Wednesday 30 July 2008

Fickle Success!

Fernworthy in July
Another distinctly weird British summer is afoot; and after a good run things have got tricky. Nevertheless, perhaps there is something to be said for a bit of a slap in the face from reality from time to time? A sure catch would be, after all, the most boring thing on earth.

Back at Fernworthy for another try, I was shocked to find all the symptoms of a proper summer- sunny and windstill. Must have thrown me. anyhow, a very slow session followed- the old man, who loves this kind of weather, had a pretty 8" wild trout, whilst I tried every trick in the book for two bumped trout in several hours. My own frustration on days like this brings me to a different conclusion though- that my father has exactly what so many modern fishermen lack; a genuine joy in simply spending time fishing, catch or no catch. Still, on my part it was a great day for photography- typically the great fishing days are usually lowsy for aesthetic purposes.

The Angling 2000 stretch of River Culm a few days later was slightly better, albeit far less idyllic. Whilst some fly fishers seem to inhabit a world of glorious chalk streams and two pound trout, my own existence is more muddy banks, barbed wire fences and hard won half pounders.
The Culm was well coloured and pushing through harder than usual. Then it started chucking it down- still, a day off is a day off. By using nymphs of the large and gold headed stamp I at least managed to get odd bites in shallow water, where the fly didn't just disappear in the murk. A fiesty half pounder is a big enough victory in crappy conditions- a pleasant surprise, joined by a smaller sample and two pretty chub. In fact a small fish can be just as satisfying as a much bigger catch when the chips are down- or is it just me?

Thursday 17 July 2008

Reservoir Blogs

Dartmoor Brownie
What on earth is going on? Work mates are striking, fuel keeps rising and the work is thin on the ground. Time to go fishing- perhaps anglers should have their own protest, where they ditch the office for some fresh air and a rod in the hand.
Dartmoor is just beautiful at the moment and two reservoirs have been on my hit list. First up, Venford is ideal for a skinflint in search of wild trout. Choppy conditions on my visit and precious few rising fish saw me opt for a loch style team of three, fished a couple of feet beneath the waves. Nice when a plan comes together- it didn't take long before the first of three wild brownies had mauled the point fly, a small black special.
Next day was Fernworthy- also on the moor, but with the added bonus of bigger, stocked browns. Tough going and few rises again- but a Black Snatcher accounted for a lovely 13" stockie, along with a smaller, darker half pounder. A fishing paradox, Fernworthy is one of those venues where the bigger fish can be easier to catch than the small ones; the bigger fish gave a hungry, smash and grab take, whilst I spent a frustrating hour later on trying small flies for pint sized wild brownies just a few yards down the shore- the usual moorland staple, a black gnat, was flatly refused by these small risers. Who says the biggest fish are always the biggest challenge?!

Friday 11 July 2008

A Very English Summer

The national treasure that is the British Summer continues to work its magic- that wonderful July downpour along with our own extremely lame reaction of surprise and mild disgust. Still, if anything the fishing is usually BETTER when the weather is worse- or is it just me?

Enjoying the last of the recent T-shirt weather was Mark Wills from Exeter Angling Centre. I shadowed Mark with the camera for a feature session catching sea fish on coarse tackle at Brixham. Mark took a fantastically colourful mixed bag on float tackle. Something of an expert in this department, Mark uses groundbait, wagglers and light line to great effect; watch this space for a cracking summer feature!
Meanwhile, my own fishing has been soggy but productive. A rare trip to Creedy produced a twenty pound carp, plus two smaller samples, to old school tactics:
Creedy 20lb carp
I just love the rain here. For one thing it thins out the number of tackle tarts, using their bait boats to send rigs twenty yards out. Not having three high tech set ups pointed into the middle of the lake perhaps marks me out as a bit of a heretic here- but what the hell. You can keep your boilies and the rest- my fish all came on margin fished bread paste, over a generous helping of mash thrown in at regular intervals. The irony is that a second rod with boilies produced nothing. The prime bait? (-blush-) Somerfield value white bread. Those carp are probably still constipated.