Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

Save our bass

Tuesday, 9 December 2014 at 10:39

Bass European sea bass stocks are critically low. You can find plenty of information about why this is on the web pages of BASS ( Please consider signing the petition found at


Sunday, 7 December 2014 at 11:23

Bread flies It's possible to catch mullet on tiny tubes and equally minute, sparsely dressed trebles (Lesley Holmes showed me how on the Bann estuary in Northern Ireland, and very impressive it was) but possibly a more effective way of fly-fishing for mullet cheat at it using fake bread: (i) buy some imitation bread; (ii) buy some boilie stops; (iii) attach piece of fake bread to a strand of tying silk, using the boilie stop as, er, a stop; (iv) lash the bread-and-silk to a size 10-ish saltwater hook; (v) superglue the whipping on the shank, adding the merest drop of glue to the boilie stop if you wish. The alternative would be to push the hook directly through the fake bread, but then you run the risk of narrowing the effective hook gape, and so far, in these experiments at the vice, the boilie-stop bread-fly seems most practical. Heaven knows whether it will work. One can but try.

Irfon grayling

Monday, 17 November 2014 at 15:36

Irfon grayling Just back from Wales, where a small group of us were fishing a flooded river Irfon for grayling. On Friday the river at Caer Beris was unfishable; on Saturday it was slightly more fishable...but not much more; on Sunday it was marginally fishable, by which I mean clarity was good but the river was still high and pacey. Generally we reached for the trotting rods but by Sunday the water had cleared enough for the more expert of our group (i.e. not me) to start catching the odd one on the fly-rods.What struck me, however, was the sheer beauty of the fish we did manage to catch: none was more than around 10-12oz. but each was like a newly-minted silver coin.

Adventures with the Jolly Green Giant

Sunday, 2 November 2014 at 10:03

Corn Like most grayling fishers, when long-trotting I find there's little to beat a single red maggot on a size 18 or 20 hook. Small red worms are also top baits. But just occasionally, sweetcorn will work an unexpected oracle and thus it was in Hampshire last Saturday: I picked up half-a-dozen grayling in one glide, then when the glide went quiet I rested it, changing for the next spell to a single grain (or half-grain) of sweetcorn. After bites went quiet again I rested the swim, then changed back to single red maggot. All this is very well-known as a grayling tactic, but over the past year or two I've found that I'm continually obliged to re-learn stuff I forgot forty years ago.....which is, of course, one of the sheer joys of fishing.

The object of my affection....

Sunday, 2 November 2014 at 09:59

Itchen grayling ....and indeed of the exercise: a small Itchen grayling, one of a leash of fish I released last Saturday. I caught nothing massive but during the afternoon did release several consecutive fish from the same small shoal, of which none was under the pound and the best 1┬Żlb.

  Note the Drennan Loafer in the left of the shot. I find this to be a splendid trotting float.

Test grayling

Sunday, 2 November 2014 at 09:56

Timsbury grayling A fine grayling from the Test. Angler: Howard Seabrook. Culprit: single red maggot. It was a strange day yesterday, with fish seeming active until lunctime. Then a cold front blew in, the air temperature dropped by 3 degrees in an hour and the river thereafter seemed to go torpid.

Old hatches

Tuesday, 28 October 2014 at 08:50

Old hatches The majority of the world's chalkstreams is found in England. It depends how you count them - do a parent river and its nearby tributary count as one or two? - but the number is around 200. (Charles Rangeley Wilson lists 218 chalkstreams in his splendid book, Chalkstream, which details the waters of that chalk belt running from the Yorkshire Wolds through to Normandy.) These are globally unique habitats and in places, such as the Avon below Salisbury, it's possible to see how land and water were once managed. The river was allowed to flood the meadows (hence 'water-meadows') each winter and subsequently the flows would be regulated by sluices and flood-gates. This system provided grazing as well as habitats for fish and invertebrates. Here and there, if you think about what you're looking at, it's possible to see the land- and waterscapes as a sort of ecological palimpsest. The image is of an old hatch-pool on a disused sidestream of the Avon below Salisbury.

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