Sunday, 13 November 2016

2016 Salmon Season - an improvement - BUT, oh for some water!

On the writing front, I know; I am an abject failure. Another entire salmon season has past and I haven't written a single syllable, let alone constructed a sentence!

But verily, I beseech thee - forgive me. I said I would fish and fish I most certainly did.  Ok I didn't fish SO much that I had no opportunity to write about it afterwards - the fact that I didn't put finger to key was just sheer laziness - but I did fish for salmon more than I did last season........but that wasn't hard!

I had my week on the Tay in April. It was very pleasant but there was no water. No fish; for anyone............ALL WEEK!! I fished Meikleour & Upper Islamouth for two days, Dalmarnock for a day and The Ericht for a day..................nothing. Myself and my chum were a bit miffed at the time, but soon got over it and we still thoroughly enjoyed our week. We met some nice people, drank whisky, visited a distillery and ate loads of lovely scoff. A long way to go for nothing I here you cry (assuming you know where I live - otherwise obviously that is the last thing you would cry as you have no idea if it was a long way or not. Neither would you care). Yes it was. Was it worth it? Yes it was.

The Tay is a lovely river and the valley through which it flows a wonderful place.

I didn't fish much at my usual river venue on the Taw. No water of which to speak all season. I think I ended up flogging the likely spots for about 3 days for nothing, and one of those was only half a day.

I did manage a couple of fish though - thus the improvement mentioned in the title of this summary.

A very kind invitation to fish the Usk came from the father of a friend. 1 fish - 15lbs. On that day I was fishing a floating line and a blue, black and silver tube.

Needless to say, the father of my friend is now my friend too!

A chum, Surgeon Rob, very kindly invited me to fish the Tamar this year too. The Tamar forms the boundary between Devon and Cornwall for much of its length, or England and Cornwall if you are Cornish, and we were fishing on the Endsleigh Club water, which is very famous and extremely beautiful.

I chose to fish my 12'4" 8wt and a SSVT line and had a fish of about 12lbs from Endsleigh Ford on beat 4. It took an Editor.

Excuse the rubbish picture but you try netting, releasing and photographing a fish all at the same time!

So there you are. Apart from the above outings my season was largely made up of work and more work. Two fish for my efforts represents a pretty good return I think.

ROLL ON 2017.............oh no hang on. I am wishing my time away again damn it all.

2016 Salmon Season - an improvement - BUT, oh for some water!

On the writing front, I know; I am an abject failure. Another entire salmon season has past and I haven't written a single syllable, let alone constructed a sentence!

But verily, I beseech thee - forgive me. I said I would fish and fish I most certainly did.  Ok I didn't fish SO much that I had no opportunity to write about it afterwards - the fact that I didn't put finger to key was just sheer laziness - but I did fish for salmon more than I did last season........but that wasn't hard!

I had my week on the Tay in April. It was very pleasant but there was no water. No fish; for anyone............ALL WEEK!! I fished Meikleour & Upper Islamouth for two days, Dalmarnock for a day and The Ericht for a day..................nothing. Myself and my chum were a bit miffed at the time, but soon got over it and we still thoroughly enjoyed our week. We met some nice people, drank whisky, visited a distillery and ate loads of lovely scoff. A long way to go for nothing I here you cry (assuming you know where I live - otherwise obviously that is the last thing you would cry as you have no idea if it was a long way or not. Neither would you care). Yes it was. Was it worth it? Yes it was.

The Tay is a lovely river and the valley through which it flows a wonderful place.

I didn't fish much at my usual river venue on the Taw. No water of which to speak all season. I think I ended up flogging the likely spots for about 3 days for nothing, and one of those was only half a day.

I did manage a couple of fish though - thus the improvement mentioned in the title of this summary.

A very kind invitation to fish the Usk came from the father of a friend. 1 fish - 15lbs. On that day I was fishing a floating line and a blue, black and silver tube.

Needless to say, the father of my friend is now my friend too!

A chum, Surgeon Rob, very kindly invited me to fish the Tamar this year too. The Tamar forms the boundary between Devon and Cornwall for much of its length, or England and Cornwall if you are Cornish, and we were fishing on the Endsleigh Club water, which is very famous and extremely beautiful.

I chose to fish my 12'4" 8wt and a SSVT line and had a fish of about 12lbs from Endsleigh Ford on beat 4. It took an Editor.

Excuse the rubbish picture but you try netting, releasing and photographing a fish all at the same time!

Here is a video too, which is even worse!

So there you are. Apart from the above outings my season was largely made up of work and more work. Two fish for my efforts represents a pretty good return I think.

ROLL ON 2017.............oh no hang on. I am wishing my time away again damn it all.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Opening Day, Wimbleball and an Embuggerance

Well, here is my first 2016 report/blog post/Statement of Incompetence. To mark the occasion and by way of celebration I have allowed myself the indulgence of a font change. Let it not be said that I don't know how to live!

The Taw, that's a river, opens for salmon fishing on 1st of March and at 9:30am this year I was waist deep in a perfect river casting pretty prettily, even if I do say so myself, and my confidence was high, my cup of well being over flowing.

Suffice to say that when something seems too good to be true it probably is and to cut a short story even shorter; by 2:30pm, if I had been wading where at 9:30 I was waist deep, I would have been up to my neck in something resembling Mother's stewed English Breakfast Blend and that, you will deduce, was that. No fish, but lovely to be out on the river again.


Wimbleball, all 374 acres of it, can be an awe inspiring prospect on a bleak March day.

March 18th saw myself, John Dawson who is like the Wimbleball/Devon/fishing version of Old Father Time and a couple of chums, motoring around the place in boats looking for fish. The wind was howling from the northeast and we were drifting at about Mach 2. Things looked as bleak as the weather..................


I am not one to blow my own trumpet, as I am sure I have mentioned before (and I still don't own one) but I like to think I can hold my own when it comes to fishing a reservoir, for Rainbows, from a boat. To the amusement of my companions I chose to fish a good old-fashioned Wet Cell II as they sink quite uniformly but with a sharp upward curve when under the rod tip. It is this curve that often proves so lethal and this day was no exception. I fished it with a shortish leader of 9ft and a black and green Nomad was the fly of choice coupled with a jerky sink & draw retrieve.

Mark - 4 fish and 1 brownie (ret) Smugness. Unconfined self satisfaction. Joy.
John - 0
Dave - 0
Roy - 0

Maybe I should buy a trumpet eh.............?

Then comes the embuggerance aspect of my report/blog post etc.

In the car park after the aforementioned trip to Wimbleball I put my sling pack down for just one second and hey presto! It was gone. All my spools and lines went with it.

When I say it was gone - I never saw it again would be more accurate. When I got home it wasn't in my car and when I called the lake staff it wasn't there. Hopeless.

