Thursday, 20 December 2007

Lancs v Esox

The lack of Trout action over the closed season has sent me out in search of Pike.
Be warned though - when you say to your wife/friends/family that your popping out for a spot of Piking, it does have a different dodgy connotation:
and more worryingly there are sites dedicated to sourcing good Piking locations!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Taimen on a Shoestring

Mongolia, a country three times the size of France - the only map Stamfords had was half the size of an O.S!
The builders must have been pissed when they put this bridge up.
The majestic Chuluut Gol snaking through the steppe
Bending one in
Lenok Lewis!

Taimen a half - Author looking pissed on local moonshine with a nice Taimen.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Urban Squirrel Coursing

Dave's been busy catching new materials for the tying table this winter...What a lovely pelt!

Sunday, 7 October 2007


With the clock ticking down on the season it's great to be still getting out there & catching on the dry. The weekends nice mild conditions have been good for the fishing, enabling us to cast to rising fish, some nice fish have also been tempted by plopping big Daddies into fishy looking lies.

Thursday, 30 August 2007


It feels sweet after a summers upstream dry-flying to be rewarded with such a fish...
...and even better to see her swim off again
The strange thing about this monster was that I took it out of a foot deep riffle and upon it sensing that the fly it had ate put up some resistance it swam upstream and towards a hole in the bank and attempted to just sit there and hide... & only when it knew it was 'hooked' did it take off.

Check out the vein in Toms forehead!!!! this beaut only shows itself when he's well excited!
And another!!!! What a buttery coloured beauty!

Monday, 6 August 2007

Sunday Evening

The trout were being pretty finicky last night,
but I managed a few on a little flying ant.
As dusk approached I tied on a Elk Hair Caddis & got this beaut out of a riffle barely deep enough to cover it's back.

Stickle Tarn - Stickleback sized Trout

Followed Wainwright's Central Fells guide book to walk from Grasmere up Silver How & then along the ridge dividing Langdale & Easedale to Stickle Tarn where I encountered the resident Stickleback sized brownies, from there I tracked back to decend between Blea Rigg & Great Castle How to fish Easdale Tarn. Easedale Tarn wasn't as Bleak as Stickle, partly because the sun had come out, but it does also have more features. I started by fishing the alluvial fan at the south eastern side where there's a nice drop off a few yards out. Standing well back & casting over the rocks so that just the leader hit the water I was rewarded with a nice fish first cast. From Easedale the walk back is about 40mins down Sourmilk Gill & Easdale Beck back into grasmere.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Santiago de Compostheap

With P.A on his way to Kuwait & Tom on his annual Pilgrimage to Satiago de Compostheap to flagellate himself with a 4 weight, I had the river to myself last night.Had a great session before dinner using a little Elk Hair Caddis to tempt the rising trout, I also had the bonus of seeing a pair of Kingfishers & some huge Dragonflies.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Biggest yet...

P.A tricked this lunker with a home tied caddis...
it took an age to subdue on 2lb frog hair, easily the biggest yet this season. Just look at the tail on it! It rose to the fly like a submerged log before waking up and taking him all over the river - the fish was definitely in charge.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Bread Fly

As the rivers are all flooded...
... went carping on the bread fly

Monday, 18 June 2007


I'm going to start building an arc soon if it doesn't stop raining! As we arrived at Hayeswater carpark the mother of all downpours hit us, so with umbrellas aloft we set off up the fells walking up Hayeswater Gill, by the time we arrived there was a break in the weather revealing the stunning ampitheatre of hayeswater with its mirrored surface reflecting the crags superbly.
The break in the weather lasted the rest of the day & we managed to fish till gone 9pm before setting off back down.
Angle Tarn with St Sunday Crags shrouded in clouds.
Caddis were the order of the day

On the return leg we decided to take a short cut strait down the slope between Prison Crag & Calfgate Gill to meet the path at the filter station, quite a hairy decent (the closeness of the contours gives a clue). Saw some deer on the way down, but Tom scared them by sliding past them at a rate of knots in his cagool & waterproof pants!

Thursday, 7 June 2007

He's got a chub on!

