Welcome to Wildflies.com!...

Welcome to Wildflies.com, and i hope you enjoy the site!

Everything here is my own, the words, images and video, all taken by myself whilst out fishing or spending time in wild places, which is what it's all about in my view! Get out there and enjoy it, or grab a cup of tea, sit down and i'll go for you!...

If you have any questions, queries, comments or would just like to get in touch, feel free to contact me at:

Email: ghamrawson@gmail.com
Twitter: @Wildflies
YouTube: https://youtu.be/fEI7JtR7rCo

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Sun, sea and SWFF...

Just back from a long weekend in Cornwall, and to be honest i wish i was still there!

My partner and i got there Friday night and other than a gig with the band on Saturday evening we had the weekend free to relax, eat, drink and maybe wet a line, if the opportunity came up you understand.

Well We couldn't of asked for better weather, the sun shone brightly all weekend, little wind, just a nice breeze to take the edge off the heat, and the sea was like a mill pond, not conducive to great fishing but fantastic for paddling around in the shallows chasing sandeels, turbot, crabs and jellyfish!

I did manage to have a cast or two on a couple of occasions over the weekend, firstly from an outcrop of rock to the left hand side of the best beach in existence. It was Saturday morning and we got to the beach mid morning with the tide well into the ebb, it wasn't to be a serious fishing break so all i had was the 5wt stuffed in the rucksack with a reel, choice of floating and fast sinking lines plus some tippet material and a few flies, oh and the stripping basket! We set up camp on the beach then headed for the rocks, the tides were a good size so left the reefs and ledges fully exposed with knee deep gulley's running between them, i scrambled out to a place i was happy to cast from and put the rod up. No sooner had i arrived in the spot fish could be seen smashing into small bait fish, they were about 2ins long, i searched the fly box for a similar length clouser, tied it on with a loop and cast it into the feast. The fly landed, i gave it a couple of seconds to sink a little then started the retrieve, BANG! Fish on! It was only a small Pollack but put a lovely bend in the 5wt, i slipped him back and carried on fishing through the violence as it moved around in front of me, i caught 13 Pollack in the next hour, nothing very big, a pound at very best but fantastic sport on what is basically trout gear!

I caught one more that day, while fishing for Gobies in a huge "rockpool" that was separated from the open sea by huge walls of kelp, it was around 18ins deep and full of likely looking rocks and boulders, the kind of place Gobies love to lie in wait then ambush! I was talking away and not really paying attention when a Pollack zoomed out from the kelp, snatched the fly and headed back for the kelp. I stopped him without too much trouble...


The next chance i had was on the last morning, we had to be out of the digs by 10.30am so i got up at 5am for a couple of hour before packing up and heading home. On the short drive to the beach i was treated to a fantastic sunrise over a calm sea, one of those moments where you just have to surrender to it and stand there for a couple of minutes soaking it in...


I reached the mark after a short walk out along the headland away from the beach, the 5wt was assembled but this time the fast sinking line deployed, the reef next to a gulley was 15 feet deep at your feet so there was no point faffing with the floater unless the Mackerel were showing, which they weren't. It was an hour to high water, i sent the line out and started counting it down, i got to 20 then began to retrieve, after 3 or 4 strips the fly was hit and i was into another minty little pollack again, this went on for some time and i'm not sure exactly how many i caught but they kept me busy over high water.



With the tide now dropping one or two forms of bait were left exposed on the rocks, i had a light spinning rod with me and fancied doing a little light ledgering for Wrasse(i know it's not fly fishing...). A simple running setup was assembled, hook baited and dropped into the kelp filled gulley............rap...rap........rap.....BOING! The rod went round and i was into a nice plump little ballan, it's easy to forget how well these little chaps fight when you don't get to fish for them often, and i don't know why more people don't rate them as a sport fish. I love them and enjoyed catching a couple while resting the casting arm...



