Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The Grayling Trail, Milldale to Dovedale with La Petomane

....The end of the trout season is here. The weather has changed. The warm evening breeze and the late evening fishing sessions are becoming a distant memory. Sitting around a smoking Kelly Kettle is no longer just a luxury, it's nearer a necessity to keep us going as the air cools and wind picks up during these autumnal evenings. The nights are drawing in quick...it will, as the saying goes, soon be Christmas.

So, it was one of the last Sundays of the season and I had finally managed to persuade my angling and dramming chum, Chris Kelting (aka Keltong) to join me on my favourite Dove. We left Chris' car at Dovedale and made our way round to Milldale, tackled up and walked down to the start of the LADFFA stretch. I'd told him that it would be much quieter at that end...it was heaving.

Chris dropped into one of the first pools and I into one further downstream. We both hooked into Grayling in our first few casts, Chris landing 3 good fish in three minutes on the duo. The water was the lowest I have ever seen it and incredibly clear.

After a while, we made our way down to Ilam rock where we were to meet up with Matt and Glen who were making their way up from Dovedale carpark at 2pm.

A few yards upstream from the footbridge, I had been watching a massive Grayling that was just sitting in an opening in the weeds. I pointed it out to Chris and he was on it with his Klinkhammer and nymph. Chris couldn't believe how close he was getting to it without it being spooked...he also couldn't believe how the big fish was completely ignoring the fact that a wee nymph was repeatedly passing it's nose without it flinching or having a snatch at it. Please expand the pic to see the fish.

We soon met up with Matt and Glen and we decided to stop at the boards to light the Kelly and to get our snappin out. We all made our contributions to the feast. Chris produced chocolate brownies, lovingly baked by his wife Nik, Matt pulled out a huge banana loaf he had made the night before, encouraging eyes to become way bigger than bellies, I layed out a dozen or so freshly cut ham baps for all to share, and we all looked on in anticipation as to what delight Glen might have procured on which we may all hungrily feast.

A box of individually wrapped Ferrero Rocher chocolates arrived on the boards, accompanied by much merriment and mockery on our part.

"Whats up with yer, get them Rochers in yer youth, nowt up with em."

The deal at "The Spar", apparently, had been buy one, get one free, so one box stayed at home chez Pointon, and the other was before us now, embarrassed by it's edible, and considerably more impressive culinary neighbours. Nevertheless, ignoring the funny looks we were being given by passing walkers. We shared the food around and filled our bellies, and made ourselves ready for the evening of fishing ahead.

The fish were fewer than the laughs, and we spent the evening learning fishing skills from one another. finishing off our cakes and butties, and making fun of Glen's chocolates. One passing visitor, having spotted them remarked...

"Oh, Ferrero Rocher, you must be a different class of fisherman"

I remember thinking he'd hit the nail absolutely on the head!

Please expand the pic above to see Mr Pointon impersonating the windy French performer, La Petomane, much to the amusement of Matt and Chris.

In terms of amount of fish caught, this wasn't one of the seasons best, but in comedy terms...it's a cracker.

Don't worry. We returned Mr Pointon safely back to the sheltered accommodation well in time for his medication and his doze.


Friday, 25 September 2009

The Churnet at Eastwall with Fishcake 24/09/09

I've walked the Churnet valley many times. I remember the first time I saw Eastwall farm and the pond and thinking that this would be my dream place to live. Its great that now I'm a LADFFA member, I get too fish there too.

Gary and I were overdue on the fishing session front we had a chat beforehand to decide on where to go, Bentley Brook or Eastwall? We only had a couple of hours to spare so we decided to meet up at Eastwall.

We both set up on the duo...I used a big balloon caddis on the dropper and a wee pheasant tail nymph on the point, about 2 feet below the dropper.

Gary gave me plenty of tips on how to fish it...and I did find it a little tricky at first negotiating casts between the trees to get to the right spots.

Gary had a good Grayling early on and I quickly followed. I also had a nice Brownie from a spot where I was surprised to catch from...these being the sorts of spots Gary encourages you to look out for.

