Monday, 17 August 2009

Two different styles of fishing in 24 hours

Sunday - Milldale to Dovedale With Johnny C.

My confidence has continued to grow recently as I seem to be attracting more takes and landing more fish. I'm putting this down to two things. Firstly, that I'm lucky enough to be getting quite a few fishing sessions in, and secondly, and I think more importantly, I'm fishing with some quality anglers, and picking up some best practice along the way. Fishing with (mar mate) Glen has improved my confidence no end, I can rely on him to tell me straight if he thinks I'm doing something wrong. I've also been lucky enough to fish with a few others, who have also been good enough to lend a few tips to this relatively new comer to fly fishing. Thanks to Mick, Johnny and Gary.

I began fishing at  the age of 6 and apart from my first few years, I've never had so much help available to me. The world of the interweb, blogs and forums means that the modern angler is never more than a tap and a click away from a little advice. If you'd have told me, when I was a kid that in years to come we'd have been arranging to meet other fisherman, who we didn't know, via a computer, I'd have laughed so much that I'd have shared my fags. .

The last couple of days have been no exception. On Sunday afternoon, I was to meet up with Johnny (Colemans on the forum). I dropped my car off at Dovedale car park, and Leonie ran me upto Milldale, on a promise of lunch at The Watts Russell Arms (fantastic piece of lamb but a little expensive), followed by ice-creams all round in Milldale.

Johnny and I tackled up and we wandered down to the river. Conditions looked good. The river had dropped and was running pretty clear. We wondered how the weather would affect things as the air temperature was lower than of late and there was a cool breeze. We dropped into the river and fished the fast sections. I was gutted as I dropped a good Grayling, how my confidence would have been lifted if I'd landed that one so early in the day. The first hour or so was hard.

We bumped into Matt and Clive who were fishing their way up from Ilam Rock to Milldale. They had been fishing and camping all weekend and had clearly had a great time. Clive, a complete newcomer to angling had landed a fair few fish and was absolutely buzzing. (Quite literally after a nasty incident with a wasps nest).

We started to see a few rises at Doveholes and Ilam Rock, and from here on, we started to take fish. Johnny had a nice wild fish at the boards which gave him a fair old scrap. At one point, Johnny was casting at the upstream and of the boards and I, from the downstream while I was talking to some walkers about the fishing. I don't know how we managed it, and probably would never be able to choreograph it again, but as we casted in absolute opposite direction, we hooked each others line on the backcast, much to the amusement of those who watched, who must have thought we were a right pair of clowns.

We made our way down towards the Nursery Pool as the light began to fade and talked about all things piscatorial. I enjoy fishing with Johnny, he has a very relaxed style. He often takes a break and is just content to watch what is going on. I think I should do this more often, chill out a bit and read the river whilst not concentrating on casting too much. To me, angling is at least as much about the location and the socialising as it is about catching the fish, and I think Johnny would concur.

We came across a pool where the were quite a few fish rising, and between us, we managed to land a few fish using the LTD sedge (youth) and JT Olives (please see right hand panel for pic of one of the brownies we caught there). Considering the conditions, we'd had a good day landing a fair few fish between us.

Monday - The Manifold downstream from Brund Mill with Gary

I've been pestering Johnny, Mick and Gary, to get me on to some of the Derbyshire County Angling Club waters. They've all offered me guest tickets but the first opportunity I got was to be yesterday on the river Manifold just downstream of Brund Mill with Gary (Fishcake on the forum).

I met Gary at about 3pm and we made our way up towards Sheen. It was quite a bright and warm day, and the first thing I noticed when we got out of the car was the abundance of fly life. Gary had suggested that we fish this stretch of the Manifold because it would demand a different approach, a different style of fishing than I have previously been used to on the Dove. I think Gary wanted to get me out of my comfort zone a little bit, to give me a challenge, remarking a couple of times that If I could start to manage to catch fish in waters like this one, it would improve my performance and approach to my fishing at my usual haunts. Gary set me up with light tackle, fishing a Balloon Caddis on a very short dropper with a tiny tungsten headed pheasant tail nymph on the point.

Much stealth was required when approaching this narrow river...much more stealth that is than the huge herd of horned bullocks that charged towards us at one point. To say that it put me off my casting is a little of an understatement. Smell it? I was sitting in it.

We made our way upstream and I was surprised at how many rises there were. Fishing was really close in, there was little need to cast, more of an overhead flick was required....usually resulting in a tangle in a tree on my part...I must thank Gary for his patience..If I'd have been him I'd have disappeared into the distance under a speech bubble full of expletives after the first few times.

Gary wanted me to catch, to show me what this small river had to offer. After a while, I managed to present my fly under some overhanging branches and I had a take. It was very exciting. In a small river like this, the fish fight like hell. It gave me a real sense of achievement when I landed my first wild Manifold brownie. Gary is a great angler. Quite precise, he reads the water well. He has spent much time observing other anglers and taking it all in. He fishes a swim in a very patient way, covering every part of it systematically.

This had been an great afternoon's fishing, between us landing a fair few wild brownies. It is a completely different style of fishing, demanding stealth and precision. It's more tiring too because of the amount of walking and climbing that you are doing, to get to the swim where you think the brownies are hiding. All this though, makes it so rewarding when you catch that first fish. 

Cheers Gary for a great experience. David.


  1. Hi Dave

    Johnny C stands for cool, calm and collected and like Glen you are being fast tracked in the fly world by fishing with some excellent anglers.
    We shall fish Wolfscotedale soon Dave, maybe next week, I'll try and sort a few dates and take it from there.
    If you caught on the Manifold you can catch anywhere.

    Mick M

  2. Cheers Mick,

    I'll look forward to fishing Wolscotedale with you.