Cuba, new friends and the Amercians

Posted by Craig Gannon on July 18, 2016
Cuba, General Musings / Comments Off on Cuba, new friends and the Amercians

It’s been a while since I’ve made any posts, basically because I’ve been a very lazy, however the season’s fishing has begun with a vengeance and the main point so far has been another great trip to Cuba for the Tarpon. A week on the Georgiana produced a limited number of fish, but the main highlight was meeting a lot of new friends and having a great week.
For those of you that have not been on a live-aboard, I can heartily recommend it, accommodation is great and the ability for the boat to move means that you can cover far more water in a leisurely way. Ok – it may cost a little more, but that’s a small price to pay for the extra benefits.
This year the highlight was the reef fishing. This was adrenaline-pumping at times, where fast reactions were needed to cast to fish at any time and at all angles, only beaten by chasing a large pod of tarpon as they smashed into bait fish. The large channels were quiet this year, those in the know suspected that the water was a little too warm, potentially because of another El Ninio year, but hey! In the nineties every day catching tarpon with great company takes a lot of beating.
This year the Americans can get to Cuba more easily. Certainly their influence has yet cannot be seen, however Avalon have seen fit next year (in expectation of a big American influx) to bump the prices up 30%. We shall have to wait and see what happens as this may mean that the big Cuban adventure may be coming to an end, opening up Iceland potentially next year.
Nonetheless I have provisionally booked the Perola next April with the same bunch of friends who I met this year. It may happen, the jury is out yet. In the meantime, I recommend that you give it a go whilst you can – as I fear that it will only get worse.
One of my new friends George was quite handy with a camera. Here’s a shot that I think captures the experience. Until next time….

Day One ….

Posted by Craig Gannon on March 28, 2016
Czech Nymphs News, General Musings, Trout, Uncategorized / Comments Off on Day One ….

Day one of the new trout season, and it wasn’t exactly an auspicious start, very cold, windy and a high river with a peaty tinge to it. However it was good to get out and cast a fly again, and although it was potentially the worst conditions that I have experienced at the start of the season I did manage to winkle out a suicidal trout. There wasn’t a fish in sight, and God only knows what the lunatic trout was doing eating my fly, however it was good to feel a fish on the line.

As I sit typing this in, it’s now pouring down and blowing a gale. About 4 degrees, low air pressure (970) and a cold wind. Lovely. Welcome to the 2016 season and the start of the season. It can only get better.

Where did the Year Go, and Here We Go Again!

Posted by Craig Gannon on March 17, 2016
General Musings, Salmon, Trout, Uncategorized / Comments Off on Where did the Year Go, and Here We Go Again!

Rather remiss of me not having posted anything for a number of months here – it’s not for any other reason than I’ve simply forgotten!

Last thing I reported was the mouse attack – well that was months ago. Since then the storage has been made as mouse-proof as possible, I invested in some new waders, cleaned up a lot of the mousey-smelling stuff (nasty little buggers) and the 15-16 season was off.Without boring you all, it was interesting – probably the worst season weather-wise for years. The rivers were mostly on their backsides with no flow at all (amazingly the salmon still ran), and then towards the end of the year we have had the floods. All in all it was pretty poor. The fly hatches were down from last year – I cannot remember any useful Sedge hatch at all last season, and the Olive hatches were sporadic to say the least. I went out many times expecting to take fish from the top, only to have to go deep – which (let’s be honest) isn’t as much fun at all.

All in all – it could have been a very poor season, but – I did manage to winkle 2 salmon out of the Ribble (both at the back end of the year), putting that into perspective – that was over 20 trips, I suppose a fish every 10 trips isn’t too bad! Nothing out of the Eden at all – and that’s something that I want to put right this year. I did (however) see many wonderful things such as red squirrels and otters – and that’s one of the wonderful things about fishing. I also learnt a hell of a lot as I am still a novice when it comes to salmon fishing and it was a very instructive season. I wonder how that will affect the new 2016-17 season’s catches? 

Trout-wise I only hit the Wharfe 13 times last season (my worst turn out ever), primarily due to the crappy weather, work commitments and me putting the emphasis on salmon. Not a great return – only 29 trout and 5 grayling, I know that it’s not a numbers game, but it’s still a paltry return for the season, I actually nearly caught as many trout on the Ribble as I did on the Wharfe, most of them on salmon flies!

