I have laid aside business, and gone a'fishing.

Izaak Walton

Monday, August 8, 2011

Old News

Not been out lately, too much work!
Anyway, found myself looking through one my old photo albums (pre-blog). Thought I may as well upload some of the old photies to me blog. Apologies for poor quality and the glare.

When I'm a really old git, and I can no longer go fishing, I can at least remind myself of happy days gone by. Bit maudlin maybe, but isn't it true of all our blogs, boys & girls?

Early days and it's about 1983. It was a lovely summers day and I'd chucked out a worm, ledgered with an arseley bomb, into the middle of Lymm Dam. I fixed the line into one of the new bite alarms and settled back with my second rod, catching flirters.
Hot sunshine on my face helped me to drift off with thoughts of getting to know Kate Bush a little better etc. etc.
A strange noise woke me from my slumbers as a running fish triggered my bite alarm and the biggest fish ever was soon on the bank.

(These days of course this carp would be scoffed at by a three year old).

My mate Clive drove home to get a camera to take this shot (cheers Clive). We borrowed some scales from a bloke further up the bank and we reckoned the carp weighed around 16lbs.
What a fish!

Second trip to Ireland, back in the 1990's. I took the trusty Shogun van, two mates and a trailer full of gear to Co. Cavan to have a crack at the bream. The two mates, Clive and erm...whatsisname, had been several times before and were itching to get back and fill their boots.
I gave it a go and, for about a day and a half found it interesting and fun but come on, just how many times can you pull in a slimey fat bream? Some can, of course, and go year after year and if that's your bag (chortle) then fair enough, each to their own, and all that.

Third day in found us at Garradice lake. A beautiful place in the middle of nowhere.
I was sick of the sight of bream and couldn't face another day of it. But, thank god, I'd thrown in an old spinning rod at the last moment.
It was my get out of jail free card! I left my two chums to sack loads of more bream and wandered up the bank with me rod and a rapala.

First cast and I was in to this little beauty. Small by some standards, but what a scrap on a light rod.

By the way, one of the cars further up the track belonged to an old guy who'd taken his wife on holiday for the week. The week had long gone and she'd buggered off home leaving him to his fishing. He seemed very happy!

Another little powerhouse jack. Small pike on a light rod can be great fun on a sunny summers day. Come to that, they can be great fun on any kind of day, really. Took this blighter from a small mere just through Knutsford.

Another fine day and another fine jack joins me on the bank. A little bigger and beautifully marked. It was soon back, terrorizing the smaller fish.

A new chapter began when I joined master piker, Alan Ferguson aboard his tiny boat Pugwash. I think Alan took me along as ballast.
With me onboard there was about an inch and a half of draft and just enough room left for half a pork pie.
Anyway, soaked to the skin and with no feeling left - anywhere, I'm chuffed to bits to have landed this jack after a trolling session on the mighty Windermere.
(I've still got that hat!)

Back on dry land and this time it's a winter pike from the Bridgewater canal.
This one weighed in at around 16Ibs and was a welcome catch on a cold, cold November day. It took a dead bait, fished about 20 feet down the bank and only a few inches out.

I remember this one took the bait in a flash. One second the float was there, the next it had just disappeared. I struck and the fish sailed out to the middle of the cut putting a nice bend in the old rod.
That belly looks like it's full of roach and skimmers!
(Mine's full of Guinness).

Yipee! Back on Windermere and Fergie has got himself a new boat. It flew!

This was well before the present day speed limits.
This boat was purpose built for a serious pike fisher - and I quite liked it too.

It's 2002 and I'm back on Windermere and it's a cold day in March.

A short cast out into a new swim and I'm waiting for a bite. A dead sea-bait float fished hard on the bottom was enough to tempt this chubby 19lbs beauty.
Funny, but it didn't seem so cold after that!

Things really warmed up for me later that morning when the float sailed away and I was into this 'monster'. My best ever pike (so far) at 24lbs. I was always a bit rubbish at holding pike - as you can see. But, even so - 24lbs!

This is the same fish taking a little while to sort herself out.

I spent a bit of time easing her forwards and backwards pushing the water through her gills so she could get her 'breath back'.
Soon enough though, I felt a surge though her body and with a flip of her powerful tail, she nosedived down to the murky depths.

A few weeks later - Easter 2002, and this time we've headed north to Loch Ken.

Yet another beautiful spot to fish, live, eat, breathe etc. etc.

We had some great fun boating loads of pike on lures and dead baits.

