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

Izaak Walton

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Taking it where I find it...

A work call had taken me to Bacup in Rossendale, Lancashire. Before I left I had a quick mooch around on Google and found Hillside Fishery and noted it wasn't so very far away from my call.

I took the trusty Shogun and filled the boot with some gear. A funny mix, briefcase and fly tackle!

Hillside was a rather bleak and unromantic place. A number of coarse fishing holes-in-the-ground with a separate, small hole in the ground for the fly fisherman. But, during my current attempt to "catch-up" and do rather more fishing than last year, I'm not adverse to, dare I say it, slumming it.

I fished from a couple of the fishing stages, without luck. Somewhere I'd read that the fishing was considered easier at the "top-end". I moved to the "top-end".

A few casts later - a solid take from the bruiser above.
One or two of the larger Pike I've caught, on feeling the hook, went deep and then shook their heads from side to side in an attempt to shake free. This blighter did exactly the same. I hooked him and he sped to the deeps (all of 4ft.) and held firm just shaking his head from side to side. Good prevailed and after a bit of surface thrashing, he was in the net.

I'm sorry, dear reader, that I didn't take a very good photo. I'm always anxious to get whatever fish I'm lucky enough to catch back in the water asap. Rather than spend time setting up the perfectly placed rod, reel and fish shot.
Anyway, I'm tempted to say that this, rather thick bodied, Rainbow was just a smudge under 3Ibs.

A lesson to me, as if I needed reminding, that it isn't only the nice looking fishing venues that can provide some joy

Until next time...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Taking Mick's Advice...

It was Mick Jagger, and his chum's, who said, "You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you will find, you get what you need". And with that in mind...

I'd love to catch a 2Ibs Grayling, from the River Goyt, on a nicely drifted nymph, on a crisp winters day. But so far, that goal remains a dream. So, in the meantime I enjoy whatever comes my way.

Angela declared she wanted yet another shopping expedition to Boundary Mill,  my mind turned to Roughlee, a fishery I always enjoy visiting.

After a 40 minute drive, we arrived at Boundary Mill - it's not the best photo I've taken but my heart wasn't in it... I deposited Angie and headed toward the fishery, which is only a 10 minute drive away.

Terry, who lives in the house below, owns and runs the fishery and is very accommodating, but today he was nowhere to be seen. No one else was fishing and the place was very quiet. Terry's dog was in the house, but he never has much to say. I was alone.

Thankfully though, the fishery was open and after signing in, in the "signing-in-hut", I tackled up and cast my first line of the day. Temperature was around 4C but a strong wind off the hills made if feel closer to 0.
The Hills

I was fishing a large and weighted, dark green nymph. Drawing the line in from my third cast met with a gentle nibble, then a pluck and then a solid take and it was good to see a bend in the old rod. After a short, but spirited fight, I was joined on the bank by the chap above. A nice, silvery Rainbow weighing in at around the 1Ibs mark. He remained quite still for his close up and then I slipped him back to live another day.

Bolstered by my early success, I was expecting another fish straight away.  I saw neither hide nor hair of another fish for at least another hour. I fancied a break, so I toddled down the bank to the "cabin". 

Terry leaves tea and coffee and fresh milk, and there's even a microwave for those who may have brought food with them. I never feel the need to display my cordon bleu skills, by heating up a three course meal. A coffee usually does it.

I normally work on a Wednesday (yes, it's Wednesday, today) but continuing with my plan to try to fish a little more and work a little less, I had taken the day off. A friend of mine, John Tyzack, was a high flier in the world of I.T. He got sick of the job and became a fishing guide (and a very good one at that).

I doubt if I ever could give up my job completely, and I would never make any kind of guide. Our family business will always have a strong hold of me, but its nice to daydream of maybe's.
By the way, take a look at J.T.'s website, but be warned, it could make you very jealous.
Click here for the link.

After my coffee break, I headed back up the bank for another try. Within a few minutes I was into fish number two. Again, another nice Rainbow that gave a very good account of itself. A quick snap and once again it swam off to join in the fun underwater.

I cast an eye at my watch, Angie had said she'd be finished by five and it was just after four. I'd had a number of nibbles and plucks, but no solid takes. I cast another line out and it was nearly pulled from my hand by the fish above.