With time now rolling on i picked up the fly rod for a last ten minutes before i had to pack up and ship out, i swapped the fly for a slightly larger one and began fan casting, moving along the reef, fan casting and so on, all the time counting the fly down so i was just tripping the top of the kelp on the retrieve. I had three or four last casts then hit something as soon as i started to work the fly, it had a little more strength to it and made a couple of terrific runs as it neared the rocks, of course it was another Pollack, but a slightly better one which signalled the end of the session...


Altogether it was a great short break and i cant wait to get down there again, and not long too wait either(wink wink)...


Cheers,


Graham

Monday, 21 June 2010

What no Trout?!...

Managed to get back to my larger local river over the weekend for a crack at some of the coarse fish, it didn't go exactly as i'd planned but was a cracking day nonetheless...

I got the car parked up and walked to my first chosen spot only to find a guy set up with 2 rods, missus and more gear than Veals right where i wanted to be! I was not amused, i'd spent the past three months thinking about where and how i'd take my first Pike of the season, it was to be here, and on a popper in the shallow slack under some trees. I stood behind the trees and watched for a second while he reeled in, he was dead baiting with large lumps of mackerel, i hope the Pike had more sense!

I walked a little further downstream to a shallow area behind some tall reeds, i waded out into them and cast my fly parallel with them. It was the popper which popped and gurgled perfectly, any second i expected Esox to smash into it causing it to disappear in i shower of spray, it didn't. I stripped it in and changed it for my standard white and red streamer which was in my chest pocket, it was freshly tied, the marabou waved and flickered in the breeze as it was clipped onto the trace. Two or three false casts later it splashed down on to the surface, i let it sink a little then began a jerky,varied retrieve, BANG! The line went tight and i raised the 8wt, it nodded pleasingly for a moment before everything went slack...

I fished through one or two more spots, but nothing was contacted.


I walked back to the car and headed for the next spot i wanted to fish, this area ha supplied me with fantastic battles with double figure Pike in the past and i was looking forward to putting the fly through some old favourites!

I waded through the Bleak, Gudgeon and Roach to a patch of reeds opposite a shallow slack, there's quite often a Pike or two lying here and today was no exception. The fly(popper) was sent to the far side of the slack, i stripped it in twice before it disappeared! The rod bucked into life and i was connected to my first Pike of the season, on the popper too, just as i'd wanted! After a short scrappy fight a nice jack of around 6lb's came to hand, the barbless 5/0 slipped from the scissors and he was on his way........after the obligatory sulk at my feet. Unfortunately i don't have a picture as this spot is rather un-camera friendly what with it being in the middle of the river and all, still it was nice to be back and putting a bend in the rod...


Again i fished through some other spots but failed to raise anything from the deeps, so i headed for the next stretch...

I arrived after 10mins in the car and on walking down the bank was instantly greeted by two Chub playing rather amorously in the shallows, i still had the 8wt for Pike with me but more about Chevins later...


I made my way into a shallow weedy area near a weir, the popper went out a couple of times but had no inquiries. I swapped it for the now wet streamer from my pocket which was taken with relish after only hitting the water a seconds or two earlier! It was clear this fish didn't have much weight to it, but the sheer strength and pace of the fight was incredible! Ok it was only shallow but the bend in a rod that has landed fish over three times this fish's size was something else, the camera was around my neck so as he came to hand i snapped him...




He was a spirited fighter and as bright as they come, i look forward to meeting him again in a few years time...

By now i'd pretty much covered the Pikey areas and the sight of the Chub, Roach and Dace were starting to distract me! I popped back to the car car and swapper the 8wt for the 5wt T3, i'd not yet had chance to Christen it but going on how well it throws a line i couldn't wait to get into some decent Chub with it!