There has been a bit of talk of late on the Fly Forums that Eastwall has not been fishing too well. Gary and Alex had a go at it a few days ago and caught quite a few good fish between them, just like we had today....the fishing looks more than fine to me.

Just as we were about to leave, Gary said that he wanted to try a few casts in a pool where he had dropped a big fish on the previous Sunday. He had a couple of casts and the fish was on. It gave him a right old scrap on his light tackle.

I couldn't believe the size of this Brownie...it was at least twice as big as it seems in the picture...if you know what I mean...It's mouth was just like a Salmon's.

I'll definitely be visiting Eastwall during the winter for the Grayling...especially when the bulls have been sheltered.

Thanks again for all the help Gary.

A great afternoon's angling.


Monday, 21 September 2009

Monster Salmon on the River Laggan....Had Migrated to Gruinart Apparently!

....So, onto the second part of our Islay trip September 2009. It was Sunday night...we'd had a magical evening in a huge sunset on Loch Gorm and Glen was "buzzin man" because the wee Brown Trout had been "avin it big time". Peter "Pollock" had rustled up a massive supper of....well...Pollock and we washed this down with some fine Chilean organic Cabernet Sauvignon and a few beers....and maybe a whisky or two.

We discussed nothing other than Monday's fishing...we were booked on to Islay's finest and famous River Laggan....on the Laggan Estate's beats 1 and 2 on a rotation basis. We were to fish beat 1, starting at the Sea Pool until 2pm, and then change on to beat 2 further up towards the Low Road.

Before we arrived on Islay, there had been nothing but rain all summer. As soon as we arrived, it was dry as a bone. Glen and I had looked at the river the day before, and whilst it was low, we still thought it was worth a try....we'd spent a small fortune on "Ally's Shrimps" and "Thunder and lightenings", so it might be rude not to have a go. The estate office kindly agreed that we could make our minds up in the morning.

So, we had set our alarms for 6am, and at 6am we promptly ignored them and got up at about 8. We headed for the river, arriving at 8.30am and had a look at beat 1. It looked ok, but we all had that feeling at the back of our minds that something just wasn't right. We also had no idea which pools to fish. A decision had to be made. Given that this was Glen's last full day, I just wanted him to catch fish, and thought that there would be nothing worse than for him to go home the following morning having blanked today. 

I managed to persuade Glen and Peter that we should fish it the next time we visited Islay, and that it would be worth employing a Ghillie for half a day, just to get one or two tips about the river. We headed off to Gorm and fished that for a wee while, all taking one or two small Brownies, then headed off to Bunnahabhain for a brew and to re-group.

Peter was dead set on his Sea Troot, and so tackled up and waded out to sea. Glen and I decided to have a walk up the coast, on the look out for small burns where we might tempt a few Brownies. We had been very lucky with the midges all week but today there was no breeze, the trees hung low, and the ferns were at head height, perfect for midges....even better for little deer ticks.

Glen was loving it on this burn, landing a small Brownie on every other cast. The fish were very dark but had vivid red spots. The burn ran with a very dark colour from the peat. My waders are still showing the peat stain now.

After a while we headed off to the cottage and left Peter enjoying himself in the sea. He landed a couple of nice Sea Trout. Glen had a go at wading out to the rocks, had a few casts from them, in the meantime, the tide had risen and we shouted encouragement at (not to) him and ridiculed his wading style, to which he replied that this was all rich coming from me...the worlds worst wader. He was right.

We drove down to the Ballygrant stores to get some smokes for Glen and on the way back I asked him how he had got on with the ticks. "What ticks..what do you mean youth?" he enquired. I reminded him that as soon as he had got off the ferry I had told him that he would have to change his shorts to longs, but it appears that he thought I was joking.

I told Glen about how the ticks attach themselves to vegetation and wait for animals to pass and then latch on to them and feed on their blood. I told him that if not removed, over the following few days, the tick would grow to the size of a baked bean. The colour slowly drained from Glen's face.

I was now laughing and crying so much that I had to stop the van. "What do you mean baked bean?" he shouted, "What happens then?". I told him that they then drop off and skitter across the floor and then hide until another animal comes along and they jump on that one, the whole cycle starting again. I'm sure he was imagining ticks the size of Shetland Ponies appearing from behind the settee. To say that he looked panicked is an understatement. I had a quick look at his legs...and sure enough there were a good half dozen or so merrily looking for a nice spot to latch on to. "I'm going to sue you Woody!"

