Czech Nymphs News

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.

It’s Been A While

Posted by Craig Gannon on April 21, 2014
Czech Nymphs News, Salmon, Trout / Comments Off on It’s Been A While

I don’t know what’s been happening but I seem to have neglected this blog, so much in fact that it’s been lying here, dusty and unloved, for nearly 9 months.

Time to dust it off – but where do I start?

News ………
My right arm is currently recovering from a small Op, I hope to be casting again towards the end of next week (unless Mrs G imposes a blanket ban). Acute tennis elbow, an end result of my day job (IT), my hobbies (fly tying and fly fishing), and driving. Prognosis is good.

I have managed to become a member of the a Yorkshire Fly Fishing Club, a club which has a lot of salmon water, hence I shall probably be running down my trout this year and spending far more time there.

Kids both at Uni – huge financial burden – who said that it would free up personal time? Nonsense!

This years trips? Nine so far, possibly Russia in October, but this being me and my better half’s 50th years probably not.

I will try to throw myself more into some proper fly tying, I have been slowly gearing myself up, and will be trying some tube flies for the first time.

Lastly for now, last year’s returns:

Bolton Abbey
Trips: 14, Trout: 54, Grayling: 0, Average per trip: 3.9
Burnsall
Trips: 13, Trout: 59, Grayling: 2, Average per trip: 4.7

A month on and………..

Posted by Craig Gannon on May 07, 2013
Czech Nymphs News, General Musings, Trout / Comments Off on A month on and………..

A month into the season and……. what a month it’s been. Without doubt the worst start to the trout season on my local rivers for some years.
Last year the start was glorious, fine sunny weather, the heat of the sun warming the water and encouraging the fly life to become active, and the trout.
This year it cannot have been more opposite, cold westerly and easterly winds, cold water, hardly any sunshine at all and the result has been virtually no fly life and virtually no rising fish. Only yesterday did the temperature rise for the first time and the sun come out. The end result of that was activity for the first real time this year. Many anglers were out taking advantage of the change, and as a result many fish were probably caught in return. For myself the 2 and a half hours yesterday morning were rewarded with some fine fish, but more importantly some actual activity, with fish starting to rise (still no fly life on the surface, but plenty ‘in’ the surface). A last it gave some sign that the slow start to this season may actually be catching up.

Up until yesterday it has been pretty soul destroying, many times wearing gloves to ward off the biting cold winds, and not a single rising fish to cast to. All of the aquatic life has been doggo, lying near the bottom and hardly moving in the cold, cold April and May water. Admittedly it has been possible to tempt out some fish on heavy weighted nymphs, but it hasn’t been exactly an enjoyable experience – wearing clothing in May more akin to that of the Arctic Circle.

This week has seen a fine start with temperatures yesterday reaching a heady 20 degrees, with today being the same. However the week will then plunge back to 12 degrees and rain, which can only mean a bit of a knock back to the local anglers.

The cycle may have already started however with the sunshine bringing in the warming of the water that is desperately needed. At last the trees and bushes have started to bud or even open up with fledgling leaves, so finally the aquatic fly life may now have something to live on, and the fish may start to show some activity higher up in the water. But it’s been late this season. A good test of what’s going on is the ritual stone turning. Very few nymphs crawling about at the bottom of the river, and some of the fish that I have caught are obviously over wintered and haven’t yet had the chance to replace their body weight. I only hope that there’s a dramatic change to this starting from now.

Looking forwards and being positive, the season really started yesterday. The warmer weather is hopefully now with us, and the heavy rain forecast later this week may help to clear out some of the sludge that has gathered since the winter (apart from the snow it’s actually been by dry and the rivers need a good clear out).
The forecast for the week is a heady 20 degrees today, light rain and 15 degrees tomorrow and heavy rain and 11 degrees on Thursday. I may venture out tonight.

