Monday, 11 November 2013

Grayling From An Itchen Carrier

A River Itchen Carrier
A River Itchen Carrier
My last day on the southern chalkstreams dawned cold and wet, just like the previous day. Chris and I had arranged to meet in a car park near Winchester, close to where we would begin fishing. The plan was to fish a couple of beats on the River Itchen and then move to the River Test. The rain was forecast to be replaced with sunshine and showers by lunchtime so we diverted into Winchester for a coffee and a brief tour of the city, including the River Itchen flowing through the city centre, before commencing fishing later...

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Collecting New Grayling Rivers - The River Wylye

The majority of the southern English chalkstreams are almost impossible to get to fish unless you are either well connected, very rich, or both! My friend Chris has access to some pretty exclusive chalkstream fishing, so I don't know whether he is well connected or very rich? Regardless, luckily for me he had arranged a couple of guest tickets. He is well aware and very supportive of my desire to add to my Grayling River Collection and offered to take me to a river that would be a new addition to my growing list - the River Wylye in Wiltshire. Obviously I accepted and we agreed to meet outside my hotel in Stockbridge..

Friday, 8 November 2013

Grayling Fishing On The River Lambourn

River Lambourn
River Lambourn
For the last few years I've ventured south in early November to fish the southern chalkstreams for grayling with my friend Chris. Being a Yorkshireman it's the only time I can afford to fish a chalkstream! This year, despite dates being pencilled in the diary in good time, it proved difficult to finalise things with Chris. In the end he could only make two days because of work commitments, so I decided to stick with my three day plan and fish alone on the first day. I was going to fish one of the beats that I'd fished with Chris previously, but late in the day I thought that with Chris's help I might be able to fish a different river that I could add to my growing Grayling Collection. Emails were exchanged and he suggested the River Lambourn at Donnington Grove, near Newbury in Berkshire. Perfect, so I duly booked my fishing and drove south...

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Trout Fishing In Shetland – A Summary

It's a few months now since my return from trout fishing Shetland, in which time I've had chance to reflect on the experience. It was by no means an easy trip with long walks over rough ground, some pretty horrendous weather conditions at times, hard fishing, camping and fending for myself most of the time, to name but a few of the hardships. I was certainly ready for home by the time my trip came to an end. Clearly there were many high points as well, which will live long in my memory. The question is would I return to fish in Shetland again?…

Friday, 4 October 2013

Trout Fishing In Shetland Part Five – Return To The Mainland

Mill Loch, Mainland
Mill Loch, Mainland
From the ferry I drove to Collafirth in the north east of the Mainland. In the hills above this tiny fishing village and sheltered inlet are 2 lochs that hold good trout. Typically the book described them as “not easy”. Neither are they easy to get to with a very steep uphill walk required to get to them. I elected to fish Mill Loch first, the furthest of the 2 and then on my way back fish Clubba Water. The view from the top of Collafirth Hill looking north east was amazing. Below me was Mill Loch, a sizeable piece of water, and beyond was island scattered blue seas, in fact the very islands I’d just returned from...

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Trout Fishing In Shetland Part Four – The Island of Fetlar & A Return To Yell

Papil Water, Fetlar
Papil Water, Fetlar
I was sorry to leave Gardiesfauld Youth Hostel. It was a true home from home and had saved me from a very uncomfortable night. But I had one of the best lochs in Shetland to fish today: Papil Water on the island of Fetlar. From what I had read this was possibly the best loch in Shetland with “fish to 2lb common and 4lb+ fish also caught”. To say I was excited would be an understatement. It was an early ferry to Fetlar via Yell. I’d eaten a small breakfast in the youth hostel but the plan was to eat again on arriving at Papil Water then start fishing. Excitement got the better of me and the plan changed. I’d walk to the top end of Papil and fish one side of the loch, get something to eat back at the car then fish the other side...

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Trout Fishing In Shetland Part Three – The Islands of Yell & Unst

Shetland's Inter-island Ferry
Shetland's Inter-island Ferry
Having left Vicky at the airport I drove north towards Toft for the morning ferry to Yell. A slight detour took me to Loch of Benston where I was to meet Colin for an evening session in his boat. Located roughly in the middle of the Mainland, Benston is another of Shetlend’s premier lochs where many large trout have been caught in the past. Colin had told me about Loch of Benston and its large trout in his e-mails and he talked about it during our day fishing Loch of Clousta. If truth be known he’d have loved to have taken me there on our first day but this is no easy loch. You can fish there many times before connecting with one of its large inhabitants and, therefore, he didn’t deem it suitable for a Shetland rookie like me; rightly so as it turned out. We didn’t get good conditions that evening. There was a big change in weather occurring, from the settled, overcast with sunny spells and the odd shower that Vicky had experienced during most of her trip, to very wet and very windy weather that was to dog me for the next 2 days. That evening we were sandwiched right between both weather fronts. The wind died away to nothing leaving us with a flat-calm loch, it became quite cold and it just felt like time to pack up and go home. Colin’s persistence paid off though, with a trout around the 1lb mark taking his greased up top dropper. Not what you fish Benston for (apparently) but a result in the conditions that faced us...

