Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Duo float!

Tied a couple of these on a 12, inspired by Gwilym's buoyant indicator dries. Palmered as well as the parachute to hold plenty of Gink when supporting the rats


Quick trip to ithells Bridge on Sunday. Levels looked OK, probably up by 12" on normal winter levels. Dropped some bugs in the likely pools, but not a twitch.

Got startled by some real splashy commottion 10m below me where a cormorant surfaced and scarpered after seeing me. Perhaps they are there if the cormorants are attracted.

Found this dead salmon also:

Don't often see 'em this big

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Alyn recce

From the office window I could see that the Dee levels had dropped and was running clearer.

With that in mind a quick recce to the Alyn was called for this morning.

What a sight. The south bank field were flooded, not necessarily from the Alyn, but most probably from the Dee at Almere ferry. Looking at the river I felt the hoped for trip tomorrow would have to be cancelled. The river is clearing and dropping, but with the high banks in this area I felt it is too dangerous.

Nice view of Ithell's Bridge now the leaves have gone

Friday, 20 November 2009

Dead parrot sketch

Spent Sunday in the presence of Gwillym Hughes letting a few of us into his tying secrets.
Tells a tale quite well does Gwillym, and this fly came from his tales about a welsh team captain who keeps parrots. This pattern accounted for 57 Dee grayling in an afternoons fishing

Dead easy to tie. Take one discarded Macaw feather, in this case blue and red. Pinch out two biots, using the tips as a tail, wind just short of the eye. Catch in 5/6 natural cdc plumes, making sure tips are aligned and they are laid (), and whip finish. Couldn'e be simpler. This one is on a #16 B100.
I'd love to get hold of a blue and yellow feather, as wound on the hook the blue and yellow mixed will produce........

Gwillym gave a good lesson in wing tying, this one is made with CDC for the wing post and dun hackle.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Alyn - for a change

A few hours this morning resulted in 12 (10 grayling 2 trout).
A fabulously warm morning but blowing. Shortline nymphing was the chsen method. Took 3 grayling up to 40cm from the run beneath the island, all taking a tung beaded brassie on the point.

Two more 35cm grayling took the same in the glide adjacent to the sheep paddock, interspersed with a couple of out of season trout and a couple of hand sized grayling. The smaller grayling and trout generally came to the olive ptn on a dropper.

Moved a way upstream with the intention to fish a known hole where a few decent grayling usually lie. However the low lying sun put me off as my shadow would make a more influential cast than my rod.
There is small pool just above that is normally quite unfishable when the trees are in full leaf, but today's winds appeared to have stripped the low hanging branches quite bare. Worth a drop. Flicked the brassie upstream, but it was not getting down quick enough. Changed to a 14 tungy hares ear, dropped in and whallop, another grayling 35cms+
Despite the wind making presentation tricky at times this was a great couple of hours. Twelve fish in all, 10 grayling of which half a dozen were at least 35cms and two trout that were released quickly. The forecast for the week is good, would be nice to sneak out

Monday, 28 September 2009

Premier league venue

I was priviledged to spend Sunday with instruction from Gwilym Hughes and Steve James. Steve is the resident coach at Meadow fishery in Chester and Gwilym is his mentor. Venue selected was the junction beat of the Welsh Dee just above Corwen; premier league stuff. Pictured here is the view from the fishing hut.

I paired up with Steve Daley for the morning under Gwilym's guidence. Gwilym took us to the downstream end of the beat where it joins the Longreach beat of Corwen Anglers. The great advantage of pairing up on this type of water is that you can exploit a couple of different methods in order to establish what the fish want. Initially feeling was this would be a nymph day. I began fishing a nymph under the dry, infact two of Gwilyms infamous 'rats' under the dry. Steve fished the dry with Gwilym on his shoulder. First flick in with the nymphs and tow salmon parr, one to each nymph. Gwilym's instruction was to cover the water bank to bank by starting bankside and fan fishing the setup, slowly make your way directly across until I had fished out the crease on the far bank. Then make my way back at a slight angle upstream and repeat. So much for the nymph day, all I could attract were the parr:( Steve on the other hand was getting interest from one or two grayling on the dry. Gwilym sent Steve upsteam from me and decided we should both be fishing dry. Off went nymphing set up. Now pay attention time, this was Gwilym's suggested setup for dry fly fishing.
Don't fit a tapered leader, turn over is too good and drag is induced too quick. His suggested all round leader is made up of about 12 foot of 5lb flouro on which, attach 2-3 feet of c3lb flouro. This is important stuff as Gwilym appears to prefer an across and down approach to his dry fly or a downstream approach. Now, this parallel leader setup does collapse on the cast, but this is invaluable when fishing downstream.

Gwliym demonstrated reach casts and methods to collapse the cast to maximise drag free drifts when across and down etc. When you do cast across with this setup, because the leader collapses I noticed the fly generally hits the water softly a lot later than with a taper leader. But this includes a fair pile of leader also, which essentially has to 'unravel' a fair bit before any drag is induced.