At Least the Snow Has Gone (nearly)

Posted by Craig Gannon on April 13, 2013
Czech Nymphs News, General Musings, Trout / Comments Off on At Least the Snow Has Gone (nearly)

And so it’s trip 2 of the season and off to Barden Bridge. I have been planning to wet a line again but it’s been too bloody cold with a strong East wind – and I may be mad – but not that mad – so I’ve stayed at home and done a bit of gear maintenance instead.
But now we’ve had a shift of wind for 2 days and its reached the heady heights of 7 degrees, almost sweltering for 2013. I’ve stocked up on a few key flies and managed to do the jobs that needed doing, so (after the burglar alarm man had finished) I changed into my smart fishing gear with lots of layers and set off to the river.

It was so cold still I couldn’t believe it. Not a fly in sight and not a fish visible either. Nevertheless I won’t be beaten so I set up a Waterhen Bloa and fished the swim below Barden Bridge. 10 minutes later a fine Brownie in the net.

An Overwintered Brownie.jpg

Then I moved upstream to find another intrepid angler freezing to death working downstream nymphs. He had seen 1 fish and raised a couple. A hour later he was gone. I persevered and fished for another 2 hours, raising 3 and losing 1, but I didn’t see a single rise or see a fly come off the water.

To be honest I was so cold (and the rain came on) I stopped enjoying it. Nothing to see and really the only thing of any use was me trying to work the Snap-T, which I succeeded in doing to a reasonable degree, so not a complete waste of time. It was so cold though that I just had to surrender and retreat to the car and get the heaters on.

So here we are, mid April and just managed 2 trips to the river. No more in sight either unless the weather makes a significant change and warms up. What should I care anyway? Off to Vegas in a few days and it should be a damned sight warmer there. I may pay a visit to the Bass Pro shop (huge fishing megastore that sells the most amazing range of gear) and I’ve already got some gear being delivered to the hotel in advance. Also in 6 weeks time I am off Cuba, so I think that I will just accept the fickle fate of the local conditions and start the real trout season in June.

And So We Are Off Again

Posted by Craig Gannon on March 29, 2013
Czech Nymphs News, General Musings, Trout / 2 Comments

Good Friday and minus 1 at 6 am. Last year at his time…… well we all know about that one as its been done to death on the news.
So it’s gear on as if I am off to Northern Russia, thermal tops and bottoms, thermal shirt, thick fleece, jacket, two pairs of woollen socks, thermal hat and gloves. Not ideal gear to be fishing a small river with a Sage 2 weight at the end of March.

This season I’ve been very lazy and not prepared the tackle since it was used last season. Big big mistake. I tackled up and gave the leader a good pull and off popped the braided loop. After a bit of first aid however all sorted with a temporary fix and off into the river.
By 11 o’clock it was almost tropical, a balmy 2 degrees and a freezing breeze, still nothing ventured…. and so commenced a weird 2 and a half hours of fly fishing tramping through snow drifts and sodden fields as I moved between the beats.

As time went on a good number of Large Dark Olives started to appear on the surface, but not a fish in sight. The flies must have thought that it was their birthday as they floated off safely down the river with even the birds giving them a miss. A downstream Waterhen Bloa brought no result, nor did that other early season standard the Partridge and Orange, so after fishing half a mile of water I switched over to a weighted Pheasant Tail Nymph and started popping it upstream. I reckon that the fish weren’t just sitting at the bottom doing nothing, after all we all have to eat and trout are no exception.

I’ve not just been lazy with the tackle but I’ve also been lazy with the flies. Only one weighted nymph in the box, and all of the other gold heads are light, so I only had one chance with the fly.
After 10 minutes I was beginning to feel that it was a complete waste of time, until the fly stopped in the water under the far bank. I tightened up and off it went. 5 minutes later and a fine 2 and a half pound Brownie in the net. I flicked the fly out of its mouth and off it went back up the river to hopefully grow into a 4 pound Brownie.