When we got back to the cottage, I fetched a bottle of incredibly peaty whisky, I'm not going to say which one because I will have whisky fanatics sending me death threats, and daubed some on to the ticks that had been latched on for 24 hours or so, luckily, Glen couldn't see them but they were black and already the size of match heads. I managed to get most to drop off.

Limes disease is carried by one in three ticks and is a pretty nasty illness. In the Highlands and Islands, folk have often used spirits to remove ticks, the idea being that once covered in liquid, they cannot breath so have to drop off in order to do so. Apparently, the official line is now that they must be removed by hand or with a tool designed to do the job as covering the tick with any liquid makes it more likely that the tick will vomit (sorry if you are having your tea) into the wound and thus making it more likely to pass on the disease....nice. So there you go.

During the evening, Glen, his ticks, and I fished Loch Finlaggan. We walked right up the east bank to just beyond the island, fishing all the way. Glen lost what looked to be a really good fish near to where the boats are usually moored. The last hour was great fishing. We waded right out on a spit which David Morris has shown me in the past and we both took fish after fish on the dry...the LTD sedge...it was great fun, and a brilliant way to end Glen's Islay trip.

Glen left the following day on the 3.30pm ferry. In the evening, Peter did a little more sea fishing and I had a final session at Finlaggan...managing a few fish from the visitor centre bank. 

On Wednesday morning we went to see Joan at Dunlossit Estate office and purchased a ticket for Peter and I to fish from a boat on the beautiful Loch Ballygrant

There was a lovely ripple and we spent our time drifting from the loch from one end to the other. Peter had good sport on an orange muddler and I caught 3 or 4 on green tailed Kate McKlaren, Bibio and Peter Ross.

Loch Ballygrant has a lovely boat House that can easily seat a dozen people. There is a large fireplace and ample log supply. I'm looking forward to joining a few folk to fish there next season and to have food and a few drinks and a laugh within its sturdy walls.

The week flew by and we had had a great time. Peter had never met myself or Glen before and after a couple of days we had got to know each other and were having a laugh. It was great to see Glen and Peter using styles of fishing that I had not seen on Islay before....and they were catching plenty of fish. Both Glen and Peter have said that they will return to Islay. I know Glen has fallen in love with the place, as everyone does, and he will be back with me at the very start of next season. It was a privilege to be in such good company, in such good weather, and to catch so many fish....perfect.

That's the end of my report on Islay September 2009 other than to draw your attention to an article in the Ileach, the local newspaper, from that week that was pointed out to me by John and Lindy Mac Lellan. If we had have fished the River Laggan that Monday, and blanked, imagine how gutted we would have been if we had got home that night, heads dropped, miserable, more miserable than we normally are that is, more miserable than you can possibly imagine, and have read this piece!? The air would have been very blue. Please click on the pic to expand.

Well done Beth, you've achieved more than many of us will do in a lifetime!

Anyone whising to join us on our early 2010 season trip should get in touch with me as soon as possible to avoid dissapointment.



Saturday, 19 September 2009

The Isle of Islay, Angling and Dramming Paradise

The Isle of Jura and the Paps from Islay, looking across the Sound of Islay. Loch Inver can be seen on the left below the Paps on Jura.

I'm just back from the best angling trip I've ever embarked upon. It was the best angling trip for a number of reasons....the weather was stunning, the food was great, the wine and whisky flowed, the company couldn't have been better and the scenery, as is always the case with the Isle of Islay in the Hebrides, was nothing short of utterly breathtaking.....oh....and the fish were up for it too.

For months I've been pestering my mate Glen to join me on a trip to my second home, the Isle of Islay. I'd told him about the people, the stupendous whiskies, the massive skys, the mountains, the deer, the soaring eagles, the dolphins, the sea otters, the eerie black lochs, the rivers, the Salmon, the real, unpretentious men that he'd fish with, and the plentiful, and beautiful wild Brown and Sea Trout....Islay is a truly wild place I'd told him, the fishing would be very different from our semi-wild rivers at home...and all the more satisfying when catching and eating these lovely specimens....eventually he agreed, and although he couldn't make the whole week, he managed to squeeze a good months fishing into three glorious days.

