Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

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Retrospective fly-tying

Sunday, 31 March 2019 at 10:55

Waterhen Bloa Anyone sensible ties the relevant flies before they go fishing. I'm clearly not at all sensible and tie the flies I was missing after the day's work. On the Wharfe this week, for example, we found a trickle hatch of LDO at around 1p.m. GMT. Though the Partridge and Orange worked surprisingly well the situation called for a Waterhen Bloa. I had only two in the box and those were both ancient and over-dressed. So today I did what I should have done weeks ago and tied flies which would have been grand trout-getters last week but which I doubt I'll use again for another month or six. Or longer. Incidentally, in Mike Harding's excellent book about spiders, A Guide to North Country Flies and How to Tie them (2010), he has a wonderful phrase - I'm quoting from memory, so may not be 100% right - about the sparseness of the dubbing on the Waterhen; it should be as 'wispy as your grandmother's beard'.

First of the season

Saturday, 30 March 2019 at 17:59

Season's first I opened the trout season with a couple of blessed days as a guest on the Wharfe in the company of Lord Rhodes (to whom much thanks). The first day was tough - a cold northerly, a dour river, very few olives - but the second day was a classic. Around lunchtime the fish moved sporadically to a trickle hatch of LDO and we had a couple of hours of really splendid fishing, with fish responding both to spiders and to the dry-fly. It was odd that in the hatch of olives the Snipe and Yellow was ignored while the fish picked out the Patridge and Orange, which represents small stoneflies. Still, I'm not complaining.

A good pound and a half

Saturday, 30 March 2019 at 17:55

A cracker This one took at the beginning of our second day and was all of a pound and a half. In truth the average size of the fish was remarkable: of the five brace we released, one was a good 2lb., several were 1-4 to 1-10 and there were only a couple under the pound. Spiders (particularly the Orange Partridge) worked well, as did the ECH nymph, but Lord Rhodes showed how The Quality do it by getting his fish on a deer-hair emerger.

Upstream wet

Saturday, 30 March 2019 at 17:52

French nymphing And here's Lord Rhodes doing some of what he does best. He was French nymphing when this shot was taken - a tricky method when a cold wind blows straight downriver. As it happens, even on the first of our two days - a bitterly cold affair - we managed to winkle out a fish or two to spiders fished upstream-and-across.

Angler's lunch

Saturday, 30 March 2019 at 17:48

Pork pie Well, you've got to, haven't you? No first day of the trout season would be complete without a pork pie. The mystery dessert turned out to be a Yorkshire Curd Tart, which surely counts as one of the necessary Five a Day.

Ready? Er...

Sunday, 24 March 2019 at 09:43

Preparations March is an odd month, a time of changeover from the last of the coarse fishing to the first of the trout fishing. Some gear is cleaned, oiled, put away; other gear is exhumed, greased and cleaned. Normally I conduct the relevant chores throughout March but this year I've been so hard-pressed at work that I've had no weekend, nor yet an evening, to spare for the jobs. It was only yesterday that I began the process of pimping old fly-lines, checking splices and servicing the reels ready for (God willing) another trout season. This process has become a mighty labour, largely because I use reels and lines for river trout fishing, stillwater trout, sea trout, saltwater; add different densities of lines (particularly for stillwater fishing) and you're looking at a couple of dozen separate tasks. The days when I carried one much-used floater and one equally serviceable intermediate are long gone. Perhaps I should revert to that simplicity.

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