Nothing else came to the fly, but it just shows that patience and perseverance pay dividends. It was bloody cold, not a fish in sight and seemed largely pointless. However as there were Large Dark Olives on the water it seemed weird that the fish wouldn’t be eating something at least, and they were, just not with much gusto.

So what have I learnt today?
Preparation is everything, I will have to check out all of my rods, reels and lines (Easter Monday task);
Flies – stock up with decent flies of the right kind. There’s a lot of crap on the Internet, so it will have to be a hands-on visit;
Chill out and concentrate on the casting. This season I want to iron out all of my bad habits and start to throw a proper line.
Wait until its warmer.

So the next trip will probably be in August!

2013 Season Looms

Posted by Craig Gannon on February 21, 2013
Cuba, Czech Nymphs News, General Musings, Trout / Comments Off on 2013 Season Looms

Only a few weeks of the official start of the 2013 season and I cannot put off the feeling that something has to change.
Even though the opening day last year was a great success with fantastic weather and hungry fish, the rest of the season degenerated into weeks of washout followed by general fishy indifference.
Perhaps it was me but as the ‘season’ progressed I became less enthused and more disappointed.
Unfortunately the local rivers are suffering from lack of investment, too much poaching and too many cormorants. The whole river ecosystem has changed over the last few years due to environmental changes, the mass influx of the North American crayfish, increased illegal fishing and lack of investment.
My local rivers have not changed for years, banks have been left to collapse, build ups of gravel have remained in place, bank-side vegetation has not been maintained and yet the clubs are expecting us to still cough up our annual membership.
One club in particular has not invested a bean in the river. Aquaculture seems to be a dirty word and even recommendations from the Environment Agency have been ignored. Fish stocking policies are in disarray as club investment seems to be directing itself to stocking the local reservoir instead.
Unfortunately much of this is exacerbated by an influx of some of the European desires to poach and take whatever comes to the swim-feeder.

This season for very first time I considered not rejoining my local clubs instead toying with going further afield. Like previous years I acquiesced and rejoined hoping that it will be different this year. I sincerely hope that it is. However as one of my clubs for the first time in years has a shortfall in membership, whilst the other has been in declining numbers for the last three years, it would seem that others are also voting with their feet.
A crying shame, but unless there is a change I may be joining them.

Lets see how it goes.

A Beautiful Day

Posted by Craig Gannon on March 26, 2012
Czech Nymphs News, General Musings, Trout / Comments Off on A Beautiful Day

What more could a person ask for. This balmy Spring has brought with it the finest opening day of the trout season that I can remember for many years. Facebook is going potty with the reviews of this opening day. The sun had his hat on, and it was without doubt a Hip HipHip Hoorah day!

No pictures to show, but as the clocks went forwards on Sunday morning it meant that the opening morning was chilly and foggy as I set up at Barden Car Park ready to head upstream to the ABBAC beats ( remembered that I would avoid Bolton Abbey this season if I could ). Thankfully most of the rest of the world had avoided changing their clocks so it was very quiet, in fact I was the only person on the river as I set up a small black ribbed spider on my 2-weight, remembering how to set up the rod (I’ve not cast a line for trout since September).

The mind can play strange tricks so I had the first few casts on a run that’s traditionally devoid of fish, just so that I wouldn’t lash the water to a foam on my first casts. Yep! The roll was working (no back casting here) – so I sneaked upstream to only snag a fish second run through.

Now I’m not a champion angler by any means, but it was almost perfect, fly fished well, slight mist over the water and still a bit of a chill to the morning air, and not a soul in sight. It was a nettable fish too, so as I snook him back (a fully finned well overwintered wild brownie) I just wondered if it could not get any better.

Well it did, because as the morning went on (I was back home by 1:30), the sun came up, the temperature rose quickly and the fish started coming up for the dry fly. First day of the season and fishing a dry Greenwells catching wild brownies. Can the world get any better?

By 11 the usual suspects started to appear, lots of walkers with their dogs (kept them under control thank heavens) and as the sun rose the other anglers started to appear; more than I’ve seen on the river for a long time. So as usual I snook off to fish the runs that are more secluded, and 10 fish layer decided to call it a day.