I advertised the trip on our fishing forum, and was fortunate to get a response from one Mr Peter Dracup from Rutland, and we chatted briefly before hand over the phone of what fishing adventures lay ahead for us and how the trip might pan out...we all looked forward to it greatly.
Finally, we were also to be joined for two nights by none other than my mate Iain Banks, who, whilst not fishing, enjoyed the islands many malt whiskies and bountiful cakes....oh the hardship.

So, at 7am on Thursday the 10th September, Peter arrived at Wood Acres, and we made our way towards the M6, and on to the Ms 73, 74 and 8 around Glasgow. Our trip to the ferry at Kennacraig on the Mull of Kintyre was to be an hour longer today as another landslide had closed 'The Rest and Be Thankful', so we didn't spare the horses and arrived at Tarbert in plenty of time to meet Iain and polish off a few mugs of coffee and sticky cakes.

We made our way to Kennacraig, and had a chat with Jackie Thomson of Ardbeg distillery while we waited to board. After a calm and sunny ferry crossing on Calmac's Hebridean Isles, and after delivering some Queen of the Moorlands Rare Cask whiskies to various outlets along the way, we arrived at our desination...the cottages at Bunnahabhain Distillery. A couple of drams were had, a plan was made for the next day and we all retired, sleeping easily after the long day's journey. (The dram was a Bruichladdich Valinch from about 5 years ago, cask 451, a lovely dark, sherry matured whisky. The beer was 'Undertaker' from our local Wincle Brewery.)

Friday 11th Sept - Finlaggan and Duffies Bar, Bowmore

After a large breakfast, kindly rustled up by our head chef, Mr Dracup, we made our way up to Finlaggan for our first fishing outing. Iain went off to visit Kilchoman Distillery and Bruichladdich Distillery to pick up samples from a few of our casks of whisky. At Finlaggan, conditions were very calm and many rises could be seen but we were concerned at the lack of ripple and realised that our presentation would have to be perfect if we were to catch fish.

Finlaggan is a beautiful place. A large loch, it was once home to the Lord of the Isles, who ruled the whole of the Western Isles of Scotland, and it's shipping routes, from a small castle on an island in the loch. A new visitor centre welcomes those interested in the history of the area, and the castle and various tombstones can be visited at any time.....it can be an eerie place at dusk.

I last fished here at the end of May during the Islay Festival of Malt and Music (Feis Ile), I had entered a fishing competition organised by the Port Ellen Angling Club. The Loch fished incredibly well that day, my mate David Morris winning the competition easily with 37 fish in 4 hours, winning trophies for both heaviest catch and biggest fish.

I was determined to catch as many fish as possible on the dry fly during this trip as so few of the local fishermen use them. I tied on a size 22 'F' fly, and, using my 9Ft 6" Orvis (later to be renamed "Pike") rod, made my first cast....wollop...he was on...and so the day continued. These were only small fish, but they amazed me in the way that they fought. I think I had around 8 fish in that session. Our catches were put together, and a fine feast of wild Brown Trout, fried in garlic and crispy bacon was had, all washed down with the finest of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs.

We left the cottage at 7pm and went to pick up Mark Unsworth (of Islay Studios) from Bruichladdich and met up with (Long) John MacGillivary at Duffies bar...many drams, including the Kilchoman Inaugural Release was had, washed down with one or two pints of various Islay Ales. All in all and excellent first day.

Saturday 12th September - Loch a' Chnuic Bhric (Inver) The Isle of Jura

Saturday was to be one of the highlights of the whole trip. Peter and I set off early for the Jura ferry and met David Morris, Callum MacAffer and Kevin Morrison. Three very good local fishermen, with whom I had fished Inver before, finding it pretty hard going. I was hoping that this year would be a little easier and I'd stocked up with a few recomended Sea Trout and Salmon flies, including 'Ally's Shrimps' and 'Thunder and Lightenings'.

