Young Tales suggested a trip to a nearby trout fishery was a good option on this clear and cold November day. Dressed in several layers, bags and rods packed into the car we headed a few miles away to Syon Park Fishery, part of the Albury Estate owned by the Duke of Northumberland.
With a cold wind blowing from the north east fishing was no doubt going to be hard, however during mid morning we met up with fellow WordPress blogger Mark Minshull known to many as metiefly, something he does very well. This delightful gentleman is a great observer and creates exquisitely tied flies that catch fish.
It was great to have the opportunity to share past experiences of fishing and discuss some of the myriad of patterns of flies we knew worked on the water we were fishing. It was great to see Young Tales listen to and observe the skill of our fellow fisher who was keen to share his passion and embrace Young Tales interest in flies.
The day was as much about meeting Mark as it was about fishing. Earlier in the day Mark had secured one fish on one if his trusted patterns however our endeavours were not so fruitful until later in the day. With Marks kindness of giving us a couple of his flies we were to get a couple of knocks. Eventually a fly resembling a Montana, black cock hackle tenkara style, florescent lime green bead, black silk body overwound with fine flat silver tinsel finished with three strand fibre tail was the answer.
It took Young Tales a while to net his beautiful crimson marked rainbow it was square tailed with bright flanks that were iridescent in the afternoon sun. There was also a rather large grin on Young Tales face as the fish lay in the net on the riverbank.
With one fish caught from our two fish limit we decided to call it a day. We thanked our new acquaintance for his kindness, guidance and support, hoping that we will be able to share another adventure together. At least today we benefited from his knowledge of this water and the riddles of catching trout in difficult conditions were better understood after learning that the had tied a selection of flies that were based upon real knowledge and that he was kind enough to share.
Thank you Mark (metiefly), it was a most memorable day. See http://itieflies.com for links to Marks blog and look at his fly tying videos on YouTube.
Yesterday was my birthday. Over half a century has passed and in that time I have endured loss, love, happiness,wealth, hardship, conflict , change, development and fulfilment. The most important element of life have been the long-term friendships and many of those friends share the same passion for angling.
I was lucky enough to receive as a gift from my old friend and fishing companion, Shaun Madle, a copy of Esox The Story Of A Pike, it was wrapped in bespoke wrapping paper designed and produced by Shaun, a design of multiple flies, you’ll see it illustrated here.
It’s not so much about receiving the gift but the knowledge of the time and effort that went into finding the book and on its presentation, so Mr Madle, it is with great gratitude and thanks for helping making that day most memorable. We enjoyed a Scotch Egg served with chips and washed it down with a pint or two of Jugged Hare Pale Ale, an exclusive beer to the ETM Group of pubs and restaurants. On this occasion we found ourselves in The Hat & Tun.
What we need to do is find a crisp dry winter day to go in search of Esox. Dressed in tweeds and oiled jackets we will seek this quarry with a fly, as it is reported there is good sport to be had on light tackle. So as soon as my dear friend Richard has finished restoring an old Hardy Graphite #8/9 it will be taken out used accordingly.
If you are in search of a good gastro pub then I can highly recommend you go to http://www.etmgroup.co.uk
There was a change of plan in the Tales household this morning, as young Tales decided that it had been a while since he chucked a 3oz lead into the abyss.
With light precipitation, a degree or so cooler than recent weekends we made our way to Brighton, it’s close proximity making it a regular location for our sea fishing exploits. After van hour-long drive and a pit stop into the Tackle Box to pick up some lug we made our way over to the East Wall of the Brighton Marina. As we made our way round we looked over the wall to inspect the colour of the water and strength of tide. There were plenty of fisherman out on the brisk November Sunday, visibility was fair but a light wind blew in a southerly direction.
Tackled up with two vintage Masterline rods paired up with a couple of vintage Mitchell reels we decided to fish small hooked flappers tipped with black lug in search of flat fish or a late season mackerel.
Young Tales placed a reasonable cast about 30 yards out, the 3oz weight giving a satisfying plop as it broke the olive coloured water. Constantly adjusting the distance we cast methodically in a half crescent and also dropped a line close to the wall in order to tempt a wrasse, unfortunately there were no solid takes although our bait was being snapped at and stolen by the thieves of the ocean floor, yes the crabs were about.
After a 3 hour stint we decided to call it a day as the light started to fall away with the falling tide, as they say ‘time and tide waits for no man’. As a final treat to end the day a visit to the Palace Pier for a stick of Brighton Rock. However what we did observe to our left were three people fishing the low tide with lures for bass, could this have been ‘fishy rob’, a well know bass fishing guide. The low tide was illuminated with a golden glow by the lights on the pier, somewhere beneath the surface a bass or two were lurking.
Whilst on my way back from a couple of days in the Durham and Edinburgh I learn that my wife has agreed to have lunch on Sunday with a couple of girlfriends, how convenient I think when I realise this Sunday sees the Vintage Tackle Fair hosted by John Andrews in Redditch. I’ve been given the duty of minding ‘young Tales’, how convenient as the young lad is also a keen fisherman, so guess where we are going for a day out?
On this dark Monday evening I have decided to retire to the comfort of my old French leather club chair and pull a book or two from the bookcase in order to read up on North Country Flies and spider patterns prior to heading to the River Frome in search of the lady from the stream.
