Monday, 27 April 2015

Large Dark Olive

The last time time I fished I caught a couple of large dark olives and placed them in a film canister for photographing later. As it turns out I caught a male and female; the male was significantly larger, certainly a true size 14 - the female nearer 16. I have been doing rather well with the dark version of the Barbour Paradun, catching trout and grayling.

Large Dark Olive

Large Dark Olive

Large Dark Olive

Large Dark Olive

Large Dark Olive

Barbour Paradun

Barbour Paradun

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Sparse, but a hatch nevertheless.

A large dark olive that Tom took home to photgraph
Tom had his induction today, Easter at the beginning of the month knocked things out by a week. I arranged to meet with him so we could fish once he had his membership book.

It was frigid, a T-shirt, long-sleeved top, thick jumper and coat were the order of the day; thermal leggings and a neck snood finished the dressing. A cold and gusty wind blew from the north, thankfully this meant it was upstream so I could use the Lexa without difficulty. A brief fish with two nymphs fished upstream while Tom was inducted into club yealded zilch, not a great start. When Tom joined me we walked upstream from where I fished and we commented on the work that the EA had undertaken during the winter. I reminisced past glories and showed Tom where I had fished last year and how I fared.


Arriving at a pool I wanted to start on I explained the vagaries of this part and pointed out the likely areas. Tom had already set up to fish a klink and dink and started to cover the pool, it wasn't long before he caught a fish, a tiny grayling that neither of us knew had taken the fly. That gusty wind was problematic, forcing the line and fly across the river, adjusting where the cast was made alleviated that issue but the odd cast was still blown off course. A fish rose and took the klink, much to the surprise of both of us, as it took moments after the fly had landed, brief tussle and a plump little brownie was in hand. My turn saw me hook, play and then lose a trout, typical of course. We fished on further up into the next pool without reward.


Tom's little'un

The lack of success continued for some time, we covered a lot of water and some great looking areas without so much as a pluck, jab or the disappearance of the klink. If nothing else it allowed us to gain an impression of the beat and note areas to concentrate on next time. Although we didn't catch anything we did see the occasional fish scurry past, a mixture of trout and grayling but they simply weren't feeding.

Barbour Paradun
Barbour paradun
As the day wore on the sun started to break through providing welcome warmth and with it the odd olive appeared. We came to splendid run where the river narrowed, a firm gravel bottom interspersed with patches of ranunculas. This was the first run where we saw numbers of olives hatching and fish rising frequently enough to warrant targeting specific fish. I tied on a Barbour paradun and more than once did we mistake it for a real fly drifting down when we lost sight of it. Again the wind was a nuisance, those dead stands of cow parsley which are ever-present along river banks, continually snagged the tippet and fly. This did result in putting down some of the fish ahead of us although I missed two rises and landed two grayling by the time I reached the top of the run.

Risers out there




Around the next corner we found a larger pool with a good depth, the smooth surface regularly distorted with rises across its length and into the riffle above. Tom fished this pool as I had fished the most of the last and with lots of resting managed two grayling, I failed to tempt any of the fish rising at the head of the pool. I had lost a couple of flies and tied on a Phd as I had run out of Barbour paraduns, both flies share the same great profile but having differing materials for the body.


As it was still my turn we continued walking up and fishing the popply water above and into the next pool. Arriving at the next pool a fish quickly gave its position away with a confident rise, I covered it with a couple of drifts and the fly disappeared. Lifting the rod firmly the fish tore off upstream taking line off the reel before dashing back down leaving me struggling to keep tension. The fish ran into some branches and again swam back upstream leaving my fly line caught under a sunken branch. Tom helpfully lifted the offending branch allowing me to untangle the line, because I had concentrated on freeing the line I was unaware the trout had dived into some more branches ahead of me, this fish knew all the tricks. The 0.127mm tippet held and I eventually brought the fish down to the net, the Phd I changed to lodged firmly in its scissors. A well mended fish of around 14", it was a similar colouration to the large fish from Friday afternoon.

14" Brown Trout

14" Brown Trout

14" Brown Trout

Above we found another run that looked promising and Tom winkled out a trout on a BPD. Walking further up the beat to see what the rest of the river looked liked, we didn't fish as I needed to head back. The river looked even better with some really enticing pools and runs with a lot of fish, we saw many trout and grayling with one trout easily going a pound and a half. I was left with a great impression of this beat and I will certainly be heading back soon.

