Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

Itchen and Meon

Saturday, 19 May 2018 at 09:08

CDC Mayfly Just back from two days on the Itchen and Meon. The mayfly was up on the Itchen. Richard and I shared a lovely day at Kanara and its plentiful numbers of trout. I fished with cane and silk throughout and was delighted with both - delighted, too, with the success of this CDC Mayfly pattern, which I tied some years ago after being beaten by a trout on the Wallop Brook. That fish only took natural mays when they were fluttering, so I tied up some Klink-style flies with plenty of CDC. Then again, the Itchen trout took Humpies and Wulffs, too, so these experiments were more pleasing than meaningful.
The Meon, which I'd never visited before, offers rather different fishing and we released around ten smallish wild trout (best 10oz.) during a a few hours' work. Parachute John Storey, Grey Duster - almost any olive-suggesting pattern - seemed to work if cast quietly into channels between the weed. Stealth and delicacy were required. It was bonny fishing.

Kanara on the Itchen

Saturday, 19 May 2018 at 09:02

Kanara Kanara on the Itchen is a lovely beat of the river below Winchester. The lower part of the beat (here) consists of slower glides, with a larger pool where water from the Itchen Navigation flows into the main river. Upstream there's a succession of faster flowing streams and glides. Crowfoot and ranunculus - deep scours in gravel - trout in channel edges under hawthorns.... The reach was in some ways an archetypal chalkstream beat and we were lucky to fish it. Day tickets are available from Fishing Breaks (
Angler: Richard Faulks, to whom much thanks for company and photographic expertise. Richard caught his first chalkstream trout during our day on Kanara, and very handsome fish they were.

Kanara fish

Saturday, 19 May 2018 at 08:59

Itchen trout On the Itchen we shared a dozen fish between us. Many of them were of wonderful quality - some stocked fish, but with a leash of Itchen wildies, too. Here's one good trout of around 2½lb. It took a CDC Hatching Mayfly (size 12-ish). Those patterns seemed promising but if you do fish with CDC dry flies, tie plenty of each pattern because these scraps of duck's arse quickly get bedraggled and waterlogged and you need to change flies fairly often.

Winter in spring 1

Thursday, 12 April 2018 at 17:24

Rutland Here's Lord Calbrade at Rutland yesterday. Well done, m'lud. Yet the awful weather continued: bitter NE winds, low cloud, murk and fog, torrential downpours. As damp seeped laughingly into old bones and as visibility dropped to around 50 yards the boats were called off the lake - and we promptly, though briefly, got lost on our way back to the harbour. On Grafham today, too, boats weren't allowed out till nigh lunchtime because of fog and murk. As it happened we elected to fish from the bank instead and experienced a morning where we saw little activity (one follow deep down and that was it) and no rising fish: Grafham at its most dire. Still, Rutland fished quite well yesterday despite the weather - we shared eight between us, with Rod getting the most and best (a cracking overwintered fish of 2¾lb.) - and from what little I could see of it, it looked like a lovely lake.

  Splendid hat.

Winter in spring 2

Thursday, 12 April 2018 at 17:21

Murk Air temperature never more than 6C; murk, low cloud and a bitter, sneaping NE wind all day. Boats called off Rutland early.... And still young Calbrade kept catching Rutland rainbows.


Friday, 6 April 2018 at 17:45

CDC Buzzer It was a day of firsts down at the rainbow lake: Henry saw the first swallow of the year; he caught his first trout on a fly he tied himself (a Cove PTN); and I caught and released the first trout of the year on dry flies (see image - a film-fished CDC Shipman's). We shared a grand day and saw plenty of action, most on fairly deeply sunk nymphs and lures, but with some little action on buzzer-suggesting artificials and even those dry flies. I was astonished that the fish would move to floating patterns but there was an hour around lunchtime when a few small black buzzers were in the air and some patient work with CDC and Suspender buzzers brought four offers and two fish in the net. That said, an intermediate tip, a longish leader and a weighted pattern on the point (Damsel, Nomad) worked rather better, especially when cast across the ripple and allowed to fish round slowly and deeply.


Friday, 6 April 2018 at 17:41

5lb. This was the best of them, a fat and fit rainbow of 21 inches (about 5lb., we thought). It was much chunkier and heavier-set than the Grafham brown of 22 inches that I released towards the end of March. Blue Flash Damsel on the point. I released a number of other fish 3-3½lb. so it was a prolific little session. Such a change to be fishing in mild weather and hazy sunshine after what has been a bitter winter and early spring.

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