Still, it wasn't enough to completely rub the grin of smug satisfaction from my face and I now have an excuse to buy more tackle............Every cloud....

Chin chin

Friday, 12 February 2016


Our English Master always told us never to start any written correspondence with an apology. Well I am going to. Actually I am not, as I am already on my third sentence and so this particular piece of written correspondence has already started and with no apology in sight.

Having said that, here it is.................(the apology).......

I am sorry.

"What for?" you ask, quite understandably.
"For not having written anything for what seems like an age....?"...................No, although for that my contrition is boundless. No. I am apologising for not fishing at all in 2015 and thus having nothing to write about.

I think I have done this before - the-apology-for-not-fishing-thing - but it has been so long since I have actually been fishing and therefore had the ingredients off of which to draw inspiration for a written account, that I really can't remember. I am sure I have though.

Still. All that is about to change.

In 2016 I am going to fish.

As I write this in January I have booked my spot for March 1st on the Taw; I have a day booked at Wimbleball on 18th March; I have another day booked at Hawkridge on 1st April and I have a day booked at Blagdon on 2nd April. All this Spring fishing is then rounded off nicely with a week on the Tay at the end of April. How's that for planning eh?

During 2016 Vicky is going to catch a trout and if I have my way so is Harrison. If I can facilitate a favourable conclusion to these two quests and catch a salmon and a few trout myself, then that would constitute a successful season.

Watch this space...................................................

..............................................not literally or you will get headaches and see strange lights in front of your eyes when eventually you stop.

Chin chin.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Holiday Time

As I write I am just about to start a two week holiday, but, as is the wont of the Lazy Arse, am staying near to HQ and just going on the odd day out and with nothing too concrete planned. 

I think Vicky might take me fishing for my birthday (13th August - should you have forgotten!), a chum might venture up from Cornwall for a trip to Blagdon and there was talk of a sorte to Sutton Bingham too - but, as to what transpires regarding all the above, we will have to wait and see.

What I guess this all boils down to is that I could/should have, all being well, something to write about very soon.

Thank God for that I hear you cry.........

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Assess, Adapt and Overcome

Well dear reader mine, it has been a long sabbatical between posts hasn't it? My apologies.

"So what's new?" I hear you ask and, by way of response I would say.....................not a lot really!

Harry is growing up way too fast - although we have not taken him fishing properly as yet, not for fear of  his drowning you understand, but that of him drowning some poor unsuspecting old codger quietly going about his oft practiced angling business, either by Nerf shot to the temple or running head-butt to the groin - and he is now only one year from starting "big" school. 

On the fishing front, poor Vicky has not had the chance to come out with me on the few occasions that I have been, so little to report there. As for my part those few occasions have been a pretty even split between reservoir trout and river salmon fishing, with an unintentionally protracted session of night-time sea-trouting fishing thrown in for good measure. Actually that's a tale worth recounting............................

A busy day at work having been completed without issue, I repaired to my lodgings for the evening with a view to doing nothing more strenuous than having a light supper and a glass of chilled Chablis to wash it down. These tasks I also accomplished without issue or complication and, the night being young and the sun still up, a constitutional by the river was decided upon as a very agreeable digestive.

Being the keen angler that I am, Britain's roads seldom see me there upon without my 10ft sea trout rod in the car (between May and Sept anyway). On the occasion of my riverside perambulation I decided it should accompany me, sea trout fishing for the use of. The sun went down as I walked and, coming to my favourite pool, I decided to sit and await the night so as to try my luck. By 1am I had caught a lovely 1.5lb peal and a few minutes later I was back at the hotel. At the hotel, not IN the hotel you will note - for the door was unmoveable, fast, firmly shut and verily, locked............ergo I was buggered. I had no phone as there is no signal. There is no bell for summoning the night porter. There is no night porter. What to do?

I did have my car key and so into that (the car not the key - that would be impossible) I got. Actually I had my room key as well, but had failed to check there was a front door key with it, thus my predicament. Once in the motor I decided to have a nap and awoke one hour later surprisingly refreshed. Of course there is only one course of action that one can take in this situation i.e. awake, energised and 2 minutes from a river and that is to go back out there and fish on until dawn, which at 2:15am on a June day, isn't that far away. So that is what I did.

At 2:35, having got back into my waders and driven down the road, I was back on the river. This time I was on the lowest beat and fishing with great anticipation if not expectation.

It is amazing how quickly the recovery gleaned from an hour of sleep is nullified and otherwise exhausted when out and about, having had no other respite from said outing and abouting for 20 odd hours . By 3am I was fading fast!

First light came and with it the path of the rising sun was plotted. Just before the first rays threatened to appear and as the fly was twitched back under a tree, under which daylight had not yet reached.....BANG.....a good fish was on and shortly afterwards a 3.5lb sea trout was in the net.

And so you see - every cloud really does have a silver lining - even a cloud that keeps one from one's bed!


Sunday, 9 March 2014

The New Season Is Here!!

Well at long last, the new salmon season is upon us.  Actually I am quite lucky in that Wessex Water have decided to open their reservoirs early this year so there are two strings to the early season bow in this neck of the woods.

The last weekend of February saw me out on a very crowded Hawkridge Reservoir, standing shoulder to shoulder with all manner of sporting "gentlemen", in what can only be described as combat fishing a la USA style. Very disconcerting I can tell you!  Having said that, most of my fellow anglers were of a certain skill level and with a steely glare of determination and a well timed double haul, I was managing (sometimes!) to reach the parts that other casters cannot reach and consequently parts to which the fish had been driven by the maelstrom of foam whipping and water thrashing going on in the first 45ft of marginal water. As a result of this, and a goodly slice of luck, I managed three fish in  relatively short order and was away from the melee before you could say "look at that lucky chap - hasn't he done well"!

That's the trout season started then. Mind you, river trout don't open until 15th March and that is the real start to the season.

"What of salmon and their season?" I hear you cry............well actually of course I don't, but I am certain you will be asking that, or at least be curious. Ok so you couldn't care less - but I will tell you anyway.

This past weekend, the one that started on 1st March, was the start of the salmon fishing season here in the West Country. The river Taw has spent an energetic couple of months flirting with the surrounding fields, but was at last back within its banks. Because of the level though, I decided to have a go on the upper river at The Fox & Hounds, just for a change. Interestingly the water temperature was 9 degrees and so there was every chance that fish had progressed up river, even beyond the weir at Eggesford.

Well for all my efforts I caught no salmon. But it was really great, cathartic even, to be on a river again swinging a salmon fly through some likely spots and the experience has thoroughly spurred me on. I will do more this season. I will.

Here then is hoping for a great season, and the tightest of lines to all.

Chin chin

Friday, 14 February 2014

Here We Go!