It must have taken my fly, turned in a flash and bored away at top speed. A good scrap ensued with plenty of diving and thrashing and finally, we were together. I loved the look of this rainbow; very healthy, very clean and a blush of deep purple on the flank.
I thanked him and slipped him back.

I wasn't in my office, or in a school, or in a motel, or stuck in a jam on the M25, M6, M11, M40 - take your pick, dear reader. I was a part of the world again - my world - my fishing world.
It's a beautiful place to be.

I broke the rod and wound the line back on the reel, it was time to go and collect Angie from her shopping.

Within the precincts of the shopping centre is Barney's, a fish & chip cafe/restaurant...
Angie was happy....

And I was happy!

Until the next time...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Return of an old flame...

Last year I was working none stop, and I went fishing 6 times!!!

This year, I want things to be different....I want to go fishing a hell of a lot more. The main reason I started this blog was for my own satisfaction. So that when I'm confined to a home for the elderly, or the insane, or both, I can look at my blog and remember all those happy times when I was out there in the world, becoming some small part of it.

But if I'm not careful, I won't have too many posts to read while I'm being spoon fed sago by an eastern european nurse who began life as a man called George but after some strong medicine grew breasts, became a "woman", changed her name to Magdalena and won an olympic bronze in the shot putt.

With that in mind I cleared my diary for Friday and got the hell out!
I fancied a trip to the River Goyt in the hunt for some of the Grayling.  If you can see beyond the rubbish littering the banks and the odd shopping trolley that lies in wait on the river bed to snag your fly - it's a lovely little river with lots of features and twists and turns.

With hope in my heart I struggled into the chest waders. Excessive feasts and parties and a few dozen bottles of Merlot over christmas made the task that bit more of a struggle, but finally, suited and booted I made off for my favourite pool. The river was a bit low and still quite cold, but I didn't give a hoot and tied on a couple of heavy nymph's. (Thanks J.T.).

I waded out a few yards and fished about 20 yards of the far bank, wading gently and following the flow and the bubble-stream, letting my fly's drift down with the current. I didn't get so much as a pluck. I repeated my efforts a few more times but then I was joined in the swim by a large black dog.

A man appeared, dressed in running gear, he announced that this was the dog's favourite pool. Mine too, I replied. The dog emerged from the water and before he had time to shake, the man threw a hefty branch into the river a few yards from where I stood. The dog launched himself into the water in a way that reminded me of the launch of the QE II. All the scene lacked was the Queen, a Mayor and a bottle of champers tied to a length of ribbon.

In his excitement, the dog (I didn't ask his name) was breaking wind from his rear end. And as he swam to retrieve the branch the farting gave the illusion of some kind of jet propulsion system.
Aaawwh, cried the man, he just loves a good swim. I departed, somewhat miffed.

Further upstream I came across a few boys scaling the wall of one of the many bridges that cross the Goyt. I stopped to take the photo, but didn't stop to chat. It seemed a dangerous way to spend an afternoon but each to their own and all that.
Quietly, I wished them well and hoped they get their hands on the Eiger, one day.

I fished several more of my favourite places, a twist here and a turn and a glide up there there but, again I didn't see a single fish. The sun, which had fought all day to break through, had reddened my face and the cooling breeze had chilled me a little. I thought of home and a meal and three fingers of irish but still, I had enjoyed the best day of this young year and I want to do it again and again and again.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Back to school...

Now then class, take your hands out of your pockets, stop talking, stop chewing, sit up straight and pay attention.
And you boy, see me after the lesson!

Now, who can explain what this simple equation amounts to; properties, components and values?

Come along now, it's simple stuff and I've been through it all before.

No takers...?
Not even a guess...?

Well I must say, I'm very disappointed.

Very well then, the answer is I am doing too much damn work and nowhere near enough fishing.

Class dismissed!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tobacco & Alcohol

And so to Arnfield, a trout fishery in Tinwistle near Glossop.
It was a Friday, a week or so ago and I had spent the morning at work. A couple of appointments had taken me out on the road and what a glorious day it was.
It was what my Father would call, a 'Diamond Morning'. I'm sure you know the kind. The thermometer is saluting the zero mark and there's a frost on the ground. The sky is cloudless and the winter sun is blinding and, as it's rays catch frozen water droplets, on trees and grass and hedges, they glisten like diamonds. The illuminated colours always remind me of Roy's vain battle.

