Thursday, 29 July 2010

Grayling Grayling everywhere...

Three sessions over two weekends at Ithells proved very productive. The Grayling are spread right along this stretch presently and fish can be caught in all areas. Dries are accounting for most fish, and they appear to take absolutely anything provided presentation is good. I suspect that most fish have been very opportunistic, as I have have seen many terrestrials on the water taken freely. This even included bees falling from the balsam.
The most enjoyable sections have been where pods of 6 or more Grayling have been seen spotted over the shallow gravel runs, typically directly under the bridge and on the short run between the two big bends. Here there is a reluctance to take the dry, but small ptn's and grhe's have given good sport. It's fasinating to watch the reaction of the fish as the nymph's pass through the pods. Unless you induce some movement at the crucial point, the fish reamin on station so a dead drifted nymph has to pass within an inch or two to be taken. Whereas an unweighted nymph lifted just before it reaches a fish causes the fish to turn and chase. The dead drifted takes are very, very subtle. A funny moment was in bumping a good Grayling, then watching the fish zoom upstream flanking and rubbing its sore lips in the gravel.
Interestingly, all Grayling seem to be of either 15cm or 30cm, very little of any other size. I'd like to know the thoughts of the Grayling experts about whether this is typically of fish of certain ages. IE 3yr olds are generally this and 4 yr old are generally that. If you have an answer, then please comment.

You have to walk downstream to reach this point. Take breather for 5 whilst it settles...but worth it

Sunday 25th and I trapped my biggest brown from this part of the lower Alyn on the T. I flicked a duo setup into the head of the pool, where the dry landed in the main flow and the nymph landed into the back eddy (see below). As soon as the nymph hit the water, the brown darted out from the bank took and leaped in one movement, obviously feeling the resistance of the tight line post cast. Several leaps later and a drag through the fast water, and I reckon 11/2 lbs of Brownie were netted. I fumbled for my camera from my top pocket but lifting the fish from the net it kicked and I dropped it [the fish]. Gone...The smooth tender flesh of a Brown is a lot more slippery than a Grayling:(

Back eddy under the far bank

It is possible the brown was taking damsel nymphs from the grass, as there were a lot freshly emerged around this pool.

Working the water around the farm and you should have a target of at least 20 fish at a ratio of 10:1 Grayling...

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Saturday 10th July - Going French at Shocklach

Quick drive to the Dee at Shocklach on Saturday morning, found a shorter route via the A41 and Tilston, and a quick session trying out some Hends French Nymphing leaders. The Dee here is nice and open, so no potential overhead line traps and there are many deep runs that I thought may be accessable using these leaders.
I opted for a 4m leader onto which I tied on a 6" length of pink Floro carbon, cut from one of my Tenkara leaders, as an indicator with a couple of weighted CZN's below. Casting this setup needed a bit of aggression initially. A slight downstream wind, coupled with the fact that the two CZN's were providing the initial weight mean't several casts were required to enable the cast to reach my chosen line. Once in the rhythm however, the cast could be easily transferred upsteam from the dangle by striking bankwards, then 'switch' casting upstream. I was by no means classic 'french nymphing', but trying to utilise a setup where I could get that bit further across without compromising too much. It seemed a good idea for reaching some deeper water, but the fish had other ideas. All I could muster were a handful of salmon parr and two 15cm Grayling.
Forever one to take positives from a session, it felt quite a good variation on a technique. None of the fish were fluked, all detected via the indicator stopping etc. (Assuming all takes registered ;)) Room for further trials me thinks.
Also saw two Salmon moving in separate areas which seemed to co-incide with the tides covering the weir in Chester.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Redressing the balance...

Popped along to Llay Road Bridge for a couple of late evening hours. The 'in hand' ratio was finally redressed at Pete 6 Alyn 1.