Harry is now 3. Time to sow the seeds.

Introduction to equipment...........

"WOW Dad - what a great..............thingy!!

Making ready.................

Ready to work on muscle memory.............................

And HEAVE...........................!!!!!!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013


I am waiting.

Waiting for Christmas. Waiting for the new season. Waiting to win the lottery. I am waiting.

Today I have been waiting for three hours in a VW dealership in Chester as my catalytic converter has popped, right in the middle of a working trip through Shropshire and North Wales. It is very tedious!

Should I be waiting? Obviously I will have to wait here in this slough of despond until my car is cured, but generally I mean - should one wait or should one DO?

I have not the funds to shoot regularly, which is my other passtime, so if not in waiting, what should I do to make best use of my time?

Answers on a postcard please - or e-mail me with invitations at !!

Chin chin

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Don't Be A Tight Arse!

I don't mean to sound like a big head, but I am not often wrong. Well that's not strictly true; I am often wrong but nobody knows it. What I mean is that I rarely say something unless it is proven to be so, but I often think things that I then seek to confirm or disprove before I announce whatever it is I have to say - ergo, I am not often seen to be wrong.............even though my opening statement and it's immediate correction above seem to instantly contradict this statement, but hey, there we go. It's a pride thing and the fact that I am not a fan of conjecture, especially when it is offered as fact. I know what I mean anyway.

I have now though to admit that some information I have long proffered as said fact, turns out to be no more than spurious opinion at best and actually should be more accurately described as a load of tosh.

I have always made a point of stating that a 10ft 7wt rod that costs £50, in the right hands, can be just as effective as one that costs £500 in those same hands. In certain situations this is undoubtedly true and it is certainly true that a good angler can catch fish with a £50 rod, whereas an indifferent one might struggle with a very expensive model costing ten times as much - that would be user error in the latter case and adaptability/sound technique in the former. The trouble is though that I have never qualified the original statement and I truly believed that I could fish a cheap 10ft 7wt rod in every situation where one is needed and get by. It would never be ideal, but just good enough to warrant not spending out on a better model (plus I have a habit of walking into fences at night and breaking the things into several bits!) and I have always caught plenty of fish with cheapies so that was that - the statement became a fact!!

I have expensive, what I would call specialist rods. I have a 10' 4wt a 9' 5wt and a 7' 3wt that cost hundreds of pounds. I have a nice salmon rod that cost a small fortune (and several really good ones that didn't because I got them second-hand, but that were very expensive when new) but I have never owned a really nice 10' 7 or 8wt, even though I use a rod of this configuration more than any other. It is a summer salmon rod, a catcher of reservoir trout and a night-time sea trout tool.

Well. The other month, September to be precise, I was invited down to fish for sea-trout at night by my chum Alistair, on the Test and at Testwood. Blimey, you can imagine the excitement - then BOOM!!! It hit me like the spear of Osiris whacking the Scorpion King in his bracelet of Anubis; like a bag of spanners dropped from a height of something over 30ft, onto my head, after a night on the beer. Whack it went. It was a shadow - a shadow......of doubt. DOUBT. Doubt in my own assertions. A doubt about the accuracy of MY fact.

This trip would be outside my comfort zone and in the company of someone who knew the beat. Would my cheap rod be up to the task? Would I look like an incompitent fool? Would, for the sake of a £400 horseshoe, the battle be lost? Well I say a shadow of doubt. It wasn't a shadow at all, not even a slight shading. It only lasted a nano-second and I soon wiped it away with a brief self chastisement and a shrug, but on the two hour drive down it resurfaced as a niggle and I could do nothing to negate it. Damn that niggle. Damn that doubt. Damn my tight arsedness.

It was 9pm when I met Alistair at the hut. It was nearly 10 by the time we got fishing as the other guest, Rob, was late (he's a great chap is Rob. A student. A fisherman. A good egg. Just.......well......late. I am never late.........). By 1am Al had caught 5 fish including a four pounder and Rob had had 3 including a 5 pounder - his personal best. I had caught nothing. Nothing. Not a fin had I touched. Why? Because I couldn't get the fly where it needed to be as quietly as it needed to get there. Good grief I struggled.

The Test at Testwood is a pretty wide river below the bridge and a stealthy delivery is required in the dead of night. The boys, who are both good casters but normally no better than I am, were fishing expensive rods and pitching their flies in the hot spots silently and with ease whilst I began to doubt my abilities as a caster. Alistair sussed I was struggling and we swapped rods for the last half hour. He used my £50 effort and I his £600 one. He couldn't get a line out past what I would describe as normal distances for me if I were at home, and never caught another fish, whereas I was suddenly hitting the spot every cast (which required the joint from line to backing to be only a turn onto the reel) and on my first time through the pool I caught a lovely fish of 8lb, the biggest of the night.

My assertion that a £50 rod is as effective as a £500 one was, of course, based on the fact that I only ever fished withing the abilities of a £50 rod, as that is the kind of rod I always fished with. I regularly caught fish on water that I know and so the 'fact' was never challenged. That night in Southampton it was and I have to say it came as a shock to me dear reader; a shock.

Obviously some cheap rods are better than others and some expensive rods are probably over priced cheap ones. There are situatons where a cheapy will perform well enough as I stated earlier and I do think that some good rods are simply too expensive and that they simply cannot warrant their price tag when compared to some others.

Did I leg it straight to Alistair's wonderful shop and part company with a wad of notes? No I did not. What I did do though was buy second hand 10ft rods in 7 and 8wt via the internet in models that I could never afford to buy, or be forgiven by the boss for buying, new. Sorry Alistair!

So here is my FACT for the day: Buy the best you can afford as PRICE REALLY DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!!......................

Actually forget that. It is my OPINION for the day. I think I am giving up on facts - they only lead to trouble!!

Oh........and don't be a tight arse!!



Thursday, 20 June 2013

I've Been Fishing..............

As Mr Kipling said - err no; the popular children's author and scribe of war related poetry (1865-1936), not the chap who baked some cakes and liked Tuesdays (that's what the adverts used to imply anyway "......Tuesday wrote Mr Kipling........") - well, as I was saying, as Mr K said “Hear and attend and listen; for this befell and behappened and became and was: O my Best Beloved...................................”
I am a member of the Dulverton Angling Association. For thirty of our Earth pounds I can fish several lovely beats on the upper Exe and its tributaries and for a small daily charge some cracking salmon water on the middle river too.  Needless to say that having been so unnervingly busy of late, working diligently and without the least vestige of thanks, for the benefit of others both at home and abroad, I have had no time nor opportunity to utilise said membership.
I undertook to redress the balance and possibly negate the effects of such labours, hopefully making Mark somewhat less of a dull boy, by sallying forth last Tuesday onto a wonderful beat near Dulverton.
It had everything did this one. A hut; some fish; an Ephemera danica or two; some crystal clear water and a retired old countryman with endless anecdotes and some handy hints! I lost no flies; I caught and safely returned three beautiful wild brown trout of between nine and eleven inches and I ate a picnic lunch of the best fodder that the deli counter at Morrison's (Tiverton branch - highly recommended!) had to offer. Bliss.

