Friday, 14 December 2012

Grayling On The Rhym

With the heavy rain and high river levels lately its been a struggle to get out on the river and do some fishing here in South Wales.  So when we had a forecast of no rain for the whole week, I made some arrangements with my friends Sion Lewis and Neil Ashman (both Welsh river international fishermen) to have a day out on the River Rhymney.  This was my first time on the Rhymney so Sion and Neil were to show me around.  All three of us were using 10ft 3# rods set up with French leaders and teams of weighted nymphs.  We arrived at 10:00am and made our way down river to our starting point. There was still a hard frost on the river banks and surrounding fields.  We decided to go fish for fish and Sion was first up to have a go.  Sion fished heavy bugs in the first run and covered every single part of the pool but not a single touch so onwards and upwards, we went, into the next pool.  Again, Sion fished every part of the pool with not a single touch so we all decided to fish close together (around 20 or so yards apart) giving each other room to cast and if one of us missed fish the person below fishing has the opportunity to catch them when moving up river.  We fished four different pools hard, deep and covered every square inch but not a single thing,  not a single attempt at our flies. :o

After that we had a break and had a chat as to where we thought the fish may lie.  We concluded that, even though we were fishing deep runs, they were not deep enough and were too fast for the grayling to shoal up in. We decided to move up river a little where there were some very deep slower pools.  As we headed on to the pool that we were to fish, at the back of a run we noticed some very large shapes in the water.  At first we thought they were small salmon but uponcloser inspection we realised that they were barbell.  All three of (us one by one) optimistically had a go at them, as none of us had ever caught one on the fly before.Sadly we still haven’t and, as they were not interested, we carried on up the pool in search of grayling
Neil trying to get the barbell to bite 

This time I was the first to wet a line in the deeper water.  Upon my first cast -with a 4.5ml tungsten nymph to help me get right quickly- my indicator shot under and I had a fish on. Another cast into the pool and another fish, and another, and another, which was very nice after a slow couple hours. This carried on for a good hour for the three of us as there was so many grayling in the pool.  :D
One of my decent grayling 1 1/4 lb

After fishing out that pool we knew where to go to catch more fish in the next pool. After a short walk up river we spotted a deep pool near to where we parked the cars(which was ideal!).;)The pool had two big boulders placed in it to create slack water in high water and create holding spots for fish so we had an idea where to put our flies.  It was big enough for the three of us to fish so it was every man for himself.  On our first cast all three of us were into fish, all around the 1 lb mark. :o We all knew we were into another big shoal of grayling and thought we were going to catch some larger specimens,  so we carried on fishing and catching nice grayling up to 1 1/2lb.  :D In the end i had to stop fishing as it was so cold ( -5 degrees to be exact), and after putting my hands in the water numerous times (to return fish) I was in pain. :(  SI just sat tight holding my hands tight together blowing into them whist watching Sion and Neil carry on catching before heading home.

It was a great days fishing on a new river and will definatly be back some time soon to fish it again.

