Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

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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.

Angling review of the year III

Friday, 20 December 2019 at 10:22

Spring I opened the trout season in the Dales in the company of Lord Rhodes (to whom much thanks). In late March we enjoyed a couple of cold but productive days among smaller or sometimes larger hatches of Large Dark Olive - to which the trout duly responded. It's quite rare, I find, to experience what you'd call 'classic' angling days but during one of these early spring sessions the olives were floating down, their wings set like the sails of miniature yachts, from noon onwards. There'd be a flush of fly, the first rises, and the fish moving from the deeps towards the stream-heads to intercept the newly-hatched duns.... Typically these early season hatches don't last long but while they did last it was a benign, reassuring and happy experience.

Angling review of the year IV

Friday, 20 December 2019 at 10:14

Rutland Throughout the spring (April-early June) I spent odd but persistent days fishing at Rutland - sometimes on my own but sometimes in the company of Lord Seabrook and Lord Brown (image). Buzzer hatches were good throughout May and we saw a few Lake Olives, too. We caught plenty of rainbows and it was interesting and often entertaining fishing. I experimented with the Bung (sorry) but more often caught fish either on the washing-line or on slowly-pulled Hare's Ears, buzzers and Cormorants. Again I caught nothing massive, and never caught large numbers of fish - I tended to lose focus after the first three or four and went off to have an experimental potter on another part of the lake -  but if you'd told me years ago that I'd be shrugging off brown trout of 3½lb. (one of the rare Rutland fish I weighed before release) I'd have been stunned.

Angling review of the year V

Friday, 20 December 2019 at 10:09

The Pyrenees In June Richard Faulks and I travelled to the Pyrenees to construct a piece for Trout and Salmon. (If you'd told me forty years ago that one day I'd fly in to Biarritz with the fishing-rods I wouldn't have believed you.) We had a splendid trip in the company of our guide Glenn Delporte. The fishing wasn't at all easy but we did catch some trout including the rare zebra trout, an Ice Age relic sub-species which is today found in the upper tributaries of the River Ebro (which include the R. Irati, which flows roughly south from the French-Spanish border).

Angling review of the year VI

Friday, 20 December 2019 at 10:05

Bustards As the year reached its zenith I visited the Eden with Richard Faulks in order to make a Trout and Salmon feature about bustard fishing (night fishing for brown trout on rivers). We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and Richard released a wonderful brown trout of over 2lb. which he'd taken on a large Orange Muddler at midnight. I'd tied up some replicas of Pritt's bustard patterns (the Brown and the White Bustard) and caught a goodly number of smaller trout over our two nights' work.

At the end of the Eden trip I stayed over in the north and had the pleasure of fishing Stocks Reservoir (rainbows to the dry fly) with my old friend Lord Calbrade - another highlight of the year.

Angling review of the year VII

Friday, 20 December 2019 at 10:02

High summer High summer saw some short trips to a local small stillwater (a gravel pit): cane rod, centre-pin, red-topped quill float and bait which varied between maggots, worms, bread and luncheon meat. My objective was to catch crucians and although results weren't spectacular there did come an early morning when three crucians (best around 1½lb.) graced the landing-net.

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