Monday, 26 January 2015
I finished all I could do on my garden fencing project around noon so I decided to treat myself to a bit of piscatorial R & R! None of my pals could make it so was free to choose between Albury or Bewl. I was pretty sure to catch at Albury but Bewl won because it would be more challenging and a bit cheaper. When I arrived the weather was good, overcast but dry, south westerly breeze and air temperature around 10 C. Vince Brook, one of the fishery staff kindly stopped for a chat and suggested Bramble Point? So off I set on the ten minute walk and arrived to find the water crystal clear with a nice ripple. Resisting the temptation to wade I kept well back and started casting with a single black woolly bugger gold head fly presented using a 7 weight forward floating line with a twelve foot leader. On my third cast I was rewarded with a lovely pull that signalled good fish on! It had hit the fly round two rod lengths off of the rod tip so it was in quite close and I would probably have spooked it if I had been in the water.
Later I did go into the water as there was no more action from the shore, I also tried an intermediate line with the woolly bugger, then a cats whisker and finally a blue flash damsel. I fished for 2 hours, only had the one fish but I loved every minute of it! The sky, the breeze and the water lapping at my waders told me I was very lucky to be there, still able to cast a line and still able to land a fish, the first of 2015. And to top it all I had the whole of Bewl Water all to myself!
I am pleased to see that I can still pull them out!
Vince had warned me that they lock the exit gates at 4pm this time of year which is why I only fished for 2 hours. However, as I was leaving Rob Barden told me that if you park down by the Outdoor Centre you can exit from there whenever you like.
Thursday, 15 January 2015
I am feeling guilty for not having posted recently, especially to those of you who follow my posts and who have driven the views to over 29,000. Two years ago when I started I was amazed when I registered 100 views. Well it is true that I was distracted a bit by Christmas and I have been replacing some fencing in the garden, but the main reason is my new (honorary, that means I do it for free) assignment in the church which involves helping people (church members and non members) find work, improve their employment or decide what career path to follow.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has an excellent web site for job and career seekers. The rather long name of the church is often abbreviated to LDS so the web site is called ldsjobs. So if you are interested and would like to take a look here is what to do:-
1 Use your internet browser to find ldsjobs.org
If If you are a member of the LDS Church and registered on the church's web system press “Sign In” in the top right hand corner or register. If you are not a member go straight to the Complete Your Profile box and click on it. You will be able to register as a Friend. When you have completed the above you will be able to explore the site and take advantage of its resources. There is information and helpful advice for job seekers, students and those wanting to be self employed. The section on writing CVs lists four different types of CV and discusses their various merits.
MOST JOBS ARE FOUND BY NETWORKING
Networking is a fancy term that just means you tell everyone you know (well, nearly everyone, maybe not your current boss and work colleagues) that you are looking for a job as a “such and such” and do they know of any openings or (and this is equally important) do they know of anyone else who might know of job openings! Doing this you can build a large “network” of people looking for you. However, it is no good just asking them once. You have to gently remind them on a regular basis that you are still looking. Go to ldsjobs.org click on Article Index and then click on Successful Networking.
PERFORMING AT YOUR BEST DURING AN INTERVIEW
When you get the chance of an interview you must not spoil it by being poorly prepared. Feel free to ask a friend for a “practice interview”, it can give you a realistic experience which can improve your performance at a real interview. Running practice interviews is one of my roles in the church's programme. For further information and certainly prior to a mock or real interview go to ldsjobs.org click on Article Index and then click on Interviewing and read the articles.
On the employment web site you can find where the church has Employment Centres. My wife Rosalind and I help out at the centre in the Hyde Park Chapel, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London on Tuesdays.
If you know of employment opportunities please let us know?
Monday, 15 December 2014
My pal Malcolm has made so much progress with his casting of the fly that I decided to take him to the lakes at Albury Estates, near Guildford. I also wanted him to see what a real fly fishing shop was like so we visited Peter Cockwill's Albury Game Angling tackle shop. I need some fly tying materials and I wanted to make sure Malcolm invested in some blue flash damsel nymphs as they are deadly on the lakes.
Peter Cockwill is a splendid instructor, guide, author, lecturer and tackle shop proprietor. He has been guiding trips to Alaska every year since 1988.
Peter's shop has everything you need to fly fish and fly tie.