The aged countryman by the way was a retired keeper of game and did not fish, so his handy hints were about rearing partridges rather than catching not particularly helpful! He was a good old boy though.
For those that care, I caught my three trout on dry flies. The first on a Greenwell's Glory size 14. The second on an olive Klinkhammer size 16 and the third on a Greenwell's size 16. I was fishing leader tapering to 3lbs (copolymer) and 9ft in length and was using a 7'6" Greys Streamflex rod. There.
The Wednesday before "The Good" I was due to meet a friend of mine for a day afloat on Hawkridge Reservoir, between Taunton and Bridgwater in the noble county of Somerset. We were due to rendezvous at 10:00hrs. At 11:30hrs this was the scene.........................
And at 12:30hrs..................................
................the boat hadn't moved an inch!
At 11:00hrs I was not best pleased. However, and there is always a bright side, my companion's tardiness meant that I had a chance to get the boat and my tackle set up and then to calm down again so that by his arrival I was the picture of placidity. He, on the other hand, was the personification of rage, tempered only by contrition and laced with a generous dollop of embarrassment, a heady mix indeed and not one conducive to catching fish!
We set ourselves adrift and before long I had caught my first of the 4 rainbows that eventually found their way into my bass bag that day. That first one was like a red rag to a bull, it was the straw that fractured the 7th and 8th thoracic of this particular Camelus dromedaries, it was the reason that the whole subject of buzzer fishing, its practical applications both in theory and in practice and its effectiveness as a modern method of acquiring dinner was drawn into question. The method is flawed. It doesn't work........ and then.......I don't know what I am doing wrong. This can't be right. It's too cold. The line won't cast. WOE IS ME FOR I AM LOST!!!!
By my fourth fish I was starting to wither under fire and although there was a certain amount of schadenfreude to start with this partly diminished and after four hours of continuous bombardment I reached the point of complete capitulation. To top it all off, in a moment of temporarily revived pleasure garnered from a particularly disastrous cast by my unremittingly cantankerous boat partner and by way of judgment on me, I got my line caught around and then sliced up by the propeller! I barely batted an eyelid!
For those that care I caught all four fish on Diawl Bachs with JC or goose biot cheeks and on a floating line with 5ft intermediate polyleader and 12ft of 7lb fluorocarbon. They weighed 4lb, 3lb 4oz (x2) and 2lb 8oz.
The day after "The Bad" found myself and aforementioned boat partner afloat on Blagdon. It was the second time on Blagdon this year, the first at the beginning of the season resulting in my fingers nearly dropping off through cold, and we fared no better this time. After some lovely weather recently, this day dawned wet and cold and with a wind so strong that the boats on Chew Valley lake couldn't go out at all!
I will not dwell here on that day. Here is a place for joy, for tales of warmth and encouragement. Here is not for cold, for damp, for ...........................yuck!
Throughout the day the waves grew higher and the boat pitched and yawed ever more alarmingly. Several rowers had to be rescued and even my electric engine with all its 54lb worth of thrust and 120Ahs up its arse couldn't make much head way.
There was no joy to be had at this place, on this day. No mirth nor mischief. Laughter was a thing for elsewhere and for others. We had been weighed, we had been measured and we had been found, most decidedly, wanting!

For those who care we caught bugger all!!!!

So Best Beloved there you have it. The Good, The bad and the Ugly!

Chin chin.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Update and Apology

Well. Since my last post we have moved house......again. Harry is getting very mobile now and was in danger of becoming a statistic courtesy of the main road just outside our front door. The village we have moved to is not far from whence we came, but is quiet and the house is opposite an excellent school, so that's a bonus. It is, however, no closer to any decent rivers! Never mind.

I must apologise for not posting anything recently. This is partly because of the aforementioned move  and partly because I am lazy and couldn't be arsed. My apology however is sincere and my contrition knows no bounds.......!!

Plus I haven't been fishing.

Actually that's not entirely true. I went to Blagdon once about three weeks ago. My mates Alex and Rob were there. Nice lads - very keen; youthful enthusiasm I seem to recall it is called. Bless.... 

Anyway the wind was firmly in the east, the reservoir was over full, the water was only 5 degrees and the air temperature the same. All in all, therefore, ergo and in short..........a rubbish day to go fishing! Caught nothing. The fish were way out in the deeper water as the margins were still freezing and because we were casting over what would normally be where we stand, we just couldn't get out to them comfortably - not that particular day with the force 10 brain freezing, finger numbing gale going on at any rate. If it had been a calmer day then a boat could have been taken out, or at least the long cast needed from the bank would've been made easier. Still a calm day it was not and nothing was caught.

Great to be out though.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

An Excellent Blog Post About Spring Fish Identification

I sometimes head north at this time of year and as the seasons change and indeed their timings as the years pass, the need to be able to identify any fish I might catch is becoming more and more relevant.

This is an excellent guide by Robert White:-


Sunday, 13 January 2013

What to do?

I am trying to if not book and pay for then at least sort in my head this year's fishing.

Should I go down to the Taw on both 1st and 15th March (salmon and trout opening days respectively) or just one. Should I get an early spring day in up north? Can I afford to fish at all? Is it better to buy a cheaper spring day and a couple of summer days on prime salmon water or book one autumn day?

It is the same every year; I just never know what to do - and the danger is that I end up doing nothing.

It is very frustrating!

Saturday, 29 December 2012


It is raining very hard here in Somerset. It has been doing so for a couple of days now. The ground was saturated already so this lot has just flooded all the rivers in short order.

There will be no fishing for a while on the Levels for pike and grayling fishers trying their luck on The Exe are doomed to failure as there is just too much water.

Shame really. I quite fancied a bash at the grayling. Not to be put off I went north west and tried the Irfon at Llangammarch Wells. Still a lot of water, but at least it was running clear. I got back today having caught nothing except an out of season brownie, that still managed a great scrap and would have been around the 1lb 8oz mark, so a real cracker.

I also got very wet.

Any way not to worry. It was great fun.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Organised I Am Not....Usually.

Call me organised if you like, but I have decided to look into next year's fishing already. Well actually I have been spurred on to do so by a very serendipitous meeting on the banks of the River West Dart yesterday.

