Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

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The readiness is all

Sunday, 11 February 2018 at 09:56

Reels The opening of the reservoir trout season is less than three weeks away. Cleaning lines, renewing splices and oiling fly-reels seems to be becoming an ever-greater annual chore. Then again, on some reservoirs control of the depth at which the flies are working is critical, so you need a glutch of lines in order to cope efficiently. My most-used lines are a floater with a detachable clear intermediate tip; a full intermediate, a sinker (something like the old WetCel II), and a DI-3. That covers the presentation of dry flies (the floater), buzzers (either slow inter or DI-3 depending on circumstances), traditional wet-flies (slow inter or sinker) and fry patterns (DI-3 or more often, full floater). Until I began to fish Grafham I wouldn't have thought that control of depth was quite so critical, but it is - as it is in some forms of sea-trout fishing. These belated realisations drive me to the reel spindles, the splices and the Permaplas in late winter every year: virtual fishing.

Mud, grayling and creases 1

Saturday, 3 February 2018 at 19:14

Itchen grayling Two short sessions trotting for grayling on the Lower Itchen. There were some sunnier spells yesterday but today was simply wet, raw, muddy and dispiriting. We did get fish and some of them were very respectable grayling around the 1lb. mark. I enjoyed trotting maggot and/or sweetecorn through the glides and creases in the current that so many of the Itchen's grayling seem to favour. It was also good to see that the fish were generally in feisty and fit condition. Yet overall they were two quiet days on a beat that is normally remarkably prolific.

Roll on, spring.

Mud, grayling and creases 2

Saturday, 3 February 2018 at 19:09

Top shallows Lovely being out there when the sun shines, though on this occasion the sunshine seemed to put the grayling off. We all managed to catch a few in the overcast glooms of the morning but when the sun broke through and the temperature rose to a magnificent 7C the grayling seemed to become very quiet. This was odd - usually you can do some briskish business with smaller grayling even in the most inclement and unpropitious of conditions - and as things were it was as if the fishing gods had thrown a switch marked 'No More Today'.

Mud, grayling and creases 3

Saturday, 3 February 2018 at 19:05

Chunky little grayling A chunky little (10oz.) grayling from the shallows at the top of the beat. I always love seeing these small fish - they mean hope for the future. This one took at range, about 50 yards downstream. It's always rather satisfying, when you're long-trotting and can connect with fish at distance.

Not quite a dabfest

Saturday, 27 January 2018 at 14:13

Dab Three hours on an ebb tide - not the optimal time to fish. At half-ebb, though, the rod-tip started to knock and the next hour produced a couple of fat dabs and two equally fit flounders. Of the winter hordes of whiting there was no sign; I think whitings bite best as the tide floods, preferably towards dusk and dark. As it was I kept hurling paternostered lugworms out into the ebb as far as I could, spelling the lug with herring strips...which last gained minute and loving attention from all the local crabs. Varied and enjoyable sessions, these.

When winter comes...

Saturday, 13 January 2018 at 08:56

Snowdrops ...can spring be far behind? And only the sixth cliché of the morning....

Strange little session, utterly blank and with a broken tooth to add insult to bafflement. I suppose we all realise that there are times in deepest winter when the pike have their mouths firmly shut. I wondered about static deadbaits but the angler I encountered fishing sardines did no better than I did, so I guess it was just one of those days when the pike are simply lying there semi-torpid, digesting their last meal - which gulp of roach might have been two or three days ago. And so I spent half an hour finding and photographing clumps of wild snowdrops. There are worse ways to spend time outside.

A vintage year

Tuesday, 2 January 2018 at 15:13

Vintage I think that if you were to name one of the world's best ever cane fly-rods then the Hardy CC de France would probably feature in the discussion. As it happens I've been after one of these wands for some time, but ideally wanted to try and get hold of one made in the same year that I was. By an absolute fluke I found an 8-foot #5-6 of the right vintage - the number on the reel seat tells us the year of manufacture - and it seems to be in stunning condition. All I need now is a passing chalkstream or Yorkshire headwater on which to christen this lovely thing. Roll on the new trout season.

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