Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

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Thursday, 13 May 2021 at 21:17

Grafham rainbow The swifts were busy at Grafham. The trout were almost as busy as the birds. Fishing the washing-line (a Coral Booby and smaller buzzers) I released a good number of trout but kept one, this wonderfully full-tailed rainbow which was 22" on the tape and weighed exactly 4lb. A splendid session. Good to be out there again in the wind and the wave and the wide open spaces.

St. Mark's fly

Tuesday, 11 May 2021 at 20:22

Hawthorns The alternative name for the hawthorn fly, when it's not Bibio marci, is 'St. Mark's fly', named after the saint because the insects are held to emerge around St. Mark's Day, 25th April. Last year I saw the first hawthorns (males, smaller than their female mates) around April 13th; this year I saw the first numbers of hawthorns just today, which tells us something (as if we needed telling) about how cold it's been.

Hawthorns can be important to trout fishers. They're a large insect, a good mouthful for a hungry trout, and where they blow onto the water surface trout can become fond of them. There are plenty of good representations available. I've never found it necessary to imitate the prominent legs and chunky abdomen of the natural flies precisely and generally press a Black Klink or Black Gnat pattern into service (size range 12-14).

Hawthorn flies are important pollinators and are as their name suggests found around hawthorn bushes when these are in flower.

A bigger plastic worm

Tuesday, 11 May 2021 at 20:17

Baited spinner In occasional gaps between work I've tried to get to the estuary for an hour. These sessions are little more than walks with a fishing rod. There have been few mullet in evidence so far this year but today I saw some splashy swirls which must have been made by little bass. I put the baited spinner over them - of course I did - but the incoming tide was pushing up thick mud. Given the turbid water I doubt any fish had the chance to see the spinner, which I'd baited with a fake fluorescent worm. The thick-lipped mullet won't take that but the thin-lips just might....though I'll need a bigger head of fish, clearer water and a slice of luck. And maybe a longer worm.

Listening for nightingales

Saturday, 8 May 2021 at 10:59

Nightingale Nightingales still seem to me to be exotic creatures. I can't remember ever hearing one when I lived in the north of England. Here in Essex. however, the nightingales arrive in later April and it's fairly common in some woodland and scrubland areas to hear the birds singing against the rim of night (and often into the early part of the night). We went out two evenings ago and heard several individuals singing - such dizzy, coloratura songs, quite unlike the mellow loveliness of the blackbird. It's a mercy that the birds still seem to be surviving in numbers to make it back across Continental Europe to these shores.

There's been little fishing of late. Work keeps getting in the way.

Image licensed under Creative Commons: Carlos Delgado - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

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