Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

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Sunday, 25 February 2018 at 11:07

Gammon and Venables Yesterday at 0610 I heard a croaky-throated blackbird - just a few broken notes. That wasn't repeated this morning.

I could have fished...but the wind-chill's severe (certainly on the coast). I keep thinking of codling and given a realistic weather and tide opening I'd go. Yet like spring itself, fishing's been postponed. Instead I've spent time working, writing, tackle-tinkering and re-reading Clive Gammon. A Tide of Fish, from which this illustration of Clive Gammon and Bernard Venables was taken, recounts some of the author's shore fishing for bass and (astonishingly) tope on beach and rock marks in south Wales in the 1950s and early 60s. It's probably my favourite of Clive Gammon's books but I'd also recommend the chapters - self-contained stories, really - in a much later title, I Know a Good Place. The quality of writing in this last work is stunning: engaged, poignant and often hilarious.

The readiness is all

Sunday, 11 February 2018 at 09:56

Reels The opening of the reservoir trout season is less than three weeks away. Cleaning lines, renewing splices and oiling fly-reels seems to be becoming an ever-greater annual chore. Then again, on some reservoirs control of the depth at which the flies are working is critical, so you need a glutch of lines in order to cope efficiently. My most-used lines are a floater with a detachable clear intermediate tip; a full intermediate, a sinker (something like the old WetCel II), and a DI-3. That covers the presentation of dry flies (the floater), buzzers (either slow inter or DI-3 depending on circumstances), traditional wet-flies (slow inter or sinker) and fry patterns (DI-3 or more often, full floater). Until I began to fish Grafham I wouldn't have thought that control of depth was quite so critical, but it is - as it is in some forms of sea-trout fishing. These belated realisations drive me to the reel spindles, the splices and the Permaplas in late winter every year: virtual fishing.

Mud, grayling and creases 1

Saturday, 3 February 2018 at 19:14

Itchen grayling Two short sessions trotting for grayling on the Lower Itchen. There were some sunnier spells yesterday but today was simply wet, raw, muddy and dispiriting. We did get fish and some of them were very respectable grayling around the 1lb. mark. I enjoyed trotting maggot and/or sweetecorn through the glides and creases in the current that so many of the Itchen's grayling seem to favour. It was also good to see that the fish were generally in feisty and fit condition. Yet overall they were two quiet days on a beat that is normally remarkably prolific.

Roll on, spring.

Mud, grayling and creases 2

Saturday, 3 February 2018 at 19:09

Top shallows Lovely being out there when the sun shines, though on this occasion the sunshine seemed to put the grayling off. We all managed to catch a few in the overcast glooms of the morning but when the sun broke through and the temperature rose to a magnificent 7C the grayling seemed to become very quiet. This was odd - usually you can do some briskish business with smaller grayling even in the most inclement and unpropitious of conditions - and as things were it was as if the fishing gods had thrown a switch marked 'No More Today'.

Mud, grayling and creases 3

Saturday, 3 February 2018 at 19:05

Chunky little grayling A chunky little (10oz.) grayling from the shallows at the top of the beat. I always love seeing these small fish - they mean hope for the future. This one took at range, about 50 yards downstream. It's always rather satisfying, when you're long-trotting and can connect with fish at distance.

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