Monday, 27 August 2012

Wet, wet, wet: rain induced ramblings on fly tying, noisy music and the worm.

A typical view out of my window this summer...

As usual throughout this summer, the rain is pounding against my window as I write this update. Will it never end? The Wharfe, and most other Dales rivers with it, have been up and down like yo-yos all through August, and particularly for the last couple of weeks, fly fishing opportunities have been very scarce indeed.

Perhaps if I were to be more philosophical about the whole business I would find a few beneficial aspects of the wet weather. For one, the trout should be clean of Argulus (river lice), making for a healthier fish population. Last season with all the low water it brought, I caught many fish which were plastered in these unpleasant little parasites, whilst this year I've only spotted one on a fish. Also another good point (and for me this is a big one) is that the rocks on the river bed are not as heavily coated in the cursed green slime which made wading last year akin to negotiating a field of bowling balls slathered in Vaseline. Finally, and perhaps most excitingly, all the extra water will have been allowing migratory fish to run the Ouse system far more easily this year. The Ure has been recording good salmon numbers all season, and hopefully this will have translated itself into a better run on the Wharfe too this year. Certainly the back end could be interesting. Hush hush though, we don't want them getting dragged out and knocked on the head. Now, where's my box of tube flies...
Anyway, despite all these concessions, to the close minded brownie basher - and yes, as much as I hate to say it I suppose that's what I am these days - floods are a royal pain in the arse. Many anglers would settle down to tie some flies in preparation for the next weather window, but despite seeing how that's a good way to keep your mind occupied, it just doesn't do it for me. I'm bad at fly tying, and I only dabble when I'm seriously low on nymphs and streamers. I find that for many experienced tiers, the act of dressing a hook becomes more of a means to itself than an endeavour to catch more fish. To those that enjoy it, fair enough, and I respect the skill and finesse it requires, for it is a trait I can appreciate but will never possess... not with these sausage fingers. Personally though, I'd much rather pay someone else to do a far better job than I would, save myself some time, and get on with the infinitely more important business of showing those pesky trout and grayling who's boss (it's them of course, but sometimes I like to kid myself otherwise when I catch one by fluke). I should probably try harder to be enthusiastic about the tying though, then I wouldn't be at such a loss for what to do at times like this!

Simple streamers - pretty much my only fly tying venture.

So, how have I been occupying myself? Well, in the same way I always do when there's no fishing on offer. Stupid amounts of press ups, unhealthy amounts of smoking, and scouring the internet for new music to damage my eardrums with. In the process of this, something caught my eye (well, ears) which I wouldn't normally touch with a bargepole, that being the work of a fairly low-key German dubstep producer going by the name of Nilow. Usually, bar a couple of exceptions, I despise this kind of thing which in general brings to mind images of a fax machine being roughly taken from behind by a bull elephant in Musth. Nilow's remixes though give off a much more chilled vibe which clicks with me. The track below in particular pleased me, and is a strong candidate to get slotted into one of my Youtube videos in future I think.

Other than that, it's mainly been the usual mixture of hemorrhage inducing hardcore and death metal. Whitechapel's new album in particular has been getting a lot of airtime. If you don't know who they are, the track below explains their whole sound in a nutshell rather eloquently.

If at this point you're still reading and haven't quite switched off, wahey! Time for fishing talk! As I said at the start, with all the water, fly fishing's been a non starter for the majority of this month. The sessions that I have squeezed in I've already blogged about on here. However, I have managed to have a couple of evening sessions on a rather swollen River Wharfe with the worm last week. I've probably been over my thoughts about this often controversial (amongst the snootier members of the fly fishing community at least) method on this blog before, so I don't intend to go into the ins and outs of it today. In short, it's a method I enjoy fishing now and then and the conditions suit, and the rate of deep hookings I find is no different to that when using the fly. As with my fly fishing, the majority of what I catch goes back unharmed.
Morality/tradition/any other bollocks aside, fishing has been tricky even with the worm, as the river has been so high on occasions that it's been hard to find any sheltered areas to fish. Most of the trout I've winkled out have come from deep back eddies under my own bank in the last hour before dark. Rather exciting it's been too, feeling the lead bump around on the bottom, waiting for bites which could be anything from a gentle pluck on the line to an arm wrenching tug on the rod tip. The best fish I've managed came on Thursday night as I worked my way through some calm water beneath a old fallen tree. I flicked the length of line required out into midstream, then carefully guided the bait round until it settled directly under the bank about 10 yards below me. I waited a couple of minutes... nothing. Confident of a take though, I placed my rod in a rest and awaited a result. It didn't take long, as after around five minutes the rod tip jagged round and I found myself connected to a hard fighting brownie which I had to work hard to stop diving into a jungle of snags on a number of occasions. Eventually I managed to coax it thrashing to the surface and over the net - a pristine, solid wild brownie of around a pound and a half. Not a bad fish in anyone's book.

A pristine Wharfe Brown Trout on the worm in fading light.

Beyond this, what do the next few weeks hold? I'll be returning to Penrith soon, but until then I'll be attempting to make the most of the rest of my available days on the Wharfe, maybe pulling a few streamers in search of a big predatory brown to round off the season. Then, once up in Cumbria there's a hiking trip with a spot of hill tarn fishing on the cards. Whatever happens, expect a blog update about it soon!

Tight lines,

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