I had to pick my spot carefully, although i left home early by now it was mid morning and more and more anglers were arriving on the banks. I found a wide glide, just over knee deep with plenty of streamer weed swaying to and fro, the Chub were typically hanging just of the flow under some trees. I waded to within range, just downstream and to their right, i tied on my normal beetle pattern i use for chub, picked my fish and made the cast. The beetle plopped one or two yards ahead of him, and was quickly level with him before he decided he wanted it! He darted back, i saw those rubbery white lips open and it was gone, i stripped and raised the rod to set the hook and he was on! He shot into the flow and headed downstream, the lightweight screamed as it gave line but soon he was under control, i worked him upstream, the rod dampening his lunges into the streamer weed before he was safely in the net, a nice fish, 3lb or so and solid...


As can be seen by this picture he was full of beans and slid my hand before i could snap him properly and off he went, the beetle claims another!...


I managed another good Chub then started messing with some nice Roach i found in a depression in the river bed, i tried for an hour to catch the biggest of the bunch, all 8oz of him only to hook him then have him wriggle free as i slid him across the water to the net! It was a good exercise though, getting the right nymph in size, shape and weight to run through just right to fool him into thinking it was natural, which he did and it didn't matter that i didn't get to touch him...

I also spent some time with some dace, one of which was HUGE, by far the biggest i've seen, maybe 12oz! I didn't manage to fool him, rather i didn't manage to get the fly to him due to the large number of Bleak that sat in the same finger of current, hopefully he wont get nobbled by a Pike before i have chance to go back and try for him again...

Fly robbing Bleak sulking after release


The banks were starting to fill fast now, obviously i wasn't the only one dying for the 16th to come around although not unusually i was the only one with a fly rod, most anglers fish for the Barbel, as do i having taken them to 13lb but not on the fly, i'm not yet able to say i've caught one with the fly rod, but look forward to sorting that out very soon!

I'm off to the coast this weekend with the band, and to be honest i cannot wait, the thought of dipping a line in the salt again is a very pleasant one indeed, i'm a sucker for fishing as light as possible so maybe i'll just take the greys 5wt and leave the 8wt at home, here's hoping the weather holds!!!...

Cheers,


Graham

Monday, 14 June 2010

Struggling, spinning and sneezes...

Well Saturday was interesting, in fact it was...............an education.

As i promised myself i was up early and got to the stream in record time due to the lack of traffic, i was there roughly four hours earlier than a normal fishing trip, and that was for a reason. I intended spending at least a couple of hours with the camera before i started fishing, the young Kingfisher spotted last week being my focus. Well to cut a long story short it didn't happen, i spent three hours in a couple of different haunts along the stream hoping to snap him while he sat on one of the many perches, but he didn't. In fact i didn't see him at all, i did however see a male adult kingfisher so my guess is that the young have been sent packing to find their own patch, a shame as i thought my chances of getting a good shot of the young would have been greater than the wiser adults. Oh well, I'll just have to put the hours in i guess!

I did spend some time near one of the greater woodpecker nests, I'll put the video up when it's been sorted but in the mean time here's a quick snap of the young taking in the view...


I'd been creeping around in the long grass for nearly four hours and by this time my hay fever was NOT impressed, my eyes were streaming, throat as itchy as an itchy thing that's got an itch and the sneezing was just about unbearable, time to get in the water!

After a short trip in the car i was downstream of my usual stretch where i fancied a slight change in venue, it's very similar with it's tight and diminutive proportions, overhanging trees and deep dark holes, but as i don't fish it as often it's slightly more "fresh" to me.

I'd just traversed the first obstacle to reach the stream and was watching the water from behind a tree when something caught my eye at my feet...


By now the sun was out and the day warming up, as i entered the stream and worked my way from the Fields and beneath the canopy i felt myself relax and my sneezing eased, who says fishing isn't good for you?! There really is nothing like small stream fishing to make you feel at one with the world, well the natural world i guess.

The stream seemed quieter than last week, much less fish moving, which surprised me, sedges were everywhere, Welshman's buttons i think but it was tricky to tell while they were on the wing, fabulous pilots! After wading a fair way upstream i came to an area i remembered to be good for a fish or two, not exactly open but with some gaps in the trees giving one a chance to spot a fish...