We started fishing at Weston on the main lake, with me wanting to sight fish, but the fish were staying out of sight so we had a go at the Wood Lodge Pool where we could see fish, especially where the water flows in through the feeder pipe. Malcolm caught on the blue flash and I blanked so after a sandwich we drove the mile or so to Vale End and fished the river pool. Malcolm positioned himself adjacent the tail of the pool (I hadn't told him that was where a couple of years ago our mutual friend Ashok had caught a 10lb fish). I positioned myself at the side of a large tree, hoping to use it as cover because the water was fairly clear. Whilst I was pulling a bit of debris from my fly Malcolm called out and pointed to the far side of the lake. I looked round the tree trunk and saw a very large ring rapidly expanding on the water about 25 yards away. I quickly worked out some line, false casting like crazy and double hauling dropped the fly at the center of the ring. Reckoning that the fish was probably still high in the water I started tweaking the fly in immediately and was rewarded with a firm snatch. The fish splashed and Malcolm gave me one of his "I don't believe it looks"! Ten minutes later having been taken back onto the reel, and having steered the fish out of reeds on both sides of the lake I managed to get it on the bank. It was in perfect condition with a lovely full tail. It weighed in at 4lb 8oz.
We both went on to have another fish each and ended a very pleasant winters day so glad we had gone fishing.
I tend to fillet larger fish as it is less trouble than gutting them, but note the filleting glove under the filleting knife.
Thought for the day: Bragging may not bring happiness, but no man having caught a large fish goes home through an alley!
Tuesday, 2 December 2014
Well I finally got all of my children (all 7) together for my mother's memorial service. The pictures in the background are of my mum.
Then I managed to take my son Daniel (the tallest at 6' 10" who had flown in from the States) fishing in a boat at Bewl. He even managed to land a big one, with a bit of help, whilst wearing gloves!
My pal Malcolm was in the boat with us spinning! I am pleased to report I caught 50% more fish on the fly than he did spinning. Well, OK he got 2 and I got 3!
Then I slipped down to the Salisbury and District waters to tackle the grayling. The fishery manager, Andreas recommended I try the Laverstock Fishery on the River Bourne and as I had never fished there I decided to give it a go. In spite of the recent rains it was running beautifully clear, so clear, I kept spooking the fish. Also I had failed to bring my box of size 18 grayling flies with me so I was fishing nymph that were too big. The net result, well there weren't any "net" results as I blanked. However, I did get to wade the river and to find the official access by the bridge (the map in the Year Book is a bit misleading). In the afternoon I fished the Avon at West Amesbury. There was a lot of coloured water coming down and I blanked there as well. On the positive side I did see all the work the river keepers had been doing. I particularly appreciated the plastic matting covering the boggy patches. Well done!
I made up for my disappointing fishing yesterday when I took my American pal Bryant to Albury Estates Western Fishery. We met up with the fishery manager at the lake at Western and had a pleasant chat and he suggested we try Western. The water was crystal clear and I soon realised that I could, if I looked hard, see the fish cruising 2 to 4 rod lengths out. It was the dark reflection of the trees on the opposite bank that enabled me to see in the water. So I was fishing with my back to the road. I got my first fish fairly quickly. Then I spotted a fish and cast my blue flash damsel fly to try to get it a couple of metres in front of him/her. The cast went wrong and the fly dropped behind the fish. Hearing and feeling the sound, the fish turned and hit the fly. We had a 5 minute tussle and just at the net the fish came off. I tried several other areas with no luck so I returned to where I could see the fishing. I found that having spotted one, if I took my eyes off it, even for a second or two, I would lose it visually. So I tried to retrieve and cast all the time, keeping my eyes on the fish. The next encounter was pure text book stuff. I saw, I cast it took and I caught, but not quite!!!. When it saw the net the fish took off and surprise, surprise the hook broke on the bend. Meanwhile I kept an eye on Bryant, occasionally offering tips on how he could improve his casting.
Then I spotted a large fish well out from the bank. Knowing I had to extend my back cast in order to get the distance on the forward cast I checked out the trees behind me and positioned myself to take advantage of a gap. Double hauling like crazy I deliberately cast well behind the fish as I was just gauging the line length required. Having adjusted to get that right I went for the big one landing the fly about 3 metres in front of it. I then lost sight of the fish and gently retrieved using a slow figure of eight. My arm was wrenched forward and I was on. The fish quickly took me back onto the reel and the rod bent through 90 degrees. I recovered line as it ran towards me and then it made for the protection of branches that hung in the water. I tightened the clutch and managed to turn it back into open water. Some minutes later it was in the net and on the bank. It was a cracker and I was chuffed.
