River Witham

River Witham
River Witham near Barkston, Lincolnshire

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Sunday 25th Sept - A pleasant afternoon

Got time off on Sunday afternoon to have a few hours on the river. Pleasantly warm but overcast, the conditions looked good, however on arrival by the riverbank the wind, a warm southerly, was gusting strongly. I  walked downstream to a section that runs E-W, so I had have a cross wind rather than a head wind.  Nothing was rising at all but I set up with a small black foam beetle on the premise that the fish might expect windfall terrestrials with the wind.

 We'll I wasn't wrong about that, and first up a cast in a slow section resulted in the fly disappearing as if down a plughole.  My strike induced a rapid strong pull into the bankside reeds, the fish bore heavily down and was a struggle to bully to the surface. Eventually my net slid under a sizeable chub! An interesting start.


Casting up under a hawthorn bush produced a grayling, which was quickly followed by a lovely brownie, this was fun.

Another grayling and a couple more browns completed the tally allthough my lack of concentration cost me at least another large chub and several browns/grayling.  Then the heavens opened when I was waist deep in the middle of a pool with no coat just a light pullover.  Well I thought its warm enough I'll just press on but after 1/2 hour I was getting chilled and decided to call it a day.

What was really good was that after 5 hours and all those fish, I still had the same fly on, despite the wind tangling me in numerous trees (well that's my excuse).  Very durable made with a under body of shiny black straggle string and an overbody of black foam taken from a fly card, on a size 14 hook.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Back from my little trip to North Wales

Well that was great, ...while it lasted!

Last Thursday I was up early, packed the car and headed off to Corby to meet my brother, Marten.  From there we headed across country via M6/M54 to North Wales, our destination the Gwernan Hotel, at the foot of Cader Idris near Dolgellau.  We arrived at midday, meeting up with our parents, and checking in.  After a tasty lunch of Welsh Rarebit (of course!) washed down with a pint of 'Butty Bach', we put up our rods and headed down to the hotel's own 12 acre lake, to catch some wild brown trout and a few stocked rainbows. Great little boats (rowing of course) awaited us, and a light breeze stirred a surface frequently broken by rising fish. I'r dim!
Llyn Gwernan
Mother ghillied for my 79 year old father, whilst Marten and I fished from the other boat and a delightful and successful afternoon was had by all.  A total of 17 fish between the three of us all released and Marten won the numbers game with 12 fish including 5 wild browns, all to a traditional sedge type pattern.
Gwernan wild brownie

Gwernan Rainbows!
 The day was rounded off with a delightful meal and a few drinks.  Sleep came easily, in the peace quiet and country night air.

Friday dawned with the threat of rain, and I enjoyed a brisk walk along the delightful path around the lake with its lovely views of Cader Idris.
Gwernan valley

Lake with Cader ridge in background

Morning rises on the lake

View across lake to the hotel

Cader ridge

View up the lake

Cader Idris
 After a hearty full Welsh breakfast, Marten and I headed to the Ty'n y Cornel Hotel on Tal y Llyn, a wild trout lake in the next valley over the otherside of Cader Idris. Phil the ghillie at the hotel issued our permits (which include lunch at the hotel), advised on the best drifts, holding areas, and flies.  Wild brown trout and sea trout were on offer. We tackled up and headed across the lake in the boat to set up a drift with the drogue in a stiffish breeze.  Whilst the fish rose reasonably frequently hooking one was something else.  The lake is fairly shallow, between 6 & 8 feet, and consequently there was a lot of weed, which I have say was rather easier to catch! We caught a fish a-piece before we headed in, away from the drizzle, for a welcome lunch of hot soup and a sandwich washed down with a pint of real ale.  During lunch the heavens opened, and torrential rain fell and the wind switched ends to boot.  

Hook up on Tal y Llyn

Tal y Llyn brownies
 In a lull we headed out again, but with the cold wind coming up the valley from the sea, with rain squalls the fishing became far more challenging. It appeared the fish had simply put their heads down and were sulking.
Weather coming in on Tal y Llyn

Ty'n y Cornel Hotel, under Cader Idris
 One small brown took a deep wet fly in the late afternoon and after suffering several more torrential downpours, we headed for the dock.
Time for home!
 Saturday morning dawned with a stiff breeze and after packing and checking out we again fished the lake before lunch.  Father elected to fish from the boat jetty, catching and releasing a small rainbow, before retiring to the shelter of the bar. Our boat however, with drogue, stormed up the lake making casting frequent and somewhat ineffective, except for 1 rainbow hooked by Marten in the shallows at the top of the lake. Trouble was this fish had other ideas, than being brought to the net, and made a dash to round the bows, this resulted in Marten trying to follow stepping on my landing net, breaking it whilst nearly falling in! The fish meanwhile was round the windward side and under the drogue. I took the rod whilst Marten recovered his feet, and pulled in the drogue, an action which helped to land the fish (in broken net), but meant that the boat now hastened on to the lee shore unimpeded! After releasing the rainbow we returned to the vicinity of the dock and tried anchoring, this slowed our progress but still we drifted.  Changing to a green & black montana bead head, I caught and released a nice 'bow in a sudden downpour.  It was time for lunch, say our goodbyes and to head back home to family and responsibilities.  Sigh!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Eyebrook trip

Fished with my brother and some other members of the Guash Fly Fishing Club on Sunday at Eyebrook.  An annual late season junket with a prize for the biggest catch.  The wind was horrendous, making things a little interesting.  I blanked and brother, my boat partner, won bottle of Malt with 4 for 8lb 12oz!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Bit late with this

Saturday, 3rd Sept

Went down to an upper beat of the Witham at Ponton in the afternoon, my gosh, first time on the river in about a month, what with holiday, kids hither and thither and what not. Any way weather seemed kind, sun & cloud and fairly gusty wind (could have done without that), but it wouldn't have mattered either way.  Set up with a home tied orange post klink with a ptn under and walked down stream.


 Well you could tell I lacked practice, spent the first hour scaring fish away, that's when I could see them.
Wasn't until much later, on the wider slower stretch above the weir, that I saw any rises, but trying to interest them in my offerings took a long while.
Eventually an obviously less educated brownie of about 10" took the klink and came blinking to hand.  Before I could take its picture it spat the fly, jumped out of the net and was away.  That was that.
 However the wildlife kept me company!

Sunday 4th Sept
For a change after lunch I drove down to Stamford, near Uffington actually, to fish a stretch of the Lower Welland belonging to the Guash Fly Club.  Its a pretty bit of river that looks and can be very fishy, (it is stocked in the early season) before you get to the canal like section towards Tallington.  Another chap arrived more or less at the same time, so I went well down stream, only after pausing to cast to the numerous fish who feed on God knows what below the raging treatment works outfall. That's the second time I seen that but I can't figure what they want.

It seemed a very hard day, in fact apart from at the outfall section I didn't see a fish move at all.  Eventually all I had to show for my efforts was a small 6" chub!  It was a lovely evening though and I wasn't alone in my failings, the other chap blanked, and only reported one little pull.