Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

Wild Wye

Sunday, 14 May 2017 at 15:26

Wild rainbow This weekend I fished the Derbyshire Wye as a lucky guest. We enjoyed a grand day on the river, and I was delighted to catch (and release) some wild browns as well as some of the wild rainbows for which the river is renowned. I christened a new cane rod, a new-second-hand reel, and a new hat, so all was well. The day also included a poetry recital; a broken rod-tip; a beef sandwich; scientific enquiry as to the the effect of the Ice Ages on the distribution of beetles; the comparative ichthyology of Lough Melvin; the prospect of retirement; encounters with nettles, two splendid pork pies and some of the first mayfly hatches of this season. Delightful.

Best of the day

Sunday, 14 May 2017 at 15:22

Wild brown trout Best of the day was this wild brown of 19 inches (the fish was slightly thin, so about 2lb. 10oz., I reckoned). It was mooching about in a glide below an undercut bank and took a tiny Black Klink in the early evening. What distinguished the day was how catholic the trout were, at different times taking smuts, olives, even the occasional mayfly. The fly patterns I used reflected that: Grey Duster, Black Klink, Grey Wulff.

You couldn't make it up

Sunday, 14 May 2017 at 15:19

Ashford As a place in which to angle for wild brown and rainbow trout then - pace our much-loved Yorkshire Dales - you couldn't really dream of anything better than this, could you? There's a smashing pub just round the corner, too.


Sunday, 14 May 2017 at 15:13

Tart You're there fishing in Bakewell.... You're hungry.... Well, you've got to, haven't you?

  'The Tart' or Bakewell Pudding - pictured is a fake tart, not a proper pudding - was invented by culinary mistake by the cook at the Rutland Arms in the early 19th century. Many of literature's Greats have stayed at the Rutland: Austen (who apparently did etchings on the window-glass), Byron, Coleridge, Dickens, McCully. I like to think that in a break from drafting Emma, Austen doodled little grayling on the panes.

No! Not the....

Saturday, 29 April 2017 at 09:30

Blob I grant you their effectiveness, but I don't enjoy fishing Blobs (pictured here) very much. While every stillwater fly-fisher knows that Blobs can draw fish to more naturalistic flies fished on the droppers, the Blob itself seems industrially, almost indecently efficient. Still, we travel long distances to our fishing, we pay money for our days out, and then (because of the efficiency of the thing) if the difference between a blank and a fish comes to putting on a Blob and catching a stockie or two, I suppose most of us will do so. I stress that I'm by no means any kind of purist, and temperamentally I dislike over-regulation, so I'm not arguing for a moment that 'people shouldn't fish Blobs'. Occasionally I fish them myself. Yet it's sometimes interesting to be aware of one's own conceptual boundaries. In the context of stillwater fly-fishing my own boundaries usually - though not always - confine me to the representative rather than beckon me towards the lurid.

Not bad for a bodger

Friday, 21 April 2017 at 14:17

Perfection I've been spending odd hours in the evenings doing some work on cane - on my old rods and on a second-hand landing-net handle. One job I've kept putting off, largely because I was unsure how well the cane and all the whippings would take even the finest grain of emery paper, was a refurbishment and varnishing chore on my old Bruce Avon Perfection. In the event I needn't have worried: the cane and the whippings took the new, very thin coats of varnish beautifully and the whippings, in particular, began to glow like an old glass of good Burgundy. It was a hugely rewarding little job. I was particularly pleased because the Avon Perfection is one of my favourite rods, and is one I use regularly during the autumn and winter when trotting for roach, dace, grayling and chub. Rarely can a rod have been better designed for its purpose and the fittings and cosmetics are wonderful, too. As many traditionally-minded anglers have pointed out, cane is a great rod-building material and there are tremendous reserves of power there in the hexagonally-constructed butt, so that the more the rod bends, the more pressure can be exerted from the thick end of the rod. True, I rarely catch the sort of fish where those reserves of power are needed, but occasionally even I need to play a modest winter chub with tough and unyielding sensitivity - they dive under weed-rafts, head for tree-roots - and in those circumstances the Avon has always done everything I've asked of it.

I look at the rod now as it waits for its final varnish coat and think 'Not bad for a bodger'.

Grafham soundings

Thursday, 13 April 2017 at 16:09

Grafham brown Another extraordinary day at Grafham, fishing in cool, gusty westerlies with my old friend Mark Brown. We encountered fish from the off, though at first the rainbows nipped and plucked uselessly. It seemed the shoals were 3-4' down, and after a while we began to get serious interest in our flies and lures, all fished on slowish-sinking lines. We met fish at both Hill Farm and later, in Valley Creek, spelling for a while in Savages, where we picked up fewer but better-quality rainbows, with some brown trout among them. Best fish of the day came to young Mark, who released a pristine, silver-liveried brown trout that can't have been less than 3¾lb.

The image shows a brown of around 1½lb. about to be released. Nice hat.

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