Anyway, I returned to work and declared I was off fishing and, since there were no strong objections, I got the hell out asap.

A shortish drive up the M60 and right towards Glossop and yours truly was soon removing the shirt and tie and donning more suitable attire for a quick afternoon stint.

Now, I have of course read the negative reports about this place and each to their own, and all that. For my part, I always equate the costs of fishing with tobacco and alcohol.

Back in the 70's & 80's my father loved a smoke and loved a drink. He's 80 now and lost some pace, but back then he was a big man with fingers like banana's.

Anyway he'd smoke around 80 or 90 Benson & Hedges cigarettes, every day. After work and an evening meal, he'd settle down with his pipe and stuff it full of St. Bruno rough cut. (It's not and advert, it's just the names are burned into my memory). Around about nine, he'd fancy a snifter and usually sank half a bottle of decent whiskey.
Funny thing, I've never seen my dad drunk. He was just one of those guys that 'could take it'. He loved his smokes and he loved his drinks and he loved his wife and he loved his kids. And, we had a fabulous childhood and I'm a lucky boy!
Anyway, guess what - I don't smoke but I won't say no to three or four fingers of irish. My point though, is how much does it cost to buy 80 or 90 cigarettes - every day - and how much for a few bottles of whiskey every week? Answer, a lot. So, you pays your money and you takes your choice and it might be fags and it might be whiskey and it might be fishing. And if you like all three - well what the hell.
Whatever makes you happy, is kind of my point.

So a few quid spent on a stolen afternoon, enjoying beautiful scenery and chasing some trout is worth every damn penny! But, like I said, each to their own.

I met the owner, Steve, a lovely guy running a commercial operation and I'm all for that. He's even built a lodge where you can buy tackle, get a decent coffee and buy hot snacks. There's even a loo, for the more sophisticated amongst us.

Conditions weren't the best and I'm not that good but take a look around. And the air and the scenes are worth the entrance fee alone.

A few hours later and I was at one with everything (no, not the joke about the hot dog guy and the buddhist). As a bonus, there was a fish in the net. Not huge, about 2Ibs, which is average for me.

A great day a great spot and another great memory. Cheers!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Favourite Rod

Most of us are hopeless addicts, I know I am, you are too, if you're honest. It's why you're here...old sausage.

Late 60's and I was around 6 or 7 and Dad bought me one of those dirt cheap rod and reel sets from Woolworth's. You remember the kind. They were tied to a length of cardboard carrying a 'fishy scene' and covered in plastic.

I remember the day it brought a glistening Perch to the bank and as it lay at my feet, I knew it's true meaning. That for the rest of my life I would be the one that was hooked.

I grew and so did my passion and my collection of rods and tackle and memories.

Work and life come along for all of us and there is no escape, but a kind of freedom can always be re-visited when we go fishing. A few hours stolen by a favourite stretch of water takes us all back to the carefree joys of childhood. From child-to-man-to-child, no matter how seriously we play the game.

I got a rod from my mother (god bless her) when I was fifteen. I've got it still and it means so much more than just glass, metal and cork. Just to glance at it takes me back 35 years to that birthday treat and the fishing it's gifted me along the years. It's my favourite rod and I know now that her passion fed mine.

Here's me, at work and in the workshop, rod in hand.

It's old and scratched and marked and yet it still carries it's makers legends.

'The Carp Master'

You'll note the cork handle and metal reel sleeves - like a real rod should.

I love our time together - fellow bloggers - I share your joy and your despair (and we really should treat those two imposters just the same, for isn't it the fishing we love). I read your blogs with equal delight and the internet brings us all to together, from Manchester, to Oxford to Boulder and all the way round again.

So, now it's time to show your rods and share more stories. And go fishing...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Got an itch....

60-odd mile an hour winds kept me awake last night. Sometime around 2 am I got itchy to go fishing again, it's been too long. May step out tomorrow....