The trout season starts on Good Friday (a week tomorrow). The salmon season is off and running already. This weekend I will try to tie up the Spiders ready for the Wharfe, and (weather permitting) I may try to have a week of fishing Easter week. I have to say that I looking forwards to it. Here’s hoping!

So – here we go for 2016. I promise to post on the blog more regularly (not necessarily fishy things), and although I appreciate that no bugger ever read sit, it’s good for me to capture my thoughts as the season progresses – quite therapeutic!

2015 Beckons – Mice Beware

Posted by Craig Gannon on March 24, 2015
Uncategorized / Comments Off on 2015 Beckons – Mice Beware

The trout season starts tomorrow, and the salmon season has been open for a few weeks. so it’s all get ready for this year’s onslaught.

True to form I will be venturing out down the Wharfe as soon as possible, and planning a trip to the Eden at Langwathby on Sunday, but (almost destined wasn’t it) the weather is planning gales and rain. 

However, a subtle twist to this year, Mice + Fishing Gear = Disaster. The evil little buggers had found a home in my garage. Therefore bye bye Simms Chest Waders and Bye Bye Snowbee wading jacket.

There is now so much poison in the garage that (provided that you can dance around the traps) make it is now a very un-rodently  place. Long may it stay that way. All the gear is now stowed away in mouse-proof containers, not pretty but very practical. If only I can remember where everything is?

Here we go !!!!!!!

Change of trout venue – I forgot !

Posted by Craig Gannon on September 07, 2014
General Musings, Salmon, Trout / Comments Off on Change of trout venue – I forgot !

This morning I decided to pack a few pieces of gear and get myself down the Ribble with a view to possibly switching to the Wharfe after a few hours. I intended to take the 6-weight so I could switch to salmon flies if any of the silver buggers decided to show, but when I got there I’d packed 2 4-weight rods. So I took the longer one and geared up for some trout fishing.

In retrospect I should have given it the 2 hours I intended and then moved, but it was such a glorious day after the early mist cleared that I stayed and fished for trout on the Ribble.

End result, 8 trout, 2 grayling and 2 dace. To be fair only one of the trout was any size, but after finding the right fly it was good sport.

The river has a fair run of salmon in, but they aren’t showing, however that’s the last trout fishing there for now as there’s probably 5-6 weeks left to get some salmon, so I am going to really try to winkle one out. After that it’s some grayling on the Wharfe.

Enjoyable day, lots of expectation for the coming weeks.

Back to Basics

Posted by Craig Gannon on August 29, 2014
General Musings, Salmon, Trout / Comments Off on Back to Basics

It’s been a few weeks since I took myself back to basics with some traditional trout fishing on the Wharfe. I’ve been rather preoccupied trying to winkle a salmon out of the Ribble, Lune and Eden – and I’m rather sorry to say that the results have been less than successful, well to be brutally honest they have been disastrous.

So rather than work myself into a frenzy of absolute demoralisation, on Wednesday I took myself off down the river with my fishing buddy in pursuit of the staple diet of the fly fisherman, the Brown Trout.

It’s rather late in the season and I wasn’t feeling too confident, nevertheless we toddled off to a beat that I’ve never really fished in anger, simply because I’ve been too bloody complacent to try somewhere new.

It wasn’t exactly easy fishing, and it was a case of ring the changes regularly as the fish seemed to be switching fly allegiance with gay abandon, not helped by a chilly mild east wind (usually the grim reaper of fishing). However I’m pleased to say that I have a damned good and enjoyable time, catching a bucketful of quality trout and a young grayling.

Of particular fun was a zoo creature that decided to take me 25 yards downstream and across to the far bank on its initial blazing run before I bullied it to the net. Sometimes it just happens and the fish switch on with me and I can’t go wrong. I lost as many as I caught and had some real fun, including a bugger of a fish that I saw keep chasing the fly (after having initially risen vertically through the water layers to shun the fly at the last minute). After enticing it 3 times without a take (it was a fair size fish too) it finally hit the fly and I managed to lift too early and spook it for good.