I came across two fish rising to what i thought were the sedges, i was wrong and put them both down, i came to a third and tried a small olive-ish emerger as i'd seen one or two coming down, this was also ignored before spooking the fish, ok i may have chosen the wrong fly but these fish were really on edge!

I came to a little sunlit corner with plenty of demoiselles hovering around and making their presence know to any females in the area, i just happened to look down and watched in amazement as one sat on a frond of weed on the water's surface then began to walk itself sub-surface to lay eggs! A completely incredible sight, and one that i've never had the pleasure of seeing before, i did manage a little video of the act and again will add it asap, here's a couple of snaps...



After spending half an hour or so with the demoiselles i moved further up the stream to the deep pools where intended testing my recently tied mayfly nymphs, it didn't quite go to plan...

I wandered round a shallow corner and looking upstream, to my horror there was a young chap with a short spinning rod throwing a lure of some sort around in my pools! I was about to shout out to him when the curiosity took hold, i was intrigued to see if he hooked anything and if so how big it was, and if he did? i could then reveal myself from behind a tree and make sure he put the fish back, after all spinning is within the rules, if you're into that kind of thing for Trout, personally i feel they deserve something more fitting. after a few more casts he left, fishless!...

As i reached a section with some riffles in a few mayflies appeared, both duns and spinners?!



In one of the pools i noticed a couple of fish staying close to the stream bed, i took my small dry off and changed it for a small beadhead PTN(fast becoming my favourite non dry!), i put it a little way ahead of the fish to give it time to sink then lifted the rod as it neared, the trout immediately turned for it and chased it for a couple of feet before giving up and heading back to his station. I changed the gold beadhead PTN for one with a black one a bingo, fish on!

Not a monster but very welcome indeed, probably around average for the stream and perfect...



Felling a bit more optimistic i stayed with the nymph and ran it through some more pools, none of which produced any fish, i came to a nice glide that was beautifully lit by the now high in the sky sun. It was narrow and shady in parts, then dark into pools which were lit so brightly each stone on the stream bed was clearly visible in water waist deep. I fished the nymph through it until a splash made me look up, i stopped in my tracks, waited and saw a fish nail a mayfly spinner off the top, the nymph came off...




I crept to within casting range and stripped some line off, then the weirdest thing happened! I'd just pulled two yards off the little salter with two tugs and a green woodpecker appeared on a tree no more than ten feet from me, he looked at me, i froze, then he disappeared round the opposite side of the trunk, i yanked another yard off and he reappeared twisting and cocking his head looking for whatever was making the noise. This went on for maybe five minutes until i must've moved causing hie retreat into the woods, who'd have thought it? A fishing reel so in tune with nature it will even talk to the birds!...

Anyway back to the fish that was still slashing into spent mays, i wound in the twenty or so feet of line i'd spent talking with the woodpecker and made the cast putting the fly just where it was needed, it was on the water for no more than two seconds before it disappeared in a swirl, the rod was raised and instantly assumed it's fighting curve! It was a short fight by necessity, the roots were the fish's only aim and i wasn't about to loose him in there! Shortly the hook was eased form his lip, snap snap, and he was on his way, pretty as a picture...




By now it was well into the afternoon and i wasn't to be too late in getting home, i waded a little faster hoping to find another fish rising to the mays and wasn't disappointed, it was only a small fish but he was full of spirit and finished my day off nicely.

I wandered back through the fields to car through a now lovely summer scene, there was only a few clouds in the blue sky and the neatly combed crops gently swayed in the breeze, buzzards called overhead and the hedgerows were full of small birdsong. The walk back took a little longer than i'd though due to me having to keep stopping along the way to take pictures with the camera, there were spent mays, more demoiselles and some lovely wild flowers(corn flowers?) at the fields edges in the the grasses...







I reached the car, packed everything away and made for home. It's now only two days till the rivers open for the start of the coarse season, i will struggle not to be distracted by the thought of Pike on poppers and big Chub on beetles fished on the 5wt, i may have to leave the stream for a week of two we'll see, i do love this kind of fishing, especially now i have right instrument for the job...