Allow me to elaborate if you will. I had finished my business for the day and was contemplating my evening victuals, whilst driving at the required 40mph across Dartmoor - this was yesterday - and happened per chance upon a happy looking band of gentlefolk wearing green and studying the river. "Ah ha" thinks I aloud "I bet they are counting redds".

Redds, for those whose brains are full of much more useful information, are the grooves cut into the gravel by female salmon into which they lay their eggs. They are usually in the upper reaches of rivers. We who have time on our hands occasionally like to trot up and down a river bank taking note of them, usually looking in awe of the fish going about their business, so as to gauge the sort of spawning season it is likely to be. We do this generally for our own peace of mind as there is very little practical use to which we can apply the gathered information. Weird? Quite possibly.


Anyway, so I saw these green folk that looked like they might fish and, being excited by such things, slammed on the anchors to have a butcher's. I always carry my Polaroids with me, just in case I need to gaze into some water somewhere (not you'll notice in case the sun shines!!) and these, I surmised, would allow me to watch the fish that these chaps were obviously ogling unimpeded by glare on the water.

Needless to say, me being me, I couldn't see a single fish!

But still never mind, for here is the nub of the matter. The time it took me to see no fish was time enough for the aforementioned green clad folk to finish their contemplating and engage your correspondent in conversation and as it transpired, I am glad it was and that they did.

They were indeed redd counting. The party had been organised by the West Country Rivers Trust and consisted of several movers and shakers from the Dart Angling Association. I knew their names of course, having no doubt heard them mentioned at dinners and in angling pubs around the area, but didn't know them. They had never heard of me.

I told them of my interest in the fishing of the South West and of my little project which I call a website ( - it's not much, but it's mine and I like it) and they listened politely. They then told me of the Dart Angling Association and I listened intently.................well ok - excitedly then. They spoke of Totnes Weir and the lower Dart, of salmon and monster sea-trout and of fly water so inviting that to pass it by would be a crime against God and man. I decided then and there. I have to join.

It's funny how things happen.

Lovely spawning water on the Upper Dart
Have a look for yourselves at

So there you. Being organised does not come naturally to me, but I do know a good thing when I hear it; and I do like green.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud.

I went for an afternoon on the river Culm the other day; not the bit everyone knows near Cullompton, nor the lovely stretch at Willand which harbours just about every variety of fish commonly residing in an English river. No no. I went right up above Gladhayes Bridge near Hemyock, where the trout are wild and the stream is narrow.

I like to travel light. Not for this angler the waistcoats, bags and chest packs of the modern fly fisher. (Nor the baseball cap and baby blue shirt!!) With me I had a 7.5ft rod rated for a #3 line, a net, two tins of flies and some Gink. Actually the rod was almost too long as in places, where the trees envelope the water, a 6-footer would be more apt, but I had what I had. One tin had small dries within and one a range of daddies in various shapes and sizes. It's September - it's daddy time - I only needed the one box!

I managed to rise 7 fish, 6 of which I hooked and of those I landed 5. It truly was an excellent afternoon but one that would not have been half as exciting if I had not done a little preparation at home first.
Lots of us fishing folk spend time sorting flies before a trip. Some of us treat lines and oil reels (I only do this in the closed season by way of a "fix" to get me through.) But immediately before I set off on my trip I was mixing up something that would make the day a good one - some mud!
The wild fish of a small stream are easily spooked and all the creeping and delicate casting in the world won't help if your leader is floating on the surface. Floating leader = fleeing fish. The easiest way to sink your leader is to buy some leader sink and apply it regularly to your cast. It degreases, which is the key. Don't apply so much that it actually weights the leader or that might result in a heavy landing of cast and fly. It's a wipe on, wipe off type of deal - do it regularly, not heavily.
If you don't fancy buying this goo or like me have bought some mud type sinkant in the past which over the closed season has turned unhelpfully to solid clay, there is a way to make your own or rejuvenate old stock. Simply buy some cheap Fuller's Earth (calcium montmorillonite), or take your solidified previous purchase, and mix with a little washing up liquid. If it is old stuff you are trying to restore to a useable state, then a little hot water helps just to break it down. Mix the solutions really well and keep them on the dry side of paste then compact them into a small container and there you go.
This little bit of prep can make, as it did on my day amongst the Culm trout, all the difference..................................Here's mud on your fly!!

The River Culm Above Hemyock

Monday, 18 June 2012


This was at Bellbrook Trout Fishery in Devon.


Friday, 8 June 2012

Cherry, Not Black

I tootled up to Dartmoor the other day. I say "tootled" but it was more of a "sped" really as I was quite excited! I was excited because I had decided to fish the Blackbrook - the only Dart tributary that I have never fished.

For those that do not know, there are 25 odd miles of fishing on Dartmoor,  owned by the Duchy of Cornwall and on which one can flick a fly for a crisp ten pound note. Go to one of the many outlets selling day-tickets (some of them are hotels - with bars), hand over said tenna, consult an O/S map and then........ away you go. The main East and West Dart are easy to find and follow, but some of their tributaries are a bit more hidden and when you find one, unless you know the area, it is difficult to be sure which one you have found; thus I say the consult a map bit.

The first thing that will strike you, as it always does me even after having fished these waters for 20 years, is their clarity. One tends to forget that even when other rivers are the colour of tea, the upper Dart and tributaries are often as clear as gin. Actually more like a good whiskey because of the peat - but just like a decanter of Oban's finest you can see the bottom no matter how full it is.

 The Cherry Brook

This day, the day that I had chosen to fish the Blackbrook tributary, I parked in the little quarry below The Prince Hall Hotel, next to the Outdoor Centre, and tackled up.

The thing about small stream fishing is that you need next to nothing. A box of flies, a rod of course (6.5 - 7.5ft and rated for a #3 is good), a reel with a floating line, some tapered leaders and some low diameter tippet are pretty much all you'll need. Fish are rarely big enough to keep and so a priest or bass bag are unnecessary.

I put my very light weight waders on as selective and careful wading can be helpful to stay concealed and struck out across the moor.......................the wrong way. For some reason I turned left at the bridge and not right. I don't know why - I just did. Anyway it didn't matter as a left at the bridge brought me to the Cherry Brook, which is when I realised my error, and so, although I ticked it off many years ago, I fished up this instead. It's a lovely mixture of runs, deep pools and short stretches of pocket water where wee brownies of 6 - 12" hide away from the world and are only caught by those willing to work for them.

During the day black is best. Small and black. I chose a sz18 black gnat with a nice orange post that allows it to be tracked in the faster runs and was soon raising the odd fish. It was a sunny but windy day and the fly, even with the post was more difficult to see in the normally calm pools than in the faster water due to a ridiculously severe upstream ripple. If it hadn't been for this I may, just for shizzles and giggles, have gone to a sz20, and as the day moved to early evening I could have gone to a sedge pattern as there were a few about, but I couldn't be arsed so I just persevered with what I had on!

