Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

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Almost as good as....

Saturday, 26 January 2019 at 13:07

New growth I did a reading years ago at which, during the Q&A, a young woman took the microphone. 'May I ask,' (and here I braced myself for the shower of praise which would be embedded in her question - I was clearly one of those stern-jawed, politically-committed, dead-on poets I've myself so much admired over the years - obviously she'd want to ask about that, and about how I so effortlessly aligned political sincerity with a convincing poetic register - and equally obviously, she'd want to ask about where, how and from whom I learnt my sheer technique [I probably suppressed an imaginary dahlings! here] - and would also want to know about whether she could buy the latest...)... 'May I ask,' she continued, 'why you write so often about your garden?'

I love the garden, work hard in it and learn a great deal from it. That process is almost as intricate, surprising and reassuring as fishing.

Snowdrops

Thursday, 17 January 2019 at 15:33

First snowdrops With bitter conditions forecast, these snowdrops might yet regret poking their heads out into the weather - but all the same it's lovely to see them. Their appearance this year is early. I usually reckon that these bulbs begin to show themselves in the last week of January or first week of February. By the time we have carpets of them - mid to late February - the coarse fishing season is, for me, drawing to a close.

The mornings are very slowly becoming lighter; there's increasing volume of bird-song from around 0645. When the coming cold snap has passed, one calm, late winter morning there'll be the first great chorus of the blackbirds. And spring will have announced itself again.

The old, the new and the impractical

Sunday, 6 January 2019 at 12:13

Old and new I prefer tackle that's efficient rather than stuff which is aesthetically pleasing or which strokes nostalgia. Then again, I admire (British) craftsmanship and am a fool for history. I do use several (treasured) cane rods; enjoy using tackle that, however old, is practical and hand-made; and I have no love for plastic or the pointlessly hi-tec. Every winter involves the servicing of canvas, wood and leather or the varnishing of bits of cane as well as the maintenance of plastic (and some silk) fly-lines. That said, I recently acquired a new rod, unchristened but promising. It's an Avon quiver tip (brand Rovex John Wilson [RIP, and thank you] Avon Quiver Travel). At 11 feet, in five pieces and with three push-in tips of different sizes, it comes with a bag and hard tube and is very reasonably priced. What's not to like? An experimental waggle revealed a rod which is light, has authority and a fine action: it will be excellent for grayling, chub and possibly, barbel - a fish which is currently at the limits of ambition. There are places on the rivers I fish where long-trotting would be impractical and cane possibly vulnerable; hence these new, dark designs with maggots, hemp, a block-end swimfeeder - and an efficient rod.

John Storey variant

Sunday, 6 January 2019 at 11:52

Storey variant I've no idea what the original John Storey was supposed to represent, if anything. Tied with a forward-raking jib of mallard and with a fully-wound gingery hackle it looked and looks like nothing on earth. A Yorkshire angler's Compara dun? A Klink avant la lettre? What I do know is that the John Storey was - is - a grand general pattern, especially if fished in small sizes (16-18). A few years ago I began to experiment with a looped wing of grey or bronze mallard; this was both easier to tie and to fish than the original mallard jib (i.e. the variant pattern was less inclined to twist on the leader). The variant caught plenty of fish. Then, following a word with Steve Rhodes, I experimented with parachute-tied hackles - of a fake honey-dun/badger shade. This variant, too, caught plenty of fish (both trout and grayling). It casts well, lands softly, and has now more than earned a permanent place in the fly-box.

61

Wednesday, 2 January 2019 at 08:18

1966 Plus ├ža change...

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