Another of Tom's little'un

14" Brown Trout

The one that gets away...(part 2)

16" Brown Trout

Much later than we anticipated, we made our way to the cars and without changing drove straight down to bottom beat. A brief walk saw us arrive at the extreme end of the club waters. I had never seen this part of the fishery and only visited this area during the winter, completing necessary maintenance work as part of the clubs months work parties.

We sat just sightly back from the waters edge as we set our rods up. Steve had decided to try and christen his completely handmade cane rod although he set himself a tall challenge in insisting it was on a dry-fly. Again Steve was a gentleman and gave me first shot. The pool I fished was on a bend and starting well down the pool working up the run fishing a duo again but with a Dhe instead of the obligatory klink.

Reaching the head of the pool I saw a fish rise in the main current against the far bank. I tried several times without success and quickly decided a change was needed. Sat on the bank and scanning my fly box for a likely choice I spotted a fish porpoise downstream of my position. I had only minutes before walked past, I was surprised plus it gave me a chance to rest the fish at the head of the pool and a challenge as I had to drift the fly downstream; something I don't do often and in all honesty I wasn't confident in doing.

The fish rose again as I tied on a size 14 Cul-de-Canon. It took a couple of casts before the fly drifted perfectly in line and I watched the trout rise slowly to the surface and fully expecting a refusal, but to my surprise the trout took the fly confidently and a firm lift attached the trout to my line.

Slow reactions on my part allowed it to shoot downstream further and into the over-hanging vegetation, still attached I gain a little put ultimately pulled too hard and broke off at the knot with the fly. I actually felt devastated, it wasn't a big fish, a pounder at least, but this fish really left me feeling at loss because if its escape.

We fished on without success and genuinely feared we might blank; of course we hadn't blanked but the fish we caught earlier couldn't be entered on our club catch returns.

It was Steve's turn to be left with a memory. Round the corner from a promising, although unrewarding run, was a set of two interconnected deep pools. Still anxious of blanking we felt sure a fish could be caught from this area. Some great drifts saw the LT klink drift untouched until one such drift caused the fly to drag quite fiercely, at this point a huge mouth surfaced causing an enormous splash and engulfed the fly. The violence of the rise took Steve by surprise, at the fish was snapped off on the strike. We remained in place, frozen with shock and disbelief at what we had just witnessed. With more than a little dubiety we waited and changed the fly, because the fish reacted so aggressively to the dragging klink I gave Steve one of my G&H sedges; to see if something with a little more meat to it as well as being able to withstand any skating if necessary.

We waited around ten minutes before Steve tried to arouse the fish again, unsurprisingly it didn't show again, That blank seemed ever closer.

It was my turn to fish the next pool. I was set up with a single nymph with an indicator, the pool was turbulent, a JP pupa with a 3mm tungsten bead was the only thing suitable. Within half a dozen casts a violent take as soon as the fly hit the water, the reel screamed as what was clearly a good fish tore off upstream. I shouted to Steve who was upstream and he joined me to do the photography honors.

16" Brown Trout

16" Brown Trout

An oddly coloured trout with an orange hue the fish measured 16" although it was hollow bellied, we didn't weigh it but a still a great fish.

As my blank had been broken I gave Steve the rod to finish the run as there was plenty of water still to fish. Thankfully he quickly caught and we knew we could relax now we had fish to enter on our catch returns. A pretty little 7" trout was quickly released and now we could concentrate on christening Steve's bamboo.

Steve working a pool
Steve working through a pool with my Daiwa
Steve fished a number of pools without success and although we both knew he could easily catch on a nymph I admired Steve's spirit and resolve to insist the first had to be on a dry. It was getting late, much later than I expected to be out, walking along the bank we identified the likely looking areas for next time. I even managed to catch another small trout with an exploratory cast from a high bank into a fast run against the near bank, as I went to lift the fish out it gave itself a long release so saving me job of clambering down the bank to release it back into the river.

All in all a great day, but those two fish - my modest one and Steve's monster - will not be forgotten in a hurry.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

The one that gets away...(part 1)

17" Brown Trout the one that leaves its mark on your memory.

A long day yesterday. I met up with Steve and Richard Barrett of Small Stream Brown Trout fame at just after nine. I wanted to show Steve the urban stretch I fish and afterwards we planned to fish a beat at the very bottom of our club waters. We had a long natter about all things fishing, compared rods, exchanged thoughts on the direction of our club and the management of the river.

The three of us walked down to what is considered the bottom of the urban section, on the way down we spotted trout, chub and other coarse fish although Richard and I remarked on the reduced numbers of fish altogether. Steve and I set up next to a weir, Richard spectated and offered to take pictures.

