Tuesday, 30 December 2014

I can never be accused of being a fair weather fisherman...

Walking in to Milldale
...especially after yesterday; in fact my last two trips have been during adverse conditions.

It took thirty miles of driving before I came across any of the snow that covered much of the country. Thankfully the roads were good, even those deep in the dales. I met up with Mike and Ant at Milldale to fish on LADDFA's water on the Dove. Although the river was running a little high it was still clear, continued cold conditions meant we didn't have to contend with snow melt, but the water was still frigid regardless.

The scenery was spectacular, hard frost gripped tight on anything that wasn't already blanketed by the snow, the limestone cliffs decorated with rows of icicles.

We walked to the bottom end of the beat, this served two purposes; firstly it was essential to warm up fully before we started - I have found that a good walk really warms you and sets you up for the day, making the low temperatures bearable - and secondly we got to see all of the available water, earmarking those pools and runs that looked tantalising.

The day proved to be as hard as it was cold. I fared the worst out of the three of us. I took a few hours before I finally caught something, two grayling and a trout was my end total. One grayling and the trout fell to the Utah killer bug and a red-tag jig back fooled the other grayling. Despite the seemingly poor return, it was a delight to get out and meet with friends, but I fear it will be some time before I'm out again.

The other fishing trip during adverse conditions was at the beginning of the month. I traveled to Pinkshrimp country and fished the upper reaches of post-industrial river. Heavy rain meant the river had risen considerably, although it was dropping slowly from its peak, the decision was made last minute; the river would be fish-able but not ideal. On arrival the river was high and quite coloured - a dark tea colour. As I was applying floatant to my indicator a small grayling took a fly as they dangled in the current, off to a great start without even starting yet.

Although not prolific we caught steadily. Successful flies included Danny's San Juan worm, pink shrimps and red tag bead-heads.

In the end I only fished for two and a half hours as the rain returned mid morning, the river rose again and coloured up further halting all action which had been steady up till that point. In total we had around 25 fish; Danny catching the bigger share. There were some nice fish amongst the total including some trout and grayling to a pound.

Danny at the end of the morning, you can see the state of the river which by this
time had become impossible to fish.
Pink shrimps and......
San Juan worms proving to be the consistent catchers that morning.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Using Collins Hackle...

Not only do I love the colours that Collins Hackle capes come in, the feathers are great quality. I want to show what they look like when wrapped so I have taken a feather from each cape and wrapped the onto a needle.

L-R Dyed barred dun, Brassy dun, Barred ginger, Med brown dun, Grizzly and Natural barred dun
Although the individual feathers aren't as long as on Whiting capes I have found they will tie the same size range.

To show how small the capes will tie I have tied a Griffiths gnat and a variant. The variant is tied with barred ginger hackle and pheasant tail body.

Griffiths gnat variant tied on a size 22 Partridge midge supreme
Griffiths gnat tied on a size 24 Partridge midge supreme
I have also been messing around with some of Joeseph Ludkin's Reel wings; the results are pleasing.

I used the brassy dun cape for this winged klink

The same as the klink above but tied on a Tiemco BL100
The hook shank has been kinked at the thorax
And to finish off a hare's ear jingler using the natural barred dun cape.

A scruffy, impressionistic dry; just the thing for early season trouting

Saturday, 13 December 2014

If you're a hackle tart...

...Collins capes can now be bought in the UK.

I may be one of the first people who has bought Collins capes from the only UK stockist. I have always been a bit of a hackle tart, but choices in the UK are limited to the main hackle producers - Whiting, Metz, Keogh and our own home producer Chevron. There's nothing wrong with what is available of course although some people may take offence to the prices charged but quality comes at a price.

Anyone that knows me well will know that I love hackle! I can't help but buy capes in a myriad of colours, some only so slightly different to others I already have. I'm sure I'm not alone in having this weakness. I have wanted to own a few Collins capes because of the quality of the natural colours available. I have a fondness for dun coloured capes and the ones I've received from Funky Flytying are some of the best I have come across.

Although only a few colours are listed on the Funky website a quick chat with Toby saw three natural dun, a dyed dun, barred ginger and a grizzly cape delivered to me. I've taken a few quick snaps just to show them off although I haven't as yet used them I really looking forward to trying them out.

First up are a medium brown dun and a smokey dun.

A close up of the smokey dun.

And the medium brown dun.

These are a natural barred dun and a dyed barred dun.

Close up of the natural barred dun.

And the dyed barred dun.

The quality of the grizzle and the barred ginger is as good as any I've seen.

All the capes are grade 3 and cost £30 which is great value in my eyes. They will tie down to 20 with the main bulk of sizing being 12-16.

If there is anything specific you're after send Toby a PM I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with these capes, especially at the price. You can find the capes here.