Sion trying a new method of fishing

Sion and Neil fishing a pool full of fish whilst i keep my hands warm

Average fish of the day around 3/4lb

One of Neils catches

a short video of Sion and Neil having fun

Monday, 3 December 2012

Split Cane/Bamboo care

Looking after a cane rod is a simple affair of common sense and an awareness of what is going on around you. The best way to look after your cane rod is to fish with it, and fish with it a lot. It does them no good to be left in a cupboard. Here a few simple suggestion in the care of cane.
1:  The time that requires the most attention is when playing and landing heavy fish. When the fish is mid current let the rod tip come down to about 45 degrees and play the fish with the middle and butt of the rod, cane is such a forgiving material there is little danger to the tippet.
It is as the fish comes to the net that greatest care is needed.
Having the fish at your feet and the rod pointed straight upwards puts tremendous strain on the tip and it is then that damage can be done.
A long handled landing net is ideal, putting the rod hand behind you and reaching forward with the net also helps to reduce the angle of the rod tip.
The critical thing is to never point the butt of the rod at the fish.
2:  When putting rod section together and taking them apart there is a simple saying “Putting together, hands together (5” or 6”). Taking apart, hands apart (about 2 feet). Always slide the ferrule together and apart never twist. Ferrules should go in at least ¾ of their length if they do become tight get in contact with the maker and he’ll offer advice.
3:   Don't put rods away when wet. If it's chucking it down when you finish fishing put the rod away and make sure you dry it all out when you get home.
4:   Avoid bending the tip at severe angles, be it pulling line off the reel or landing fish.
5:   Use common sense. It’s a valuable piece of equipment, look after it and it will keep it's value and last many years.
If you ever have any questions or problems with a rod get in touch with the maker and have a chat.
The rod maker will know the rod intimately, He will have spent at least a month of his life with it probably longer and he will be keen to see it looked after and used.
There is plenty of advice on the forums so if you are looking at trying cane for the first time either have a look on them or get in contact with a rod maker they will have plenty of suggestions.
Alternatively have a day with a guide who is experienced with cane.  Guide  Split Cane Rod Maker


Monday, 24 September 2012

Grayling, grayling and some trout

With the river levels in the upper reaches of the river being so,low due to lack of rain in the past few weeks myself and a friend Lee decided to get an exchange ticket which our club has with the Glamorgan Anglers  on the lower reaches of the river Taff.  We were both using our 10ft 3# rods with French leaders fishing a team of nymphs as the water on the lower reaches are very deep, slow and fast.  After a 1 mile walk down river we came to where we were going to start off fishing.  A large bridge with a deep, long and fast run underneath it.  I started fishing at the bottom of the run whist Lee fished the top half as there was plenty of room for the two of us.  I knew the run was pretty deep so opted for a 3ml ptn with a silver tungsten head for the point fly and a 2ml ptn on the dropper so that the nymphs were fishing two different depths.  I started fishing the slack water just in case there were any fish lying off the main current and within 3 casts my indicator shot under and i was into my first fish.  A quick thump and bump shaking its head and it was off down river.  However i could handle the fish and not let it take too much line as it wasn't too big a fish.  I quickly eased it out of the faster water it had run into to tire the fish out and within a minute the fish was safely in the net.  A nice 1 1/4lb trout to start the day off nicely 

After the commotion which that little trout made i didn't get one knock in the slack water afterwards except for the bottom   So i decided to switch directly into the main current itself and work my way a little bit up river.  My first cast into the main current and my indicator shot under however nothing on the end of the line. Now that i know that there was fish there i placed my flies there a few more times before my indicator shot under.  However this time i could feel something on the end of the line and it wasn't the bottom.  I was into a fish and it was fighting quite hard.  A nice 1 1/2lb grayling.

