Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

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A new old rod

Saturday, 13 November 2021 at 20:16

Swimversa This Milwards Swimversa was probably made around 1960. I had the rod restored by Paul Cook last year and Paul did a wonderful job, eliminating a minor knock in a ferrule and straightening the tip. Today was the first time I'd had the chance to rechristen the rejuvenated Swimversa; I did so on the Test at Timsbury, where Howard and I were pestered by (often very large) trout - all carefully returned - while trying to catch grayling. We did catch some grayling between us and I was delighted to see the Swimversa take on a curve it hasn't experienced for what I imagine are decades, but the highlight of a fairly slow day was, for me, a reacquaintance with...

...Graham!

Saturday, 13 November 2021 at 20:11

Graham Yes, it's been a long time since Graham and I worked the same swim, but here he is, looking almost as small as when I last encountered him. He's travelled well, mind you - all the way from the Itchen to the Test. Swimversa, Speedia, 3.2lb. reel line,2lb. bottom, size 18 barbless hook, single red maggot.

Chores

Sunday, 31 October 2021 at 09:31

Pimping my spoons and other poems The twin demands of work (currently brutal and never-ending) and puppy-training (usually a delight, but time-consuming) are robbing me of fishing. Back when life was less pressured and better adjusted I often found myself able to fish at least once a week. These days it seems to be once a fortnight, if that. Weekend time is also crimped in such a way that I find myself having just two or three hours free rather than the half or full day I'd ideally need to go fishing. Still, even among these torn-off stubs of time I can do some angling-related chores - pimp some spoons (the stuff called Peek is, as the late John Wilson recommended, a good polish), or slowly work through replacing trebles with singles, or even make some pike streamers. Last night, for example, I found myself making some Flash Flies (size 4/0) and very enjoyable that was. Clearly, pike fishing is on my mind again. All the same, angling-related chores aren't fishing - and I'm beginning to crave free time above all things.

Blanking

Sunday, 24 October 2021 at 20:37

The blank boat The fishing's been brutal of late. Last weekend I fished with Lord Brown at Rutland for back-end, fry-feeding trout. Now, tutored by his gillie (me) m'lud occasionally knows what he's doing with a fly-rod in his hands....but he blanked magnificently. So did his gillie (me). We barely moved a trout all day. Buoyed - if that's the word - by that experience I asked Lord Seabrook whether he'd have interest in fishing Rutland a week later, only this time for pike, zander and maybe a perch or three. Yes, he said. We proceeded to the lake today.....and blanked. The noble lord did move a fish (a zed, we thought) in the South Arm but that was our lot. We fished hard, too - fished the drop-offs, the weedbeds, the edges of weedlines, the bits of structure. Into the boat we took fly-rods, jerkbait rods, rods to jig with, rods to rock'n'roll with. We gave it, in short, the full beans. None of it did any good. It was just....yes, brutal.

Fry

Sunday, 24 October 2021 at 20:31

Rutland fry There are abundant fry in and around thre harbour at Rutland. These are I think this year's roach fry; there are also last year's fry (giants now 4-5" long) in the harbour too. You'd think that trout and perch would be lying in wait adjacent to these shoals of prey fish - and you'd be right. That said, I thought that the pike would also be lying in wait for the trout and perch lying in wait for the fry - and today at least, I was wrong.

Meanwhile...

Tuesday, 5 October 2021 at 20:31

Names cover ...we've begun work on the cover (this is a draft) and the textsetting of Names of the Fish in British and Irish Freshwaters. I finished most of the text last year, before the heart went bang, and then worked on copyright permissions, the bibliography, final tweakings and so on. I don't yet know exactly when the book will appear but we're certainly now into the final stages of its long gestation. The prospective cover image is a piece of brilliance from Jon Ward-Allen and Medlar: how appropriate is it for a book of names and histories that these wonderful fish - I love the grumpy one, who is clearly unhappy with his name - are made out of words?

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