It doesn’t matter how many I caught (it helps of course), but what does matter is that it was the finest opening day of the season that I can remember. The week is billed to continue in the same vein, so for those that are retired or having a week off then there’s really no option but to get back out their. As for me? Well I may sneak a couple of days off – time to reorganise the work diary I think!

Quality Matters

Posted by Craig Gannon on August 31, 2010
Czech Nymphs News, General Musings, Trout / Comments Off on Quality Matters

I spent a thoroughly enjoyable few hours down the river yesterday which was met with a number of trout and grayling, and some thoroughly pleasant weather. Whilst I was down there I did the usual ringing of the changes with the fly which also ultimately led to changing casts as every fly change goes through 2-4 inches of leader. During this I noticed a great deal of difference between the quality of flies bought and used, and the differences in quality of leader and leader materials.

Flies are flies are flies – you may think. So untrue. I have recently found a very cheap place for flies on the interweb and invested in a great number of flies prior to the start of the season, based upon the fact that I had no time to tie up my own. At first glance they looked ok – albeit somewhat bulky, and yesterday it was so obvious that they were (generally) rubbish. Not a single fish was caught on a bought fly, instead they were all captured on creations of my own dear hands, in fact when I look back at the season, the majority of fish have been caught on flies of my own creation and not budget interweb flies.

I have to say (in defence of my own store) that all of the flies that I sell I consider to be of good quality, but as I cannot dip into my own stock I have to either buy or tie my own. Therefore like you I am constantly scouring the Internet for good affordable flies. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that generally there aren’t any (present company excepted of course). I rather pride myself in not selling sub-standard goods, whereas obviously my own standards aren’t met by other online retailers – which is a big shame. It may of course be simpler than that and in future I only use flies that i have tied myself that I know will work, but I doubt it as I only buy flies that I know ‘will work’ but unfortunately don’t (if you see what I mean).

Most flies are tied offshore in factories with conditions that lead a lot to be desired. I have no comment on that and I suggest that you make up your own views, however it is safe to say that quantity comes before quality in the majority of cases, which is one of the reasons why I am running down the stock and variety of flies that I sell as I would rather stock fewer quality flies that I have some control over as opposed to dozens of patterns shipped by the hundreds. I wish that other online retailers would stick to the same standards.

Another thing that I noticed yesterday was a propensity for the leader/line to tangle in the same places every time and in the same way, also the fly on many occasions didn’t turn over properly. Now I am not the most expert caster of a fly rod in the world, I wish that I was, however I can generally throw out a good line (the delights of the Snake Roll and the Snap-T still elude me), but I have noticed recently a propensity for problems. Of course the next time out I will look to break down my casting and repair any problems (or at least attempt to), but recently I have changed tapered leader and tippet materials. I have come to the conclusion that they also are problematic. The Frog Hair fluorocarbon tapered leaders seem to not be right, the connections with the tippet materials seem to be too bulky, and the 3lb fluoro is thicker than the tippet end. This of course is my fault, but why should the 3lb tippet be bulkier than the 3lb taper tip? Perhaps I now have to start looking closer at the ‘x’ categorisation of the lines other than weight, but why should there be such a marked difference in quality, even from the same manufacturer? Surely some sense should prevail?

So – before I venture out again I will sort out the terminal end of the line, and tie up some of the flies that I know that I need rather than buy some in – I may even end up invoicing myself and get some of my flies on the end of the line, you see quality matters at the end of the day, and you get what you pay for.

Regarding the casting – I may have to reinvest in some tuition and get the rough edges off my action too, but first I will attempt to sort myself out as I have an idea what’s wrong already – we shall have to see. Of course it’s not the workman but his tools – as we all know, I shall however put some money and time aside for the casting tuition – just in case I am the exception rather than the rule. (I wonder if Jim’s free?)

