Sunday, 30 March 2014

Fight Club

The misses and I spent yesterday painting the outside of the house and enjoying the fine warm weather. We finished the front and the plan was to start on the back of the house today. I woke up feeling like I'd been run over - I don't know how many times I went up and down that ladder and decided a gentle stroll along the river might loosen stiff muscles.

So....First rule of fight club.....blow that!

It was blustery this morning and I chose to take the UUL set up rather than the fly rod - haven't done it for a while and decided to pick a better day to get the timing going again .

It was a beautiful mild and hazy morning.

Lure de jour....a minnow spinner.

I had a few nice little trout from this fast water.

This fast water is at the top of the beat and as I walked downstream to some slightly deeper water I decided to try a 70mm Fiiiish Black Minnow  This little beauty duly mullered it.

Having returned this fishI noticed the body had torn near the hole where the hook goes through - I was going to change it and save the body for some mend it treatment later. However a quick swim in the margin and it looked OK so I thought what the hell... Next cast and half way back I hit a snag and it just locked solid - at the same time a large fish exploded out of the water in front of me. One of those moments when you are not sure what the hell is going on. It was a fraction of a second later when the fish shot off and the drag started to sing that I realised I was attached to the  thing! I thought I've got no chance of landing this on 3.4lb mono and a tiny  3g rod but hey-ho we can but try !The fish just tore off upstream on an absolutely ballistic run and I thought  I'm gonna get spooled here so I set off running up the bank - inevitably I fell over but managed to keep the rod above the vegetation and the fish was still running and kept the tension on. I managed to get back on my feet and out of the brambles and set off again. The second time I fell instinct took over and I dropped the rod completely -  I felt sure I'd lose the fish. I jumped up and grabbed the rod and was gutted to find the line slack. So I kept reeling expecting to have either been broken off or snagged if the hook had pulled.  As I got the line under tension I realised the fish was still on. It must have stopped its run as I dropped the rod and took the tension off the line.
It was a fair way upstream so I moved a bit closer and then the fight really began. The pencil thin rod was at full compression and with the drag on as much as I dared it weas hard to even move the fish. I wanted to keep it above me as I knew I had no chance if it got below me in the flow. I played it to my feet several times only for it to shoot off again. I only had a scoop net with me and I knew there wasn't a  chance of it going in so it had to be tailed or lost. The bank was steep and the margin deep and with only my wellies on I was perched precariously. It took me a while to manouever the fish above me so that I could use the current to drop it back into my grasp. Eventually it was in the right place and I grabbed the wrist of the tail and hauled it out. I must admit to screaming Yeeessss! at the top of my voice and scaring all the wildlife for miles around!
I wasn't sure whether it was a salmon or sea trout at first but after better look it proved  to be a fresh run salmon - my first ever !!!It must have run up the river on the high tides of the last couple of days'

The head of the beast....

..and after what was undoubtedly the most amazing fight I've ever experienced the trophy shot...

Long and slim I was suprised it only went 7lb 3oz - but unbelievably strong - it was a real handful to unhook even after a strong fight - I've never held such a powerful fish !

I was buzzing and fished my way back to the car......when I had another arm wrenching take and I thought not again!

It didn't go tearing off and although powerful It wasn't acting like a game fish. When I got my first glimpse I thought it was a carp. Only when it was in the margins did I realise it was a huge chub. Noooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! a possible PB and it's out of season ! . Do I weigh it or not :?  - well I just had to know and was mightily relieved when it fell a couple of ounces shy of my PB- phew. I know it's out of season but was accidentally caught whilst targetting trout but I thought I'd share it anyway - a fantastic, mint fish (5lb6oz) that is not aware of the stupid closed season !

What a day - beats decorating eh!?

Friday, 28 March 2014

Fat Fingers

I spent years tying trout flies, mainly to target stocked rainbow trout. Recently however my time on the vice has been spent tying humongous pike flies or pike sized jig flies. So when I sat at my vice tonight to try and replenish my river fly box and tie some flies for the wild brown trout I discovered that a combination of poorer eyesight and fat fingers meant I really struggled - it took me a few attempts to rediscover the light touch necessary to tie a couple of my all time favourites.....the famous Klinkhammer... I think this fly tied in a range of sizes and colours can match just about every hatch! If I had to fish one fly for the rest of my life it would be this one - a brilliant design and a proven catcher all over the world.

..the trouts eye view.

This is one of my most productive mayfly imitations. Tied on a Partridge Swedish dry fly hook - it lands with the hookpoint up and will fool the wariest of fish - it's such a good representation I've had birds try to take it!"

This is how it sits on the water!

Trouts eye view.

Now to make the time to try them on the local rivers!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Trout Art

These were caught on Matt Holmes custom made snap beans.

Nothing big yet but they are all stunningly beautiful creatures.

Sunday, 23 March 2014


With the rivers being closed, Saturday morning saw a return to a large still water that has produced several 3lb perch up to 3lb 14oz for me. I was keen to try some recently acquired Fiish BlackMinnows. I had a few small fish on the 90mm and thought I'd see if the 120mm size might sort out a bigger fish. Alas not to be as the small ones weren't put off by the larger size!

These smaller fish showing is a sure sign that this lake, which is way up in the hills, is starting to warm up. These fish just seem to disappear in the Winter!

I decided to try a local small stream for a few hours on Sunday. The trout are small, a big one from this venue being 8-10oz but lots of fun on an UUL rod rated up to 3g and 3lb lines.

The stream was carrying a bit of extra water and colour and my favourite snap bean lures were picking up the odd fish but the action was slow until I swapped to small spinners.