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 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.

20121018-192217.jpg

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!

The Weather Has Killed The River

Posted by Craig Gannon on July 22, 2012
General Musings, Trout / Comments Off on The Weather Has Killed The River

I’ve been out of action for a few weeks, – small Op and all that, plus we’ve had the Jubilee celebrations. But then we’ve had what I can only describe as the worst weather for summer in my memory and the worst fishing conditions that I can remember.

The last time I went down the river was the end of May, so this weekend, as the river wasn’t actually running at 10 feet above height, and it wasn’t hosing down again, I decided to give it a chuck.

So, here we are, July 22nd 2012. Normally we would have a hatch or two, lots of rising fish, and generally a nice old day.

Instead it’s been cold, with no rising fish at all. Talking to a brave chap who’s been ‘most days for the last few weeks’ he has managed to get some fish on deep heavy Czech Nymphs.

Now call me old fashioned, but I will keep that for the winter months and the Grayling, not for the run of the mill summers day. So as far as I’m concerned I was pleased for him but he should really forget that method for now.

So what was I met with today and yesterday? I’ll tell you – bloody cold, no flies coming off the river, no rising fish, and quite simply unenjoyable.

Question of the weeks then, has the completely crappy weather actually killed the river? I think so, no nymphs, no hatching fly life, cold water and therefore miserable fish.

Miserable fishermen too!

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!

Planning Ahead

Posted by Craig Gannon on February 21, 2012
General Musings / Comments Off on Planning Ahead

Only a week left in February, which means that the trout season isn’t far off, and my next overseas trip following soon after.

Predictably the weather has turned and here in the North of England we are putting up with the constant rain – whilst in the softy South yesterday they announced a drought – in February !! True to form the whole of the country is worrying about the south as if we don’t exist up here – we shall just have to brave it and carry on.

So what does February really mean for me? It means expectations and desire. Desire to fish better than I did last year (which can’t be difficult) and a desire to fish different waters and beats than I did last year. Desire to get a one hundred pound plus Tarpon on the boat and a desire to get over to Eastern Europe for a Slovenia trip. A desire to get the Tweed cracked this year and get some salmon on the bank (yes I did say ‘some’), and a desire to cast better than I have ever cast before.
My expectations are that I may achieve some of this, but not all.

So this weekend I may try to get the tackle out and check the lines, leaders etc with a view to getting kitted out for the start of the season. The following weekend I will try to start tying up some North Country Spiders in preparation, and the weekend after make up some Tarpon leaders. It all sounds a bit lame and naff, but it’s all essential preparation not just for the gear, but also mentally so that I move into the start of the season ready for the onslaught.

In truth I love this time of year and I love the expectation. Back on the Wharfe I promise to try to fish the Burnsall waters far more than I have in previous seasons, so that next year I may well let the Bolton Abbey membership go. In truth the Burnsall stretches are better and quieter, but the Bolton Abbey stretch only 10 minutes from my front door so it’s just easy to turn out and fish the usual beats. I know however that you have to put yourself out a little to benefit more, so I promise to go the extra 15 minutes up river.

In April I have my overseas trip, again to Cuba, but this year just in pursuit of Tarpon. Last year was a farce, but this year again I have some high expectations. The Loop Camp has had some good reports, well I will see for myself when I trot over there with my buddy Alan. As always I will keep the blog updated.

Slovenia in July looks promising. I am waiting for Johnny B to come back from his latest travels, and then I think we shall do some planning. It looks great, isn’t expensive, and (after all) life’s too short to give it a miss. As soon as I know what will be happening I will start to plan for that too.

Then, lastly we have the Tweed trip – this time again in late October but this time in different accommodation. I will probably live or die by the Tweed trip this year, and I hope that the change in accommodation works out. If it turns out to be a waste of time, I may well can it and try to join a local club with salmon rights on the Ribble.

All in all it’s going to be a busy season, and with some good planning and preparation, the best season ever. Let’s hope so.

Some Analysis – No Pressure There Then …….

Posted by Craig Gannon on November 24, 2011
General Musings, Salmon / Comments Off on Some Analysis – No Pressure There Then …….

So here’s the thing……

Everybody who should know better keeps making excuses for not catching salmon, and believe me those excuses can vary so much that some of them are almost unbelievable (but I believe that any excuse is valid – after all – I’ve used a few myself in my time). However, one that always seems to pop up is that of Air Pressure. – Low Pressure = No Taking Fish, whereas High Pressure = Fishing Bananza!

I have some very good friends, I’m quite blessed in that way, and there’s a couple of them that are quite fixed in the belief that this rings true. If you’ve ever been out with them you could even hazard a guess that when the pressure is low they may even be inclined to stay in the hotel bar and not bother trying to catch a fish at all.

This is all about Salmon again – and specifically (as seen on my last post) the recent trip to Traquair. You see its been bothering me – and I’ve been wondering if there’s any truth to it at all. Well, my conclusion is NOT (well probably not).

