Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

Deceivers and DVDs

Sunday, 25 January 2015 at 17:00

Deceivers I've been watching bass (fly-)fishing DVDs. The first, Fly Fishing with a Pinch of Salt, is by Mike Ladle and Geoff Hancock (Purbeck Productions, 2004, see also Mike does a splendid job imparting much useful information, there are some fine action sequences and Mike even falls in stylishly at one point...only to emerge grinning. Admirable. The other DVD (a double disk) is A Season on the Salt with Justin Anwyl (TVMI Ltd, see also In the first DVD, Justin guides one of his chums on different days' bass fishing at different times of the season on the English south coast; in the second, he and another pal head off to Boston (USA) for some striper fishing. There are very good action sequences and also clear explanations of when and why bass hold around some coasts and underwater features and take on certain tides and not on others. So enthused was I that I tied up a handful of 3/0 Deceivers yesterday in chartreuse/white, and dreamt of summer and a flooding tide....

Of nothing much

Sunday, 25 January 2015 at 16:55

Mann's softbait and pike It was hugely, inexplicably quiet on the river. A four-hour session yielded only one smallish pike (around 5-6lb.) to the incomparable Mann's shad together with a soft bump from another. The last was a most unusual take, almost as if the pike had just nudged the lure with its nose. Maybe it had. I was the more surprised because usually at this time of year if you can get a pike to follow or swirl at a lure you can almost always get it to take solidly on a subsequent cast. Not this time. Further casts followed further casts; I changed the softbait for spoons, then for plugs; I covered the water and fished no worse than usual....and nothing happened. Oh well.

Dragons, saints and pike

Friday, 9 January 2015 at 12:28

Wissington dragon The river was in raging flood so (following a tip from John Gillies, for which, much thanks) I went to hunt for dragons. The dragon shown here was painted in the late 14th or early 15th century. A relevant story is found in the Chronicle of Henry de Blaneford of St Albans Abbey, 1405: 'In these days there evil dragon of excessive length with a huge body, crested head, saw-like teeth and elongated tail..., which destroyed and killed a herd of sheep. The servants of Sir Richard Waldegrave...came forth to shoot it with arrows but its body resisted the arrows which sprang back from its ribs as if they were hitting bronze plates....Almost the whole country was summoned to slaughter it but when it saw that it was to be shot at again, it fled into the marsh, hid in the reeds and was seen no more' (Guidebook to St. Mary the Virgin Church, Wissington, available in the church). The same church also hosts the first known (wall-)painting in England of St. Francis preaching to the birds. And so, while I intended to fish for pike, I found instead a saint and a dragon. And that was a good morning's work.

Streamers and birthdays

Friday, 2 January 2015 at 17:59

Bunny I doubt anyone has ever fished the local river for pike using a fly-rod and streamers. After a short session today I can see why: casting room is limited and there are many things that can snag a trailing fly-line. Still, it's just about possible to cast a streamer and during a short birthday session today I caught two, released another at long distance and briefly hooked two more - one of them clearly a good fish that rucked about for a few seconds before falling off in a turmoil of water. None of the pike (except the big one lost) would have been more than 5lb. but it was a lovely few hours. Culprits were red and white Bunnies and that old favourite, a silver/gold Flash Fly, all on sizes 4/0- 6/0 debarbed singles. Fly-rod was a 9-foot 8-weight. The recent lift in temperature has something - probably everything - to do with pike activity, because a few days ago in bitterly cold weather all I moved was one little jack.


Friday, 2 January 2015 at 08:55

1966 Plus ├ža change...

Great bits of fishing 2014 - Golden Gonads on Mask

Wednesday, 31 December 2014 at 12:21

Golden bollocks I found Lough Mask exhilarating and difficult. On our visit I was a mere passenger, managing only two small brown trout for all my pains, charm, wiles, good looks and sheer angling skill. (Huh? Ed.) Still, I was fishing with Golden Bollocks, who outfishes me every time we step into a boat together. And that's perfectly OK. Usually. On Mask, however, Goldenballs was alight. He stripped wet-flies faster than I've ever seen any man strip...but the trout took, and took again, and then took some more, out of what seemed like mere good humour. Goldenplums was pulling these wonderfully-spotted Mask leopards to the boatside faster than I could say 'Whadyagetemonthen?' After a while I shut up and just enjoyed it.

Great bits of fishing 2014 - Gardiner on Carra

Wednesday, 31 December 2014 at 12:18

Gardiner on Carra Lough Carra was tricky. The conditions in early June were flukey - flat calm one minute, brisk and cool northerlies the next. We struggled, despite or perhaps because of a late hatch of greendrakes. During one of the flukey periods, however, Gardiner spotted a few trout rising to buzzers in an oily and unnerving calm. He put up three dry-flies. Before you could say 'Total eejit' a trout took. He's still a total eejit but it was a fine piece of angling.

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