I left the T in the car and took the 4 weight initially armed with a #20 black duster. Little was moving and I never had a show until a small brown surrendered itself to a small CDC and Elk from the pool immediately below the huge log straddling the river. Moving on to the two bridges the same pattern accounted for two more fish, one of 6" and one of 8", that moved from under the far bank brambles and one bumped fish.

The session was finished in a narrow pool slightly further upstream. As I approached this pool there were regular rises from several fish. These were the most regualr rises I'd seen and maybe appearred to co-incide with the spinner activity around an adjacent Willow and what looked to be some small emerging olives. Still using the CDC and E, two 6" browns quickly obliged at the tail of the pool, the last fish gorging the fly. I changed fly here for a #16 pale olive dun type pattern, there were definitely some small olivey thingies emerging, and also to be able to see it in the dimming light and to give some extra buoyancy as continual little roll casts here were saturating the smaller flies. Second cast at the head of the pool and a lively 6 incher gave its approval. I then snagged up on a small Willow branch, thus losing fly and tippet and whilst tying a new one on a fish could be seen sipping in the slightly slacker water across. There is a nice selection of small Rusty Spinner patterns presently adorning the box (post Derbyshire) so what the heck. With the spinner pattern on I rolled up and acroos the pool head into the slack water, no idea where the fly was landing. After maybe four or five rolls I struck at a slightly larger sip, and contact. I was expecting some sort of explosion, but I was graced with another, although beautiful, 8" trout.

This was a lovely evening session. My casting felt good, I managed to raise a couple of fish whilst searching and finally applying some basic logic on immitation selection based on observations of rise forms and insect life. It was nice to concentrate on the dry, as my last few Alyn sessions have been factored around just getting a result rather that enjoying. All six fish were 6-8", no Parr, no Grayling and all in fine condition (don't know whether this stretch has been stacked this year). Suitably satisfied...

Monday, 5 July 2010

The curse continues...

A full social diary this weekend forced me into visiting Worm's Wood for a couple of early hours on Saturday. It's about 4 weeks since my last visit here, and although low then, the river is even lower now. The canopy has thickened and in places this is a sinister dark looking place. I scratched my head, looked up river decided on an initial approach of a small (#18) beaded ptn and a droppered spider on the T.
The first few pools adjacent to the horsefield and into the wood yielded nothing. It was only upon flicking the wets upstream where the river narrows through the bedrock that I saw a brief twitch of the leader and a fish was on. A couple of small thumps initially, then as I lifted, the fish just zoomed upstream rapidly, pulling the T down low, then slack...again!!!!!!!! It was over in an instant and I've no idea what it was.
Inspection of the hook (it was still there) revealed nothing, no straightening, no covering of the point. Cursed again.
A few more drifts yielded nothing, so I thrashed my way through the balsam and emerged above the bend upstream. There is a small damming  around the bend caused by a long 6" log bridging the river. The river has backed up nicely here and  necks into the resulting pool. This area has encountered for a few good fish this season. Any way I worked the pool upstream, and upon reaching the neck, the leader stopped and a good fish was on, a good brown. I let it drop downstream, and brought the fish up. I was just contemplating whether to keep this one and call it a day and whilst reaching for my net the fish made a last lunge downstream where the leader caught around a semi submerged log. I quickly grabbed the leader, worked my hand down to where it was snagged, then hand hauled the fish from beneath. It kicked quickly then shed the hook...NOOOOOO! This was a good Alyn Brown, not sewage works standard, but a good Alyn Brown of maybe 35cms which took the small Partridge spider.

The pool and offending timber

Disconsolantly I worked upstream, no more shows till I reached the large dam and worked the riffley run coming from it with a grey Klink. Two small browns were caught in successive casts, but this couple of hours felt like a blank.
I'm trying to boost my self confidence by telling myself that at least I'm connecting with good fish in hard conditions, but I need one in the net. When you lose a few fish, sometimes you can be a bit over tentative when playing the next one and I was possible guilty of this today. Hoping to squeeze in an evening session mid week.