Cheers,


Graham

Friday, 11 June 2010

Until tomorrow...

As far as i know the stream isn't in too bad shape after this weeks rain, so come the morning i will be heading there with a big smile on face!

I tied a couple of mayfly nymphs up to try and search out the depths in some of the deeper pools, as with a lot of my fly tying i dont tend to copy the known patterns but enjoy lashing something together from whatever's in my tying kit, using it and if need be "fettling" it for it's next outing. I've given it bead head to get it down and the rest is just pheasant tail fibres, some 5lb mono for ribbing, chenille and hare's mask dubbing, simple but hopefully tasty looking. I also used a Partridge saltwater shrimp hook as i liked the curve in the shank...


I guess the mays will be leaving us soon, i just hope there's still a few around for tommorow, i'll be heading out early hoping to do a little with the camera before the fishing starts, if i'm lucky the young Kingfisher will still be around, i'd love to get a decent picture of him.

Stay tuned.....


Graham

Monday, 7 June 2010

Wild fishing fit for kings!...

Saturday was special for a few reasons, firstly it was to be the first outing for a new rod which arrived safely during the week, the rod was built by a couple of good friends of mine and i couldn't wait to put it into action! Another of the reason's why this day was so special was due to where we were heading, my favourite little overgrown stream, plus the weather was spot on, warm, a little cloud cover, there just had to be mays hatching, and hopefully wild brown trout sipping! The rod was built with this place in mind, it's tight, overgrown and there's no such thing as an easy cast, plus the fish are STRONG, that's why the rod is only 5ft long and a fairly steep taper, also it's made in one piece so there's no ferrule to add weight or impede it's lovely action. I named it the S.A.S, which stands for short and sweet, plus i thought it went well with the commando style of fishing it was born to undertake...

Adam picked me up just before 9am, by ten we were stood on the bridge overlooking the clear water as it snaked it's way through the valley. We scrambled down the "ladder" and put up, Adam went straight for a may and i opted for a small beadhead PTN.........until a fish nailed a may dun 15yrds ahead of me! I swapped to my simple may pattern and began to wade at the usual snails pace into casting position, i pulled some line from the little salter reel, flicked it high into the air behind me to clear some vegetation, then sent the fly forward ahead of the fish. One or two seconds passed as the fly drifted downstream towards the fish before he rose to the surface and engulfed it! The usual punching above it's weight fight ensued with much dashing about taking place, but the rod one him over in the end. One cast, one fish! What a way to christen a new wand!..


As the fish was slid back into the cool water another fish rose a little further up the same glide, Adam stepped forward and before long had a smaller fish to hand before he slipped the hook out and returned him. "A fish each and we've only walked 20yrds!" exclaimed Adam, it was was nearly the top of the stretch before he managed a fish in the drizzle last weekend, things looks good...

The stream buzzed with life, mays were coming off fairly steadily and demoiselles painted in a thousand shades of green and blue were dancing to the tune of territory and courtship in the reeds and over every patch of streamer weed...


I spooked the next fish due to impossible casting between fallen trees, hanging brambles and weed rafts, so we moved up to a narrow pool which usually holds a fish or two. Adam ran his fly through but nothing obliged, there was one fish rising from time to time but he was so far tucked beneath an overhanging bush that there was no way of getting a fly to him, we left him in peace...


Two fish were in the next pool but new we were there before we did! I've yet to tease one of these fish from their lair under a weed raft, it's collected round the stump of an old barb wire fence and is the bolt hole of choice as soon as you get within 10yrds of them! Next time...

