer holidays coming up and kids will be at home all day, great!

Anyway a spur of the moment dash out on Friday to get a couple of hours in while i could, I'd actually gone to stalk some river carp on fly again which i cannot let go of at the minute until i get one. The trouble is there is always something not right, i found them feeding on Friday but they were routing in the mud and colouring the water badly so getting a visible fly in front of them was hard work, i got no interest at all so had a last minute bit of time trying to get a few pike on frogs as I'd also took a frog set up with me.

First cast out and an all mighty shovel of a head came out the water and took the frog, the fish went airborne it took it that hard but sadly spat the hook. I cast out again and i thought I'd got the fish again but it was a much smaller fish, as it came closer i could see the bigger fish chasing it and hammering it. It was a fantastic sight to see predators at work, when it wasn't trying to kill the jack it was hugging it and staying so close to it, even when i got the jack in the margin i was reluctant to chin it as the bigger pike was still trying to hit it!
The cheeky  thing then sat right in front of me not giving a dam waiting for me to return the jack! I thought i stood a chance of getting it as it was so aggressive so slipped the jack further upstream in safety. I then went back to the bigger pike and it kept flying up for my frog but turning away.

Its times like that i wish i had a go pro!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Tour de River

While most people in Yorkshire were stuck in traffic jams and watching power rangers on wheels go past, myself and Neil got out the way for a day on the river in't boat.
We stayed clear of our usual spots not wanting to risk the traffic coming back so headed off to somewhere out of the way of the race.

We had high hopes really as we've fished it once before and done really well, in fact up until our last session on the boat it was our best day out. So it was a little disappointing to roll up and find the river coloured. It was the kind of colour that was hard to tell whether it was too much or actually wasn't too bad, either way it would have been allot more favourable clearer.

Our worries were confirmed as we trolled quite allot of river and cast in quite allot of areas and didn't get so much as a take, they were certainly not in the mood as we both thought the colour wasn't bad enough to make it that difficult to catch.

It was a long hard day by pack up time, we managed to scrape together just short of 30 fish but allot of those came in one small area and a short spell of action, the rest of the day was taken up trying different things and trolling our balls off for the odd fish or there. It was very disappointing but still a day out on the boat and a good laugh so its never the end of the world.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Consolation fish

I have my eye on some fish i've seen just recently in a small river, these are wild carp, maybe not in the true sense of the word but wild enough that they do not know what bait it. I would however not be using bait to catch them which would make things more difficult. I want to catch them on the fly, ive caught carp before on both a natural daddy fly and a bread fly and got a much more satisfying feeling from catching the one on an imitation of something natural. Don't get me wrong id not turn my nose up at catching carp on dog biscuit flies or again bread flies but your always left with the feeling that you might have well have just used the bait itself. Anyway i tested these wild fish out with bread to see if i could get them feeding on the surface but they were not interested, probably never seen the stuff before.
This was going to be difficult tempting them with a natural pattern, ive seen them doing it allot in the warmer water of the states but would the same work well over here?

Today i shot out after work to dedicate a couple of hours to trying to get one of these carp, I had tied some rough damsel patterns up last night, nothing fancy but they looked great in the water and i was'nt really expecting them to work.

I reached the river and set off for the area i usually see the carp cruising about, no sooner had i started walking and i spooked a heron which must have flown over a basking pike as the water erupted. I had my frogging gear in the car so went back for that before setting off again for the carp with the fly rod, i thought id bag a few pike first. I cast into the area and sure enough a decent fish followed but would'nt take, i think it must have been slightly spooked still from the heron.
I hate carrying more gear than i need but i thought if i brought my frogging gear at least if the carp were not there i could keep trying for the pike. I had a few more casts and bagged a jack.

On my way to the carp i spotted what i thought was another pike but on closer inspection it was two big chub, one of which was a lunker. These are the first chub ive seen in the this river so in a panick i crept closer staying lower amongst the vegetation. It was awkward but i managed to cast a damsel fly at them and luckily i landed it infront of the biggest, it moved towards it and i saw the white of its mouth as it opened, not sure what happened but i lifted thinking i was going to hook up but it didnt and the fish spooked, DAMMIT!
I carried on again cursing all the while at missing the chub, until i finally spotted a cruising carp, it was going at a reasonable speed so it was difficult to get the damsel enough infront of it, my timing was all wrong, probably too close or the fish just not interested but it didnt show any interest at all. then another one came along travelling a little slower and i got my cast just right right, it moved to the side to intercept my damsel and i held my breath.... it opened its mouth to take the fly... im actually gunna get one here i thought... BUT.. as it opened its mouth to hoover the fly in the fly hit some weed and didnt go into the carps mouth, DAMMIT! another chance missed and i was so close to getting a carp on a retrieved nymph which is what im dreaming about at the minute. Sadly no more carp were spotted or at least i thought i had but it turned out to be a small pod of BIG bream. The beauty of fly fishing is that you can target just about anything you spot so again out went the damsel, line tightened and i was in! This was a proper slab and a new PB fly caught bream, what a consolation for missing the chub and carp, if i'd have hooked them it would have been a great session!

It was nearly time to walk back now and i had my sights on the decent pike i had seen earlier, it will have been rested now so hoped id get a shot at it. On the way back i found a dead pikes head, quite surprising how big the teeth are!

To cut a long story short, i went back for the pike and on the first cast into the same area it nailed it! Another consolation fish, sadly i still went home with the chub and carp on my mind but i will be back!