Spent Monday on the Dove with JT.
It was freezing cold and it was extremely muddy and we didn't catch the monster but, what a fabulous day it was. A few lovely Grayling put the cherry on a well iced cake.
Made a pleasant trip with JT to another, once polluted, urban river. You know the kind of place, where the town centre has grown up around a river and over the years the burghers have used the water as a dumping ground for their rubbish. Did they somehow imagine that once cast into the murky depths their detritus would be washed away along with any thoughts of guilt.
However, as the traffic rumbled overhead, we descended into an overlooked underworld for surely the people walking around the town above us were unaware of the beauty that lay beneath their feet. During the day I saw three magical Kingfishers darting up and down the river and we both spotted a large brown dragonfly zipping overhead. It hovered for while a few feet above us but we proved of little interest to this particular aeronaut and in a flash it was twenty feet away.
Dry fly beetles and a bit of double-nymphing brought enough plump and beautifully marked brown trout to hand to keep us both quite happy. A quick break for a liquid lunch and we were soon knee deep once more on a higher stretch. However, the fish had faded away and after some time we called it a day.
A few pints of Guinness in a pleasant beer garden - the perfect spot for the debriefing.
I enjoyed an afternoon up at Entwistle reservoir yesterday, my first trip of the season. En route, I called at Anglers Den in Darwen to collect my day ticket.
Harry, the proprietor, is a lovely chap. You could easily lose a whole afternoon while you chew the fat as he talks about his days as a pilot and how his dear wife caught a Salmon that was so big it took him years of grim determination to beat her record - sorry Harry.
As we chatted away I spotted something that took me back thirty years or more - an old Mitchell 300 reel. The very model I bought brand new as a teenager. You see, one of Harry's other talents is the repair and restoration of old reels and this was one he'd resurrected. I handed over my cash and this lovely old reel is back in my pocket.
Some might scoff and look to their fancy, shiny baitrunners etc. etc. but what price memories - and it's still a bloody good reel and will marry up well with my old carp rod. Come the winter it will see duty on my spinning rod and the three of us will go in search of some Pike.
After leaving Harry's place I made my way to Entwistle and headed to one of my favourite spots. I cast many times as the sun bore down and nothing came to my fly. I sat and glugged some drink and remembered my previous visits over 35 years with friends like Clive and Fred and all the many fish we'd caught and the laughs we'd enjoyed. Happy days.
I stayed until nine and at the death a fish rose not four yards away (an easy reach for this duffer).
The fly landed softly upon the surface and very soon it was gone and all that was left to see was a swirl and a bend of water. I struck and was in and my rod bent into a fish that made the whole afternoon worthwhile.
I quite fancy catching a Salmon - on the fly - using a double-handed rod.
The thing of it is, Salmon are a bit scarce in Manchester. It must be the rain. Well, it's the last thing you'd want after travelling so far. To reach your destination and it rains all the time.
Some speak of Salmon in the Mersey, which is only a 30 minute walk from my house. Then again, if our mutual friend, Mike Duddy, can't tease a Salmon from the Mersey I'm sure my chances are much slimmer. I found a report on Google from one, Sam Billington.
Sam had carried out some detailed and scientific research into Salmon in the Mersey and the results were less than exciting.
Also, the Mersey, at least near me, has steep banks that would make the fishing a little awkward to say the least. Or, perhaps I'm just too fat...
So, last season I had a mooch around on Google and I found Glyn Freeman and http://www.cumbriaflyfishing.co.uk/ A day was arranged and not long after I found myself thigh deep in the River Eden. A more beautiful fishing location I have yet to discover.
Glyn, a lovely chap, took me through the rudiments of Spey casting and yes, I was pretty rubbish at the whole thing but, drawing on the same steely tenacity I regularly employ to finish a half decent bottle of merlot - I persevered.
The day was sunny and bright and quite mild and - I didn't catch a thing. But blimey, what a day! Surely some part of our greater enjoyment of fishing must be the scenery and the Eden was glorious.
Not a half capsized shopping trolley or truck tyre or french letter in sight. Just crystal clear water and blue skies and lush green vegetation - paradise, to coin the phrase.
Anyway, I've booked another day with Glyn and I'm off up to Cumbria Friday week - weather permitting...
Now, the River Ribble is quite a bit nearer to home, as is the Lune. And I remember 30+ years ago fishing the Ribble for dace and Chub (Clive and I caught more eels than anything else) while all the time Salmon were leaping in the Warrington Anglers stretch.
We'd turn off the M6 at The Tickled Trout and park the van in front of De Tabley Arms pub. Then we'd walk through farm fields - and the farmyard - for 45 minutes or so to reach our spot.
Recent reports in Trout & Salmon don't make exactly good reading for the budding Ribble Salmon angler, but I'm still willing to try.
So, if you ever fly fish the Ribble or the Lune, for Salmon or Sea Trout and you don't mind a chubby and wheezing duffer coming along. Let me know...
Greetings, I suppose like many others I've created this blog for my own enjoyment. Reports of my (too seldom) fishing adventures will and do provide happy reading for me - and, so it seems, a handful of others.