Friday, 31 July 2015

Mixed Conditions in July

A good Sea Trout
Well July has certainly been a very varied Month as far as the weather and water conditions are concerned. We have seen hot spells, cold snaps, heavy rain, light rain, high water, low water, calm periods (although not many) and once again very windy days. Not much of a summer up to now I'm afraid, however the fishing has stayed quite constant, despite these unsettled conditions, with salmon continuing to enter the lower beats on low water and pushing through the river when water levels have risen. Sea trout are also still very much in attendance and on the few nights when the wind has dropped and the water has remained low and clear, (with overcast conditions) fish have been taken, and once again there have been nights when good fish were lost, but we have also had some decent daytime sessions too when some nice Sea Trout were landed on black and yellow tube flies whilst targeting Salmon in slightly coloured water conditions.

Nick's first time on the Double Hander
It was good to see some total beginners coming for lessons this month, as well as being able to catch up with a few regulars who have been to me several times now and have really moved on with their casting. After all these years, it still gives me a real buzz to witness these improvements in people and to know that I have been instrumental in this process. Nick on the left did a great job getting to grips with the Double Hander for the first time and Jeff below, who is a regular visitor, is now becoming very proficient with his casting and fishing techniques.

Some nice casts from Jeff
It has to be said though, that although the ultimate goal is to catch fish, it is also nice to be able to finish your day's fishing knowing that your casting and fishing techniques were not only on song, but were also very enjoyable, regardless of the outcome. "That's what fishing is all about".

Killyleagh 2015
I visited N. Ireland again this month for our annual trip to the Irish International Fly Fair (held in Killyleagh) as part of the AAPGAI demonstration team in association with APGAI Ireland. The show is not only attended by avid fly fishers, but also by a variety of excellent fly dressers from all around the world, many of whom (strangely enough) also happen to fly fish. A great show, and one worth visiting if you get the chance, oh, and the odd pint of Guinness may be consumed in the evenings too.

David Playing a trout in the fading light
Back home on the Eden the trout fishing remained steady and continued to produce better results later in the evenings as the light began to fade. If you are prepared to go out during these periods then good sport can be had. That said, we have also had some good results throughout the day when conditions are overcast, although it is generally during the calmer spells when the wind decides to drop from time to time that this occurs, when once again the dry fly has come into it's own.

Returning an Evening Brown
Spiders continue to prove less effective, only producing the odd fish here and there. However, given the opportunity when conditions are right, there is nothing more satisfying than watching a dry fly on the surface, as the light begins to fade, and your concentration is at it's peak, trying to focus on your dry as it disappears into the darkness, often striking at the "shlup" noise as a trout takes a "real" fly in the general area where you think your artificial may be. Eventually you have to accept the fact that it is simply too dark to carry on!

"Nice one Pam"
Gold and silver headed nymphs have also produced in the pocket waters of the faster runs, as Pam found out, (pictured Left) as she proceeded to catch her very first Brown Trout on a Pheasant Tailed Nymph (PTN). Pam also lost a better fish prior to this and had a few chances too, not bad for a first attempt, especially as this was on very low water with intermittent bright conditions. "Nice one Pam". I should add that she did all of this whilst successfully executing the circle cast for the very first time too. 

Steve playing his first Rainbow
A little bit of Stillwater fishing was the order of the day this month, with two great guys who had never fly fished before and wanted to try it whilst fishing for Rainbow trout for the first time. Brothers, Pete and Steve, took to it very well and after a casting session in the morning, (amongst other things) they put their new found skills into practise out on the lake.

The End Result
After experimenting with a variety of flies, we found the fly they were interested in, (an Elk Hair Sedge) fished in a bit of a wave. Pete made contact with a couple of fish first, then Steve landed a nice Rainbow Trout of around 2 1/2lb. Well Done Both!

Borderlines days for youngsters continued in July with another successful day, this time out on the West coast of Cumbria during the School holidays in the form of a have a go session for youngsters of all ages, and they caught a few fish too. 

