Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

Fishing with Ali and Bronagh (1)

Friday, 21 September 2018 at 15:58

Daddy Two days in Yorkshire (at Mulberry Whin, which is soon to be syndicated). We fished through Storm Ali and its laughing attendant, Storm Bronagh. Wind gusts went to 70mph; two inches of rain fell - most of it down the front of my wading jacket. In the worst of the wind the fly-line described bizarre, unbidden arabesques in the air. Despite the weather, Richard Faulks and I had a grand time and shared a catch of around eight brace of trout together with two small grayling. I was absolutely delighted to catch (and release) these last. The trout, too, were bonny fish running to 2¾lb. or so, and watching these trout rising to hatches of olives in the gales and rain was utterly captivating. The first and best of the trout took a dry Daddy (pictured) fished at the onset and in the worst of Storm Ali.

Fishing with Ali and Bronagh (2)

Friday, 21 September 2018 at 15:56

Driffield wild fish This was the best of the fish on the first day - the Day of Ali. This wonderfully-coloured trout, which took a dry Daddy in the worst of the weather, was 19 inches long and probably weighed around 2¾lb.

Fishing with Ali and Bronagh (3)

Friday, 21 September 2018 at 15:53

Bonny On the second day the weather relented briefly and there was a grand hatch of olives (Pale Wateries mostly, I think) from noon onwards. The fish were selective and spooky but occasionally they made mistakes. Here's a very fit trout of 18 inches - around 2½lb. - which took a small dry Greenwell's (variant) dressed with pale yellow silk. By tea-time, Storm Bronagh (and two inches of rain) were with us. Happy days.

Tench, crucians and roach 1

Monday, 20 August 2018 at 21:12

Henry's crucian A lovely half-day with Henry, catching tench, crucians and some very good quality roach (to Henry). We had half a dozen tench, with the best pushing 3lb; three or four crucians (pictured) - bonny, gold-minted fish; and some roach and rudd. We fished either the waggler (Henry) or the Lift method (me) and spent a great deal of time trying to get our baits - dendros, sweetcorn, maggots - onto the bottom. Often the sinking baits would be snaffled in mid-water by hordes of hungry (and tiny) rudd, roach and perch. Once the baits were on the deck, we had a chance among the rather larger fish.

Tench, crucians and roach 2

Monday, 20 August 2018 at 21:10

Tench This was the best of the tench, a fish which we thought pushed 3lb. Single grain of sweetcorn, Lift method, Lucky Strike and the 'pin.... Lovely.

Failing to catch mullet on the fly

Saturday, 18 August 2018 at 18:26

Mullet flies Sporadically but persistently I've been trying to catch mullet on the fly...and have blanked altogether. I can sometimes (not always) see the mullet feeding, but on what I haven't been able to work out despite earnest peering and sundry useless inspections of the shallows. I even bought a set of mullet flies recommended by that guru Colin Macleod: you can buy such a set from the admirable Selectafly. Yet to date, although I can certainly catch ...two (or today, one) small bass ... on these flies they have failed spectacularly to convince the local mullet.

There are those who say that the span of human life is too short to waste in fly-fishing for mullet and I'm beginning to agree with that view.

North from Starbotton

Monday, 6 August 2018 at 20:40

North from Starbotton No year is quite right if I can't see and walk around in Wharfedale - for preference, the dale north from Starbotton and Buckden. It sounds - it is - sentimental, but these to me are some of the best-known and most beloved places on earth. It was wonderful to walk and potter about for a week up there. This was a family break so I barely fished, unless you count two very short sessions on the upper Wharfe. I dropped a couple of fish on little barbless dry flies and to be honest, I didn't mind at all. Honour was satisfied, and thereafter I spent more time watching and seeing than fishing. One reward was a long encounter with a stoat, a creature I was delighted to see again.

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