Saturday, 23 May 2009

First week, falling in, future fears!

The first week has come and gone on my local chalk stream. To be honest it's been a big disappointment. Despite taking a few nice brown trout to 50cm, compared to last season numbers of fish are well down.

On Monday and for the entire week, the river was a dirty brown from recent rain, so fish spotting was out. This left me with a choice, fish with a streamer or don't fish at all. No contest.

Out came the 6# Sage tcr and my favourite lightly weighted size 6 minkie (a relic from my Rutland days) Casting into the bank, and allowing the lure to 'swing around' in the current produced several takes but no hook ups. I had a feeling the fish had gotten use to this tactic, used so often since March, buy the Rappala and spinning brigade.

A change to casting mid river caught me the biggest fish of the week, a cracking 50cm female brown trout. During the following days fish of 46cm and 38cm followed. During all this time, not one fish was seen to rise, despite a good hatch of PMDs, medium caddis, and tiny black caddis each day?

I stayed late two evenings, well past 9pm but nothing came up, and my 3 fish were taken during daylight hours?

One evening as I was crossing back over the river, I tripped over a large stone, and took a ducking (with the water being brown, I just didn't see it.) The place I fell had a fair current, and I floundered for a few moments, before I could regain my footing. Everything got wet, apart from my cap! even the flies in my waterproof C&F boxes!!?

Two French friends watched with some amusement, and discussed who would get the tcr if I didn't make it!

The river is very low for this time of year. I don't really understand why? We have had a fair amount of rain in recent weeks, and that is one of the reasons the river is coloured. But the river has been getting more dirty each season, with suspended silt and other detritus clouding up the water.
Five years ago you could spot fish from 20' away, now you have to be on top of them to see them. And in just a few weeks time, local farmers will take water from the river for crops of sweet corn, I fear the future of our fishing, I really do.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Garden Surprise!

The picture is of a Great Peacock Moth (Saturnia pyri) the largest moth found in Europe. It has a wingspan of 11-14c cm. It's flight period is in April to early June, and it has one brood.

The caterpiller is black at first, then yellow-green when fully grown, with blue warts bearing tufts of black bristles. It feeds on fruit trees and other deciduous trees, and it was in our orchard, waiting for night time to fly off.

The other large moth I often find in my garden is the Lime Tree Hawk-moth (Mimas tiliae) This is a lovely moth, with dappled light and dark brown, suffused with pink and/or olive green. The wings have variable: outer wing margins with jagged indentations. Its a smaller moth 7-8cm.
I expect it's all the many Lime trees, and other variaties that I have in the garden that attracts so many wonderful insects.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Be Prepared!!

I must be the most prepared Fly Fisher in France. As the season proper, does not open for me until mid May, I have much time to ready all my gear for the event.

Whilst the fishing opens in March, it's when wading is allowed, you can really set to catching a trout or two. The non wading ban (until mid May) is an excellent idea as it gives the new fish eggs a chance, as seen in previous posts the Touvre trout spawn very late!!

Last season I changed over to a 10' rod. In the past I have seen little need for a rod longer than 9' and my Sage XP 5# has always been my number one go to rod, for trout fishing. But with the huge amounts of weed on the river in summer, and fish holding under the weed beds, a high sticking, come czech nymphing technique is called for, a 10' rod is far better for this kind of fishing. Not only are you able to hold more line off the water, but it gives you added leverage on a big fish, hooked in weed.

I also find with river fishing a fly line with a high floating tip is essential. When nymph fishing with heavy flies most tips will sink, but many of the newer lines now have an integral tip loop. In my humble view, these loop tips aid buoyancy, and stop the age old problem of water seeping into the line core (one of the main causes of tip sink) It's the double thickness of fly line that helps the high floating.

When making a choice on buying a fly line for river fishing, everyone has different needs for their style of fishing. But many of the lines described as having 'Subtle front tapers for delicate fly presentation' are useless for nymph fishing, as the tips are far to long and thin. Even small weighted nymphs will pull down these types of floating lines very quickly.

By far the best two lines I have used are Scientific Angler GPX and Airflows Tactical ridge lines. Both have very good floating properties, but you should remember the GPX is half a size heaver in line weight, ideal if you have a rod rated for two sizes?

Finally the last thing I do is discard all my old nylon tippet, and buy new. In past years I have used Rio Powerflex, but last season changed to Preston Powerline. It's a line used by match fishermen in the U.K, its finner just a strong, and cheaper, and you get 100m rather than the normal 30m, perfect!!