Eventually tiredness and back ache kicked in and we called it a day, one of the best of the season so far. Completely out of the blue it provided some great sport and reaffirmed some confidence in my abilities after the complete lack of salmon so far this year.

Tomorrow however, as it’s been raining hard today, I’m expecting a lift in the river and I may well find myself with the double hander back on the banks of the Ribble. I never learn!

Lovely Chubly

Posted by Craig Gannon on August 15, 2014
Salmon / Comments Off on Lovely Chubly

Great day down the river today, salmon moving, somebody pulled out a 14 pounder and I got a sold pull second cast after moving upstream to another spot.
Good solid fish dug deep, great I thought , at last, first salmon of the season.
Oh, but it all suddenly went a bit dead and came in after the initial set of runs. Ok I thought, that’s, ok, and as I brought the fish to me I saw the huge head with the big salmon fly tight between the scissors, and brought this 4 pound chub over the net.
Great fish, first chub on a fly, and first chub for many years.


Posted by Craig Gannon on July 17, 2014
Uncategorized / Comments Off on Gnashers

I had a nice evening today with my friend down the river. Very relaxing and very frustrating. A very beautiful typical English summers evening, baking hot, breath of wind and not a soul about.
We went to a part of the river that we’ve not fished for ages, and given that there’s been no rain the river was in fine form, a few rising fish, a few flies coming off, and as expected the fish languishing in the faster or deeper water.
You would have though both of would have bagged up, but just the opposite – it was really tough! I reckon that the fish are struggling for air, food and peace as the season has gone on. Just as usual, it gets flogged and the fish get more faddy.
Luckily I managed to pull this beggar out, big head, lean body (well in need of food) – in full battle colours it would have run a good 2 pounds, lean as it was if probably dropped half a pound. But just look at the size of the head and it’s gnashers!

Sea Trout

Posted by Craig Gannon on July 01, 2014
General Musings, Salmon, Trout / Comments Off on Sea Trout

Last night I ventured into the world of Sea Trout fishing. Never done it before although I have night fished in my younger days in pursuit of tench, bream and eels. Back then though is was using a glowing isotope insert for the float, or using a ledger stop. Night course fishing is a static activity, not the mobile fly fisherman and casting a fly line into nothingness.

I’ve done the research, staked out the swims and river so that I had reasonable knowledge of the lie of the land, and knew where the spots would be. Also I invested in a pretty good head torch from Amazon, dressed accordingly (it gets surprisingly cold and damp during the night in a river) and knew where the holes in the river were. But did it really prepare me for the night ahead?

First of all, let’s get the niceties out of the way. Did I catch a Sea Trout? Yes, only a small one but nevertheless it was a success. Did I stay all night? No, as I was pretty bored by 2am. Did I drown? Obviously no as I am writing this. Is it madness? Possibly….

No doubt catching a reasonably large Sea Trout in the dead of night is probably a very exciting experience, but if you suspend that from the equation, it just doesn’t make sense!
Tangles become a law into themselves, and every time the cast ‘feels wrong’ you have no option but to check the leader – otherwise you could be casting all night and not stand a chance. A tangled leader actually offers some light relief as it means that you can sit down and redo the gear, otherwise you go into automaton mode of cast and retrieve.
There’s also something quite strange about casting into pitch black. Amazingly you do get a feel for the cast length and direction, basically from the feel of the fly line thickness, and similarly the same for the retrieve, but it’s completely blind fishing, which is very odd and not a fly fisherman’s cup of tea where normally you are casting to fish.
Then there’s the weather, last night was warm and dry, but to do this in the rain would be madness, I’m sure that the purists would say that it doesn’t matter, well believe me that it does. Wet and cold and more or less blind? No thanks.

Having said all of that, it’s a pretty memorable experience fly fishing in the dead of night and hearing Sea Trout crash out of the water at infrequent intervals, wondering if the next cast is going to be that special fish.

Would I do it again? Possibly….


River Minnow

Posted by Craig Gannon on May 18, 2014
General Musings, Trout / Comments Off on River Minnow

Yesterday I caught what will probably be my finest trout out of the Wharfe. Fishing where I have never fished before, and where it probably hardly sees a fly.
A quite astonishing fish for the river.