CAA Member's Session
Yet another session for Carlisle Anglers ensued on the river Eden, following on from previous sessions, looking at a variety of techniques with both single and double handed fly rods to help combat differing wind situations. The ultimate goal being to put these techniques into practise in a fishing situation, a very enjoyable session once again with some good banter on the river bank.

Finally this month, along with fellow instructors Derek and Geoff, I had the opportunity to attend a product day held by Guide Fly Fishing at Bank House Fly Fishery near Lancaster, where we got the chance to meet up and chat with good friends and like minded anglers, but even jucier than that, we also got the chance to have a play with some new gear and have a cast with a variety of different rod and line combinations. What's better than that for a day out. Thanks for the invite guys!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Still Windy but at Least it's Warm AT LAST!

This Brown devoured a Waddington
First of all I have to own up to the fact that I left the UK for warmer climes for 10 days in June, so I did miss a bit of the action on the river, however there were still plenty of salmon being caught whilst I was away, at least before the water dropped down to summer level that is. That said, although we are still getting persistent winds (albeit warmer ones) these lower levels are certainly not discouraging some good Sea Trout from entering the system, which is not unusual, as those Sea Trout anglers amongst you will know, as these enigmatic fish are certainly not discouraged by low water and will run the river regardless, especially in the twilight hours.

Youngsters on a Borderlines Day
Since my return from holiday I have only taken people out for Sea Trout  (through the night) a couple of times, but during these sessions we have made contact with some very powerful fish, but unfortunately we haven't landed any yet. That said, it is very comforting and exciting to know that we are most certainly fishing productive water and that any minute now your fly is about to be stopped in it's tracks, "a great feeling". We have however encountered some large Brown Trout in the dark too, and although most have been returned, the one in the picture (above right) took a Waddington that hard and deep that we had to kill it, but it certainly did not go to waste (very appetising).

Small but Beautiful
In the interim, there has been plenty of tuition sessions and a whole range of youth days with the Borderlines team, mainly fly fishing days, but we did incorporate a coarse fishing day into the programme with youngsters from a local school, some of these youngsters catching their first ever fish, "Brilliant".

With my Borderlines cap on it is worth mentioning that we have now introduced around 15,000 youngsters to angling and protecting the environment, these days all require funding, which is becoming more and more difficult to secure, so if anyone wishes to assist with this, all donations are welcome, whether it's financial assistance or simply tackle donations, every little helps. "Pitch over"! 

Returning an Eden Grayling
Whilst fishing for Trout and Grayling, several other tuition and fishing sessions on the river have produced mixed results, providing us with both difficult and productive days, but like the Sea Trout fishing, when the wind lulls, the fishing has improved, especially when dry fly fishing has been the order of the day. It has to be said though, "there has been very few days in Cumbria this year when we haven't encountered wind of some sort". At least now it is warmer though!

A late evening trout on the Dry
Whilst the river has been low, (apart from when the wind lulls) the nymphs have proven more productive, especially when employing a variety of goldheads fished subsurface, with spiders and dries not performing as well, although when we do manage to get a calm spell, the dry fly has come into it's own, especially the last hour before dark. We have had a few nice fish during this period prior to the Sea Trout fishing taking place.

CAA Members
Our annual Guide Fly Fishing day took place again on Saturday the 27th June for Carlisle Angling Association members. This event offers an opportunity for CAA members to come along and try out some of the products available on the market today. These products are kindly brought along by fellow AAPGAI instructor Jim Fearn, (from Guide Fly Fishing) and as usual everyone enjoyed the day and gave the rods and lines a good work out. Free tuition was also available from myself and Jim for those attending. 

Tuesday evening (30th June) also saw the third in a series of five monthly sessions for members of Carlisle Angling Association, the sessions being designed to address the whole range of Spey casts for both single handed and double handed rods. 

Monthly CAA Casting Sessions
The sessions are arranged by the CAA committee free of charge for members wishing to come along and improve their skills. All sessions include demonstrations and free tuition from myself and fellow AAPGAI instructor Geoff Johnston. The remaining two evening sessions will be held on the 30th July and the 27th August.

Plenty going on next month again, I will keep you informed!