Got to the river early the other evening & as it was still bright and warm there wasn't much happening on the surface, so I decided to put a huge weighted streamer through some of the deeper glides until the flies started hatching. Casting this thing on a #5 line was tricky enough without having to negotiate the overhanging trees on the far bank, but I managed to plop it down amonst them and had a solid take after searching the pool for a few minutes. This fish felt different to the trout I was expecting and certainly didn't feel like the huge fish P.A. could see from his position on the bank above me, only when I managed to get its head up and saw the gaping mouth did I realise that I had a chub on! A first for the river & a first for the fly, I didn't realise they were this far upstream.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Champagne Fishing

As I'd been working in Preston the other day & the weather had been good I decided to swing by the river on my way home, I'd alerted Tom to the possibillity of a session so knew he'd have lugged his waders to work. I got to the water first so tried the nice beat Tom got the Lunker on the previous week - a few fish were rising so I put a gnat amongst them & bagged this beauty!

Tom rang shortly after so I bobbed down to the pub to meet up, after showing him the picture of this fish we bolted our pints and headed off for what would hopefully be a top evening of sport. Decided on wading a fairly new stretch(approx 1/4 mile) slowly making our way upstream with dries putting them on all the spots we could see trout holding. We had some great action, hooking into fish all the way along the length - the brownie pictured below being the best of the bunch.

After grabbing some dinner (raided the folks kitchen as no one was home) we headed further upstream to see if we could spot any big trout lurking. Wandering up through the fields I came across my old friend PA who I first started fly fishing with on the river some 15 years ago, after a good chat about all the trout holding places we know, it seems we've been catching the same fish this season! - what a great argument for catch & release.

There was one spot a good walk upriver where PA told me he'd been snapped by a good fish a few nights back, by this time it had started to get dark so on reaching the pool I tied on a comparadun which I could just about see with its white hackle in the dusk. I located a fish a few inches from the far bank undergrowth where it was just sipping off the surface & after sticking the fly in the foliage a couple times I got a nice drift past its nose & hooked into a steamtrain of a fish (pic below).
Walking back through the fields I came across a frantic Tom hooked into another good fish, as he was about 6ft above the water & stuck between two bushes it was a good job we turned up to help get a net on it.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Trophy trout day

After the heavy down pours over the last few days I wasn't sure what state the river would be in on Sunday as it tends to be quite a flashy river but, plans had been made to get out, so with the lack of a river report(usually courtesy of the folks) I set out with Tom anyway.
On arriving things were looking OK, the level was up & coloured, but not too much - I think this is probably because it's been so dry of late the parched earth had soaked up much of the run off.

Being a true gent I put Tom onto a killer riffle at the head of a glide that I knew was holding a few fish & pretty much strait away he was into a nice brownie. After a good struggle & the usual acrobatics to be expected from these wildies a jubilant Tom was on the bank posing with a real cracker of a fish.

The fish took a humpy - a fly that's proving to be a real winner this season.
Wandering upstream we came across a good fish just sat in the current sipping flies off the surface, I approached this one & creeping up the bank managed to put my fly a couple of foot in front of it's nose... sure enough the fish took the fly and I was connected to a big brownie. The trout jumped a couple of times revealing huge buttery coloured flanks before tearing off down stream & snapping my tippet.

Gutted but undeterred I spotted another trout sipping down flies below the far bank undergrowth. I couldn't quite get a fly to it, so donned the waders to get a better cast & next time it rose I drifted my fly past where it was holding & was rewarded with a beautiful browie.

As forecast the rain started mid afternoon & although a few fish were still rising, mainly under overhanging trees, we decided to call it a day and head for the boozer.

Friday, 11 May 2007

Summer is Here

Had a great May so far - the trees are green and lush, there's insects everywhere, it's light till nearly ten & the trout are readily taking dries. Went up to the river after work yesterday & thankfully remembered the gink this time so I didn't have to keep changing the bloody fly every fish. There were huge swarms of midges about so I stuck on a black gnat with big CDC wings that were really visible through the riffles. It didn't take long for the fish to have a go.The two trout pictured were taken from the same stretch, are roughly the same size but, are a totally different colour - not sure why?

I had a couple more nice fish walking upstream to a point where the river is culverted between high stone walls making it difficult to cast down without spooking them but, I could see fish rising... well, temptation got the better of me, so waderless I ploughed in upsteam in my jeans to get a cast at the leviathan (pictured below).

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Tarn Trout

With the cracking weather were having for April, decided to have a bash at one of the Lake District Tarns on Saturday, so after agreeing pre-beers on Friday that we'd set off 1st thing, we finally left Manchester at lunch. The journey up was jam free & we were in the pub a couple of hours later having a swift one prior to the stomp up the fells.