Since we returned I have been studiously capturing the River Level (at 5:30 that morning), the Air Pressure (at 12 Lunchtime that day), and (of course) the number of fish caught. Not completely scientific you will agree – but not that bad as an indicator. All of the data was captured at Traquair, with air pressure and water height at Peebles.

Here are 2 charts:

Air Pressure against Fish Caught:

Tweed - Air Pressure vs Fish

Air Pressure vs Fish Caught - Traquair

 

And Water Height against Fish Caught

Tweed - Water Height vs Fish

The Red Background shows the number of fish caught on each day, superimposed with the trend for the Air Pressure and the Water Height. I’m no statistician, and this isn’t too scientific, but I reckon that you should ignore values and look at trends instead.

To me this shows a trend that when the water is high, more fish are caught (height is in inches above summer levels), whereas the AIr Pressure doesn’t seem to trend against the fish caught at all.

This is a snapshot – and I would love to follow it up with FishPal next year (in fact I may contact them about it). – But I reckon that it throws stones at the Air Pressure idea. Of course there are lots of other things that make up the general fishing conditions, not least the ability of the anglers, but food for thought!

 

Tweed Reports and some analysis (to follow)

Posted by Craig Gannon on November 24, 2011
General Musings, Salmon / Comments Off on Tweed Reports and some analysis (to follow)

Its been nearly 4 weeks since our less than useful attempts to catch a salmon from the Tweed at Traquair, and although we were all disappointed we all knew that there were literally hundreds of fish in the river, and many of them fresh so far up too. So what was the problem?

Well I’ve been doing some trawling around and looking at the reports and monitoring a number of Tweed Blogs, and (not making any excuses) it would appear that the whole river has been suffering. There are countless reports of lots of fish and no takes, and the general feedback seems to be that the river is stuffed with fish, some of which however are diseased, and most of which are not taking a fly.

So why is this?

We fishermen always like an excuse, and there are many being put forwards by disappointed anglers (strangely not a single one has suggested that they were crap fishermen!), but this time there are many reports from grilles and from regulars that live by the river.
The general consensus seems to be that the fish were in the river too early, levels have been low, and water temperatures high. As a result they are all confused??!!??
Now I’m confused. I can understand the water level issues, but not temperature. The fish have plenty of oxygen and therefore shouldn’t care a jot about the temperature of the water should they? Its not at bath-levels – and believe me its still bloody cold if you are stood in it for a few hours, so in the absence of any hard evidence I would suggest that this is nonsense.

So what is the reason for generally poor returns all down the river this back-end of the season? I simply don’t know. Is it something thats happening at sea? Is it a general lack of water (that’s my favoured reason), or are fishermen getting worse? (Possible, but not me, and probably not you either). Strangely the trout fishing on the rivers has been generally hit and miss as well this season (and thats been another general report), so it may well be that its been an overall bad year. To me we need more rain.

So, on a slightly different tack – a couple of my friends swear blind that its all to do with atmospheric pressure. Well I’ve been taking some stats. have a look at my next post.

Day 3 – The End

Posted by Craig Gannon on October 26, 2011
General Musings, Salmon / Comments Off on Day 3 – The End

The last 2 days were perfect.

Nothing was caught.

The end of the Tweed Blog.

Fish, Fish Everywhere but not …….

Posted by Craig Gannon on October 25, 2011
General Musings, Salmon / Comments Off on Fish, Fish Everywhere but not …….

And so the intrepid gang set out to fill our bags with dozens of slippery silver salmon. Of course before that we had to wait for the gillie to turn up and allocate the beats, so it’s was about 9:30 when I cast my first line of the day. Others probably didn’t start fishing until about 10 – but that’s their choice and good luck to them. Given that they finished at 12 for lunch, started again at 1 and packed up at 4 ….. work that out for yourselves. As for us – we fished our socks off.

Don’t be led into a false sense of security there, our socks were indeed coming off as we changed fly, depth, speed of retrieve, everything possibly that could be changed in order to catch the fish that were obviously there as they were splashing all around us. The river was in perfect nick, running clear, 1ft 8 over summer heights (spot on) we were obviously professional anglers – at least we looked like were – kitted out in the latest gear, spey-casting like gooduns, mending the line, not mending the line, etc etc. out of 45 total hours fishing yesterday (between 9 anglers), the grand total of 1 salmon was caught. Well done David Kirby-Walsh! David also lost another one at the net whilst the gillie was strolling down the bank, so top rod to David, Bottom rod to the gillie for costing him a fish, and Bottom rods for the rest of us for catching bugger all.

To be fair some of us had good tugs from fish, I had one on for 3 seconds, but we just couldn’t catch.

Today the forecast is for a deluge of rain, so far (it’s 6am) it doesn’t sound like it outside, so we may be very lucky. We will have to see for it pans out.

Oh – I almost forgot. Sharing the beat with us are 2 Swiss anglers. They also look the part, they also caught nothing. They also are quite unfriendly. Typical Swiss I suppose!

If it pours down today it may mean the end of the trip and an early drive home!