Little bass and the Strawberry Moon
Monday, 20 June 2016 at 08:50
Because it marks the beginning of the strawberry harvest, the current full moon is known rather quaintly as the Strawberry Moon. The first strawberries in my garden were had two weeks ago by the birds, but June's full moon of course also means big tides, and the first hours of the flood last night coincided with dusk and lightish winds. Time for a bass session with the fly-rod. It was a yellow, greasy sort of dusk; the clouds boiled with incipient rain and the estuary looked stricken. Only the small bass seemed to be awake in the sick light and the slapping tide, but the half-dozen I released were the first of this season and I expect stocks to build up through July and August in such a way that there are some better fish among the shoals. Last year there were fish pushing 3lb. among the little schoolies, and although these 2 and 3lb-ers aren't by any means big bass they were good fun on an 8-weight.
Moody, gloomy, glorious Grafham
Saturday, 4 June 2016 at 10:27
No, it wasn't easy: Grafham was gloomy with cloud, smirr and murk; Grafham was full of strange fish that would follow, splash, nip and boil at the flies without taking them properly, until we'd lost count of the trout we'd moved and failed to hook; Grafham brought us to the edge of hopelessness. Of course we tried: changed patterns, tactics, life philosophies, our wills. But the fish still uselessly nipped and uselessly followed and boiled until by 6p.m., after lashing Grafham's head off, we had one - one - between us. And yet - oh, gloriously, and yet - there in the evening, in the smirr and murk and gloom and the cold north wind, Grafham's trout began to rise (to buzzers). For an hour or two we had proper follows, serious interest. We even had some proper takes. Pattern seemed, as ever, relatively unimportant: the Pea, a small claret palmer, even (astonishingly) a Dunkeld were taken despite the presence of more or less realistic buzzer representations on the same leader. Show 'em and move it.... Yes, we showed, they moved, and although the final result wasn't shattering it was satisfying to both of us. And people wonder why we enjoy fishing so much.