Chris McCully

Notebook

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Glare

Monday, 14 March 2022 at 14:33

Another one Everybody knows that bright days and blue skies offer poor conditions for trout fishing. I tried to come up with a good analogy to help me understand more about glare and angling for trout. Imagine - my analogy ran - that you're driving on a sunny day soon after a shower has wet the roads. Now imagine yourself driving into a lowish sun on that day. You'd be doubly dazzled - by the glare of the sun itself and then the glare off the water lying on the surface of the road. At best, you'd be squinting; at worst, you'd be almost blinded by the light. So it may be (my analogy ran) with trout. Browns and rainbows may feel hungry; they may even come into the surface layers to find food. Yet once they get into these over-lit water strata they'll be dazzled - and they have no eyelids to mitigate the worst of the glare. They simply won't be able to see much - and so retreat into the depths again, to feed in earnest earlier or later, when light levels are more comfortable and less energy has to be expended on feeding.

Naming the Flies

Sunday, 13 March 2022 at 08:53


Time was when anglers’ flies were named from life,

for gundog, keeper, weather, whimsy, wife:

Thunder and Lightning, Wickham’s Fancy, Sweep,

Dawn’s Favourite (now there was one to keep),


John Storey, Sinfoil’s Fry, the Sherry Spinner….

The words - connoting oven, smoke-box, dinner -

spoke back from fishing history with a smile.

Their language used a lexicon of guile.


It seems so quaint now - antique verbiage,

sepia and dust. There wasn’t then the rage

to Bag Up, Max the Catch or Limit Out.

Good days could mean a singleton: one trout.


When did things change? With rainbows? Reservoirs?

When competitions came, and all their choirs

of cliché measuring merit by the dram?

‘The tug’s the drug’? ‘I won - therefore I am’?


This brave new world’s utilitarian

with no place for the antiquarian:

‘The greatest catches for the greatest number.’

But double limits tend to make us dumber.


‘What did you get it on?’ We name the fly

and find we’re merely grunting in reply

as new commodities stick on the tongue:

the FAB, the Blob, the Booby or the Bung.

The FAB, the Blob, the Booby and the Bung

Thursday, 10 March 2022 at 15:24

Crudely named flies Names of contemporary stillwater flies seem to be merely workmanlike (workpersonlike?) or more usually, crudely descriptive: the FAB (Foam-Arsed Blob) is a case in point. Yet these flies are, fished in the appropriate way in the appropriate conditions, remarkably effective. The Bung, for example, lends itself well to presenting artificial buzzer pupae in very lifelike ways; the FAB or the Booby, when used on the point of the leader as a depth controller, allow different depths to be searched with efficiency and effectiveness. So it was today, when the FAB allowed the presentation of buzzers (black and red) at depths varying between two and six feet.

Still, as a little experiment, say 'FAB, Blob, Booby and Bung' aloud. Now say (slowly, savouring the names) 'Lunn's Particular', 'Wickham's Fancy' and 'Sherry Spinner'. The difference in terminology encodes not just different forms of fly-fishing but different eras, even different ways of conceiving this way of life.

The tug is the drug...

Thursday, 10 March 2022 at 15:17

Andrew at the pond ...although I'd add that if you do feel a distinct tug from a taking fish you're probably holding the rod-tip too low to the water: the fish will therefore feel immediate resistance from line and rod and will likely drop the fly it was so intent on eating just a split-second before. What you're after is, really, not a tug but a sort of straightening and weighing of the line - a movement which gives the fish time to take the fly and turn away without alarm or suspicion and with the deception firmly in its mouth.

Here's someone - Andrew - who reacts beautifully to the vagaries of taking fish. When I arrived at the pond his rod seemed to be always bent; it was so when I left, too. My role was limited to photography, pinching his successful flies, catching the odd rainbow with them and hurling insults over my shoulder while I did so. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

First of the season

Thursday, 3 March 2022 at 15:50

First Yes, the first pork pie of the new trout season. This wasn't an ethnic or ethically-sourced pork pie; it was just Tesco's default offering but my goodness, starved as I now am of pork pies because of the heart business, it tasted particularly splendid.

I don't normally begin trout fishing quite this early in March but I've recently almost finished a whack of work and thought I deserved a few hours away from the computer and the madness and sadness of the geopolitical news. Off I went, in Andrew's expert company, to a local stillwater. I lost count of the trout Andrew released but it was an impressive performance. I almost threatened to keep up with him at one point but normal form soon resumed. I finished at 2p.m. having released eight and killed one fish for supper (see below). Best must have been pushing 3lb. Almost all of these fish took buzzers a foot or two down and they tended to take in spells of activity, particularly during the (relatively) warmest part of the day, around lunchtime.


Chris Catches Fish Shock

Thursday, 3 March 2022 at 15:47

Bonny rainbow They're bonny fish, these trout. This was a rainbow of 1lb.14oz. It took a black buzzer about two feet down. It was the unlucky one of nine - unlucky because this fish has been prepared for the table and will eventually become this evening's supper.

Action

Thursday, 3 March 2022 at 15:43

Andrew into a(nother) trout The start of the morning saw very light winds and even some hazy sunshine. The trout weren't particularly hungry - there was little hatching all day, in truth - but careful fishing with buzzers could and did provoke the odd fish to respond. Here's Andrew into a(nother) rainbow. He catches and releases more trout in a season than I'd catch in four or five.

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