Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

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.

Dales bridges

Monday, 6 August 2018 at 20:37

Dales bridge The bridges of the Yorkshire Dales fascinate me and always will. Who made them? How on earth have they withstood two centuries (and sometimes more) of floods and sharp weather? Accommodated from foot and packhorse to incessant streams of car traffic?


Monday, 6 August 2018 at 20:35

Scar House Out for a walk round Scar House reservoir, at the top of Nidderdale. A fascinating place - but also moody in some weathers. Plenty of trout rising. I'd have given a great deal to have had a rod and some Black Spiders and Daddies with me.

Donegal 1: Tough days

Monday, 23 July 2018 at 15:45

Salmon singles Just back from Donegal and a week's work on feature articles. Given that Donegal is experiencing its worst drought since 1976 it wasn't altogether surprising that we didn't catch salmon, despite an artificial flood on the little R. Clady; it wasn't surprising, either, that we caught barely a handful of finnock (small sea-trout), though I did lose one very good fish which took a Snake on the estuary in a squally wind. Pity about that one. We did, however, have a couple of grand days' trout fishing on clear, alkaline loughs where the trout can sometimes run big. The lakes surprised me, largely because they are alkaline and the fish can run to large sizes. Until now I'd always (ignorantly) associated Donegal with bog, scree and sea-trout so it was a delight to find high-quality wild brown trout fishing in that county.

Donegal 2: New Lake

Monday, 23 July 2018 at 15:40

Trout from New Lake New Lake (Dunfanaghy) was created by an Atlantic storm in 1917. Over the years the Dunfanaghy Angling Association has worked hard to maintain and improve the fishing here - as at neighbouring Port and Sessiagh loughs. New Lake has been justifiably described as a 'Lough Carra in miniature...but without the marl': it's gin-clear, long drifts are possible, and the lake is nowhere more than six feet deep. We had a splendid day here, catching abundant trout that ran to the pound, but much bigger fish are caught each season.

Donegal 3: Port Lough

Monday, 23 July 2018 at 15:37

A drift on Port Port Lough lies hard by Sessiagh and holds another grand stock of fish, though the trout don't run to the same sizes as in Sessiagh or New Lake. Nevertheless, if you adjust your expectations you can - you will - have a lovely day out with traditional Irish wet-flies and dry flies, catching trout which are beautifully spotted and marked and which run to 10oz. or so. A pounder would be a good one. Fiery Brown and Olive Bumble worked for me as wet-flies, as did Sedgehog Hoppers and Daddies fished dry.

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