Sunday, 31 July 2011

Diver Dave's Wader Repairs

As I'm sure is the case with most of us...breathable waders are a constant source of my frustrations. It seems crazy that for such a high value item that very few manufacturers are able to produce a reliable pair of waders that will last out a few seasons without the inevitable wet patch appearing somewhere when you take them off.

I've had my waders for just over one season and when the neoprene socks starting leaking I set about trying to repair them but as you can see I never really sorted it out. The thing is the rest of the waders are great so after reading about the services of 'Diver Dave' on various forums I decided to give him a call and see if it was possible to replace both socks with new ones.

Before the repair job by Diver Dave

Well nothing seems to phase Dave and when I explained the problem he was confident that he could do the job without too many problems.

As it turned out the only problem for Dave was sourcing a matching pair of neoprene socks that would match up with the ones he had removed, a couple of weeks later and I had a call to say that the repair had been completed and the waders were soon to be returned...couldn't wait to check 'em out.

New (leak free) neoprene socks
When they arrived I wasn't disappointed, the repair looked like a first class job and all they need now is a thorough testing on some of the harsh small stream fishing that played a part in the breakdown of the originals.

Prices and further info available from his website:

Monday, 25 July 2011

Big Grayling...Small River

A weekend that was crammed full of fishing also proved to be very rewarding, with the capture of what must have come close to being my personal best Grayling.

My best ever? A stunning Grayling for a small river.

Where do you head for to capture that special fish? Well the answer is not always where you'd expect!.

There is no doubt that some of the bigger rivers around us are good places to capture a specimen (in Wales the Wye, Usk and Dee spring to mind) but quite often it is the smaller rivers and streams that shock us and certainly in my experience this has been the case with both Trout and Grayling.

As long as the river has a steady flow of water and more importantly a rich source of invertebrate life then the potential for these smaller rivers to yield something out of the ordinary is more likely than you may think.

All the following caught on the same day from a stretch of river that you could almost jump across in parts:

Many of my largest captured Brown Trout and Grayling have come from such small waters so my advice is if you're in search of 'the fish of a lifetime' then you would do well not to dismiss some of the smaller tributaries.

This weekend also gave me the opportunity to try out my recently repaired waders courtesy of 'Diver Dave', report to follow shortly.

Monday, 18 July 2011

French Nymphing On The River Wye

Perhaps not the first choice of method considering the quite strong downstream wind experienced on the River Wye Saturday, but I was out to test a theory I had.

The previous day I had fished the same bit of water using conventional methods - namely single dry fly and duo and although connecting with a few fish I knew that there were many fish (mainly Grayling) that were in the area that I couldn't tempt.

Now the theory was to return armed with my 10' #3 streamflex and using the so called 'French Nymphing' technique fish through the same water to compare results.

Large Grayling being played (just sub-surface) after taking the point fly
With the unfavourable wind I had attached 2 tungsten beadhead nymphs (2.5mm + 2.0mm) to the end of my set up, I also opted to fish at closer than normal range for this method to gain maximum control and presentation.

After just a few hours fishing I had managed to net some quite impressive Grayling along with some smaller trout, I had certainly topped my previous days tally by some margin and although this in itself isn't concrete proof that this method will always out perform other types of fly fishing it is a technique that under certain conditions has the ability to present flies more delicately and with less surface disturbance.

For those fly anglers willing to 'think outside the box' this is a method you might find more than useful to have up your sleeve.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Shropshire Stream

Slipped out early from work and pinched a few hours to fish a stream I often visit in rural Shropshire. It was such a contrast from the rivers and streams I experienced in Mid Wales last weekend that were carrying excessive amounts of water to find this stream as low as I've seen it and in need of a 'washout'.

As you may expect the fish were in the well oxygenated deeper runs and fortunately quite a few were still happy to have a go at both the nymph and dry.

Note how white the leading edge is on the anal fin.

An enjoyable afternoons fishing but I do wonder what affect prolonged low levels will have on a river and its inhabitants. Hopefully they will cope with the extremes which seem to becoming all too frequent.

Monday, 11 July 2011

It All Gets Better On The Clettwr

Heavy rain in Mid-Wales on Friday put paid to my plans to fish the River Wye so I spent early Saturday morning on a reccy trying to find one of the many streams in this area that may have run off quickly.

The upper reaches of the River Irfon had took the bulk of the downfall and although flood water on this river generally runs off quickly it was apparent that this may take a while to get back to anywhere near fishing level.

I would need to set my sights on the smaller streams so I headed south to the River Edw of which the Wye And Usk Foundation have four beats on their roving voucher scheme, peering over the bridge at Aberedw I could tell that my quest was not yet over as this stream was also carrying too much water.

I now pinned all my hopes on a small stream I had fished a couple of times before...the Clettwr that runs into the Wyw at Erwood, it's a stream that tumbles fast down a steep sided gorge creating some of the most dramatic fishing you could wish to experience.

Again, this is a W&UF beat (R15 in the voucher booklet) and I guessed that due to the nature of this stream most of the rain would have travelled through in to the River Wye so I geared up and set off down the steep gorge to find it running relatively clear and a perfect level.

Marker posts guiding the way down the gorge to the beat start.
If you ever get to fish this beat you will appreciate how spectacular the backdrop of this stream is but as a consequence you will also have to endure a gruelling trek through some pretty rugged terrain. If you manage to make the end of the beat with any energy left then the walk back to the car will surely drain the last ounce from you.

Described by the Foundation as "real mountain stream fishing and a challenge to the most hardy...pure escapism!" which I think pretty much sums it up.

Stuffed full of small trout (which fight like hell) of which a 10" fish would be deemed a bonus...give it a try if you dare, but give yourself a full day!

River levels on the Irfon had dropped back on Sunday allowing me to target some Grayling using the French Nymphing method which rounded off the weekend nicely.