Inver is another 5 miles up a rough track from Feolin, where the Jura ferry terminates. We were met by the Gamekeepers son who kindly drove us up to Inver in a long wheel base landrover.

David Morris was the first to catch (as ever), landing a nice 1.5 lb Sea Trout. Callum and Kevin also managed a Sea Trout each throughout the day but, although we all saw many big fish moving, noone managed to hook a Salmon. I landed a good few, pretty small but beautiful brownies throughout the day.

Inver is an amazing place to fish. It is one of the most remote parts of Britain that I have visited, and certainly the most remote that I have fished. It is always a pleasure to visit it. I particularly enjoyed climbing the hill a little and looking up and down the Sound and seeing Rhuuval lighthouse, Bunnahabhain Distillery, and Caol Ila Distillery all in the same panorama.

Mark joined us for a few drams on Saturday night, all slumped in front of the fire after a long day of fishing on Jura. He was to be up at 5am to walk up the hill beyond the Margadale River to photograph the sun rising behind the Paps of Jura. (A picture that is now available at the Islay Studios website...please see link on right had side of this blog) You can also see the picture by following this link: http://islayphotography.aminus3.com/image/2009-09-15.html

Sunday 13th September - Caledonian MacBrayne gets the Glen Pointon Treatment

Glen had driven up to Kennacraig and kipped in his car, boarding the ferry, the Isle of Arran and departing at 7am. I drove down to Port Ellen to meet him. I knew he would be 'buzzin man' about the trip and looked forward to seeing how excited he was. I wondered what the crew and passengers would make of him...and how he and Peter might get on later in the day. Peter had decided that he would like to go and try the sea fishing, and would endeavour to catch us something for our tea.

I saw the ship coming around the point for the port and as it reached the port I could here a distant "WWWoooodddddddyyyyy!"...Pointon was arriving on Islay...and didn't we know it. He'd made friends with the crew, crashing fags off them and sipping tea in their crew room. He'd got to know all the passengers on the boat, mostly Ileachs, natives of Islay. As he got off the boat, all of the crew were shouting good lucks to him and the passengers all wished him well for the fishing trip..

We drove off towards the River Laggan, two miles Port Ellen side of Bowmore and headed off towards beats 1 and 2. The river looked lovely and we even saw a couple of Salmon jumping. Laggan Estate had kindly given us the option to fish these beats on Monday and were alowing us to assess the conditions before commiting to a full days fishing, and a full £50 per head. Conditions were looking good though, and Glen looked more excitited by the minute. There was talk of Lunkers, Clunkers, Proper Lunkers and the sorts...and the prospect of a good day's fishing was to follow. I noticed that Glen was wearing shorts and told him that he would need to wear long trausers because of the ticks, at which he laughed, thinking that I was joking. (Please see next post for details of how the ticks developed over the next few days...)

I introduced Peter to Glen at the distillery cottages and it was clear that he had been having a great time fishing from the rocks as he had a huge bag of Pollock to show for it. All in all he had 30 fish in 2 hours, 6 of which he had saved for our tea. We made our way to Finlaggan, fishing the visitor centre and castle side of the loch. We started to take a few fish, Peter netting the most on traditional wets, and I had a few on the 'LTD' sedge.

After an hour or so, we decided to leave and travel down to Islay's most famous Trout water, the huge Machir Loch of Loch Gorm. I'd fished Gorm before, the last time being pretty scarry, being caught in a storm coming off the Atlantic, in near enough pitch black conditions with David Morris. As the Wine Shop van made it's way carefully down the narrow track to the Loch, both Peter and Glen remarked on how good and how fishy the water looked...

Glen caught a good fish early on and we all had a few fish during the evening...mostly on the 'LTD' sedge, twitched across the surface of the water. The sunset that evening was amazing, the sky huge and deep red. It was like fishing in an impressionist's oil painting and a sunset that I will never forget.

We headed home in the dark, put a huge fire in and had a dram or two. Glen was clearly impressed with the whole experience and we ate his fish fried in garlic and bacon and served up with the half dozen pollock that Peter had caught off the rocks earlier and a dram..perfect. (The dram was Queen of the Moorlands Rare Cask Bunnahabhain 1976.....nectar).

