River Witham

River Witham
River Witham near Barkston, Lincolnshire

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Grayling Society Day

Well this Tenkara thing.  Got my chance today at a Grayling Society Day on the Derwent & Ecclesbourne at Duffield.  A beautiful day saw us comparing rods in the pub carpark at 8.30am, elegant cane versus a modern take on a 400 year old style, Tenkara.

The first thing that really strikes home is how stripped back this is, a rod with line, tippet and a couple of flies, all in a little bundle.
Note the home-made line-holders (actually sawn-off wooden pegs, held by rubber bands). This means you can travel really light, and of course I can keep it in my car to be ready whenever I get the chance, however short.

I'd set up with a level line of 0.38mm copolymer, 6x tippet and two flies, a pink shrimp and a red-tag.

A local member showed me the along the Ecclesbourne and where to fish downstream on the Derwent.  Wading the river above the bridge was a little challenging with a fair press of water.  Casting up and across from the middle of the river resulted in a nice, albeit out-of-season brown trout to the pink shrimp.

Pressing on up the river I gradually got used to the casting action required, but I did notice that holding the rod high did give a tendency for the line to be caught by the wind.

Moving into the narrow and tree lined R. Ecclesbourne was a little more challenging to cast with the 12' rod, however the length does make you take a deal of care and casting horizontal to the water surface is entirely feasible.  Unfortunately apart from a couple of missed takes I saw no more fish.  They were obviously off sun-bathing somewhere else!
It seems mildly incredible to be fishing in February without a jacket on, in balmy sunshine, however what was more strange, was the lack of any sort of hatch.  Apart from a few land-born insects, there were no flies to be seen on the water anywhere and ner a rising fish.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

“The more you know, the less you need”

Everyone it seems is talking about it. Some with praise, others condemning. Love it or hate it, its simple, stripped back,  ..just less.

What am I talking about?  That 'fad' to quote Lefty Kray, or perhaps 'one of the oldest established forms of fly fishing known'.

Yes its Tenkara.

And guess what, .......mine arrived today.

Woo hoo, can't wait for the weekend to try it out.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

No fishing today!

Well it was a beautiful if very cold day today, but no chance of fishing as the overnight temperature had been 13 or 14 below, leaving much of the river frozen over.  Was great to get out with the dogs and enjoy the scenery though.




Monday, 6 February 2012

Long awaited Grayling Soc day on the Derwent

Yesterday, Sunday 5th, I managed to brave the elements, including 4" snow to drive over to Cromford in Derbyshire for a day Grayling fishing on the R Derwent, with the  local branch of the Grayling Soc.  About 10 of us managed to get through the attrocious conditions, including numerous abandoned cars to meet up at the Greyhound Hotel in Cromford for a coffee and a biscuit before setting out for the fishing.
Park in the carpark at the meadows, Brian said.  Very good, but which was the car park and which was the meadow?

Well we guessed, tackled-up and headed for the river.  In these conditions I opted to czech-nymph with a leader-to-hand rig on my 10' Streamflex.  The sun came out and made it all so pretty, but with the air temperature not more than 2 degrees above, and the water temp likewise, it was good job I had 2 layers of thermals on.

This fishing was challenging especially on the fly, the chaps trotting bait had much more luck especially as they knew where the deep holes are.  I eventually managed 3 'ladies' in the 10-12" range, 2 on a pink shrimp and 1 on a czech shrimp.

Later in the afternoon walking back upstream, trying to jump-start the circulation in my feet, I decided on a few last casts on a likely looking bend, with a deep area, below the railway bridge.  Lo and behold something fairly meaty headed off with one of my flies and kept fairly deep.  After a few minutes fighting I managed to bring it to the surface and netted a 17" brown trout! Well I was surprised, shouldn't he have been under a rock or bank somewhere comatose? After a quick snap I slipped him back to swim very strongly away.  Interestingly he had quite a chunk of his dorsal fin missing, and one of the other anglers reckoned he caught the same fish earlier on!
By now the sun was going down and it was time to repair to the Greyhound for a hot plate of stew and a pot of tea to warm up.  Lovely.

A smashing day, well worth the travelling.