Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

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Friday, 29 September 2017 at 10:16

Beach reading It wasn't a fishing holiday but it was filled with lazy days on the beach, diving (Monika), trips to impressive cenotes and some snorkelling with and without turtles. I did manage half a day's fishing and also spent time watching birds, whose variety on the Yucatán peninsula is staggering. I read somewhere that the peninsula is host to over 500 bird species; all of Europe hosts around 400 species, so that puts the Mexican statistic into perspective.

In case you're wondering - you weren't, but never mind - I did stagger through Post Modernism: The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (Jameson) and found much to ponder, though I probably derived more long-term benefit from learning some basic Spanish. None of the books I consulted, however, contained English-Spanish translations of 'bonefish' (macabì, I think....).

Yucatan: sea birds

Friday, 29 September 2017 at 10:12

Sea birds Yucatan The reef that runs the length of the Yucatán peninsula is the second-longest in the world and is home to thousands of sea-birds including ospreys, sea eagles, frigate birds and pelicans. Anglers will also know the reef, and particularly the mangroves that lie inland, as wonderful places to fish for permit, tarpon and bonefish. I didn't manage on this trip to take the fly-rods but did manage half a day's fishing from a boat (see below). So impressive is the reef, its fish and bird life I may well go back one day and I'll then make sure to take the fly-rods with me.

Yucatan: trolling

Friday, 29 September 2017 at 10:06

Trolling I managed half a day's fishing, trolling (at first) from Puerta Aventuras. In my limited experience of big game trolling, life can consist of hours of relative monotony punctuated by frenetic activity when fish are sighted following the teasers or the lures and baits. During our morning's trolling things were livened up by glimpses of dolphins, frigate birds, flying fish and a solitary loggerhead turtle. They're not the sorts of creature that usually fill my fishing days in Essex, Yorkshire or Ireland, and you don't see many of them on Grafham, either.

After a spot of trolling with no action we switched to bottom fishing.

Yucatan: rigged ballyhoo

Friday, 29 September 2017 at 10:01

Rigged ballyhoo For trolling - we were expecting dorado, possibly - we used rigged ballyhoo. Eventually, after a couple of hours of monotony, we switched to bottom fishing, which felt rather ignominious. Four of us stood there in the stern with 20lb-class gear, working a lask of ballyhoo 120 feet down on the edge of the reef. For all the world we could have been standing on Southend pier.

Yucatan: trigger fish

Friday, 29 September 2017 at 09:59

Trigger fish Odd-looking creature but trigger fish must I'm sure find other trigger fish beautiful. This one ran 4-5lb. - it was one of four, all alike - and they pull a bit even on 20lb-class gear.


Saturday, 9 September 2017 at 20:05

Unsettled The Grafham wardens told me they'd been within an ace of calling everyone off the lake, so severe was the lightning. By the time the storm struck Mark and I were safely having tea in the lodge, having missed the worst of the weather by a minute. The conditions clearly had an effect on the fishing. We shared half a dozen between us, best around 2¾lb. Some took wets; two of the better fish took a dry, detached-bodied Daddy. Other fish followed and swirled but with little intent, though one angler reported success on a standard washing-line set-up. Like us, he was fishing areas of clearer water (the lake has been stirred by westerlies over the past few days). Of note, though, was a hatch of sedges that was intensifying at Hill Farm just as we were leaving.

Big Bertha's failure

Monday, 4 September 2017 at 20:14

Dapping rod Hard to keep a straight horizon when you're holding a 15' dapping rod in one hand and clicking a shutter with the other. Yes, it was dapping time. Dapping and the Daddy. My reader will know I've tried for three years to extract trout from Grafham on dry Daddies, and have mostly failed. Today, in a wind that was usually far too light, I tried dapping. Don't think I've dapped for seventeen years, so exhuming Big Bertha - now a battered and unlovely thing, if she'll pardon me - was a novelty. The novelty soon palled. I moved precisely nothing to the dap but did manage to release half a dozen cracking rainbows on the dry fly (a dry Big Red, size 12). Honour, if not angling intelligence, was satisfied and I drove home content. Well, fairly content.

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