It was exactly 5lb in weight and perfect
Just to prove it was me who caught it.
Whether river or lake, sight targeting fly fishing gives me the most satisfaction. Well done Albury Estates, we had a great time.
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Rob teaching at Bewl
I managed to get down to Bewl Water to enjoy I some top of the water autumnal action. Rob Barden (who fishes for England) was manning the Fishing Lodge so I did not hesitate to ask his advice on the where and how. He recommended drifting either side of the fish cages in terms of the where and fishing a booby on the point and a couple of small naturals on the dropper. He said the knack that makes the difference at this time of year is to fish the booby static, and if on the drift not retrieving any more than is necessary to keep the fly line straight between the rod tip and the fly. So fully briefed I went to work. The weather was ideal, mainly overcast with a good ripple on the water. As I was motoring to the cages I saw a circle of smooth water and was tempted to stop and cast to it as it was probably caused by fish circling just under the surface. I should have paused but the call of the cages was too strong!
A selection of boobies
Now I am use to retrieving boobies fast on warm summer evenings when the trout will provide a brilliant chase, but that is totally wrong in the autumn. So I had to force myself to keep the booby as static as possible and it worked. In the end I gave up drifting, I got lazy and moored to a buoy, with fish moving all around. The weather was bright and there was a quiet time early afternoon but there were fish showing most of the time. Just before I was leaving the clouds opened and it poured. I managed to wrap the leader round the top of the rod and thought of leaving, but I decided I liked extreme fishing so I tied a new leader on put an fresh minkie booby on the point and was swiftly rewarded by a cracking take and another 3 lb fish.
It was worth getting wet as I filleted the fish and my wife cooked my favourite trout recipe "Pan fried citrus trout with basil". The recipe is in the book "50 Classic Trout Recipes" by Jane Bamforth at the amazing cost of £4.99. I got it for Christmas last year so if you want to get a fly fisherman a lovely present this year there is my suggestion.
Tuesday, 18 November 2014
A few days ago I had the pleasure and privilege of giving Sam, my 15 year old grandson his first boat fly fishing experience. He lives at Milton Keynes so that gave us the excuse of going to Grafham Water, around an hours drive away. Grafham is a well run fishery, where they even provide drogues and landing nets (for reasons I wont go into here). They have a superb tackle shop and allowed my grandson and I to fish on the same 6 fish ticket. I had not fished the water for several years so asked where we should concentrate. The weather was a bit contrary blowing a gale with bright sun. Eventually we found the fish down by the dam, but it was tricky fishing as the wind was blowing us onto the dam. I insisted on Sam wearing eye protection, he had forgotten to bring his sunglasses but fortunately so I gave him an expensive pair my son Stuart had left in my car. Sam then forgot to bring those in the boat, fortunately I had got another spare pair in my fishing bag! A hat is a good idea too Sam!
To cut a long story short Sam cast well, fished well and was rewarded with a brace of cracking rainbows caught on blood worm flies. Here is the first one.
I am sad when I see people fishing without eye protection, having buried a hook in my own face a couple of times, I don't think it is worth the risk of getting one in the eye!
Saturday, 15 November 2014
I am glad so many of you, from all over the world, enjoy my posts, I get pleasure out of writing them because I remind myself of things that have happened (usually good) and I like to share experiences with others. I have one more thing to share from our sojourn in Croatia. Walking from the Hotel More along the footpath just above the sea on our way to the bus stop we passed this lovely lady. Stopping for a chat (as you do) I inquired about hiring a yacht for a sail.
The net result was that we had an evening sail, with a very friendly and competent captain, who told us about the area and what was going on. He kindly kept us in calm waters.
This is the boat we sailed in as seen from the hotel restaurant.
As you can see I was quite relaxed!
This island use to be all rock but ages ago, when the Austrians conquered the area, they shipped soil to cover it and now it has trees.
If you are out there and fancy a sail their web site is http://www.dubrovnik-sailing.com
An evening sail cost us around £90 which I thought was good value. The customer service was brilliant! Life is short and you have to enjoy the journey!!!