This Tropical Climate

Posted by Craig Gannon on March 26, 2010
Czech Nymphs News, General Musings / Comments Off on This Tropical Climate

There’s me, getting all excited about the new season – so much so that tomorrow I have planned to take a friend out on his very first fly fishing trip. I have it all worked out as well. I’ve sorted out my Sage 4-weight for him, my spare (but very well preserved) set of waders, boots, waterproof wading jacket and waistcoat with his own set of flies, leaders, snips and the rest. I have my courtesy river ticket dusted off and have him all ready to buy his rod licence day ticket online. I’ve even got some small lengths of material ready to tie on as pretend flies whilst he learns to cast. What a professional! What a dipstick!

We are going to sort out the final arrangements tonight in the pub, he over a pint of stout and me over my cider.

That’s where it’s all gone wrong! Too much planning and the cider has addled my brain. To think that it would all go well and that we would have a splendid day with Nigel catching his very first Brown Trout on the fly. I’m sure he would you know! I like to think that I’m no mug and that I could get him to tempt the fish from the right spot on the river before the end of the day.

Then I forgot about the tropical climate here in Yorkshire. It’s absolutely hosed it down on and off for the last 24 hours and the Wharfe is very similar to the lower stretches of the Amazon in the monsoon season. Chocolate brown and running through at a million miles an hour! Not ideal for a first day out, in fact not ideal for any man of even intermediate sanity!

Nigel may be totally chuffed as he can now have a lie in on Saturday morning and get over tonight’s stout. He may also be very secretly pleased that he doesn’t have to put up with me for the day. But me? I’m gutted as I can’t wait to get back out there and I know that he would have loved it. Honestly – he would – and he may even have taken it up! I’m determined to get him out there but next time no big planning – I shall just drive up to his house and abduct him from under Rachel’s nose. Before he will know it he will be stood up to his nether regions in cold water lashing the water to a foam.

Perhaps next week! I will let you know!

(almost forgotten what a trout looks like – here’s something to jog the memory)

Happy New Season 2010

Posted by Craig Gannon on February 25, 2010
Czech Nymphs News, Trout / Comments Off on Happy New Season 2010

Whilst I just grab a few minutes of free time, I thought that I’d add to the current sense of building anticipation for the soon to be New Trout Season 2010!
For one I’m looking forwards to the start in March. Not exactly wishing the weeks away, but as I drove over the Wharfe yesterday I couldn’t but feel sorry for the poor fish that will soon be subjected to my onslaught! In reality they will probably get off Scott Free as I will either (a) not go; or (b) blank! But as a token of complete big-headedness let me self-indulge please!
This weekend I will be doing my preparation, cleaning and greasing the reels, checking the lines, adding new braided loops, going through the waistcoat and checking the inventory of attachments and leader materials, and then, finally, checking the flies.
What is it about flies? The start of the season dictates a certain set up on our North of England rivers, and there’s also the set of basic standards such as the nymphs and klinks,  but they are always singularly absent from the fly boxes at the start of the new season.
Hence the bumper sales for online fly stores and fly materials, and I shall probably fit into that same category as no matter how much you have in the fly tying box, there’s never quite enough.

Fo me this time I shall be concentrating on tying up a good selection of North Country Spiders, notably the Partridge and Orange (and Yellow), the Waterhen Bloa, Snipe and Purple, and a few variations on the theme of my own, followed by the bead-head nymphs, Olive, Pheasant Tail and Hare’s Ear. Then (of course) I shall get the knee-shakes – should I also buy a few new small klinks? – Probably! But then they will have to last all of the season so I shall stock up on different sizes of the favoured patterns. But then what about the F-Fly – Yes – that did well last season, so some more of them, and then the CDC emergers – yes them too, and then the small duns, the caddis larvae, the heavy-weights for the fast water, the sub-serface nymphs, you get the picture. And then (of course) the Czech Nymphs.

What will I be doing this weekend? – Fly Tying and running up a shopping list.

What will you be doing?