One book of note from my classic library is North Country Flies by T.E.Pritt. Other reading and research will come from some vintage back copies if Trout & Salmon. There are other titles well worth the read, these being- Grayling and how to catch them by F.M. Walbran, Grayling Fishing by William Carter Platts both from The Flyfisher’s Classic Library.
What I now need are a few days without rain and for the temperature to drop and possibly a light frost, for me ideal conditions.
A rather impromptu visit to Brighton today allowed a quick visit to the beach at the end of Ship Street. There on the Doughnut groyne were four fishermen casting into a turbulent sea.
The foreshore was strewn with seaweed and large stones, these having been deposited with the stormy seas last Monday. The upside to this is that the lugworm have been disturbed and many fish are packed to the gills with them. With so much food within the surf, fish are plentiful. Whiting , dabs, plaice, sole and bass are feeding within 50 yards of the pebble shore and within easy reach of most anglers.
It was no surprise to see a good mix of fish caught on today’s high tide. With the weather set to continue with moderate winds, fishing should be good but not for the faint hearted..you’ll be sure to get windswept and wet.
As the temperature drops, the days get shorter and leaves turn from green to hot orange there is one fish that lurks in the margins with a ferocious appetite, Esox Lucius is it’s name.
I have in the past caught these on the fly, young jack pike that is but none the less give heart stopping sport.
Having settled into my old French leather club chair for the evening I took out two books to read from the bookshelf , these being A History Of Pike Fishing by Graham Booth and A Pike’s Progression by John Watson, both full of valuable accounts and information.
Looking out if the window at the changing colour of the leaves I was inspired to dig deep into the lure box and find two hand-made lures by Paul Adams. These wonderful hand made lures in red and green will be just the ticket to temp Esox from the weeds.
Armed with a sturdy Allcocks cane rod, Shimano 6000 reel , box of lures, a sardine , pear weight and not forgetting a wire trace or two, a trip to a back water of the Thames just before dusk will be order of the day.
Forceps to the ready…
I recently read an article on ‘Stuff’ from our fellow fishing blogger, TheTuesdaySwim where he writes a detailed post about people’s need to collect and accumulate things. Interestingly enough my good friend David gave me a copy of an article he had been given titled ‘Stuff’, which covers the story of a gentleman who collected so much stuff the he was found buried beneath it all, yes killed by the stuff he had collected in his flat in New York. I’m personally more worried about being knocked off by Mrs Tales, especially if she finds out I purchased another rod recently or will it in the end from being buried beneath a growing collection of cane and composite sticks.Yesterday saw the monthly sale at Chiswick Car Boot held over the other side of Dukes Meadows, there was plenty of stuff but no fishing tackle of note to be found bar the odd Intrepid reel. The only purchases I made and all for the sum of £1.50 was a pickle fork for my pickled walnuts, The Boy Scouts Book Of Knots a handy book to teach ‘young tales’, I was inspired to buy this after having followed Boots and Daisy Roots – gardening against the tide, and the detailed knot illustrations they posted up earlier in the year. The HM Coastguards jacket badge and a tiny lead motorcyclist – stuff in the eyes of many but an eclectic mix of items that all have a purpose, the lead motorcyclist to feature in a painting I will be putting together and the Coastguard badge will go on a jacket for young tales.
I guess, I do have to admit I do have a lot of stuff but I see beauty and functionality in many things and all do have a purpose if not now , sometime in the future and most items could be sold back on.
I promised my wife that I would not buy another rod this year,
unfortunately I could not resist a Hardy Graphite 9’6″ #8/9 that was posted up on a well known online auction site.
I had expected it to go for more but having placed a bid in order to keep tabs on it I now find myself the new owner and a happy one at that. I don’t really understand why no one else bid on it.
Nearly all my rods are for light river fishing and my only salmon rod is a 13′ Sage that I purchased well over a decade ago. However I acquired this rod to double up for sea trout/light salmon and pike fishing.
Having been detailed as in fair condition with extension handle and original cloth bag it was worth a punt. I imagine many were put off in the knowledge that the guide whippings needed some tidying up and for most completely re-whipping. With my dear friend ‘Richard The Fish’ at hand to do this I thought that firstly it would make an ideal addition to the horde of rods for different situations, also a good length for ‘young tales’ to manage as he grows up and attempts to land his first salmon. Secondly would give Richard another project to embark on pre Christmas, as his wife reports he’s a bit bored at the moment.
I will post up pre and post restored images as Richard still under sells his ability at being a Master of his trade.
With this season now wrapped up for sea trout and salmon I’m tempted to take the rod out in it’s current state in order to tempt a pike from a back water of the Thames. Using some small poppers in red/white and chartreuse streamers it would be nice to see if we can tempt a pike but with such warm weather it still doesn’t feel like the season for pike.
The other thought I have is using this rod for bass fishing, strong enough to punch a line out over the rocks or in the surf, but I still get that niggling feeling that should I be using a Hardy rod for this sort of dirty work, guess I’m now being precious.
What I am pleased about us giving this tired rod a second lease of life where many are left in cupboards, lofts and sheds to gather dust or cast into oblivion and skipped.