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.

Report of S Wales Trout and Sea Trout Experiences

Thursday 12th June saw me meeting Rowland Elvidge at Yate where, following a splendid meal provided by his daughter we headed for our rendezvous with Ian Govier at the Aldi car park just off the M4 at 9pm.  On meeting, Ian explained that the rivers were running a bit high that night so sea trout (sewin) fishing was postponed until Friday night. So we headed to the caravan for an early night. About an hour later having followed Ian through winding country lanes in the dark we arrived at Brandy Brook and after 10 minutes hooking up gas and water we were all set.  The clear skies meant it was fairly cold so I wore my buff on my head to great effect and slept well.
The next morning having had an excellent breakfast we met Andy Jones the fourth member of the party at Llys-y-fran reservoir. Launching the boats set about some serious loch style trout fishing under a bright sun and cloudless sky! Andy and Rowland’s boat was number 13 so they knew they were in for a bit of a challenge!

Drifting on the drogue, mentally miles away, I had such a savage pull on the line that I thought Ian, my boat companion who was casting at the time, had picked up my line.  It took a few micro seconds before I realised that I had a large fish on and it wanted to go places!  Sadly the hook had not set properly and seconds later he abandoned me.  From then on we only found fish near the shore and mainly spent the rest of the time drifting in with the breeze and then motoring back out.  I think we had five fish in total but the fishing was challenging and enjoyable and the weather too good.
Me wearing my buff to keep the sun off my face and not wearing the PFD as I was in the process of stripping off my jacket to cool down when a fish took the fly!
Finishing around 6pm we headed (via a fish and chip supper) for the Abercothi Estate where Andy had booked us some sewin fishing on the River Towy.  The Towy (Tywi in Welsh) is generally regarded as the best sewin river in Wales.  Andy then gave Rowland and me a master class on how to read and fish a sewin river as we walked the beats.  We were told we could fish the famous Junction Pool beat where the Towy is joined by the Cothi and a beat on the Cothi as well. 

.Andy and Ian both excellent Sewin fishers
A relaxed Rowland waiting for dusk on the banks of the Cothi
We started on the Cothi just as it was getting dark with Ian leading the way down the beat.  We were all kitted out with chest waders and entered the inky black water carefully using our feet to feel the way.  Basically you cast downstream across the river at 45 degrees or less and let the fly swing across the river until it hangs downstream of you.  Then you step downstream a pace and do it again.  Ideally you cast into areas with some structure that may hold fish just out of the main current.  So there we were about 50 yards apart working our way down the beat poised, waiting for that magic tug on the line.  Suddenly a huge full moon poked out from behind a cloud and lit the scene turning the blackness to light grey.  Although it made the casting and wading easier, because we could see a bit, many prefer totally dark moonless nights in terms of catching!
Having exhausted the Cothi beat to no avail we moved down to the more challenging main river and the Junction Pool where there was a lot of water coming down.  Andy dispatched Ian to wade across the Cothi using a rope that was conveniently strung across the river so he could fish the top of the pool.  Then further down Andy entered the water to check it out and soon found himself in above the waist, he worked his way out into the middle but found it a bit challenging due to the force of the current and the uneven bottom.  I then attempted to follow him, having been warned that the bottom couple of steps on the ladder had been washed away.  I made it into the water and following Andy’s route slowly and carefully edged away from the bank.  When I reached a point where the water was up to my crutch, and I could feel a depression in front of me, I belatedly did a risk assessment noting that:-
1.       I was not wearing a PFD (personal floatation device)
2.       I did not have a wading stick
3.       It was now pretty dark because the moon was behind the trees
4.       I didn’t know the river and Andy had mentioned a LARGE hole!
5.       I didn’t want to make my wife a rich widow!
So I chickened out!
Roland had a brief wade downstream where it was a bit easier and eventually Andy managed to work his way back to terra firma somewhat damp.  No serious fishing had taken place except by Ian who didn’t find any fish.  By this time it was 3am and we were all a little tired.  Back at the caravan at 4am we crashed out and dreaming about large fiesty sewin, slept till about 10am.
My next post will describe some scenic spots and the Welsh versus English fly fishing battle.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Should we be microwaving our trout?

I have a few friends who are a bit nervous about using microwaves to cook food.  I felt they were a bit daft!  However, after having read an article about possible issues they may have a point.  See what you think.

Could this explain my memory challenges and my poor fishing performance on the chalk streams this year?

My own experiments have shown that microwaving house plants definitely kills them!!!!!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Fly Fishing Tip for Avoiding UV (ultra violet) Sunburn

I was feeling a bit poorly having just had a bout of food poisoning thanks to the local supermarkets ready meal.  My wife is away helping my youngest daughter who is expecting our 23rd grandchild!  So to cheer myself up I thought I would treat myself to a new rod, reel and line.  I had met a chap using a 7 foot rod on the chalk streams and realised he could fish the carriers and small pocket waters that my 8 foot 6 inch was just too long for.  Now I don't believe in spending shed loads of money on tackle for the following reasons:-
  • I don't have shed loads of money (if I did it would be a different matter)
  • the fish only gets to see the fly (hopefully), they don't care which rod and reel were used to serve it up
  • given the advances in rod design I think it is quite hard for a manufacturer to make a lousy rod!  Someone can probably prove me wrong on that.
So I thought I would try a firm called Sonik and I got a rod and reel from them together with a Cortland line.  So far I have only tried them out on the garden lawn but the action has been encouraging.
Whilst looking through the Fishtec catalogue I came across something that I had seen used whilst fishing the Yakama River in WA with a guide called Joel.  It was the first time I had fished with Joel and we were drifting the Canyon stretch with him on the oars and me standing in the bows casting.  When I looked round to talk to him I got a shock!  He had covered up his face like he was going to rob a bank or bump me off!  I then noticed that he had cute white gloves on!  Was this to prevent leaving finger prints on the murder weapon?  Fortunately my experience as an engineer saved me from saying something stupid and I realised he was protecting himself from ultra violet radiation!  So I played it cool and pretended that everything was totally normal.
Now I don't like getting sunburnt, or sore throats, or insect bites so this fabric tube that Joel was wearing round his neck and up over his face appealed to me.  In the photo below you can see it round his neck as I had asked him to display his smile for the camera.
Anyway you can now buy them over here and mine came today from Fishtec and it is called a Buff.  They are rather fun as there are lots of different ways to wear them summer or winter.  I will be using mine as scarf, neckerchief, cap and face mask (no not to rob banks).
    Joel on the Yak complete with white gloves and the Buff round his neck so we can see his smile!
    PS. I am not affiliated to any of the companys mentioned above.