Although only a relatively short drive from Manchester the Lakes feel a million miles away & they always remind you that its well worth the effort to get up there, the scenery more than makes up for the lung-busting hike(pic is of Tom having a breather on route).
Upon reaching the Tarn we were encouraged by a few fish rising & closer inspection revealed a hatch of Olives taking place, so we ginked up a couple of Humpy's & cast to the rising trout, the buoyant flies were sitting up perfectly in the ripple.

It didn't take too long for a trout to rise to the fly but, being a bit rusty we both missed a take or two, Tom eventually hooked up first & just as I was taking a picture of him - what timing! (the pic captures his expression perfectly)

I decided to have a wander down to where the thick reed bed usually meets an area of deeper water, although the reeds hadn't had chance to grow back yet you could see a few shoots breaking the surface - I suppose it is only April!

I think this reed bed & all the fauna it supports must be a reason for the bigger than average stamp of trout in here for a high altitude tarn.

The switch of spots paid off and I was soon into a decent fish, these wildies really do put up a fight.

These tarn brownies have adapted to the dark peaty water to become a beautiful olive colour. As we were Ferrel camping that night we decided to keep a couple of the better fish for the pan, the plan was to stay until dark for the evening rise then walk down to the lake to camp but, as we'd left our torches in Manchester and a strong wind had started blowing, we changed plan & headed down before dark set in.

Back at the pub we got chatting to a local who happened to know the kitchen staff, so we asked if he thought they'd cook the trout for us, he wasn't sure as the pub was packed with diners but, it turned out one of chefs was into his fishing and said " if you pop yer head round the kitchen door in half an hour, I'll see what I can do". So for the price of a pint and a chat about tactics we were tucking into a nice plate of trout & chips!

Stayed in the pub till last orders as we'd not got a camping spec sorted but, that's the beauty of the 3 second tent, you can literally roll out of the boozer, find a flat patch of grass & throw the thing up. The nice South African barmaid tipped us off to a perfect guerrilla camping spot just round the lake. We were lucky, with it being a clear moonlit night finding a top spec wasn't too much trouble.

Friday, 20 April 2007

An evening & morning

Went up to the river last night to wade a stretch, just as I got in a young lad shouts over to me from the path on the opposite bank to tell me he'd caught a 7lber on a minnow on this stretch(hhhmmm????), he looked most unimpressed with me wafting a size 20 black gnat under the bushes. Though there were plenty of midges hatching there was virtually nothing coming to the surface, so after a couple of hundred yards of no rises & a piss wet right leg(the waders tom gave me are like a bleeding colander - he probably sabotaged them 'cause I catch more fish than him)I tied on a Green Woolly Bugger & fished it like a minnow through some of the deeper glides... & 2nd cast into a likely looking pool, a couple of twitches & BANG we're in! 1st brownie of the season & not a bad fish, took 3 in all but, one had chunk bit out of its back, probably from a Cormorant or maybe one of the Mink I've seen round here.

Stayed over at my mums that night as our kid was over from Ireland with his young family, which meant that I had to kip in the lounge, which was good because I could get up early & go for a fish without disturbing anyone & had to stay up drinking till everyone went to bed... after dropping off watching Matt Hayes fishing for Sea Trout on the Towey I was awoke by my alarm at 6am ready to go & try bag me a lunker.

Decided to cross the bridge & walk around the path on the opposite bank to where I was going fish to see if I could scope out any trout & just on a bend as a riffle runs into a nice glide that hugs a steep wall there was a huge fish just sat in the current, with that I stomped back & positioned myself to get a cast at it. I stood at the head of the pool behind the riffle to give me some cover & cast down & across & just let the Wooly Bugger drift down the pool a little to where the trout should be & then jerked it back minnow like, after a couple of casts I got a follow & a take that made the surface bulge like a sub surfacing but, the hook didn't set & with a swirl it was off - B4st4rd!!!. Hoping that I hadn't spooked the pool I persisted, & with a few more casts was rewarded with another solid pull, this time the hook set & the fight was on. This fish kept its head down for a long time and although a good size I didn't think it was the Lunker I was after.

A good few minutes later I finally got it's head up and landed what was definently a PB on the river(the scale shows the fish to be about 40ish cm). With fish returned I set back to grab some brecky & head off for work.