Moving from rock to rock and doing plenty of kneeling and quite a lot of slipping, tripping and cursing, in the less than perfect conditions, I managed a leash of 7" fish and a slightly larger one of about 9" (all beautiful) plus the usual parr or two and some weed. A very satisfactory day and a good test for my still recovering lung as I reckon I walked a good few miles over some rough and in places quite unnerving (for a short-legged chap such as myself) ground. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed myself - but it doesn't take much.

Still haven't fished the Blackbrook though................................

Friday, 11 May 2012

All you can do is CHEW!

Last Saturday morning found me on the back lanes around Cheddar speeding towards Chew Valley Lake. I was, it has to be said, a bit groggy of head and tired of eye as it was only 7am and I had had a beer or two the night before, but towards Chew I sped none the less. I pulled up in the car park at half past seven - as it is my habit to sit and look at the lake for a while before the lodge opens at eight -and if there was ever anything that clears the mind it is sitting on the second bench behind the restaurant with a NE wind blowing straight down your shirt!

Sitting there shivering gives one time to contemplate tactics - a definite advantage over just sucking and seeing, especially when it is the first time on a water for the season as was the case on this day.

The lake looked very full and very featureless. Some waters just shout their best drifts at you with the slightest of glances, but not Chew, not today.

The Welsh Ladies Fly Fishing Team were there along with some of the Welsh Men's Team - no doubt practising for some very "important" competition in the near future - and a whole host of regulars.

When the boats set off everyone headed for the island or the bottom end of the east shore. We followed, as we had immediately forgotten everything the chap in the excellent on-site shop had told us, and it wasn't long before I hooked.........................and lost..................a couple of fish. We buzzed around the place looking for some takers, but those two pulls were it for the morning.  It appeared by lunch time that everyone was struggling and unfortunately that was the case for the afternoon too.

We tried the far southern end of the reservoir because, we reasoned, that that was where the food was ending up - unfortunately it was also where the wind was ending up! The swell was so bad that we soon realised why everyone had zoomed off in the opposite direction!

In the end, all I could think of to do was to move right in close to the island and fish amongst the trees and bushes around the margins - trees and bushes that would normally be well clear of the water but that today resembled the everglades of Florida. I had a three fly cast with a black hopper, to resemble the Hawthorns that were about, on the top dropper, a Diawl Bach on the middle dropper and a PTN on the point. We almost punted around the edge of the island casting into the nooks and crannies as if we were fishing for freshwater bass.

It worked and on a day when relatively few fish were caught before we left at 5 o'clock I was happy with my lovely 3lb specimen that fought like double its weight. Because of the shallowness of the place it took and all the snags it was a really exciting fight.

Chew is a fascinating water. Sometimes easy, often hard, but never boring and occasionally, like on this day, quite frustrating.

I do love it though.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Seek And Ye Shall Find

Very often at Wimbleball Lake it is a case of having to find the fish. The wind on Saturday was blowing from the north, that's the end with the bridge, but even so the local guru had indicated that Bessoms and Ruggs were still fishing well. These local guru types are like ghillies in Scotland and should be listened to on pain of death. So we listened and, at 9:00am on the nose, motored off up the lake toward Bessoms Bridge and Ruggs Bay.

It is notable this year that so far all the fish have been coming from very close in to the banks and so even though the wind was against us we were encouraged when we managed to establish a nice drift that took us down the shore of Bessoms, that's the bay below the bridge in the north arm, and then another that took us all the way from the top of Ruggs Bay, with the bird hide opposite Bessoms, past buoy number nine and down the western shore. So confident were we that we did the first drift twice and the second no less than three times, taking in all the water both sides of Blue Buoy No.9 (normally a great drift). We were working very hard with both floaters and sinking lines but by 2:30 we had precisely NO fish in the bag; the only high points being me connecting but ultimately losing a fish and my boat partner getting so distraught at his unaccustomed lack of success that he took it out on a bottle of beer which saw him almost remove his top lip with the resulting breakage..................but I guess you had to be there!

3:00pm found us around the corner at Cowmoor bay. This is as far away as you can go in a straight line from the end of the jetty at the boat moorings and the wind was blowing diagonally so that we could, with the help of the electric motor engineer a drift that took us from Blue Buoy No.5 all the way down the southern shore to the end. It was here that we found the fish and by 5pm, when I had had quite enough as it was pouring with rain and very cold, we had 11 fish between us!

The fish were not in a buzzery mood. It was blowing a whooly and raining and they were in a chasing frame of mind. The important thing about all this though is not the flies or lines that we were using (black tadpoles on both sinking and floating - it didn't seem to matter). It is the fact that we searched until we found the fish. 

Cowmoor is further down the wind than Bessoms, but not as far away as the Upton Arm, which was the most down wind area on the day, and so we probably should have gone there first (Cowmoor that is not the Upton Arm). We realised this afterwards.

I suppose we can learn two things from this day.
  1. Local gurus are NOT always right
  2. Don't give up
But then again - can we learn these - or were/are we just being reminded of what we knew already........


Sunday, 25 March 2012

Another Fishing Moral

Good news for all you top-of-the-water fans. The Wimbleball trout have been enticed to the surface by the lovely weather that we are having and the amount of buzzers hatching at the moment and, as in most situations, your's truly has managed to winkle out a moral from this excitement.

On 24th March 9 of the 10 boats out were occupied by regular Wimbleball anglers who, normally quite rightly, fish lures on sinking lines until the weather and hatches bring the fish up in mid-April. The 10th boat was occupied by a couple of visiting gentlemen who thought that the weather would have brought the fish up, even though it was only the second day of the warm sunny conditions.

A Lovely Morning on Wimbleball Lake

The early morning was all about the lures. The bright sun meant that the fish were deep. However this was short lived and by lunch time the warming margins had brought the fish to within a few yards of the bank and they were taking buzzers with alacrity – only the only people that were aware of the fact were the two chaps in boat 10 fishing their floating and intermediate lines with Diawl Bachs and buzzers on the end. Enough fish were still taking the lures to keep the others occupied and it wasn’t until late afternoon when someone saw the rod of one them in a permenant state of “arch” that everyone cottoned on. By then the visitors had both caught their 7 and returned a further ten each!

It just goes to show that we can get too set in our ways, and the moral here is that it pays to fish according to the conditions and not just according to the water we are on. I am afraid I am one of the world's worst for this. Because I did it a certain way before and it worked, it is always this same way that I try, to the exclusion of everything else, even if the conditions dictate otherwise.

Having said all that – the lure boys on this occasion still did ok and one of them caught a double bag limit without changing his black tadpole/humungus combination all day; so it does cut both ways.

