Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

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Big Bertha's failure

Monday, 4 September 2017 at 20:14

Dapping rod Hard to keep a straight horizon when you're holding a 15' dapping rod in one hand and clicking a shutter with the other. Yes, it was dapping time. Dapping and the Daddy. My reader will know I've tried for three years to extract trout from Grafham on dry Daddies, and have mostly failed. Today, in a wind that was usually far too light, I tried dapping. Don't think I've dapped for seventeen years, so exhuming Big Bertha - now a battered and unlovely thing, if she'll pardon me - was a novelty. The novelty soon palled. I moved precisely nothing to the dap but did manage to release half a dozen cracking rainbows on the dry fly (a dry Big Red, size 12). Honour, if not angling intelligence, was satisfied and I drove home content. Well, fairly content.

Released...almost

Monday, 4 September 2017 at 20:10

September rainbow They were handsome fish and two of them took so much line we were just short of the backing. Best was around 2¾lb., I thought. The takes varied hugely, from little almost ripple-less nips to larger and decisive swirls. It was some of the most satisfying fishing I've enjoyed this season.

The causeway

Monday, 28 August 2017 at 15:59

Causeway This causeway links Northey island to the banks of the Blackwater estuary at Maldon. It was the site of a famous skirmish between Vikings and the Essex fyrd led by Ealdorman Byrhtnoth in 991AD. (Judging by angling reports this is also a good bass mark.) I wanted to visit because there's a line in the Old English poem The Battle of Maldon about Byrhtnoth 'calling over the cold water', offering battle to the Vikings -

...ongan ceallian þa ofer cald wæter Byrhthelmes bearn....

- and I wanted to see if a voice could in fact have carried the length of the causeway.

It could have.


Bricks in a field

Monday, 28 August 2017 at 15:45

Source It's been a tough month at work and I've been obliged to burn off two fishing days and scrap other outdoor plans. Since there's not much of August left then I feel distant from all I most love (and in truth, what I've needed and still need). Today, though, I had a morning free and did what I've been intending to do for the past four years - get up to the source of the river. Along the somewhat weary way I stopped off at - fine then, got lost in - several villages, tracking the river's course upstream and hanging over bridges as I went. I saw little except hordes of small chub, and sun-struck roach basking in the thin water of dusty fords. When eventually, after some map- and leg-work, I reached the source I found a field drain surrounded by an arch of brick. There was no sign, no monument, no information board and it was all the better for it.

Wet Snake

Tuesday, 8 August 2017 at 20:29

Snake Grafham enjoyed - ha! - a rain-loaded blow from the North and choppy waves. The wind moderated, though not the rain, and I spent just four hours on the water. Scum lanes had formed running N>S across the lake and plenty of rainbows were in them, favouring the deepest, coolest water they could find and moving to any creatures they found trapped in or just under the film. I moved some fish to dries but then experimented with a Snake (pictured) and some Blobs, trying to excite the rainbows' curiosity. The theory was that fish would sight the Blobs, move to intercept them and then see (and take) the Snake on the point. I had any number of follows and hits but converted just two, the best a very solid rainbow of some 2½lb., before rain and work pressures took me away from the water at 1400. It was no triumph but it was good to get anything at all.

Fishers and men in Kerry

Friday, 28 July 2017 at 17:35

Fisherman Just back from Kerry, where we enjoyed a tough trip fishing for brown trout (in Derriana), bass (off the coast around Waterville and beyond) and salmon (in the River Inny). We did catch trout and they had an interesting story to tell us; we did catch - well, almost everyone but me caught - bass; and all of us abjectly failed in our attempts to catch a salmon despite perfect conditions. That last phrase is astonishing because even Goldenballs failed to catch a salmon...though he did catch a magnificent bass on the fly-rod, so I suppose he shall be forgiven. (Jesus, after all, was 'ere.)

In the images below you'll find some snapshots of our adventures. It was a grand and demanding week. Many thanks to our friends in Kerry for their hospitality, kindness, conversations and angling acumen.

Kerry bass: Schoolie

Friday, 28 July 2017 at 17:32

Schoolie The schoolies here in Essex run 1-2lb.and are sometimes smaller. In Kerry, where the coastal feeding is rich, the schoolies run 2-3lb. and are a wonderful angling proposition, though working out wind, tide and accessibility are ever-demanding aspects of fishing for them, particularly when you're working with the fly-rod.


   Here's Gardiner with a very fit school bass of around 3lb. The fish took a Clouser.


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