Setting up

I set up a duo with an Adams klinkhamer and JP pupa tied New Zeland style with the dropper tied on the bend of the klink; Steve set up a single dry-fly tying on a CDC olive.


Steve offered the first go to me. Wading into the water at the tail of the weir I concentrated on the faster current and it wasn't long before the klink dipped under. As I played the trout, another larger one, chased the sunken klink as it was dragged around below the waters surface.


Safely to hand

I handed over my rod to Steve and he picked up where I left off. It wasn't long before the rod hooped in to a trout, it looked like the one had chased the sunken klink as it seemed the same size.

Balls deep

Steve's Trout

Richard parted company with us as we finished fishing the weir. I managed to hook and lose another fish before we moved on.

We found a couple of trout further upstream close to a big shoal of mixed silver fish. Steve used a killer bug and tried to tempt them although he managed to hook a chub that beat everything to the fly.,a plump fish over a pound. We continued walking back upstream spotting fish on the way but they mostly turned out to be chub and dace.

The weir that yealded the 3lb'er last June was our next stop. We quickly fished through the pool, Steve landed another chub - I sneaked a picture as Steve gently released it - and we managed a trout a piece and I bumped a couple as I all too frequently seem to do this season.

Steve in action


A small group of good sized trout sat in the pool below the outflow under the white bridge. Steve tried for them and learnt the golden rule of these urban trout - once chance only. Without success we continued on our way vowing to have another go when we walk back as our cars were parked nearby.

I really wanted to show Steve as much of the urban stretch as possible. Walking upstream we mostly came across shoals of coarse fish, very few trout were showing. We found a wheely-bin in the spot where I had the two large trout last summer, complete with black bin bags full of rubbish - amazing! As I pulled the bin out, a large trout lay just under the bridge against the very far side. Steve tried with his killer bug despite my protestation that the fish was spooked and that we were lucky it was still there to be seen. One cast saw it move out of the way as the fly drifted down - 'I told you' was my statement to Steve. He tried again and I stood gobsmacked as I swear it ate the fly, Steve missed it as he hadn't seen the take and then missed the fish when I told him to lift.

We didn't walk any further and headed back down.

Trying again in the out-flow pool Steve landed a nice little fish caught on a klink as I spotted from on top of the bridge.

Time for unhooking

9" Brown Trout

Unable to resist the urge to have a go I made several attempts to lure different fish without success. As I was pulling the fly up to re-cast, an unseen trout shot out from nowhere and lunged at the rapidly departing fly, it was too late, the fly was ripped away as I already committed to another cast.

I desperately scanned the pool looking, but I simply couldn't see where this trout went. Just as I was about to have another cast I saw exactly where the fish was - laying parallel to the outflow ledge and only inches away from its edge. This was a fish neither of us had seen earlier. A well placed cast just to the side of it, proved deadly, the trout moved purposefully off its position and without hesitation it sucked in the JP pupa. I lifted almost with shock as I didn't fluff it up and miss the fish. My dilemma now was that I was on a bridge and needed to get down to the water, making my way round the bridge and some railings I was conscious of not losing control of the fish and ultimately losing it altogether.

Look at the bend

It has been a long time since a fish made my arm ache through a long and powerful fight. The fish was immensely strong, it jumped once failing to gain any height and fought doggedly as I tried to get its head up.

Head down

Eventually the fish slid head first into the net still full of fight and energy. Steve and I stood there staring in the net at the sheer bulk of the fish, it was in truly great condition, very plump. Weighed and measured the stats are 17" long and 2 1/2lb in weight, we agreed the scales weren't the most accurate so it could have weighed more but a brilliant fish regardless and a horse as Glen Pointon would say.

17" Brown Trout

The business end of a 17" Brown Trout

17" Brown Trout

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Help safeguard the fishing you love..... may only cost you fifty pence a month.

Apathy has always been rife among us fisherfolk. Oh how we bury our heads in the sand and hope all the ills and problems that affect our waterways, and ultimately our fishing, will simply wash away with the current.

Luckily there are groups of people who will fight our corner for us; they will challenge the law, use the law against those, who by breaking it, affect the arteries of life that weave their way seawards.

I have been a member of the Angling Trust for a while but have only recently joined the Wild Trout Trust. Direct debits make life much easier and I recently found out that the two I have set up only really cost me 50p a month.

Having recently switched current accounts I was surprised to find that with certain criteria (two direct debits being one of them) my bank gives me £5 a month. £2.50 goes to the Angling Trust and £3 to the WTT every month and just think if we all only had to contribute 50p a month, so many of us could ensure that the hard work both of these organisations continues as many of us directly benefit from it.