Friday, 9 August 2013

Trout Fishing In Shetland Part Two – Enter The Dragon!

A Puffin at Sumburgh Head
A Puffin at
Sumburgh Head
I screeched into the airport and there she was - Mrs Minnikin standing patiently with her bags on the pavement at Sumburgh Airport. I made my excuses for being late (some actually true and beyond my control!) and we drove to the nearby Sumburgh Head. As well as trout fishing Shetland is known for many other things, with wildlife somewhere near the top of the list. Sumburgh Head, as the name suggests, is a headland on the very southern tip of Shetland. The cliffs here are impressive, some of the highest in Shetland, and a great place to take in the view; admire the Puffins, Fulmars, Artic Skuas, Great Skuas (known as Bonxies), Terns, Guillemots; and try spotting whales (including Killer Whales), dolphins and basking sharks, which are regular visitors to the waters around Shetland and frequently seen from Sumburgh Head. The scenery was fantastic and the closeness to the bird-life quite remarkable, but the cetaceans eluded us...

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Afternoon Delight

Afternoon Delight
There is a lowland stream in the Dales I’ve been meaning to fish for a while. It has no reputation, unlike many other Yorkshire Dales rivers, and I bet few have even heard of it. It intrigued me though; I like fishing the unknown and vowed to fish it this year. So this afternoon, following a morning teaching a beginner the basics, I visited this stream to see what it was like. I had nothing to lose.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Trout Fishing In Shetland Part One – A Two Day Introduction

Welcome to ShetlandI've long wanted to fish in Shetland, Britain's most northern outpost. I was drawn by its remoteness, beauty and the almost endless wilderness loch fishing available. A series of articles in Fly Fishing & Fly Tying magazine last year was the deciding factor and plans were made for a trip there in June...

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Confidence Is Key

After a generally poor fishing season in 2012 I, like most flyfishers, was chomping at the bit for the 2013 season to arrive. I generally keep my diary reasonably clear at the start of the season so that I can do a bit of fishing myself. It's my favourite part of the season with good hatches and usually good dry fly sport. As it happens, with this Siberian weather, my diary ended up clearer than normal, bringing opportunities to get out fishing myself. The flip side is that if conditions are bad enough to cause cancellations then they're not going to be ideal to venture out on my own. I couldn't muster the will to go out on opening day, but sat at home feeling sorry for myself and pondering my options I dreamt up a theory...

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Final Instalment

OK it's time to bring the series of posts about common faults and mistakes made whilst river fishing to a close. I hope you've enjoyed it, that you've learnt something, and more to the point, you will be able to put it to good use from now on. This time I'm going to describe a more general fault and one that summarises to some degree a lot of the faults I've listed in this series...

Monday, 25 March 2013

Diminishing Returns

Well it's 25th March, first day of the new trout season in Yorkshire, but with snow on the ground, temperatures hovering around zero and a very strong north easterly blowing I'll not be wetting a line today and probably not all week! So I've got time to add another blog post about common faults I witness while out on the river...

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Two For The Price Of One!

It's almost the trout season here in the Yorkshire Dales, not that you'd think that today with the temperature not rising above 2°C all day and snow lying on the ground, but hopefully I'll soon be able to blog about actual fishing trips and days out on the water. Therefore, I need to bring my series of posts on common faults and mistakes I see whilst out on the river to an end. So today I'm going to describe two things I come across when fishing dry flies with clients...

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Unsuitable Flies

Continuing my series of posts on common mistakes and faults I observe when on the river, this time I am talking about using unsuitable flies. Flies that are either outdated, or any self respecting trout and grayling would laugh at and avoid like the plague! Again, like using the right tackle, it is something that can be put right by without any practice or ability, though admittedly some expense...

Friday, 1 March 2013

Get A Move On!

Fishing too slow is the latest fault I'm going to talk about in a series of posts looking at common faults when fishing a river...

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Change Of Direction

My next post about common river fishing faults and mistakes covers casting and in particular not using a change of direction cast when one is required. Change of direction casts are simple to perform and every flyfisher should be able to do at the least one type if they are to get the most from their flyfishing, on river or stillwater...

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Unsuitable Tackle

Continuing my posts on commonly observed mistakes in river fishing, having described three quite similar faults, this time I'm going to point out something different; something that can be put right before you get anywhere near the river - "using unsuitable tackle"...

Monday, 28 January 2013

It's All About Positioning

Having described two common but similar faults in my last two blog posts I am again going to describe a common fault on the same theme, this time entitled "Casting into likely spot from wrong position". This is something that I see quite often and is closely related to the first two faults I wrote about...

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Don't Waste The Opportunity!

Following on from my last blog post, where I started putting together a series of posts on the most common mistakes I see anglers making when I’m out guiding, this time out I'm going to describe another common fault I see - casting at a rising fish from too far away...