Sunday, 2 August 2009

Surprise Fishing Session at Dovedale

The weather was shocking on Saturday and the fisherman of North Staffordshire and Derbyshire all thought that Sunday's river fishing was ruined.  

The decision was made to book a boat on a stillwater to guarantee some fishing, I thought I'd use the experience as a warm up for my forthcom
ing trip to the Hebrides.

I woke at 5.30am to the sound of next door's cockerel giving it some. I couldn't get back to sleep as I was too excited about the day's fishing and had a quick look out of the window t
o see what the weather was doing. Conditions looked great, drying up quite nicely and sunny already. I decided to jump in the car and head off upto Dovedale to see what was going on. 

As I drove up over the Mermaid, I could see that the weather was just fine over towards Dovedale and started to wonder whether there was the faintest possibility that the river may have dropped if the rain had stayed off in the night. I arrived at Dovedale car park at 6.30am. Walkers were already arriving, I guess they were making up for time lost due to the weather on Saturday. The river looked great, still up but running quite clear. 

I walked up as far as the Nursery Pool, taking pics on the way up to post on the blog in case any of the lads from further South wanted any info to help them plan their fishing day. I new that once Glen got a glimpse of the pics, he'd want to fish the Dove. (see pics o
n previous post). When I got home I contacted Johnny, who was thinking of fishing Wolfscotedale, and Glen and we decided that, given the conditions, all plans were to be scrapped and we were to rendezvous at Dovedale at 2pm.
I've never seen the car park at Dovedale so busy, they were letting the cars in on a one in one out basis. Picked Glen and Johnny up in the Wine Shop van and headed off to Milldale, from there fishing all the way down the Dove back to the car park. I just couldn't believe how few people we saw on the way down, it goes to
 show that it doesn't matter how busy it appears at Dovedale, the majority of visitors make there way up to the stepping stones then turn back again, there was plenty of parking at Milldale too.

We each took a few fish on the way down, Grayling seeming to be predominant. At about 4pm, we stopped fishing for a while, lighting the Kelly in one of the caves at Doveholes.

We spent a good bit of time fishing the
 mid section which I have to say is my favourite stretch of the Leek and District Fly Fishing association stretch, not necessarily because of the amount and quality of fish, but because it is so beautiful. For me, angling is about having an excuse to spend long periods of time in these places, fishing 
with like minded folk and having a laugh...and oh, catching fish of course. 

Glen landed a good wild pounder on his "Living The Dream" pattern whilst Johnny was having good sport on a New Zealand style rig.

Rises were not plentiful and we spent quite a bit of time finding the fish and taking it in turns to have a go at them with different flies, the fish
 seeming to be quite choosy but we landed a few between us.

As the light began to fade, we headed off towards the Nursery Pool and the fast stretches downstream, I could tell that Glen was starting to think of his "Proper Lunker" that he has set his mind on landing this season....would tonight be the night? 

We took a few more fish in the Nursery Pool section and as it started to get dark, fished the faster water in between the stepping stones and the footbridge....there were no rises and we couldn't tempt any fish to the fly, dry or wet. We decided that we should have one last Kelly, having agreed that we we'd had another ace days fishing.

After a long days fishing, refreshments were required in front of a blazing fire....

A pint of Isle of Skye Brewery's Blaven Ale, a strong (5%abv) amber beer, quite hoppy, and very refreshing, available at all good Wine Shops in Russell Street, Leek.

The ale was accompanied by a glass of Bunnahabhain Darach Ur 
(meaning new oak in Gaelic) which is a multi vintage vatting of whiskies of various styles, including peaty and sherried whiskies, all married in fresh American Oak...bottled at 46%, there is a good, oily mouthfeel, Bunnahabhain marmalade and peat on the palate and a long spicy finish.....unfortunately not available at Wine Shops in Russell Street, Leek.

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