As for me - I spent the weekend at home with my throat infection and watched Zingzillas about 20 times with the boy!................................................................................................I quite like Zingzillas!!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Fresh Air Does Not Make A Cold Better

In my previous post I failed to mention that I was suffering from a streaming cold, a really bad throat and ear pain and that I thought the fresh air would do me good..............POPPYCOCK!!

Two days later and I have sinus, ear and throat infections, a temperature of 40 degrees and am thoroughly wretched and have spent 48 hrs incapacitated in my bed.

On second thoughts it way have happened anyway so it was probably best that I went out when I did as I'd have no chance now.......................................oh well then.

As you were...............

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Game's Afoot

At last at last, the trout season is upon us - and - after last year when I missed the entire shebang - I rejoice with all my heart....................well, the portion of my old myogenic pump that is left available for such, after similar jubilation for the start of the salmon season two weeks ago! The difference between the two occasions of course is that the amount of trout fishing in March that is available and worthwhile is legion and the amount of opportunities to catch a March salmon, at least here in Somerset, very limited. But all the same, I habitually celebrate both with gusto.

My first day this year was, unsurprisingly, arranged months ago. Clatworthy and it's 130 odd acres played host to my efforts on a beautiful sunny but cold and blustery day. A boat was cast-off and my little electric motor took myself and my fishing partner for the day across a rippled lake with every bit of power that its 54lb of thrust could summon. It took a while.

It was a wonderful day. We caught a few fish on lures and buzzers fished on slow sinking and floating lines, we lost a couple too, but laughed a lot and generally had a great time. Clatworthy is great. It has a lovely glass fronted lodge where sandwiches can be munched upon and tales exchanged with other anglers and a fleet of boats that feel very sturdy and safe. The scenery is fantastic, the level at the moment good and the fish fighting fit. I can thoroughly recommend the place.

So all straining upon the start has ceased and the game's afoot! Follow your spirit and upon this charge cry 'God for Harry! England! and St. George' ...............or don't bother with all that and just go fishing.

Here are some pics.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

New Season....HURRY UP

It has been a long time, in blogging terms, since this fisherman and most humble of correspondents has posted anything, either of note or otherwise. There is a reason for this - I tend as I do and, I am sad to say, due to a heady concatenation of circumstances, I simply haven't done. Anything. At all.

Because of my illness last year, when I couldn't fish, and because of my unbridled enthusiasm for spending time with my family, when I could,  I missed almost an entire season bar the couple of days at either end. These two facts and a few other less news worthy happenings meant that I didn't use many flies and so negated the need to tie any this winter and, as I don't really do small stillwaters I had nothing much to impart unto you, my reader (or possibly readers - if you haven't gone elsewhere for honey - as my father rather inexplicably is wont to say) - I certainly wasn't going to bore you with an opinion on "how to do" a certain something or other and there is little to report otherwise, for the Izzard family live a quiet life.

This season however there will be plenty of meat on the writing bone as it were, for I am going to fish. It has been a long winter but now the Exe is open for salmon (as of 14th Feb) and fish are being caught. It's only a few days until the Taw and Torridge also start giving up - and then having returned to them - their silvery bounty. On the 15th the trout season opens on our rivers and all the reservoirs are open by the end of March. All I can say is a massive whoop whoop to that.............................with bells on.

Advice wise there is only this, and here I am on safe ground as it is more of a reminder really; make sure all your kit is up together and working properly. Wash and condition those lines (or, if like me you can't be arsed then buy new ones!), oil and clean those reels and if you use an old freind of a rod maybe apply a little candle wax to the ferrules to aid their future reliability. Actually I was laughed at recently for suggesting the latter, but the old spiggott type ferrules really do grip better and wear less with a quick waxing every now and then. (It is not usually necessary on the overfit type.) Make sure too that your tippet and leader materials are not brittle and that your flies haven't been attacked by moths or mites or some other fur and feather munching thingy-ma-jig. 

I've done all of the above every week since October last year so I reckon I am ready to go.


Thursday, 27 October 2011

Trout In The Town

Have a look at these little fellas in Cheddar:-

The Cheddar Yeo is filtered by the limestone of the Mendip Hills, beneath which it forms the largest underground river system in Britain. After it flows down the famous gorge it arrives in the village and is home to some lovely trout, of various girths and some resident ducks. The trout are not shy and it is possible to tease them to the surface with some well presented Kingsmill, making for some rather energetic footage!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Heart Of Glass

We, that is my family and I, have just returned from our first holiday in Scotland since Harry's arrival almost a year ago. We stayed in a cabin in the middle of a forest, 5 minutes from the paradise that is Glen Affrick, traditionally beheld as one of the finest of its ilk in the country. Forget the Kunlun Mountains of Lost Horizon - this is Shangri-La..................well I think so anyway. Here there are not just mountains but also waterfalls, The Tomich Lochs and the River Glass to explore, not to mention some fine pubs and inns that offer the weary explorer refreshment and sanctuary from the elements. But I guess you have to visit the place to know of what I write and so to help you along and for your delectation here is a picture or two:-

Anyway - it is on the River Glass that I wish to elaborate, as this is after all a fishing based blog and I haven't got to do a lot of fishing this year or indeed blogging either, so her we go.

I booked the day on the BALMORE beat through FishPal several weeks in advance. Now I am not one for gratuitous advertising, but when others may benefit from my own experiences with something then I think that something worth sharing. All I did was go onto the FishPal website and click a button and hey presto - I had a day on the Glass. Simplicity itself. No sooner had I clicked said button than an e-mail of confirmation was received and also one from the beat owner giving me directions and a beat map. Brilliant.

So, um, there we go then - FOR ALL YOUR SALMON FISHING, GO TO You can pay me later Fishpal people!!

So the morning of the 5th September arrived and........................ahh "Darling we have a puncture....."

You can imagine my reaction. Actually because we were on holiday it wasn't that dramatic, until that is the wheel brace that came with the car broke in two. I was a a tad more animated then. But Victoria, ever calm, called the RAC chap and he put on the thing that is passed off as a spare wheel, I was dropped at the river and Vicky went into Beauly for the day. Two tyres needed replacing in the end - £337.00 !!

The first thing that struck me about the Glass is its size. It is a tributary of the Beauly and a Highland river, so I was expecting a Borgie or Avon sized affair. But no; this is a proper river and even a square cast would have to be 35yds in places to fish any lies on the other side. Having said that, there are plenty of lies within easy casting distance - after all the great misnomer about salmon fishing is that the fish ALL lie on the other side. The anglers opposite catch fish and as this is a commonly held misconception it stands to reason that there must be fish lying on your side of the river! Follow? No - oh well never mind. Suffice to say, big as the river looked, I wasn't too over awed. I am a goodish caster and determined, even before arriving, that I was going to fish the river rather than just cast cast cast.