One morning we were quietly motoring along, and a chuffing great sea eagle zooms over our shoulders and plucks an unwary trout from the top.

Also, pound for pound, the pike in Lock Ken gave me the best scraps, of any pike, on any of the few waters I've fished.

Later the same year and it's back to the Emerald Isle.
But this time I'm not chasing smelly bream. Oh no! It's off to Loch Derg for the 'pikin'.
These Irish Pike were long and lean and fiesty fighters. This one tipped the scales at 17lbs.

By now I was getting afloat quite often and Fergie had told me to buy a floatation suit. This was the only one the shop had in stock and I was fishing the next day!!
Anyway, the helicopter would always see me first!

January 2003 and this time it's Coniston. A beautiful lake with fabulous scenery.

This scene isn't bad either. Another fine pike and this one tipped the scales at just 21lbs.
It was chuffing freezing.
Sometimes, I'm still cold from that day!

By contrast, this is just a couple of months later, in March 2003 - and the weather's heating up.

So am I after boating this very angry 21lbs pike. This one fought all the way to the boat, it put up a fight in the boat, and it took off like a bat out of hell when I slid her back. Blimey!

My red letter day!

Earlier that morning I had cast out a dead sea-bait and settled back to wait for a cruising and hungry pike. The float sailed away and, after a spirited fight on a new 10ft boat rod, I netted this fabulous 4lbs Ferox.

Although this photo, of a photo, is pretty poor, you can just see the hook on the lower jaw.
I've caught bigger fish, but this is one that always stays with me.

Hope I've not bored you all, with my trip down my own memory lane.
Tight lines!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Best Catch.

My legions of followers (joke) will have been dismayed and perplexed by my lack of postings over recent weeks.

My excuse - I got married to the wonderful Angela and have been somewhat distracted.

But fear not, gentle reader, I plan to return to the river.....at some point.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

3 in 1

And so, instead of my usual griping about no time for fishing, I can now report a glut - 3 days fishing in just one week!

Firstly, I received an invitation to join an 'exclusive' (I use the term advisedly) syndicate of anglers that fish the famous river Dove. Believe me, I was more surprised than you. Anyway, I bit their arm off to more or less the shoulder.
Aware of my long list of limitations, I booked an afternoon with JT to give me some expert advice on this hallowed water. Despite it all, I still managed to catch sod all!
The water was gin clear and some of the fish I saw that day were monsters, but then other eyes have seen real leviathans.
JT managed three fish without even trying and, believe it or not, that was enough for me. The end of the day saw us climbing the hill to the Izaak Walton hotel and a welcome pint of Guinness in a snug bar surrounded by stuffed fish, deep leather chairs a large fireplace and a happy and attentive barman - paradise found.

I arrive at work and the sky is cloudless and blue and the early morning sun warms the soul. My brother, Steve, and I both have the same idea - shut the shop and enjoy the day. Soon I am waist deep in a shaded pool of the river Goyt. A far greater talent has shown me a great technique - double nymphing. One on top to catch the eye and one below to make a meal. It works, even for me, and soon I've brought a few small wild brown trout to the net.

The Goyt reminds me of my bedtime mug of drinking chocolate (with a large drop of Bushmills) as I read of Capt. Burnaby's, adventures through Asia Minor, but it doesn't seem to matter with a trout on the line.

I walk upstream to discover a new 'technique'. An old wreck of a guy is casting his fly to the far bank and I stand and watch without him seeing. His hand reaches into his battered coat pocket and he fetches out a fistful of maggots. He sows them across his swim and then casts in again. I say hello and he spins on his heel caught off-guard, he struggles for a word and so I leave him and move along. No more fish come to my nymphs and now the school kids are about and a dog swims by, chasing a stick thrown into my swim. Time for tea.

Ayesha, she who must be obeyed, sniffs the air and declares it's time for another shopping expedition to the living hell known as boundary mills. Rather than reach for my trusty Beretta (over and under) I recall Colne water. All is not lost and I suddenly develop a huge desire to head to Colne.
A few hours later and I drop Ayesha at the gateways to hell, a bit of kissey-kissey and she is away. Impervious and immune she disappears into the melee. I on the other hand come out in a rash, foam at the mouth and bite anyone too close at the mention of a shopping-trip. Strangely enough I quite enjoy a shopping trip to a fishing tackle shop, don't ask me why.

Minutes later and I am on the banks of Colne water, a delightful stream, small river, call it what you will. It's mainly ankle to knee deep and so I follow the masters advice and opt for the Duo - a dry fly on top and a nymph below.
As Ayesha heads up the aisles I head upstream and several fish fall to the nymph. Along with rocks, trees and sunken twigs but what the hell!
The day ends with around half a dozen small brown trout caught and released. My best 'shopping-trip' yet!

