Saturday, 19 July 2014

GOOD NEWS: FLY FISHING HAS NO AGE LIMIT!

One of my American friends shared this picture with me.  It reminded me that I am 68 and very blessed to still be pretty mobile. 

This week I am off to the States on holiday and "have rod will travel" I will try to keep you posted on my adventures.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Bewl Water: Good news, the bubbles are on!

Here is the latest report from Janet at Bewl:-
 

The fish have remained about 25ft - 30ft down in the water and are still fairly difficult to catch. The water temperature has dropped to 18c over the last few days which may mean some improvement and " The Bubble" is now on which will give plenty of good sport in the Main Bowl. Rod average for the week was a very good 3.80.


CATCH AND RELEASE IS SUSPENDED UNTIL THE WATER TEMPERATURE COOLS DOWN FOR A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF TIME.
The Main Bowl is the best area for boat fishing whilst best bank areas are Chingley and the Dam Wall where the water is deeper.

Successful flies have been Buzzers, Minkies, Cormorants, Diawl Bachs and Boobies.
The Bewl heat of the Sierra Pairs Competition took place on Sunday 6 July. Winners were Rob Barden and Adrian Necci with 16 fish for 42lb 15oz including time bonus They had caught their fish by 12.20pm. Conditions were challenging but 8 x 2 man teams caught 97 trout giving an outstanding rod average of 6 fish.
 
Well done Rob and Adrian! 
 
I am pleased to hear that the bubbles have been turned on.  Let me explain.  In the deep part of the main bowl there is a pipe on the bottom of the reservoir through which compressed air can be pumped.  This is allowed to escape into the water at 3 or 4 locations where the air rapidly expands as it bubbles up.  This aerates the water to some degree but more importantly it brings cooler water to the surface together with the food which was down deep and the trout love it.  The currents on the surface are quite strong, almost like a whirlpool in reverse and it is not easy to fish, but when you get a fish on it can be very exciting as you are playing the fish and the currents.  I remember the first time I drifted across the bubbles. I was a bit concerned as to what would happen in the maelestrom of currents!  I need not have worried the boat floated over them and got pushed away.  Now I have to try and remember what techniqes I used for fishing the bubbles and try to get some photos showing the amazing currents.                                              

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Close encounter with the EA and a change of trout catching technique resulted in eight trout

I have only ever fished Bewl Water with a "fly"!  Fly in the broad sense i.e. lures, buzzers, blobs, boobys and dries.  But this year I haven't been fly fishing very well, my best bag to date being five fish. Now that coupled with the fact that I don't like fishing in bright sunlight, especially if the water is warming, reminded me of Henry Ford's famous quote:-
 
"If you always do what you have always done, you always get what you have always got!"
 
So that made me decide to have a try at something different.  Originally I was going to try fishing buzzers on a very fast sinking line but when I saw (on the Windguru website) that the wind at Bewl was going to be quite strong and from the south, I gave that idea up.  Even with a drogue deployed if you are drifting too fast you just will not get the buzzers deep enough.  So as well as taking my fly gear I packed two short spinning rods!
 
So for the first time I signed in at the lodge as an "any method" fisher and set off for the deeper water.  Whilst rigging a rod up out on the open water I had a visit from two friendly souls in a green boat.  Having waved a document at me they announced they were from the Environment Agency and would like to see my license!  They came alongside and I was pleased on two counts, firstly I had my license on me and secondly I like to see licenses being checked and I didn't know they can do it afloat.
The EA ambush some happy fishers next to the overflow tower. Bewl 100% full!
 
Having had the excitment with the EA I decided to bait fish.  Now I am not going to tell you what bait I used, but the trout seemed to find it appropriate because as soon as the bait was twenty feet below the boat "bang" the rod went down and I had my first fish on (yes first cast).  As I landed it I thought if it is this easy I will be gone in a couple of hours!  The second fish I hooked was bigger and caught me out as I had forgotten to set the reel drag at all. The fish took off and the 10lb leader snapped at a knot.
 
I boated the next fish but not before it had broken off the tip of my rod. I was not too surprised at that as since I bought the rod nearly 3 years ago in Malta I had broken the tip twice before.  One  for the bin, I think. 
 
So I switched to a Shakespeare "Ugly Stick" rod and fished with that catching several more fish.  Well, things went a bit quiet during the afternoon fishing-wise but not the wind. It got stronger and stronger, and I was bumping up and down which made the drifting and fishing harder.  I tried a few spots away from the main bowl just to get some respite from the wind, but to no avail.  It was seven in the evening before I finally "bagged up" with eight fish.  They weighed in at 16 pounds 10 ounces so quite a nice bag.
 
