Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Peacock Hotel

England 1 Germany 4
Pete 1 Derbyshire Wye 5

The hottest day of the year took us to the Peacock Hotel waters of the Derbyshire Wye. Once again courtesy of Steve James' excellent organisation and Phil White's guiding.

'The Nesh' Daley with long sleeves and collar up on the hottest day of the year. To be fair, protection from the ravenous Horseflies...

Rendevous at the Hadden Farm carpark at around 11.00am, Phil quickly gave a reality check by informing us that fishing would be hard, and not to be disappointed if we didn't connect with anything before evening. Whilst taking a leisurely group bank walk, it quickly became apparrent how unspoilt this fishery was. The banks were un-manicured (nettles waist deep in most areas), and evidence of previous angling sorties were minimal. Many small Rainbows were rising, so perhaps there may be some midday sport.

Early Afternoon Surprises
Setting up. Several nettle stings later, the shirt sleeves were down

Anyway, Steve Daley and myself settled on a small island just above the Hadden Estate's private beat. Steve quickly set up and tempted some small Grayling from the pool opposite him. My downstream end of the island was a riffly Ranunculus run, which I just hoped may hold a brown or two. Alas, if it did I didn't tempt anything. I left the island and moved upstream, keeping low behind the chest deep nettles (which isn't exactly hard). Stopping next to a small Alder I had a nice view of a couple of small pools up to a large bend. A couple of small Rainbows were holding mid river infront of me, and a metronomic rise from something bigger beneath another small near bank Alder may just keep me occupied. I tied on a #20 CDC and Elk, and flicked mid river towards the small Bows. Second cast and one moved, but I missed it. After a couple of more casts the fish had dropped downstream. I now moved up to try and get a stealthy position with which to reach the rising fish. Shuffling through the nettles and poking the rod out over the river I watched the fish rise. It was a good rainbow, although it did appear to be taking ascending nymphs or emergers. After studying for a couple of minutes I tried rolling a couple of casts under the Alder, but initial efforts were too short thus putting the fish down. Phil appearred behind me, so I explained how I had just put a fish down and was waiting to see if it re-appearred. When it finally did, I covered, but no interest. Covered again, but on this cast the fly had lost its buoyancy and sank to just below the surface. This triggered the fish and it took the 'wet'. A pound and half of Rainbow leaped once, leaped a second time, Phil fumbled for his camera, then !*%*. It was gone. Justice I suppose after it grabbed the rule breaking 'wet'
Pete 0 Wye 1

Most of the party had connected with a few small fish each in the early afternoon heat with varying attractions from small F Flies to relatively large caddis immitations. Our host was delighted with our returns. Beyond expectation given the conditions and recent days experience.
Lunch break co-incided with the England game. Our host called home, and told Mary to expect four guests. Our thanks to Phil and Mary for their hospitality in allowing us to watch the debacle that followed.

Preparing for the Spinner fall
Waiting for the sun to set...

We were back on the river at 6.00pm. Ian and Eddie had stayed on and wisely forfeited the football. They had had a few fish.
I thought a left bank venture upstream of the bridge would be fun and immediately settled opposite a small pool where I had seen a good fish rising from the bridge. Ian may have tried this earlier, as the nettles were recently trampled. Never the less, a few flicks of the CDC and Elk accress and a small rainbow grabbed just before I anticipated drag would set in. Stripped line in quickly so I could lift it over the foliage just as Phil was walking from the car. He looked over and feeling smug at the point of lift, self release...
Pete 0 Wye 2

No worries, the good fish was still rising in the slightly slacker water on the far bank. I cast to it, but limited to directly accross by the jungle like foliage the faster mid stream current set drag in instantly. Another 3' of was added to the leader in the hope of enough collapse to enable a few feet of drag free. Presentation looked good, but no interest. I tied on a #20 Bangor Duster (like grey duster but with Mole hair body). Again no interest. OK, maybe emergers. So, on went one of Phil's barely legal patterns, his CDC loopwing Almost Dun in a #20. Phil now appearred on the bridge and watched. Pressure on, good cast needed, rolled out to initially aerialise, then one overhead flick, PERFECT. The bow took immediately, I tightened, the fish shot downstream Unbelievable! Self inflicted baffoonery in that my knot must have been c***. The tell tale curly end of tippet. Is this me or some sort of Phil voodoo? He has been present for all misfortune so far!
Pete 0 Wye 3 (self imploding)

I wandered forlornly upstream. The undergrowth getting thicker on this bank. I just cast the loopwing (a well connected one) speculatively at rises. The low facing sun was making rise distinction tricky.
I reached the outside of a small bend, where a back cast could just be achieved and flicked across, where a small Brown took the Bangor Duster (this was back on now). Once again, on attempting to lift the fish over the high bankside foliage, it dropped off...
Pete 0 Wye 4 (Can I claim this one over the line to reduce the deficit?)