See what your banks are offering, the future of our fishing is worth the effort.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Great day for fishing, not so good for catching.

DHE fooled Brown Trout

Another lunchtime finish and a short afternoon session. I fished the same beat as last week hoping to get among the midging fish again.

Beat B

Starting around mid-way on the beat I found the odd rising fish along with the occasional hatching upwing. I missed a couple of fish before I finally landed one. Hoping that the stutter early on had passed, it proved to be more of the same. I missed or pricked around another dozen fish all rising to a DHE and I left after three hours feeling pretty frustrated; it was just one of those days.

9" Brown Trout

I'm out again tomorrow, fingers crossed my fortunes change.

Thursday, 2 April 2015


Brown Trout

The season has started. A lunchtime finish saw me head to my club water when I left work. I opted for a beat closer, but we're only talking a matter of a few miles really. This beat is the upper reaches but still a few miles down from the upper limits of the river.

On arrival, I was greeted to a clear river, flowing strongly. Rain over the last two days had risen the water levels a little and I was grateful the river was fish-able. I met up with a fellow club member Steve and spent a few hours fishing in pleasant conditions; in fact I only wore a t-shirt and jumper - no coat needed.

We set up at the top of the beat where the cars are parked and walked to the very bottom, through the farm whose land we fish on. I fished this beat last year but never walked to the end, no idea why, I don't think I can blame it on laziness as it's not much further from where I used to start.

We patiently watched for a while to see if anything was moving. We saw no rises or any flies hatching; with more enthusiasm and anticipation than expectation, we both tied on single dries; I chose a Cul-de-Canon whilst Steve selected a beast of a CDC winged olive, I understood the logic of offering a meaty mouthful.

Steve fishing on B beat I fished the first pool with no luck and Steve fished the second having the same result. The next pool looked equally as unpromising, but just round the bend we found a fish rising. I saw a lot of midge shucks floating down the current and this combined with the gentle rises led me to believe the fish was taking emerging midges. Did I have a pattern to imitate that, of course not, I decided a Matt's Gnat should be suitable because if left untreated, the snowshoe rabbit fibres should keep the fly low in the surface film. Despite my best stalking skills, my haphazard casting eventually put the fish down - I'll use the excuse that it was my first time out with a new rod and line.

Brown Trout

Brown Trout

Brown Trout

Steve fished the next section upstream and our lack of success continued, even the two trout we found rising couldn't be tempted. I decided to wonder further up seeing what I could spot. I disturbed a large trout lying close to the bank under a blackthorn thicket; I would say the fish looked a good pound and a half.

After we both walked the bank for a bit we came across a cattle crossing. This area is wide, shallow with a very smooth surface. A number of rising fish could be seen including what we believed to be a very large trout upstream at the next bend - we saw this fish rise a few times and were in no doubt of its size. We assumed the fish were rising to midges still, I had tied the Cul-de-Canon back on and Steve fished with a small light tan Klinkhamer, mostly in the hope that they weren't being fussy. Both Steve and I caught a fish from here, mine a plump 12" and Steve's a modest 8. I pricked another fish and made my way round the bend.

Brown Trout

More fish were found rising as we worked round the bend. The large fish wasn't seen but its position was noted for next time.I landed another two trout and lost one while Steve caught another. By then the rises had stopped and I had ran out of time. We walked back along the river discussing various parts and contemplating how we would tackle each part. I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon, and was very happy to have caught some fish.

Daiwa Lexa Nymph Special 8-9' 3#

Those of you that follow the inpursuitofspotties Facebook page will know that I bought a new rod for this season. Having um'd and ahh'd for several months I finally plucked the courage to buy a Daiwa Lexa nymph special. I bought the 8-9' 3# version as I mostly fish with an eight foot rod. I liked the versatility offered by the removable one foot section. As stated in the FF&FT review of the 9-10' version, this rod certainly appears to have been designed differently, in that this is a rod you can make shorter without affecting it, rather than adding sections to make it longer and ultimately ruining the action. I purchased a Barrio GT90 3# to match with the rod and I found it effortless to cast, the tip recovery is quick, the line turned over smoothly and loops were as tight or open as I wanted. I did only fish this at 8' but having cast it at both lengths the action is the same. I am so seriously impressed with this rod I will most certainly buy the longer version and move on my Orvis Western3to help fund it. This is the first Barrio line I have bought and needless to say it won't be the last, a superb casting line.