Thursday, 29 December 2011

Making The Best Of It

OK...I know at we are expected to spend a little extra time with our families at Christmas but it’s hard to stop looking at those online gauges to check the river levels or in my case walk the dog along the river watching for any signs that herald even the slightest possibility that casting a line is worthwhile.

Rain has made up the bulk of the weather over the festive period and has left the rivers and streams in the upper Wye system severely full, but a day or two without rain should bring them back down very quickly, such is the nature of these spate rivers.

On Wednesday I seized my opportunity and sank my waders into the still high and partially coloured river Irfon, the wind was blowing hard and the current was pushing hard against my waders but it was good to be casting a line again.

I had set up a three fly combination which consisted of a very heavy tungsten nymph on the middle dropper with two lighter nymphs either side, these were fished on a short line using my 10’ 4wt Streamflex with a short lob to get them out in the flow.

Heavily weighted dual tungsten 'sacrificial' nymph

The method worked well under the conditions and I caught 12 grayling in just a few hours with some nice fish amongst them. The fish took all three flies but the pink point fly was possibly favourite.

I also snatched a couple of hours today (Thursday) where the Irfon had dropped a couple more inches and was a lovely colour, the wind was blowing even harder but similar tactics proved good again and I was rewarded with some more nice grayling including one which I would consider to be one of my best from this river, a stunning 18” fish which was full bodied and in perfect condition.

Very deep 18" Grayling
As I write this the rain is lashing against the window (as it has done most of the afternoon) and the planned day out tomorrow fishing with a friend looks certain to be put on hold until the New Year.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Festive Greetings

Almost the end of another year which has seen some quite adverse weather conditions. The rainfall experienced through much of the trout season was woefully short and some of the smaller streams I fish became little more than a trickle.

For me this year has been quite productive in many ways. Firstly I took up membership of a new club which has given me a lot more waters to fish within my area, these include first class wild trout and grayling rivers which even in the low conditions produced some magnificent fish.

I have also spent much of the year getting to grips with the 'long leader' European style of fishing used in conjunction with a long/lightweight rod, this will not appeal to all but I find it a great way of getting the best out of certain rivers. This style of fishing is becoming more and more popular and rod manufactures are now incorporating a range to cater for this. Amongst others Greys have a range of rods that are specifically designed for this in the XF2 Streamflex range. I have a friend who has built himself a 11' #2 rod which is just a dream when it comes to casting a long leader and light nymphs so I can see a new addition to my rod range for next year!

I am also trying to improve on my fly tying skills which I am now realising is a long term project, but there is always pleasure in fly tying and trying out a new pattern which catches fish.

With a long festive break coming up I'm watching the river gauges like a hawk and hoping the recent high levels drop in time to give me a chance to over-indulge over the next two weeks.

Just leaves me to say that I thank all those that have dropped by to read my blog and those who have posted comments, I wish you all the best for Christmas and hope you all find next year brings you new and exciting experiences.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Hanak European Grayling Festival - River Dee

This was my first time fishing this team event which is held over two days (3 sessions) on the River Dee around Llangollen. The rain that had fallen before our arrival on Friday had pushed the river up high but as we peered over the bridge in the town we could see that the clarity was still good.

Friday was to be our practice session so we headed on to the river to try out methods and flies for the match. It was to prove tough as expected but we all caught fish in the 20cm and above class (minimum size counted in the competition) with lots of smaller grayling also showing.

Overnight rain had pushed the level up even higher for the Saturday as the 21 teams headed off to their designated beats to fish the first of the two sessions scheduled for day one. The river was still rising during the day and starting to colour up somewhat, but the first day ended well for us and we were lying in fourth place with all of us catching some fish when many teams had blanked!

Martin and Phil Dixon (England Black Gnats) on their way to 3rd place
Our first beat
We guessed day two was going to be even tougher when the rain was falling hard as we made our way to the local curry house on the evening...guaranteed to give the waders some rear end abuse the next day!

Sunday came and it was a grey, damp, cold start as we set off, our beat was further upstream so we hoped it may escape the worst of the rainfall but again the river was ripping through.

A combination of  heavy beaded tungsten nymphs fished through the slower runs and a good dose of steely grit and determination saw us finish with 3 fish which was as good as we could have hoped for.

The final results were read out back at the Hand Hotel in Llangollen and we learned that we had finished in 4th place overall. When taking into consideration that many anglers here were of international standard and this had been our first attempt in this competition we were more than happy with the outcome with many lessons learned for our return next year.

Overall Winners - Italy Caddis
A total of 92 fish caught of the two days proves how tough it was...last year this event saw 321 fish caught in sub-zero temperatures!

Top 10 teams:

1, Italy Caddis
2, Wales Dragonflies
3, England Black Gnats
4, England Damsel Flies
5, Wales Adams
6, Czech Coachmen
7, England Dunkeld
8, England Corixa
9, Wales Grey Dusters
10,Wales Red Spinners

Total Fish Caught: 92
Top Individual: Martin Dixon 12 Fish (England Black Gnats)
Biggest Fish Caught: 47cms - Olivier Dupont (Belgium Stoneflies)