So what were my feelings about bait fishing Bewl:-
  1. I caught my limit, that was positive.
  2. I caught in bright sunlight and strong winds, if I had been on the fly I probably would have caught far less.
  3. Playing a fish using a short rod and reel with an adjustable clutch (drag) is too easy and not nearly as satisfying as using a fly road and reel.
  4. In terms of introducing people, and especially youngsters to the sport of fishing, it is probably a more sure-fire method.  You only get one chance at a first impression!

Let the scales confirm the story!
 
So to sum up I think it is more challenging to fly fish and therefore more satisfying.

 

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Fly Fisherman Leads Oxfordshire Canal Invasion!

When your extended family numbers around 30 you have to be a bit imaginative when planning family get-togethers.  With that in mind, and remembering a pleasant holiday afloat many years ago, I decided to expose the family to a day navigating a canal. So there we were on the Oxfordshire Canal, at Lower Heyford, populating three ten person narrow boats. They were so called "day boats" as opposed to the larger boats that have bedrooms, showers, etc.
I appointed a Captain and First Mate for each boat and we were briefed by a friendly chap and then we loaded up our passengers and lunch and we were off.
Fortunately the boats were easy to operate, but you did have to watch where you were going and you had to slow down past moored narrow boats so you did not roll the occupants out of bed with the wash!
Let's let the pictures tell the story.
 When we started it rained!
 The locks were interesting to operate.
 I was even allowed a go at the helm!
 Parking up was fun!
 All three crews and passengers in the sun.
 This swing bridge is raised by sitting on the two levers!
 Captain Jason and First Mate Debbie head into the jungle!
Most canal boats are very pretty.
So a big thank you to Oxfordshire Narrowboats for a very pleasant family day and to the children for being well behaved and the Mum and Dads for their support.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

American Trainee Fly Fisherman Uses Carp Fishing Technique!

 
We all know how carp fishermen set up their rods complete with bite buzzers and then retire to their tents and camp beds and sleep!  Here is Bryant applying the technique to reservoir fly fishing! Not having a bite buzzer, Bryant is relying on the movement of the rod and reel across his stomarch to advise him that he has a fish on, or maybe the splash as the rod and reel hit the water will wake him? Either way he is in for a bit of a surprise but then that is what fishing is all about, lots of relaxing and a few surprises!  Nice one Bryant!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Cheeky Fisherman's Father's Day Card!

My daughter Lorraine is very talented and sent me my best ever Father's Day card. I particularly like the bit quoting my wife at the bottom.
 







Tuesday, 17 June 2014

English Fly Fisher Upsets Barmaid and goes on to Win International Fishing Competition!


You will see from the previous post that having been fishing most of the previous night we did not “rise and shine” till around 10 am.  Then we set off for a bit of sightseeing and lunch.  We lunched in St David’s in a pub called the Bishops.  I said I would treat everyone as they had been providing for me throughout the trip.  So I ordered the food and drinks from the barmaid.  After we were sitting down outside waiting for our meal Andy said to me “Well you really upset the barmaid”!  In all innocence I asked how and why?  Andy said he wasn’t sure but I had said something.  Now I wasn’t sure if he was kidding me or not but the others all joined in support of him.  I said I would go and apologise but I couldn't as I didn’t remember which bar maid it was.  Finally Andy came up with the conclusion that I had called her “luv” and apparently Welsh culture does not allow for terms of endearment from men when talking to strange ladies.  I still think I may have been wound up!  
Andy has a new toy, a “selfy stick” that allows him to take numerous pictures of himself.


I try the Selfy Stick for myself!



Ian made sure we visited some wonderful places. This is the Blue Lagoon where Red Bull held a diving competition.

We concluded the day by fly fishing a small still water fishery called Hayscastle.  I suggested making it an international competition with the Welsh team consisting of Ian and Andy and the English team being Rowland and me.  The Welsh lads jumped at it and were soon thrashing the water in bright sunlight and a cool breeze.  It wasn’t long before Andy using an intermediate line and a cats whisker had his first fish.  I tried a damsel nymph (as there were hundreds hatching) and then worked my way through my fly box using floating, intermediate and sinking lines as appropriate all to no avail.  Meanwhile Andy had his second fish and then lost another.  Almost in desperation I put three buzzers (chironomids) spaced at around 3 feet apart under a strike indicator (also called a bung). On the point I had a heavy white headed red buzzer given me by one of my fishing pals in WA, USA.  I cast out and let it settle and bang I had a good fish on.  Ten minutes later, having banked that fish I was into another and a few minutes after sorting that one I was into a third and the English were in the lead!  Rowland and Ian were still struggling to hook up but Andy kept getting takes and pulls but failed to keep the fish on.  When our watches indicated the competition was over Andy, on stripping down his gear discovered that he had been fishing with a cats whisker with a hook that was missing a bend and a point.  NICE ONE ANDY!
Well the four of us don't fish on Sundays, we go to church, and that was a lovely experience too with the friendly congregation at Milford Haven.