3 days fishing in one week, that's my kind of record.
Cheers and tight lines!

ps. I'll post pics when I can.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Attention All Bloggers

Like many others, I found the post below on Mike Duddy's excellent Blog, Manchester Fishing Fiend. I have copied his post to my blog and would ask you to do the same.

Hi everyone,
Will you please take a look at the following link,
Please complete the letter to Richard Benyon, the minister in charge of Defra and tell him what you think. It takes less than 5 minutes to complete.
If you have a blog, would you also copy and paste this and post it on your blog.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Preaching to the converted.

I made it to the river Goyt, last Tuesday. I fished most of the day with little luck, mainly due to my lack of knowledge of this branch of our beloved pastime.

A few dog walkers and joggers were my only companions, until two American boys stopped for a chat. Suited and booted they looked an incongruous site on the muddy banks.

They asked if I could be sure I was going to heaven. They were kind enough to point out that if I joined them, and their fellow Mormon's, I would be given a free pass... I declined their offers and pointed out I was already following another path. They went on their way looking for more to convert.

I had some trouble with my new, finer, Stroft line. Being more used to the 6Ibs Maxima I normally use for reservoir fishing, I found the new stuff difficult and fiddly to tie knots in. More practice required.

The two American boys returned and one of them was kind enough to take the shot of me in the river. I wished them well and they were away.

I continued upstream and found myself waist deep in the clear water and under a tree. All the cares of everyday life and work had dissolved.

A tug on the line and I was into a fish, it held itself against the flow of the river and for a moment wouldn't move. Then it was up on the surface, jumping and flirting around. My barbless hook held, until I caught my rod in the tree above and the line went slack. My Grayling sank from sight. A schoolboy error, but, if you will pardon the pun, I am hooked and will return.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Rain & Ecologists stopped play...

Thought I'd give the Mersey a go this weekend. Recent posts have been encouraging. Plus, there's a stretch of the Mersey down the road and across a field from my house.

The rain came on Friday and got steadily worse overnight. What the hell, I went anyway.

Didn't manage to wet a line as the water had risen a good 6 foot. My picture doesn't give justice to the flow, but it was almost fast enough to appear on Top Gear!

One me way home I stopped at Chorlton Water Park. Maybe a Pike or two would be tempted by a juicy lure on a wet Saturday afternoon.

Helpfully though, someone had posted 'No Fishing' signs everywhere.

A chat in the Wardens hut and I discovered the local 'ecologists' had imposed a closed season from December until April.

I gave up and did the weekly shop with Ayesha. I'm sure a trout in the freezer aisle gave me a wink...

Anyway, on a brighter note I've just bought myself a new centre-pin reel. Never used one before, just fancied trotting a worm down the Mersey.

The reel is marked with the name Marco Cortesi and it cost about £40. Some may say it's a pile of rubbish but I'll be happy enough if it gives me a season or two. Most online comments were generally positive.

Any thoughts?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Job for Dad!

It's horrible outside so I sat down to read my Christmas present to myself, Trout from Small Streams by Dave Hughes.

He talks about keeping all your gear at hand so you never find yourself missing that vital piece of tackle at the river, stream or lake etc.

It made me think how most of us just chuck rods, bags, tackle and wellies etc in the back of the motor and head off to the water with all our gear rattling around. I was sat doodling away when I came up with the idea of a small wooden cabinet to store all my fishing gear in the back of the car. I could keep a selection of gear in the motor at all times - just in case.

3 narrow top drawers to store fly & spinning rods - all in their cordura rod tubes, nets, reels, lines, tackle etc. etc. etc. 3 larger drawers to store waders, boots & jackets. Plus dry gear like socks, thermals, jumpers etc.

My Dad, Roy, has been addicted to woodwork all his life. He made a spokeshave aged around 14, and he's still at it now - he's 80 next month. If you feel so inclined, you can read some of his musings here. Anyway, I think this is cabinet might become his latest woodworking project.

I'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Flies of fancy

So, happy new year to my tiny band of followers. I hope we all enjoy a fruitful 2011.

Anyway, here is my starter for ten, the flies that will lead me in a new direction during the coming season. I hope to see more of my new friends the Grayling and the Brown Trout, and I hope to find myself more on the riverbank and a bit less anywhere else - especially work.

I will share all of my triumphs and disasters with you - you have been warned!