Wednesday, 31 December 2008

New Year Resolutions!

I tend to put on weight during the close season. Simply I dont do enough exercise, when the fishing is slow, and the chances of cathing are low. So my resolution this year 2009 is to lose some weight, and get fit!!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

The Heron in action!

Fly fishing friends.

I'm a member of a very small fly fishing club, in my local town. We are few members, and fewer 'keen' members. The club meets during the winter months for fly tying, and a spring barbecue, just before the season starts. The members are all very welcoming, and understanding of my very poor French.

One of the members is exceptional at stalking the wild trout on the chalk stream. He has helped me very much over the past few seasons with understanding the very difficult fishing we find on the river. The techniques needed on the river are very different from most trout rivers.

First the river is exceptionally weedy, and by mid July true dry fly fishing is near impossible!

The trout sit under the weed all day completely camouflaged, and so hidden from the angler,
even when they move out to feed, the slots are often so small, presenting a fly of any kind is extremely difficult. A weighted nymph is the only trusted method, but seeing the fish take in such weeded conditions is really difficult!

Mathieu my friend has such good eyesight, and is such a good stalker, he can spot just a tiny part of a trout in these difficult conditions, and present a nymph direct to a fish, with a high degree of success. Many times when we fish together he will spot a fish, and point it out to me, "saying look its under the weed there". I will strain my eyes, pull my hat lower, readjust my sun glasses, and still fail to see the fish.

Over the past few seasons I have got better at spotting, its just practice, like casting, but Mathieu's ability is natural. A passionate fisherman, nature lover, and some time hunter, his gifts are very special indeed!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

December and Winter Rain

I had planned to go fishing today, but when I awoke this morning, it was raining really hard. This is water the river's really need. Vital winter rain, the most important rain of the year.

This water will soak into the land, before old dry tree roots can soak it all up. Its water that will seep back into the rivers in several months time. On the Charente it can flood over the banks, if we continue get such heavy amounts, but it makes little difference to the our chalk stream.

In this part of France, it seems the winter's are getting milder, but wetter. During the summer both the Charente and Touvre (and many smaller rivers in the area) suffer badly with abstraction for farmers crops. So this turn around in winter weather is really welcome in my view, plus my wood pile does not go down as quick, and the central heating has a rest, at least for some of the winter!

I did go fishing earlier in the week, the day was bright but cold with a sharp morning frost. I started high sticking on a slightly flooded river, and hooked a nice barbel. It took the bead headed nymph with urgency, and gave a good account of itself, before I released it back into a coloured Charente.