Chris McCully


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A first for everything

Tuesday, 12 April 2022 at 10:28

This morning I set off for the river, which lies 80 minutes' drive away. The roads were benign. The river was at a good level. I was greatly looking forward to it all. I opened the car boot - to find I'd stylishly left the 10-foot 4-weight back in York and had no spare.
    I've left other stuff behind over the years - nets, waistcoats, lunch. I've even taken along the wrong rod. But in nearly 60 years of fishing I've never left a rod behind.
    I shall laugh about it eventually... but not, I think, quite yet.

More like winter than spring (1)

Tuesday, 5 April 2022 at 20:35

Net and wading staff Two weeks ago we were catching trout in what was almost shirt-sleeve weather. This week you've needed thermals. It's been much more like winter than spring, certainly on the spine of the Dales hills. To the east, in the Vale of York, the weather's been kinder and spring is much more advanced than in Wharfedale.

At least I've christened a new rubber-mesh net and have been pleased with the performance of an antique cane landing net handle which doubles as a wading staff. Rubber button on the end, some sheet lead wrapped round the shaft and nailed in place.... Away you go. I think if I had to recommend one vital, even potentially life-saving accessory for use on the Dales rivers it would be a wading staff.

More like winter than spring (2)

Tuesday, 5 April 2022 at 20:25

Copperhead Nymph Yes, more like winter than spring, with the water and air temperature alike at a glorious 8C and the laughing rain coming and going on a gusty wind that had plenty of north in it. At this time of year the trout in the Dales rivers tend to mooch about in the dubs for most of the day but will prospect into the currents at the pool-heads if and when any fly appears. Unfortunately I saw no fly and equally, I saw no rising fish. Quite against the run of play, however, at 1050 the line drew away and a decent trout was on. It had taken the Copperhead. When I worked it to hand it turned out to be around 13 inches of beautifully-marked wild brown trout. I slipped out the barbless iron, admired the trout briefly and it swam.

I used to tie something similar with a lead underbody - that was Roger Fogg's pattern of caddis, I think - but the Copperhead is simpler and quicker to tie and is probably even more effective when used to simulate a cased caddis. Stuart Minnikin ties and sells a wonderful version of the pattern. Check out

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