Photograph by Steve Barnett

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Happy Birthday USA

Have a good time folks.  Maybe celebrate with some fishing?

Happy 4th of July from Regular Rod

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Busy Day

It was another chopping and changing day for your correspondent and his pal, Henry.

The Hawthorn flies seem to have finished their honeymoons for the year and most dry fly anglers hereabouts will be willing the Drake to begin theirs as soon as possible.

No Drake yet but lots of flies around of a variety of species.  This is what made the day a busy one, and added a certain something to the proceedings. The first few fish came to a size 14 Double Badger, which was chosen because there were no fish rising "four to the minute" with their attentions fixed on a specific fly.  The Double Badger makes a good fake for many different real flies and looks to be a decent mouthful.  Anyway it was working.

Then the fish started to rise more frequently and it quickly became clear that they were choosing something specific from the buffet bar near their sky.  What was it?  Aphids!  But not green ones.  Fat little, dark brown creatures that had gorged on sap to the point when Gravity took them from the leaves in the canopy.

On with a size 20 Sturdy's Fancy and the next fish was the biggest of the day! A fine brown trout with all fabulous colours that Lathkill Brown Trout are so famous for.

After a few more fish it all went quiet.  The Double Badger went back on to continue its coaxing duties.  Henry and Regular Rod continued to wander up stream, picking pockets as we went...

Mid-afternoon saw the first flotilla of duns sail by.  Untouched for a good ten minutes.  Then it started.  What a sight!  Fly choice was easy.  The slight backward angle of the Blue Winged Olive's wings is very distinctive.

Chop off the Double Badger and change to a Kite's Imperial and choose your fish!

This river is always a bit of a test for the angler.  Here the water is so clear the fish can see you from quite a distance.  Creeping about is the only way to earn any real success.  Scare a fish on the mother river, the Derbyshire Wye, and you put down all the fish in that pool.  Scare one on the Lathkill and the effect can spread over 100 yards!  These banks may be mown a little bit but the river has lots of cover so careful casting is required.  The back cast has to be watched as much as the forward cast.  Failure to take this precaution will get your fly stolen by that precious, fish-holding, cover.

Very soon the Drake will be on the menu.  On some days the fly will go on at the start of the fishing and only come off when packing up.  Meanwhile, I reckon we may well be occupied by another week or so of chopping and changing!

Regular Rod

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Minimalism anyone?

Now past the usual allotted span, your faithful correspondent lays claim to still having the enthusiasm of youth.  It must be so, as events today surely prove?  In the rush and hastiness to get tackled up and down river to begin fishing this day, the old Brady shoulder bag was left behind on the garden table! 

Fortunately the Kite's Imperial, chosen simply because the day was so bright and sunny, had been tied on AND... anointed!  This proved to be of vital import when, after a couple of miles wandering down river to sit by the tail pool of Ogden Island on Derbyshire's River Wye, the bag was reached for and found to not be over the shoulder where it usually is.  Calamity!  I've never fished one of those "One Fly Only All Day" competitions and I don't believe I'd do very well in one if I did.  Ooh!  Careful now, the floatant is at home, as are the scissors, leader material, fly boxes and other apparatus.  Lose the fly and, although there are many in your hat band, they are not ready to repel water!  Now dashing off like that must go to show that the youthful enthusiasm for our "Great Sport" is still there...  Or does it only show that advancing years have rendered this angler.... forgetful?

Henry!  Don't sit on the landing net!  We will need it soon!
The choice of fly was a good guess.  Sport was not brisk but it was still to be had by sitting quietly, observing carefully and letting the fish show us where they are.  

See!  I told you we would be needing that net!
At one point the fly was broken off in some trailing vines of ivy, dangling just a bit too low for the attempted side cast. Happily it was possible to lasso the fly with the tip ring and recover it to hand and retie it onto the, now slightly shorter, tippet.  

A bonus was watching a Big Momma Grayling on her redd.  The snaps aren't very good.  Laziness led to the 'phone being the only camera to hand. 

The mother river this year is in amazing condition.  Clear, higher than usual, teeming with life and ready to give her presents to those ready to receive them. 

Maybe a copy of the check list needs printing off again and pinning to the garden door to be read just before stepping out onto the riverside footpath?

Best wishes to you all.

Regular Rod

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Alert! Alert! Urgent! Urgent!

For the next three weeks, if you are fishing in the North Country rivers of Great Britain, you are very likely to need some suitable fakes of the Grannom.  May I please suggest you get back to the vice and tie a few if you have not yet done so?  

On Monday I was vexed to see that I only had one in my fly box and one in my hat band.  

"Cobblers' kids are always barefoot!"  

Hence this URGENT public service message!

Regular Rod

Monday, 1 April 2019

Change of plans...

Henry and your faithful correspondent spent some of this last Winter in reconnaissance.  The changes to the river within its upper reaches (nearer to home than down towards the confluence) were all cheerfully observed and committed to memory.  The snowdrops were marvelled at.  The newly scoured gravel beds were smiled upon.  The large woody debris, much of which had been relocated by the floods, was observed with satisfaction.  In the mind's eye, of the dry fly angler, a scheme for making the most of Opening Day was pictured, with prospective ambush points already planned.

What actually happened was somewhat different.

The angler overlaid!  

This All Fools' Day the plan was to open the season on the Mother river in and around the places already reconnoitred.  This river has more anglers to fish it than the tributary waters usually chosen for a Regular Rod's opening day.  Being at least two hours later than intended, space would likely be at a premium.  The decision to change plans was an easy one to make... 

Dog, tackle and angler were therefore loaded into the motor car and a short drive to a parking space at the top end of the lower beat was followed by some furious threading of line and speedy tying on of a Double Badger.  The walk down to the bottom of the beat, on the right bank, was a brisk one.  The walk was just enough to get the brain in gear and fully into waterside resident mode again.

Back to basics, we had not done any reconnaissance down this end of the river.  No fond imaginings had prepared us for where to set to for some fishing.  

So what did your blogger do?  

He sat down and hid from the fish, observed the water and fished where he saw the fish were.  That's what he did!  

It was not completely straightforward.  Very few fish were to be seen rising (normal for this early in the season).  

The first fly was invisible in the lighting conditions so that was changed from a Double Badger to a Red Hackle.  Visibility problems over and done with and the fly now cast more accurately had the first fish coming to the net, much to Henry's delight and his Dad's relief.  Blanking on opening day is horrible.

Sport was, as expected, slow but satisfying.  It was good to say "Hello!" to so many anglers today.  It was good to watch Henry working the marginal flotsam to gather up lost tennis balls together with a yellow racing duck!  (No doubt from last summer's charity plastic duck race through Bakewell).

Reconnaissance is a great tool for the dry fly angler, but sometimes it has to be done there and then, rather than in advance!

Have a great season everyone...

Regular Rod