The cottages at Bunnahabhain are right on the shore and overlook the Sound of Islay and the Isle of Jura. Many fishing boats travel up and down the sound and plentiful seabirds and creatures can be seen thereabouts. That evening we sat in the dark overlooking the sea with the air filled with distant eerie calls from the seal collony towards Rhuuval.

The next day we were to fish the Laggan Estate stretch of the river Laggan (post and pics to follow), and we were all very excited, we set our alarms for 6am with a view to leaving Bunnahabhain at 7am. We dreamed of the monster fish that we might catch in the morn, the run that they'd give us and of another fine day's angling to come.

To be continued......

Useful info...

Calmac Ferries : 08000 665 000
Bunnahabhain Distillery : 01496 840646
Maps, Islay Landranger 60, Jura and Colonsay Landranger 61

I will be arranging fishing trips and dsitillery trips to Islay and Jura in 2010. Please get in touch with me if you are interested in joining us on a tour.



Monday, 7 September 2009

Dovedale on the Duo with Islay on the Horizon

I fished Dovedale yesterday from 2pm to last light. This was my last chance for a bit of a confidence booster before I head north to fish my other favourite place in the universe...the Isle of Islay in the Scottish Hebrides....for Brown Trout, Sea Trout and for my first time, Salmon. (Watch this space).

I arrived at the car park and was surprised to see that there were much fewer cars than I had been used to seeing on a Sunday...I wandered up to the first pool and was very surprised to see what good condition the Dove was in, considering the downpours we'd had over previous days. I fished a klink all the way up to the Nursery, with no success, and decided to head off up towards the boards and Ilam Rock.

I decided to change to the duo, a balloon caddis on a dropper and a pheasant tail nymph on the point. I met up with a Jim and we wandered up the river, deterring a few poachers armed with telescopic rods, along the way. After crossing the river twice to avoid the climb of Lovers Leap, I decided to fish the second ford, and quickly landed two lovely wild brownies. I made my way up towards the boards and fished just upstream of a favourite spot, wading in to a run that I had not seen before, I cast the nymph downstream into a deep channel and let it drift away. After a few seconds, the caddis dipped away sharply, and I struck...into a good fish. The fish darted from side to side, hugging the river bed, and I really didn't think I'd land it...eventually persuading a nice, and rather large Grayling to the net...chuffed to bits and really looking forward to the winter if this is what sport the nymph produces.

After taking a few more fish I made my way downstream to meet up with Glen, and later on, Guy. Just upstream of the nursery, I managed two 1.5lb stockies and a little further upstream I had a nice wildie on the, now famous, LTD.

The three of us had a good natter and a laugh as always, the only thing missing was the Kelly, the first time this season without it, and we could have done with it after the couple of heavy downpours we had...see Mr Pointon for lame excuse.

Glen was taking fish on the LTD and one of Brian's skillfully tied, olive paraduns. Guy had a couple of really good fish in the Nursery pool including one that must have been knocking on for 2lb.

A great fishing session then, and after taking ten fish, three of which I would consider as being within the "demi-clunker" classification...confidence is on the up for Islay...watch out River Laggan, here I come....and maybe Mr Pointon.


PS you may have noticed that I forgot the camera. Sorry.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

The Wye and Wherefore

The end of the season is getting closer. The nights are drawing in very quickly and this angler is trying to cram in as many quality fishing sessions as he can.....gathering fishy memories to last over the long winter period until the inevitable excitement of the brand new season.

Last week, I visited a big angling centre to stock up on consumables with two trips in mind, one to the Hebridean Isle of Islay (watch this space), and the other to the River Wye at Rowsley.

I selected a few flies, terrestrials and muddlers to take with me to Scotland, and various types of sedges and olives to take to the Wye and I handed them over to the man behind the counter. "Bloody hell youth, at using em fer grindbait er wot?" he enquired implying I may have picked up a dozen or two too many...

I believe there are some every day items that one cannot own enough of, such as bread, screwdrivers, oatcakes, bottles of whisky, candles...and flies appears as one of the top entries....being short of the right fly for a particular set of conditions is enough to give your confidence a good kicking and can ruin a fishing outing.