I wandered back downstream, stopped at the pool above above the bridge again to see if my hook impregnated fish was there. It was, so I attempted to cover. The cast dropped short, so I fished it out anyway. On setting myself for a roll, a dumb small Brown launched itself at the fly. This was on and swung to hand
Pete 1 Wye 4 (Consolation)

As the sun was dropping I moved to the bend below the bridge. The water was running into the pool on the bend after the faster water under the bridge.Text book BWO spinner interception. I dropped to a point where I could watch this pool for activity whilst fishing a point where fish were rising under some low hanging branches. These rising fish drove me mad. I spent the next 40mins or so throwing allsorts at them with different leader combinations. Phil even gave me a couple of ties to try.
I spent too long pre-occupied here as whilst still keeping one eye on the pool above, John snook into it. Then in what appearred to be his second cast he hit into a good brownie. Come on, when a man is down...
John moved to the bottom of the faster water coming through the bridge, so after spotting a good fish rising at the bottom of the pool. I moved up.
"John. D'you mind if I sneak in and cover this one here?"
Rusty spinner tied on and after two covers it bit. "Hey John! At last".
Held the rod low as the fish moved midstream from under the Alder downstream of me then...slack line. I was punch drunk now, numb.
Pete 1 Wye 5
Made England's result look like they put up a fight.

Phil laughed, "The fish will be in prime condition if we all used those rubber hooks of yours"

You know what though? This was a cracking day. Against the tricky conditions we all connected to a few fish. This fishery is a real challenge with the true dry fly rule and no wading. The bankside vegetation and fishy lies are no different to my native Alyn, however on the Alyn careful wading gets you in position. The food rich clear waters of the Wye force presentation and general immitation to be exact. The amount of refusals where fish move up to snigger at your offerings substatiate this.
Special thanks to Steve James for another fabulously organised trip and to Phil White for his subtle guidance. A great thanks also to Mary White for her hospitality to a bunch of grubby anglers in fishing combats to accomodate their football optimism.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Grayling domination

The Grayling domination of the lower Alyn was confirmed on Sunday. An early morning jaunt to the Ithells bridge area resulted in around 30 of the ladies to 2 trout.
In the bright conditions pods of Grayling could be spotted in all the likely areas. You could alsmost walk on them. Apart from the two small trout I didn't conciously see anything other than Grayling. The outcomes of tossing a small beaded ptn and small spider pattern amongst them were mainly small fish throwing themselves at the offerings. Most of the fish were around the 15cm mark, I only captured three fish circa 30cm.
You know what though, this was really dull. If I had put silver paper on the hook I'm sure the small grayling would have snatched it.
I stopped a couple of hundred metres short of the Holt road bridge and called it a day (well, couple of hours anyway).
Looking forward to next Sunday on the Hadden Estate's waters on the Derbyshire Wye. That should be testing...

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Lactic Acid

The regular Sunday jaunt was put off till Monday this week. Sunday was saved for a game of football (my first since a charity match on boxing day) as a ringer for a known Gresford watering hole.
I left the house at 8am, the intention to keep moving before the inevitable lactic acid build up in my legs hindered all suppleness. Caught in two minds over one of the R&G Alyn stretches or the lower river, I opted for the lower river stretch immediately below Rossett. I have only fished this stretch once before, to christen the 'T' in February. Compared to the leafless experience in February, this may as well be a virgin encounter with the now very green riverside.
I wasn't sure that my choice of venue was good idea. The banks on the lower river are much steeper and vegetated than that on R&G's water's and my already paining legs may make any departure from the river pretty tricky. Nevertheless I slid down the bank at the point pictured above, unwound the cast that was used in Worm's Wood last week and sneaked up to the pool formed under the small Willow.
The first pool

First cast upstream, allow the nymph to sink whilst watching the dry. Lift all line off the water to allow contact with the hinge. As the drift reaches a point opposite, give the hinge a little tweak...
At this point I saw and felt the 'hinge' pull down a fraction so I lifted and a good fish was on. I was given a dance up and down the pool by what turned out to out of season Grayling. Albeit a very good one, which I'd guess at the 35cm mark and a good start and more 'induced take' evidence.
Moving upstream, I picked up small Grayling and Trout from various pools and runs to the nymph in the main.
In one great looking pool I saw a big (Alyn big) Grayling move up to mid water and follow the nymph downstream before refusing. Two casts later and it followed again then flashed its flank as it turned with the nymph. Another great Tenkara battle ensued and the rewards were a fish I reckon may have been slightly larger than the days first fish.
Once again, as I moved quickly upstream through the various fishy looking areas I regularly picked up small Grayling and Trout. There didn't seem to be any real challenges as the fish were small, regular and monotonous. My legs weren't feeling any better either.

I haven't really mastered fishing dries on the Tenkara yet, so I tied on a small #18 pale olive paradun (there seemed to be a few small pale upwings coming off). I caught a few small browns on this pattern, but I'm still not particularly happy with dry fishing on the T yet. Even when using the 'light' level leaders I still seem to drag the dry when either (a)Trying to land the fly without any leader on the water, or (b)lifting the leader off the water. I still get the urge/'feel the need' to manipulate some mends, wiggles etc into the line, something I can't do with the T.

Without doubt, there are plenty of fish in these lower waters however, if there are any larger trout here I'm struggling to tempt them this season.

A moment of hilarity when I was attempting to climb out of the river behind the sub station. With the ever increasing lactic pain in my quads I couldn't lift my thighs to the horizontal, so I grabbed hold of some relatively new Willow growth shooting from a previously chopped stump and levered myself upwards. These new shoots just couldn't even support my light frame, so mid lift, point of no return and crack...back first I re-entered the Alyn almost horizontally. I was soaked and stuck. After some carefull negotiation of a deep pool I found a relatively low exit point further upstream. A hot bath then called me home...