Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

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Shrimps and spots

Monday, 22 August 2016 at 08:49

Rose-moled and in stipple The Thruscross trout (and please see below) were handsome fish. Their abundant red spots may well derive from part of their diet, which is....shrimps. A root about under the bankside stones revealed that Thruscross supports great quantities of Gammarus pulex. These were light grey in colour and were found everywhere along the shores of this very lovely reservoir.

Trout in the Washburn Valley

Monday, 22 August 2016 at 08:30

Black Klink The Washburn Valley reservoirs - Swinsty, Fewston and Thruscross - lie in the heart of Yorkshire. Fewston is stocked with rainbows, as is Swinsty. All three waters hold browns, but Thruscross hosts only wild fish. We spent a hot but very pleasant day on these three reservoirs, and found Thruscross to be a delight, with its willing, if small, brown trout. They were wild as the non-existent wind, and above all, they were quick. A dry Green Daddy pulled some fish, but the trout seemed to prefer a Black KlinkhÄmer (size 14), a supply of which I'd tucked into the fly-box as an afterthought before leaving for the Dales. The fishing (bank fishing only) is offered by Yorkshire Water. Prices, directions and regulations can be found here:

Scar House

Monday, 22 August 2016 at 08:24

At work I was hard at work with Steve and Rod last week, constructing what I hope will be a couple of pieces for that venerable organ, Trout and Salmon. We had poor conditions - calms and heat - but fished some really lovely stillwaters, among them Scar House reservoir. This lies at the head of Nidderdale under the shoulder of Great Whernside. Spectacular scenery and, as it turned out, plenty of wild trout. They didn't run big - the best we had wasn't quite a pound - but they could and occasionally did take fairly freely, even in the balmy and light airs. A Daddy and a Black Klink, fished in the surface, seemed occasionally to work quite well. The fishing's offered by Nidderdale Angling Club (, to whom we extend our warmest thanks.

Bass streamers

Friday, 29 July 2016 at 08:51

Sandeels My most-used patterns for bass over the past season-and-a-half have been various representations of sandeels or small fish. I use plenty of white bucktail and chartreuse artificial fibres (Veniard Krinkle Mirror Flash Yellow, the packet tells me) in the dressings, which I usually construct on hook sizes 6-8. Total length of each 'fly' is around 4 inches. Under a hurried carnivorous glance these patterns could pass for sandeels or I suppose for small fish, though if I need something less eely and more fishy I have recourse to a different pattern with a darker and slightly more voluminous flash-fibre back (the 'wing'). Sparkle and mobility of the dressing seem to be the keys, though I caution that my own success is limited and so far has been confined merely to schoolies. (NB. Fly second from right was shop-bought and used as a template. You can tell how much neater it is than my own efforts.)

Crease fly

Friday, 29 July 2016 at 08:47

Crease fly Since I've read everywhere that bass will take surface lures I thought I'd try to give poppers, gurglers and whatnot more of an extended trial. This image shows a Crease fly that I tied up last night....a pattern complete with internal rattles. These aren't difficult to tie: the trick is to get the proportions of the creased foam correct and thereafter to finish the 'fly' well with 5-minute epoxy or similar (I used Bugbond Lite). A size 2 saltwater hook seemed about right to me.

Strange tides and opportunist bass

Tuesday, 26 July 2016 at 17:20

Schoolie Odd little bass session, on a tide that seemed to take an age to flood. Although some tiny (9 inch) schoolies were awake from the first push of water, it was only at three-quarter tide that some slightly better fish began to show. These were around 1lb., though I moved one three times that size...and missed it with the usual stylish incompetence. On this tide it was noticeable how opportunistic the bass were: any push of extra current caused by, say, a small reef and they'd be into it, however briefly, before prospecting onwards again. Pattern seemed unimportant: a 4-inch-long streamer did well, but then so did a size 8 saltwater iron onto which I'd pushed some silver mylar braid. There were also long peroids of inactivity during which I simply watched the clouds bloom and disperse in the distorting mirror of the water surface. Lovely.

Of shoe trees and wading boots

Sunday, 24 July 2016 at 10:54

Shoe trees Yes. I fully accept that I should get out more. Anyway.... Once you've dried wading boots you're left with a rucked piece of stiff hide, tough as an elephant's corns. It struck me that you could find a use for those shoe trees which you have in the bottom of the closet. They're probably as old as you are, or were acquired from a boot sale in 1993, or were a Christmas gift in 1968. Tuck the shoe trees into the wading boots as they dry. Once the lot has dried, proof the boot leather or Nubuck or whatever with the relevant proofer. You shall therefore have prolonged the life of your wading boots and you shall also bless me for this advice when you try to put on your wading boots next time round. No more faffing, forcing, or falling about in car-parks.

This piece of advice comes to you courtesy of an almost mis-spent life. NB. No wading boots were harmed during the writing of this piece.

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