The second thing that struck me was that ALL the water on the 1.25 mile of the Balmore stretch was fly water and that the water was at a very fishable height. The latter is due largely to the fact that the Glass is part of the Scottish Hydro Electric scheme and as such the levels are controlled by way of damns from power stations along its course. This ensures that even in the driest of conditions there is water by way of compensation flow. It also means that the level can change quite quickly, both up and down and this in itself can be a little strange. There are several tributaries above the river's confluence with the Farrar and its subsequent renaming to the River Beauly and these ensure that after rain perfectly natural spates can occur to.

I am, I am afraid, a believer in the fish's ability to tell the difference between a compensation flow and a spate. They tend to run on the latter. Unfortunately there had not been one of these for some time and only one fish was seen all day. The syndicate members who fish the other bank and most of the rest of the river are struggling and it would appear that at time of my visit the fish simply had not arrived. Never mind.

When all is said and done, and herein lies my point, the Glass is a big but rather lovely river. The facilities at Balmore are great and Michael the owner keeps it all very well. The new hut is very comfortable and access very easy. The fly fishes beautifully down the entire beat and the wading is easy.

Here's another couple of pics.............................GIVE IT A GO

Sunday, 24 July 2011


I am afraid that a lot of my pictures have disappeared. This is a problem with Google or Blogspot and the Google +1 thing. All the posts I +1ed have had their pics wiped. I will get them back up asap.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Bored? Try Recycling.

I have been quite ill recently. A month ago I was diagnosed with severe pneumonia as a result of a blood clot on the lung. I have pleurisy, which is nice and part of my lung has collapsed. The antibiotics are working, but only at half the speed they should be and I can’t walk across the room without puffing like Stevenson’s Rocket. It ain’t a lot of fun and at times I am quite bored.

To help pass the time I have watched a couple of Davie McPhail’s fly tying videos. He is truly a master of his art.

Watch them on You Tube at:-

Anyway. I got to thinking, as one is apt to do when presented with hours to fill, and decided that I would tie a few flies myself. Nothing unusual here as I knock the odd combination of fur and feather together every now and then and call the resulting ensemble something pretty, then  pronounce it a fly worthy of fishing.

This time though I decided that I am fed up with having so many semi-destroyed flies lying around; ill-tied efforts of some commercial enterprise that have fallen to bits whilst being cast and never even so much as been sniffed at by a fish. I looked out a few and stripped them bare. It is the resulting bare hooks that I will recycle and use to tie up variations of the flies they once were. The aforementioned stripping is a little time consuming, but then in my case that is essentially the idea, but once achieved a perfectly serviceable hook is left. I liken it to collecting spent brass cases and reloading one’s own centre fire ammunition.

Here is an example of my efforts – from start to finish.

This is the sorry state of a shop bought stoat’s tail that fell to bits without even seeing the water!

Here is the stripped hook. A size 8 double. I am starting with double salmon and sea trout flies.

Here is the final reincarnation. Not really a Stoat’s Tail in the traditional sense, but then I have hundreds of them so this one has an orange beard and tail and a pearly body. I haven’t made the throat hackle as full as a proper stoat’s tail either. Another coat of varnish and it’ll be done. The head’s a bit big but it’ll fish ok. I pass the thread under the wing a couple of times to make sure it doesn’t stick to the body in faster water.

So there you have it. Lay bare those redundant flies and recycle my friends recycle.
Damn…………………now I’m bored again………………..and still ill. Oh well.

Friday, 10 June 2011

There’s Gold In Them There Hills

I learnt a phrase the other day. It’s not very useful but I like it. It’s in a language I have never spoken but would like to learn.

It’s: Mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn llyswennod

I have to say, and I don’t mean to appear immodest for a second, I work bloomin’ hard at my job. Yep……..I do…………most of the time. My “territory”, as they call it, spreads from Land’s End to Southampton, up to Milton Keynes, then across diagonally and up to Chester. If you were to draw a line on your road atlas from Chester to Land’s End you would find that your pen leaves its inky mark at a 45 degree through the ancient and beautiful land of Wales where I learnt my new phrase.

I am lucky enough to live only 35 minutes along the road from the great bridge that spans the Severn to join our two great nations…………………actually it costs £5.70, which is probably testimony to the fact that some consider it worth paying to get to greener grass on the other side - and the fact that to return to England is free is so that travellers are in no way discouraged nor hindered in their trip when, those that do not fish, realise that said grass is not that much greener after all……………………….( I like dots )and to plan a trip there means I can look forward to the most breath taking mountains outside of Scotland, bright streams and friendly - FRIENDLY I say – people. The problem is I only go there for work and never have time to fish.  I probably know more about the fishing throughout Wales than any other person who never fishes there!! It is shameful.

Take the other day. My route took me, by design, from Oswestry to Machynlleth where I stayed the night and the next day from Mach to Lampeter,  then home across aforementioned bridge. During this sojourn I must have crossed a hundred streams and a dozen rivers, all containing, at the very least, hard fighting wild brown trout and some, salmon and sea-trout. Each one warrants, or has warranted in the past, a closer look – usually from a bridge and every single inspection yealds a feeling of guilt that I never make time to fish. You can imagine how long it sometimes takes me to get to my destination!

My night away was spent in a hotel that I last visited 20 years ago. I purposely haven’t been there on a working trip because I thought I would find it too depressing as it has Tal-y-Llyn, a 222 acre lake full of trout, 25yds from the front door.  As it happens all it did was bring back some lovely memories.


From The Tynycornel Hotel I went to Lampeter and found the River Teifi, one of Britain’s most famous sea-trout rivers, to be bubbling along quite merrily. The levels seem to be holding up quite well and there are enough heavy showers up in the mountains to keep Llyn Teifi topped up and help the river below.  Every twist and turn on the short stretch that I walked looked like it would yield a silver beauty and then, as always, I had to think about work.

The River Teifi at Lampeter

Because of the state of our rivers through lack of rainfall, I have done next to no fishing, and yet, after the frustration fades, it is apparent that I AM doing a bit of thinking on the subjects of fishing, family and career - well I call it thinking anyway - some would argue that I should do more of that about other stuff too!

So, this is what I think. I think that I must utilise the gift of Wales-On-The-Doorstep and not just sit on the Somerset Levels dreaming of Scotland. I think that I should pack my 9ft #5 weight whenever I go there. I think that I should take Vicky and Harry across the great divide on a regular, nothing-to-do-with-work basis, so that they too can enjoy the likes of Cadir Idris, Snowdon, Brenig, Llangollen and the wealth of wonderful places, mountains, rivers and castles that Wales has to offer.

I think I am Wales’s new best friend.

Mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn llyswennod

............................................................................My hovercraft is full of eels.