And so, on Sunday 30th August, Glen, Brian and I met up chez Woody, and we three Stoke lads made our way over the hills to Rowsley and checked in at the Peacock Hotel. Here we met Dave (The Squire), who had also booked on the river, and given that it was his first time, was visibly excited and anxious to get out on the river as soon as possible, so declined breakfast and made his way up to the fisherman's car park. We ordered some posh breakfast butties and relaxed in the lounge, chatting about the day ahead, sipping our coffees and thanking the dozens of waiters who delivered our refreshments. Anyone would think that we were the type who got out of the bath to have a wee.

Refreshed, we drove up to the fisherman's car park and had a dabble on the nearest section. It was hard going, but Dave managed a wee Grayling. We met up with Jan, one of the river keepers and he promptly taught Glen to cast. We spent two hours there and then decided to slowly make our way towards Bakewell, we didn't want to over do it because we knew that we had a long day ahead of us.

As we got closer to Bakewell, we started to take more fish as the day got warmer and the rises increased. Glen landed a cracking Grayling that gave him a good fight.

We walked through the middle of Bakewell in our gear where we were asked the inevitable questions..."Are you going fishing mate", and "What are you fishing for", the latter usually attracting a response like "Sea Bass" from Mr Pointon. Our destination was upstream of Scott's Garden, I was keen to walk upstream a little I hadn't fished it much before. I took a couple of wild Rainbows in the pool below the weir, they gave me a right run around.
Dave fished upstream of us, and although he was taking more fish than any of us, didn't like the proximity to the town and the number of tourists that were around, so he packed up and made his way back towards the fisherman's car park.

This was the first time I'd met Brian. We had chatted on the forum before and he had said that he was going to tie me a few flies...I was amazed that morning when he handed me a fly box full of dozens of sedges and blue winged olives, there must have been 50 or 60 or so. I couldn't thank him enough..top man. Brian caught a couple of nice Brownies in Scott's Garden and was clearly enjoying his time on the Wye. Glen and I are hoping he will join as on the Dove at Dovedale and Milldale next year.

Since breakfast, I'd noticed that Glen was a little distant, he was quieter than usual, he was even swearing less, and it was clear that he was preoccupied with something. On a couple of occasions I caught him staring at the river, like a poet searching for inspiration, and every so often, he'd take a long, thoughtful, drag on his fag, take his daft hat off and scratch his head. He was of course planning for later in the day, planning how to hook one of his clunkers up there in the town stretch. 

So, the town stretch it was then for the last couple of hours. We looked over the footbridge, and spotted a massive shoal of hundreds of fish, some of them huge and most over 4lbs. It had been more than an hour since these monsters had been fed any chips, doughnuts are icecream cones, and were now that hungry that they were rising to naturals. We took it in turn to cast at them, all armed to the teeth with LTD sedges.

Glen was the first to hook, and then Brian, each landing lovely 5lb Rainbows. It was my turn to cast. Glen and Brian looked over the bridge and tried to guide my casting into the fish. It was a long cast for me and I tried a bit of double hauling which gave me enough power to drop a sedge into the fish. 

Glen's face went all serious, and he started to chant "Ey up, Ey up, Ey up", at increasing volume and became quite animated as, a large fish, steadily approached and eventually swallowed my sedge! I missed him. Meanwhile, when he had stopped jumping up and down like a mad man, and once the colour had returned to his face,  his fag hanging on his bottom lip, Glen shouted "Woody...I conner believe you've missed that youth, it wer abite fortayn pind!" Gutted.

As the light faded, we fished our way towards the cricket club, and the rises came on. Just at last light, and with a dozen or so people willing me on, I hooked a nice Rainbow and landed it safely, my biggest wild Rainbow Trout to date at somewhere between 2 and 3lb. What a great time of the day to catch a stonking wild fish, just before heading home.

We finished off with the usual Kelly kettle and a natter about the fishing, all agreeing that we'd had a great day's sport and a good laugh as usual.

The Wye is a fantastic place to fish, it tests your skills too as it is upstream dry fly only and no wading...it's addictive because it is such a challenge, it gets under your skin...Glen is well and truly under it's spell.