Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

First snowdrops

Sunday, 12 January 2020 at 16:41

Snowdrops It's often on my local stretch of the river that I see the coming of the year's snowdrops. So it was today. Lord Seabrook spotted them first, which was a bit galling since I'd spent time on and off all morning looking in the familiar places for them. Still, there they were - a bit premature, hanging their frail heads against the weather. As I was photographing this austere snowdrop-clump a double rainbow formed in the river valley and a group of long-tailed tits were busy in the bushes behind me. It's on this same reach of river that I usually see the first mayflies of the year, too (Ephemera danica) so it's a prolific, even blessed little spot.

Turbid water

Sunday, 12 January 2020 at 16:33

January piking In truth it's not often we blank while piking on the river but we did today. Even Lord Seabrook - the only man I know who can catch pike on softbaits when the river's the colour of milky tea - couldn't work the oracle. Then again, he moved three, one of them a good fish, so the session wasn't altogether without incident. I suspect the yo-yoing of the water levels, the barometric veerings, the flood-turbid water all had something to do with our failure. There's also the fact (and I think it is probably a fact) that pike don't feed all day every day in deepest winter. They may feed - what? - three or four times a week, and sometimes less in bitterly cold weather. It's entirely possible we chose to fish on a day when the pike had their mouths firmly shut. And good luck to them. All the same, we had a walk with fishing-rods on an exhilaratingly windy day in the country and we even saw the first snowdrops (above). All good.


Thursday, 2 January 2020 at 07:32

1966 Plus ça change....


A chub

Sunday, 29 December 2019 at 13:51

Trudex The river's been out of order for a week but was fishable today. The banks showed clearly where the flood had been; it had strewn debris five feet up into the streamside branches and had left thick, claggy mud behind. I thought of perch and duly took along the Lucky, an old Trudex, a handful of quills and some brandlings. In the event I caught no perch, which was fairly astonishing because I can catch them readily enough on softbaits in the same reaches of the stream. Still, all was not lost: a swift dip of the float - the only bite I had, I think - met an equally swift response and soon a chub graced the meshes. It wasn't a big chub but it did need the net, so that was all fine. I also discovered that if you take off the line-guard the old Trudex is a rather sweet-running little trotting reel and I had a glimpse of a kingfisher, so it was a pleasant few hours outside. The Lucky Strike was pleased, too.

The tale of Florence (Flo) Trubber

Tuesday, 24 December 2019 at 21:57

Beardy plug I was snood under but this Christmas Eve trotted out a story about an elf taking a bung. I wrote it in the leger but I was laying-on, just spinning a line. Then I went stret-pegging loafers onto next-door’s washing-line. They have a one-up, two-down gaff. They clipped up with a loaded waggler (they wanted to get shot, I think). ‘Induced take?’ asked their shock leader (he likes meat curry). ‘Only some dibbling, thanks,’ I said. ‘Pity you haven’t got any zig-bugs. Nice spods, though. Ah, bushing at Christmas – up-tidings of comfort and joy.’ Well, instead of dotting down we did a jig and reel – Scots wha hae wi’ Wallis cast - round the bait-dropper. They had family over: ‘open-ended swimfeeders,’ they grumbled. You should Czech their nymphing, then, I told them, or try jerk-baiting or the bread-punch and if all else fails, the Archer. ‘They’ll either mend, or vanish without a trace,’ I said. ‘Anyway, can’t stop-knot. Time for my paternoster. Merry Christmas.’

[34 words or phrases, since you asked...or possibly, didn't.]

Angling review of the year I

Friday, 20 December 2019 at 10:36

Perch An odd angling year - one during which I've fished too sporadically and have been much interrupted by work and other pressures. The year began as 2018 had ended, with catching pike and some small but feisty perch from the Suffolk Stour. The perch took softbaits (4Play Shads) worked on a 5g jig hook. Perhaps because of the relative clarity of the river they were wonderfully-marked, handsome little perch and I was delighted to meet them.

Angling review of the year II

Friday, 20 December 2019 at 10:28

Pike softbait In February I travelled north to fish the Wharfe for grayling and for pike. I experimented with the swim-feeder for grayling and did catch a few. For another day and half of that trip, however, I determined to catch a pike from the river. In the end I caught two and moved another. I swear that I'd encountered one of these pike three weeks before - a fish of around 7lb. which had attacked a grayling float as I batted that back during a long-trotting session. This time, the same pike fastened onto a Mann's Shad. Next day I clipped on one of the larger softbaits in the lure box and worked that  over a slow, fairly deep section of the river - a place I thought would hold roach shoals. The lure was duly seized and after a heavy play a pike of no less than 12lb. (93cm., the diary tells me) came over the rim of the big net.

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