Sunday, 27 July 2014

Missed out on the mayfly, but I still had a ball (part three)

By the time Friday had arrived - the third and final day of fishing in a row - I was completely knackered. As a result I wasn't especially eager to get out fishing early, although I was certainly still going. A leisurely drive saw me returning to my club river. I had already decided I wanted to fish the last pool of Wednesday evening that Tom finished the day on. Tom lost a sizeable trout and I felt the pool had more to give; largely due to the unexpected depth I saw Tom wade to.

With the success French nymphing had given me this week, I wanted to try the method in this first pool. The pool is open and wide relative to most of the river, I would rather have some space whilst still trying the method out.

Seems I still haven't cracked this pool, a lost grayling and a single trout were all that I caught, I will have to try again.

Rising fish up ahead distracted me from my original plans. I opted to stay with the 10ft rod despite a succession of over hanging trees. Changing over to a fly line I crept into position and removed the last section of the rod - it is a three piece so gave me a working length just over 6ft. A small pod of grayling and large dace were ahead of me and although I could see a couple of fish move to the small nymph I was using I couldn't get one to take.

A well chewed DHE
I moved on. This brought me to the bottom of a pool that held a fair depth, but lacked much flow except for at the head of it. Working up the pool with a DHE, it wasn't until I reached the faster water that I caught a small sized grayling.

Upstream, ahead of the pool, was a fantastic smooth glide; half a dozen or so rising fish finally gave me some targets. Scanning the river surface as it flowed past I couldn't see anything trapped in the surface that could be tempting the fish up. With this in mind I kept the DHE on for it's generic food impression. I caught two more grayling - one of which took a size 18 adams paraloop emerger - a trout and lost a fish too.

Adams paraloop emerger

Another smooth but slower glide produced another trout after a rise revealed its location.

I made my further upstream, this was all new water for me, I was exploring as much as fishing. I found a cracking pool that had been created using some log jams and probably a little excavation. I could see from the high bank the pool had a good number of fish in it. Creeping in down stream, I set up as I had previously broken down my tackle. This pool proved tricky to fish, the tail quickly shallowed and using the duo method it took several attempts to get a decent drift. A couple of missed chances, including a rise at the klinkhamer frustrated me. As I begun casting at the top of the pool I hooked a substantial fish, a fantastic wild fish of around 13".

I explored a little more and found a dismantled weir. I landed a dace and a trout and lost another fantastic fish which shot downstream after I had played it for a minute or two; holding on too hard hoping to turn the fish resulted in a snapped tippet, I finished there feeling pretty cross with myself for allowing that to happen.

As I walked back to the car I was more than happy with the day. I was pleased I had explored more of the river and I'll certainly be having another look at this section.

Dyed mallard flank

The Phd tied with the original natural mallard wing

In the past, when I have been tying Phd's, Barbour paraduns or any other patterns requiring mallard flank, I have used marker pens to colour where necessary. Normally I have only used various shades of grey depending on how dark I wanted the wing. Results were mixed, the flank took the colour well enough but I didn't feel it would last. An alternative is of course commercially dyed feathers.

Being a fan of Nature's Spirit products, it was inevitable I would end up trying some of their dyed mallard flank. Medium dun and summer duck are the colours I have used so far, the results are good. A wing made of the medium dun makes a fly look darker overall compared to natural mallard. The summer duck substitute is quite good, not as subtly coloured as the natural carolina wood duck flank, but certainly acceptable.

I have tied up a Phd.

The dyed mallard flank really adds to this fly, in my eyes anyway

Some Catskill style dry-flies. Summer duck is well used in the States on the Catskills pattern, the Hendrickson is one of the best known.

The summer duck sub is a deep rich colour
A hendrickson with a medium grey dun hackle, tied short at the eye in the tradition Catskill style
This is tied with a dark dun hackle

A generic blue dun with medium dyed mallard flank, muskrat body and medium dun hackle

Just for fun I have also tied up a Phd in the Hendrickson colours.

This is a colour combo for the Phd that I like

You can find Nature's Spirit dyed mallard flank at Funky Fly Tying here.