Sunday, 27 May 2012

A lovely day for discovery

Here's my little pond. No fish! Plenty of tadpoles and other things.

Today the Lion Tamers and the Bivvy Boys enjoyed a day out frying under the sun at Ellerdine. We flung some fluff and caught a few but to be honest the conditions were against us. The water was very warm and I don't think the trout were very comfortable.

So after a swift pint I came home to do my ironing.
I decided to spend a few minutes looking at my little pond and spotted something that looked like a fly I tied. Yes a large midge type thing. Nipped in the house to grab my camera. The original one I had spotted had gone but saw another!  Sorry about the poor quality but I need to sort the best macro mode.

Saw this. No wonder a Shipman's catches!

But a Shipman's don't wriggle! You can see a midge that did not make it out of the water to the left

Wriggling to get out

Nearly there!

It's out!

Off she goes. 30 seconds at the most!

My pond is full of them. They are quite red. I felt privilaged to watch this. And I learned quite a bit!

From the depths!

Yes folks it's a dog eat dog world out there or should I say frog eat frog!
Spotted this tadpole eating his brethren. Mind you there was a lot of this going on. I just never looked so close before!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Got to show you this...

Our mate and occassional fly fisher has, this evening, caught an incredible crucian from a pond not 10 minutes from where I live. It weighed 4lb 8oz. This is only 1 oz short of the British record!
It was safely returned.

Even if it was a hybrid it was still a great catch! Pictures by Bone. I should have gone but had work to do....

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Is it worth getting a lesson?

Year four.
I would probably have jacked in by now but although I can't speak for my fellow 'tamers' I think we would probably have ditched the fly and would now be looking forward to nights camped out in 'designer bivvies' if it were not for a few fortunate events. I'm going to do this as a list.

Looking back, we were eager but lacked essential knowledge.
There was just Mick and me.
We could tie knots.
We liked a pint after fishing.
We liked a laugh.
We didn't catch much but enjoyed the odd good day on Blithfield.
We dicided to try river fishing.
I joined Leek and District.
I bought a vice.
I fished a few times (on my own on various streams) with very limited success.
Jon showed interest.
We joined DCAS. Now that's a commitment!
We went to Wolfscotedale. We blanked, we were clueless.
I decided it was a waste of money unless I got some sort of advice.
Glen Pointon recommended John Tyzack.
I had a day with him. An unbelievable amount of knowledge was gained. He showed me his flies. A revalation!
I tied and tied and tied...
I was still a poor fly fisherman but at least I now had an idea about how to get better.
I had a day with Glen and friends on the Derbyshire Wye. Top man and free advice.
Had a day or two with Trugg, and Woody. Again I would not have met these guys without paying for that initial lesson with JT.
Went on a cracking weekend on the Upper Tees in poor conditions with JT and others. Learn't a lot more. Met more friends.
We decided that we would enjoy having the pee taken out of us and called ourselves. 'The Lion Tamers'.
We had some super days out on the Manifold and Church Mayfield.
Mick has treatment for prostate cancer.
Fishing is now limited to the odd day out.
DCAS allow us to pospone our membership while Mick goes through his treatment. (Top club).
I join The Peacock because I could do.(The Derbyshire Wye fantastic) but could not fish it enough and realised I like the craic with me mates who didn't join.
Not much fishing last year and bivvies were actually puchased!
We re-join DCAS.
We enjoy the best start ever on Blithfield.
We have more friends wanting to join us.
I have the best day ever on the Dove.
We have recruited 5 coarse anglers to join us this Saturday to fly fish Blithfield in a cancer charity competition. So 8 of us in 4 boats. We don't have a chance of course, we have to give some some casting lessons before hand. 'Tis blind leading the blind you might think but I have tied their flies....

