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?

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

Keeping At Arms Length

Posted by Craig Gannon on August 13, 2013
General Musings, Trout / Comments Off on Keeping At Arms Length

You may have noticed that I’ve not posted for weeks – there is a reason!
Since returning from Cuba it’s been a mixed bag of days and weeks. For a start I once again realised that my casting was less that great, so I invested in an essential casting lesson which didn’t just identify the errors, but also provided solutions. However the solutions can only be applied by practice practice practice, and my problem is that I get embroiled in my fishing and forget to apply what I should be doing. However there was some good news, Jim (probably the best casting tutor in the world) quickly ironed out my double handed casting – which means that its all great for the salmon fishing, but I only do it a couple of times a year.

Anyway I digress.

Since returning from Cuba we have experienced the most amazing summer weather that we have had for many years. Fortunately I managed to get some decent sessions in, but they were getting more painful every day. You see I have been suffering from Tennis Elbow in both elbows, and believe me it is NOT what a fly fisherman wants. So, a few weeks ago I had surgery on my left elbow. This has meant that I have been unable to fish for weeks and have been waiting for the green light from the consultant. I was given that green light 2 weeks ago, so since then I have been out twice. In fact as I sit here typing this in on my iPad, it’s after 3 hours fishing in one of my favourite spots. Tonight I tried a new technique and a different set of flies, and I absolutely hammered the fish, catching 10 trout, 4 between 2 and 3 pounds, but now I can tell you that I am suffering – little Miss ibuprofen will be with me tonight as I go to bed.

That’s not all however. The previous week I took the opportunity to walk some of the lengths that I have never fished – and I learnt a hell of a lot, in fact it was probably the most useful 3 hours I have spent as I now am aware of some cracking runs and beats which I have never even seen before. I also saw some great sights, one of which was was an otter which was totally oblivious of me.

It’s been a bit of a turning point for me. I am far more comfortable with my fishing, and have been able to determine which clubs I will continue with next season and which I will ditch. I’ve also recognised that I need to improve my casting technique, and will take on more lessons until I get it all ironed out. I’m comfortable knowing that everybody casts with a different style, but also recognise that irrespective of that the basics have to be correct – and that means that I must improve.

Finally, I’ve also reached a point that has made me realise that walking and researching the river may seem like a waste of a possible fishing trip, but actually makes the rest of the trips more effective.

I suppose that I’m growing up a bit.

I will leave you with some stats as I may not be making many more tips down the river for some time as I let my elbow repair – so far this year 22 trips down the river, with a total of 90 fish which means an average of 4 per trip. I can live with that.