Around 10 casts later i was into another 4 grayling around 1 lb.  After catching these fish i called Lee down to where i was as he wasn't having much luck in the upper part of the pool and he was more than happy to have a go.  However as Lee was making his way down the pool quietly so that he didn't spook off any fish in the process another angler walked from one side of the river to the other splashing and making a commotion in the pool which we are fishing and spooked the whole pool and we didn't have  another knock or fish in the pool.   As myself and Le made our way into the next runs the first thing we noticed was canoeists in the next two runs so we skipped them two and marched on up river (but not before Lee had a few words with them first ) and came to a deep , long and fast pool which just screamed out big trout and grayling so we both stuck to our heavy nymphs.  Myself and Lee placed our flies in every square in of the run and not a single nudge or even an attempt for any fish to attack our flies until i came to the top of the run with a tree over hanging the main flow.  I placed my flies above the tree in the main flow and let the nymphs work the depths underneath and my indicator shot under but as i struck i could see the fish turn on its side and shot away   So i stood back and stayed still for a few minutes just in case i spooked any more fish whilst striking into the previous fish.  After a few minutes of standing still bord senseless i noticed a little rise in the fast water which i missed the fish in next to the tree.  However i only seen it rise once even though there were quite a few BWO's and brook dunns coming down river.  I placed my flies back up above the tree in the main current and let them come down river working different depths of the water.  As my flies came to the point where i seen the fish rise my indicator slid under slowly so i struck.  At first I knew that i was into a fish as i could feel it moving  and thought that it was another nice grayling as i hadn't seen the fish.  So i put a little more pressure on the fish and all of a sudden as i put pressure on the fish it started shaking its head very violently and sped off down river with nothing that i could do but hold on.  At this stage the fish had still stayed down deep and hadn't shown itself so my automatic  thought was that it was a small salmon/grilse as all it wanted to do is go down river shaking its head.  However Lee helped me land the fish and whilst playing the fish in calm water it rolled on its side and Lee said its a big trout I was gob smacked   Not long later it was safely in the net and weighted in at 2 1/2lb.  But we had a theory to why it fought so hard and that is that it had a tail like a shovel  
After catching that fish myself and Lee worked our way through some more runs shallow and deep with just the one decent fish which Lee caught weighing 2lb aswel as some small grayling and salmon parr until we came to yet another very long, deep run around 200 yards long which was wade able out to around half way.  We both knew that there was enough room for the both of us so Lee decided to change from heavy nymphs to klink&dink and fish the bottom half of the run whilst i stuck to my nymphs except for the exception of me changing my nymph size from a 3ml to a 3.3ml to get down a little deeper.  I knew that it was going to be a good run as when i was switching to my heavier nymph Lee had already caught two grayling   My first few casts were in the slack water just off the main current but not a touch so opted straight for the faster water.  My first cast in the main current and i was straight into a fish but it sadly came off.  Another cast and another fish.  A 1 lb grayling    This carried for 2 hours whilst working up and down the run twice catching grayling up to 1 3/4lb   Before we knew it it was time to pack up as the light was starting to fade slowly over the mountains.  However i will definatly be heading down there in the winter season looking for shoaled up grayling and trying out some more new water 

Lee fighting a 2lb trout


Some of the pools 


Some more fish 

Video of canoeists ruining some very good runs and disturbing the bottom of the river.

Friday, 27 July 2012

A new stream

I have had my eye on a little stream in a little sleepy village for quite some time now and last week I had the opportunity to fish it for two days straight. The main river which it runs into has hardly any wild trout population mainly salmon and sea trout. I have seen one or two wbt in this little stream whilst on looking off the road bridge once before. Anyway my better half was going to take the car for an MOT test and it was on the way so asked her to drop me off and pick me back up later in the day. The stream is very urbanised with stone cages at the side of it to prevent flooding but i thought i would give it a go anyway. I was using my little 7ft 3# hardy featherweight with a size 10 olive extream klinkahmmer to start off with. 
I placed my fly in the slow water at the side of the fast water as straight away a little fish rose to my fly but did not hook up. So i ut it past the fish a few times and a few times it rose but did not hook so i moved on. Working through the runs and little pocket water the same was happening. Fish rising but no hook ups so i tore off the size 10 extream klinkhammer hook and put on one of my size 14 klinkhammer/emerger patterns to see if they would be able to take the smaller fly a little better but stuck to the same colour (olive) as they obviously liked it.
Within a few casts i was into a little fish but sadly came off. So i moved onto the next runs. I don't know why but for some reason due to the floods which we have had lately i have been sticking to the side of the fast water. Forgetting that after floods the fish like to stay in the fast/pocket water for more oxygen so gave it a go instead. In one pool alone i managed to catch 5 fish in the fast water and it was the same all the way through the stream aswell as missing a lot of strikes too 

But i will definatly be fishing it a lot more (now that i know there are fish there to catch) and as far as i am aware i am the only one to fish it for a long time as a lady said to me that i am the person she had ever seen fishing it and she thought there was no fish in it. Then i catch a fish in front of her 

the urbanised part of the stream 

Then after half a mile or so its goes high up into the mountains and as wild as you get get 
The thriving fish