We struggled for a little while before turning a corner after a dark pool under thick trees, there was a gap in the bank side flora which allowed a shaft of light to penetrate the water and pick out two or three fish which were cruising the pool of the look-out for anything that looked like food. I swapped back to the original small beadhead PTN and made a cast, there were two smaller fish and a larger one which for the time being had vanished, i let the nymph sink to almost the bottom then just started to lift the rod to give it some life when out from under a tree stump came the better fish and grabbed it! It desperately wanted to get back in there and the rod bent alarmingly, all the way down to and underneath the cork! I turned him and got him back into some more open water where he was netted as soon as he was in range, An absolute minter of a fish, the sort of fish that makes me drive that little bit further, buttery with fins etched in crimson and brilliant white, trout just don't fight any harder, or come any better looking as far as i'm concerned...



A fish rose to a may at the head of the pool and Adam was only too happy to feed it another, only this one had a splinter of steel hidden within the fur and feather...


We carried on upstream to just below the straight section chocked with streamer weed, there's a nice pool situated under the low boughs of a tree, i think i must've been faffing with the camera because i turned round and Adam was already there flicking his fly down the bubble line, a fish took something from the surface but it wasn't attached to Adam's line. He moved his way up to where the fish showed but nothing came of it, until we walked up to the spot whereupon he shot downstream like a bolt of spotty lightening! Next time...


We reached the streamer weed and took a brake for a while, watching the demoiselles and seeing what had got caught up in the fronds...



As we moved upstream we passed one of the woodpecker nests, it was just loud as last week with the sound of "feed me" coming from the top of the chicks voices, they cant be more than a week away from fledgling, maybe i'll get to see them next weekend...

We reached a nice steady pool on a left hand bend where one or two fish were showing on the surface, and although we tried, we failed to connect with any of them again due to overhanging trees creating impossible casting once again...


The next half hour or so is a bit of a blur, we came to another corner pool which normally holds a couple of fish but today it was alive with them! It's a left hander like the last but much shallower with a narrow neck at the head where the flow is fed into the deeper water by the roots of a mature tree. Adam took the first fish whilst fishing for a different, it just wanted the fly! We always take it in turns so i must've taken the next, and so it went on for a while until Adam hooked a monster! It was one hell of a fish for the stream, truly epic, and one i'm sure we'll both remember for some time, maybe it the fish were used to disturbance because of cows on the bank but we just took fish after fish, all on mays(perhaps the key), all incredibly marked and brimming with spirit, a moment we dream about...






And the biggest of the lot, just perfection!



After the madness had passed and still giggling we had a sharp reality check and screwing up two or three fish that we successfully put down with poor casting, that's fishing for you. We carried on upstream under some more thick trees into some very tricky, fast pools where we met the local monarchy...



As we fished our way up(unsuccessfully) a flash of lightening blue passed us, only to be spotted a little further up sat on an overhanging branch over the stream, i think it must've been a fledgling due to it's buff colouration and tolerance of us creeping slowly closer. There wasn't much light beneath the canopy and i didn't really have the lens for the job, i must discipline myself into spending some time without the rod just to get a decent shot of this charismatic little king of the river...


We fished a little further up but didn't managed anymore fish, and to be honest i was more than a little distracted by the kingfisher!

Soon it was time to head back to the car so we climbed up the bank and made our way through the fields, it always amazes me how quickly you can walk the length but it takes hours to carefully wade and fish you way along it. We stopped and took a few pics of the rods on a wood pile and paid a visit to the othe woodpecker nest, the folks were knowhere to be seen but chirping was present in the old tree, although whereas we were sure we could make out two chicks last week we could only hear one this time...

I said when i started scribbling this that it was a special day for many reasons, the fish and wildlife are always special, as is the venue, and a day spent in the sort of environment that harbours such gems could never be anything less than a delight. And the rod? Well i have a feeling that i've just made a new friend, one that'll be around for a long time! Casting was precise and accurate, hooking and playing fish was a sheer joy, and it's splinter-like dimensions mean it's just the instrument for creeping about through dense undegrowth and flicking you chosen fluff to the fish of your dreams!...


It's forcast quite a bit of rain this week, will it spoil the stream for next weekend? I cant be sure, if it does i may have to tie flies, the coarse season is almost here! Or i could pop to the seaside(wink wink)...

Cheers,


Graham