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!

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.

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….


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…..

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
Trips: 13, Trout: 59, Grayling: 2, Average per trip: 4.7

A Little Bit More Analysis

Posted by Craig Gannon on October 18, 2012
General Musings, Salmon / Comments Off on A Little Bit More Analysis

As we are Tweed bound next week I thought that I’d do some more stats gathering. Granted its only over 2 weeks but nevertheless here are the outcomes.


The red is the graph of the number of fish caught, which can be shown against the river height at 6am (dark grey) and the atmospheric pressure (blue).

What can be clearly seen is the pressure (low for more rain) coincides with the river height (rain), but more clearly the number of fish caught is comparable to the river height.

Alternatively you could read something else into it – and there other aspects such as the ability of the anglers, flies used etc. However it’s an interesting view.

Roll on Sunday.

Seems like an Eternity

Posted by Craig Gannon on October 15, 2012
General Musings, Salmon, Trout / Comments Off on Seems like an Eternity

I cannot believe that the trout season is over – and that it has been such a very poor year. From such a superb opening day where the river and weather were perfect the season has degenerated into floods, floods and more floods. I have nearly expected to see the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse come riding down the river bank as it has been so bad. In fact since I took up the sport again in earnest some years ago it has been the worst year’s fishing that I can ever remember.
I am sure that this has been the case not just here in the North West of England but also all over the country. Back in June I fished the Beauly in Scotland for 3 days. The river was devoid of water – only being saved by the feed from the dam, then as we drove back to England, over the rest of the great Scottish salmon rivers, the same was reflected there – bear river beds. As we drove south it started to rain. It’s not stopped since.
The jubilee celebrations went off with a damp bang, cold (in June!!) and wet. Luckily the Olympics had more luck, the rain kept away for most of them, as soon as they finished the Arks came out again.
So here we are in October. My fishing returns for the season total a grand total of 24 trips to the river. Normally there would at least a ‘1’ in front of that.
I am now looking out of e window at the rain outside, wondering if next week’s trip to the Tweed will be washed off or not. We have only 3 days, and if it rains hard (last week the river was up by 4 feet) we may as well stay in the hotel and drink Scotch.

Hopefully this has just been at atmospheric glitch and next year will be glorious (or at least fishable) – we can only wait and see. For me the season starts again today. Salmon, some Grayling fishing perhaps, and a summer Cuba trip. Between now and then a lo can happen, so I intend to make the most of it – if it would only stop raining!!!!

Tweed daily blog to follow a week today. Bars of silver would be nice to report!