Monday, 7 May 2012

No pics you'll just have to believe me

The Tamers went on our first river outing today. A very nice place with few walkers.
We got there at 8.00. No one else...Good. We hung our tabs in the checking station and read the reports.
'what the F', exclamed Jon when he read the last report (yesterday) to us.
'This bloke has had 14 grayling and a couple of trout!'
Just then a guy turned up in a land rover and introduced himself to us as the 'river keeper' or something like that. I now discover he is Andy Heath of the Trent Rivers Trust and manages the river.  He was very friendly and helpful and confirmed the previous day's catch, adding, 'He had a trout 16" and a grayling 15".
He then asked to see my nymph box and pointed out the nymphs that should do the business. We chatted tactics and he wished us well.
Interestingly, he told me that the guy from yesterday had used an orange coloured nymph with a black tail. From what little knowledge I have, I thought that was a grayling fly and I decided on something more dour.
We spent ages tackling up and after a cup of Bovril, off we went.
I wanted to walk all the way to the bottom of the beat but Bone couldn't resist having a cast in the first field.
So me and Jon had a look and we also had a dabble, much against my instincts.
Jon was soon into a little grayling and lost one while I was re- rigging after a horrible tangle on my first cast.
I then had a nice sized grayling that, looking at it, had obviously not longed finished spawning, Then another smaller one, too imature to breed.
To be honest, I know grayling are out of season but it was difficult to avoid them.
I went downstream on my own. I wanted to do it properly.
Result was, my best 3 hours on a river ever; even if most of the fish were out of season grayling
I lost count but had over 20 grayling and 3 trout.
Very few rises.
I'll take a tape measure in future because I am convinced I caught at least 1 about 18 inches and definitley half a dozen 15 inches. I was glad I took my extendable coarse net.
Ok. No photos but I put them back quickly as you would expect, being out of season.
Jon and Bone should have followed me!

Some reading this would probably have done much better, but I'm happy.

Best part of it is:
The river was perfect, carrying a little of a grey colour
It was very windy but I coped.
Only my 4th visit
The first time I went I blanked...Lesson with an expert.
Weekend with an expert.

Thursday, 3 May 2012


New reel.
Past posts have indicated that I have not been happy with some expensive reels.
For the last two years I have been very happy with my Caimore Eternal reels. I have 3 of the prototypes and they are great. They are bullet proof, machined aluminium, nice drag etc. I have a previous version in a #4 for the rivers. I also have a flextek #3/4 which I have raved about in a previous post.
These reels will last me for years. They are very well engineered and are at least as good as the fancy named ones costing treble the price.
Now I needed a couple of #7/8 reels to hold different lines for 'special' occassions like a slow sinking, midge tip and the like.
Unfortunately I could not get spare spools as my models had been discontinued. A bit gutted as the Caimores I have are faultless. A lesson here: Buy a spare spool! The flextec came with one but it is a #4.
I  looked at a reel advertised on the 'fishing mad' site where I got my excellent waders from.
A Banax Crest.
It looked good and for £45 including post, I ordered.

Comes from a top factory apparently......

I like good engineering, I dribble at sexy machining. For £45 this is a right bargain!

How to paint a picture Sid Kirkham style

I thought I would like to give you a little demonstration on how to paint something simple in watercolour with lots of effect. I am a big fan of a local artist, Sid Kirkham, and love the way he uses not so old world images and light. Here we go.....

 Choose a picture.

I'm sort of changing one of Sid Kirkham's paintings. This is called 'How's it going up the Vale youth?'

As you can see I have a picture to use as a reference. I have selected my main colour, as Sid likes monotone in this style. I use Russian paints and sable brushes but anything decent will do. Aldi and Lidl sell great kits occasionally.

Sketch it out. (take your time)
Use a good quality paper (ask at your local art shop) and mask it to a bit of hardboard.
Select your main colour. This is a dark brown but anything dark will have the effect. Paynes grey with a touch of red is a nice alternative. You could even go wierd and choose a strong blue, red or green!
Paint it, leaving areas white where you want the amazing light effect that Sid produces.

I like to paint left to right but it's up to you.

Put in the yellow for the light, here and there.

It's coming together!

Red and white scarf for the Stoke supporter. Colour depends on your team or University. Don't bother with the other guy at the far end. (Vale supporter in this case)

Double mount it with good card (Ha Ha I have the kit!) and stick it in a tasty frame from Wilko.

The lens distorts the uprights

Sell the painting and risk prosecution or do give it to your mum, which is what I did!

So there you go. No excuses. Get them paints out while waiting for your buzzers to dry