General Musings

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!

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!

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.

Deer Oh Deer

Posted by Craig Gannon on May 16, 2014
General Musings, Trout / Comments Off on Deer Oh Deer

What a beautiful day today, unfortunately I was working for the best of it, but managed to sneak down the river after tea for a few hours. Actually I stayed until 9:30 and almost dark – but that’s not what this is about. Caught a few, lost a few, but the main news was that I met a new friend for the first time ever down the river….
…. As I was fishing in the middle of the river I heard a rustle on the far bank, and looked up straight into the eyes of a young Roe Deer. It was just staring at me, so I stopped and stared back. What seems like minutes but must only have been seconds, it obviously wasn’t worried as it slowly turned and walked off parallel to the bank before it disappeared into the trees.

I’ve heard of them being there for some time but I’ve never seen them before, until tonight.

A few days ago I saw an otter, tonight a deer, I wonder what next?

Sea Trouting and eBay

Posted by Craig Gannon on May 15, 2014
General Musings, Salmon / Comments Off on Sea Trouting and eBay

Last night I had a very lame attempt at Sea Trouting down on the Ribble. It was a lame attempt as I haven’t done it before and I was setting my stall out for the real trips later on in the season.

I didn’t want to use the double hander as it seemed to be complete overkill for this, so instead I took my 9’6″ Vision 8-weight and my old faithful floating line on an old Vision Koma reel. I did however take my salmon flies as (to be honest) I don’t see the point in fishing with anything different. I can use heavy tubes, light small tubes, double hook small flies and even some small bombers if necessary, so no need for anything else really.

The rod and line was a bit of a mistake. I usually use the rod for the reservoirs double hauling a long line out – and it’s a bit of a poker. Not really suitable for a smaller river and dipping out a small tube fly using snap-t or whatever. It was also apparent that the line (about 8 years old) has seen better days. However it was a learning experience and so it was a useful trip. Next time I will take a more forgiving rod with a more through action, the Vision is too ‘tippy’ – probably the Sage Xi2 albeit possibly being a little short at only 9 foot – however I will try it and see.

I also packed up at dark, which is when you should really start, however nothing moved and it was rather like flogging a dead horse, apparently they start to run towards the end of this month and early June, however if people don’t fish for them then they don’t know when they run. I did however meet another dangler who was a really decent chap and who has been fishing the beat for years. That was invaluable as I learnt so much about the river and the runs at different heights – all of which has been filed away for future.

My trips to the Ribble have not been too successful yet, however that’s salmon and sea trout fishing, it’s not a case of bagging up on brown trout every trip – and is very much a huge learning experience.

Next step for me is going through my lines and rods and matching it all up for future – I may even get rid of some on ebay as I have so many that are not and will never be used. The Koma reel was pretty crap though, over-ran twice with the drag slipping. That’s a lesson that I have learnt before – it will be going as soon as I can get the line off and get it listed.

About time I thinned out the gear and recouped some cash!

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Just Passing Some Time

Posted by Craig Gannon on May 10, 2014
General Musings, Salmon, Trout / Comments Off on Just Passing Some Time

The good old British Summer is starting with typically random weather. For weeks we have had cold East winds which have inevitably pushed the fish down, which in turn has pushed the fisherman down. However being a beast of unfashionable form I have still turned out with some mixed results.

The fishing has been hard. The lowest catch returns for early season for years. Only last weekend where the wind was from the South did it really switch on and I had amongst other things a cracking over wintered wild Brownie well over 2 pounds which was great fun and really put the elbow to the test.

A few days earlier I ventured up to the Eden at Penrith where I was surprised but pleased to see some salmon moving. Didn’t catch any of course but that’s only half the point – it was a great experience on a truly lovely river. The hundreds of Iron Blues coming off too gave the trout a great meal and an hour with the 4-weight was great fun.

One thing that was encouraging to see was the numerous nymph life. Masses of caddis and nymphs under and on stones was great to see. Talking to the Ghillie it seems that the Signal Crayfish has not hit the Eden yet whereas the Wharfe has a huge Signal Crayfish population and the nymph life is minuscule in comparison. I assumed that this USA beast was a major cause and this seems to back this theory up. How can we get rid of them from UK waters? We probably cannot now but if we don’t do something our rivers will all change for the worse.

But back to the weather. It’s poured down for the last 36 hours. The Ribble is running up 2 feet and is brown, and there’s no signs of it dropping at the moment. However if it starts to clear I shall give it a bash – tomorrow.

Still looking for the first salmon of the season…..