While I was getting to grip with this, a slight breeze built up loosening and depositing a few leaves from the most vulnerable trees on the the far bank. In the patches where small pockets of leaves were falling fish began to rise, obviously stimulated by the potential of free picking falling within the leaves. A small movement downstream and I was casting amongst the rises. I pricked a couple of fish, so then just fished downstream to let them settle again, hoping to pick up any fish moving onto the strirred up offerings from my wading. Salmon parr pounced again!
Back across into the rises and I picked up a couple of small grayling. Now, another top tip from Gwilym. If what you think is a good cast and drift is ignored, then change you angle of approach, move your feet upstream, downstream, closer further away. Its the 'angle of the cast'. You know what, bingo it works. Once Gwilym is basically happy with your presentation he will keep on at you with 'move your feet', meaning change the angle of the cast. Gosh it works. I picked up a couple more grayling as Steve was called into the upstream end of the pocket rises. Steve hit a nice 40cm+ grayling, then Gwilym called 'one more fish each then lunch'. Steve struck into a gorgous brown knocking 11/2lbs, then I hit one similar which long range released itself right amongst the others. Fish put down, time for lunch. The most successful method of the morning was a small #20 parachute dry olive. It really pays to concentrate on the river, as this small rise was short and stimulated by a small patch of falling leaves.

After lunch, Steve D and I returned to the mornings stretch, as Gwilym was taking Ian and Ian to the Junction. Steve James was with us for this afternoons instruction. The rise we saw in the morning was now not as evident, although there were still sporadic rises where the suds touched the tree line. As much of our fishing was directly across and down, Steve James demonstrateed the snake roll to use as a change of direction cast for those moments when we were dowstreaming and perhaps wanted to cover a rise across. Whist practicing this, there was a fish rising adjacent to a dead tree. I covered this quickly and pricked the b****r on the #20 olive. Damn! Fished downstream again to let it settle. Steve J then offered me his rod, on the end of which was #16 cul de canon(Mk1) which he suggested may just get a better take. Now, Steve J uses a tapered leader for his river dry fly, so this was a good opportunity to quickly assess the merits of tapered against non tapered leader. I flicked Steve's setup across, quick arial reach mend upstream, and yes with the help of the tapered leader the fly was in position quickly. So, lets see how much drag free drift I get. While concentrating on the end of the flyline in relation to the fly in order to analyse, I lost sight of the brown CDC wing in the shade of the trees. I looked hard and couldn't see the fly, but saw the silouette of a large grayling head and tail sub surface in the general region of where I guessed the fly would be. No obvious take or break of the surface; sod it strike...and we're in. 40+cms of prime Dee grayling.
Steve J took his rod back, so I attached one of my own tied Cul de Canon's. Two more rises and 2 more 40cm grayling.
Never really had chance to compare the two leader setups, but I doubt whether I would fish with the tapered leader again, unless the wind dictated otherwise.

Have a read of Gwilym's book, the logic is far better explained in there

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Neil's out of the game at the moment after a knee operation. This should give me a chance to better this one caught last boxing day, -6 degrees. Its the biggest Alyn grayling I've seen, and gosh he keeps pointing that out. Fair play, worth posting.

It certainly sets the standard and something I'll aim to better this autumn/winter.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Back on the Alyn

Three hours this morning on the Alyn at Ithells Bridge. Managed to drop in 50yds or so below my usual entry point. The balsam is thinning out now so the bankside vegetation is less aggressive making water entry through the flood defenses easier. Started fishing the duo with a #16 olive paraloop emerger (see image) and an 18 copper head ptn on the point.

Picked up a couple of usual stamp grayling in the glide below the island. I moved upstream to the bottom end of the sheep run. This has been a profitable autumn run in previous seasons, and today was no exception. Managed to take about 10 grayling, majority to the copper head. Biggest fish below (must get a wider angle lens)

Things were looking promising as I approached the glide adjacent to the farm house, but bizarrely, one small grayling. This glide has been disappointing this year whereas last year it was the best all round run.

I quickly progressed to the bottom S bend upstreram of the bridge. The best fish of the day took the copper head in the slack water on the inside of the bend.

For the last half hour moved to the upstream S, and again the slack water produced. Felt like fishing a stick float upstream as a succession of four grayling in the 6oz range proceeded to slide the dry under as they took the copper head.

Finally tally approx 20 grayling upto the pound mark in barely 3 hours.

Man I love September

Sunday, 23 August 2009


Decided on a few hours on the Alyn this morning, starting at its confluence with the Dee. Once you're in here and moving upstream, it's pretty difficult to get out due to the flood defence banks and the balsam. (see pic on left. The Alyn is down there, honest)I haven't fished this far down this year so had no idea whether any deep holes would force me back.
Anyway, dropped in via the cow drink with my 7' 6" DT 4wt. Tied a 16 brown paraloop emerger thingy of my own concoction on to the 1.7 Bayer tippet. (I do like mono in low BS, extra stretch when needed). Two fish rose about 10m up whilst I was degreasing. Covered the first rise and rewarded with 25cm grayling first chuck. Two casts and two paces later and another grayling of about the same size to hand.
On working my way upstream, was now surprised at the lack of rises. Although speculative casting was always bringing the odd salmon parr and small grayling. This was the story of the day really. Picking up grayling around the 15cm mark regular enough to stay interested.
After negotiating a couple of deep holes, passing by climbing through the low slung willows that create these holes, emerged adjacent to my normal river entry point. I fished the last hour quickly through some known lies. Didn't move anything bigger than 20cm (grayling).
Probably finished with around a dozen small grayling, 3 or 4 small browns and maybe 6 0r 7 salmon parr.

A very bright and clear morning, but the quietest I've seen the river this season. I think some evening sessions are due