Sunday, 22 November 2009

Glen Pointon's Living The Dreamworks: Episode 1: Stillwater Techniques

Sir Stanley Matthews, Slash, Josiah Wedgwood, Robin Williams, Captain Edward Smith (from the film "Titanic"), Lemmy, Anthea Turner, Nick Hancock, that bloke from "Men Behaving Incorrectly", Frank Bough, Robbie Earle, Owd Grandad Piggott, Oatcakes, Garth Crooks, Sagger Maker's Bottom Knockers. Names synonymous with the quaint village of Stoke upon Trent. But now, there's a new star on the rise and folk up and down the quiet streets of The Potteries are talking about nowt else.

"Ooo the blooodyell's Glen Pointon???"

After his meteoric rise to fame, appearing with Oliver Edwards on Sky Sports' "Tight Lines" coverage of the BFFI Fly fair at Trentham Gardens this month, I was proud and honoured to have been asked to be the cameraman for his very first tutorial video, "Glen Pointon's Living The Dreamworks: Episode 1: Stillwater Techniques".

Pointon introduces a new, refreshing, if not sometimes a little challenging, style of presentation to the world of Angling, and whilst passionate about the subject, he refuses to conform to the usual etiquette associated with this piscatorial pastime.

He's been described as being like a cross between TV's John Wilson and Roger Mellie (Viz's Man on The Telly), and is quickly becoming a famous, household name for his breathtaking command of the Queen's English, and softly spoken, polite manner.

"Pointon's taken a subject matter that is full of tradition and complexity, and made it appear unbelievably simple" a bloke, aged 46, from Fegg Hayes said yesterday. "Cos kick a bow agen a wow an yed it till yer boss it?", he added.

We decided that Glen's first episode should be recorded at Marton Heath Trout Pools near to Congleton. Please click on the videos below to see one or two clips. They will change your fishing for ever.

Please make sure you haven't got a hot drink in your hand when you watch these clips and be advised that we have found it necessary to award the first clip with an 18 certificate. Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting Glen will know that expletives are a common occurrence in his speech, and it was inevitable that one of these would be caught on film. We originally had 4 hours of footage, but after we'd removed all the cursing and swearing, these 3 short clips were all that remained.


Glen Pointon's Living The Dreamworks: Episode 1: Stillwater Techniques

Part 1: Stillwater Techniques Part 1: Landing a Rainbow

Glen Pointon's Living The Dreamworks: Episode 1: Stillwater Techniques

Part 2: Large Dark Olive Techniques

Glen Pointon's Living The Dreamworks: Episode 1: Stillwater Techniques

Part 3: Presentation Techniques

Join Glen next time as he struggles with stalking incredibly rare Sturgeon in the Trent & Mersey Canal in the very heart of industrial Stoke on Trent.

A great day's fishing with some Rainbows for the pot to boot. Cheers Glen.

Live The Dream Brother!

Monday, 16 November 2009

The Dove, A Salmon River: Part II

This afternoon, I went over to the same spot on the River Dove as I visited with Glen yesterday just to make sure that I wasn't going bonkers through knocking about with Pointon, and to confirm that I had indeed seen dozens of Atlantic Salmon, and Sea Trout trying to negotiate a weir on a river just outside a quiet little village in the heart of rural North Staffordshire. How often have you seen the words "Atlantic", "Salmon", "Sea", "Trout", "North" and "Staffordshire" in the same sentence without them also being accompanied by "Aren't" and "Any"?

Please click on the images below to start a couple of brief videos of Salmon leaping. The first is a single Dove Salmon leaping at about 9 seconds into the video, and the second is of two Salmon jumping. The fish that I managed to capture on film were smaller than most that I saw jumping. The fish in the videos I would say are of around 5 - 6lb in weight. As yesterday, there were lots of double figure fish on the move, I just wasn't filming at the right times!

I bumped into a couple of other chaps who were having a look at the river, one a fisherman and one who wasn't. Both of them expressed the opinion that the weir should be altered in some way as to allow the fish to get up. Some local fishermen have objected to this apparently, as they are concerned that the Brown Trout would also leave to spawn upstream. This would be the case, but surely, having spawned they would return to their usual swims given the fact that they are notoriously territorial?

The River Churnet has also been stocked with Salmon Parr, and according to one of the chaps that I spoke to, they will only get up the river so far, as there is another, even bigger weir that the fish won't be able to get up. Both were of the opinion that given the time and expense that the Environment Agency has committed to this project, that it should be a priority to allow the fish to travel as far up the river as possible. I am inclined to agree.

If these fish were helped to negotiate huge man made weirs and dams, as they are on Scottish rivers, we could quite easily have Salmon and Sea Trout running up through the Rivers Hamps and Manifold as well as the Dove. How fantastic would it be to see Salmon running through Ilam, Dovedale, Wolfscotdale, and Berrisford Dale as they surely must have at one time. One could even watch them running through the beer garden of the Jervis Arms in Onecote! Imagine Salmon running up the Dove past Walton and Cotton's fishing Temple in Berrisford Dale, what an achievement would that be?

One of the men I was speaking to said that he had read something that was written in the late nineteenth century about Angling in our rivers. It said that at that time, there was no better Salmon nurseries in Britain than the little rivers Dove and Lathkill. I was also very interested to hear in a radio 4 programme, "The Philosopher, Fish, and The Dove", (please click to hear) that said that the decline in the numbers of Salmon running up the river, which was usually between 1100 and 1500 fish at a time, was indeed attributed to the Industrial revolution but not just because of pollution.

By the late seventeen hundreds, Richard Arkwright along with other contemporary Industrialists, had began building large scale factory style mills on the rivers and streams of Derbyshire and Staffordshire. Arkwright's first mill was built in 1771 on the Derwent at Cromford and he went on to build another on the Dove at Rocester.

Mills were popping up everywhere and always with large weirs which kept water back to supply the millraces that inturn supplied the power to the machinery. None of these weirs, many of which still exist today, had fish passes and so the population of Salmon and Sea Trout declined as the fish simply couldn't make their way up the rivers. (Not surprisingly, the Otter population declined at exactly the same time due to the dwindling supply of it's staple diet). Our weir, where I've been watching fish today, supplied a mill with power that ground flour, and last did so in, wait for it, 1890, so it's a little redundant then, and deserves a fish pass in my book.

Both of the men that I spoke to earlier today were sure that, despite the weirs, a few of the fish do manage to travel further up the Dove. One also said that there is quite a bit of rain forecast for Wednesday and Thursday and that if the river rises another couple of foot, and if the flow is stronger over the weir, then the whole shoal will be over late Thursday night and Friday morning.

Once again it was amazing to see these beautiful fish in such close proximity and just upstream from a swim that I regularly fish.

Please do leave me a comment if you have any further info, history or stories about Salmon or Sea Trout in the River Dove.


PS Here is a link to an article written by the BBC and an episode of "The Philosopher, Fish and The Dove" . You can "Listen Again" to a radio programme about Salmon in the River Dove....Please click here

Sunday, 15 November 2009

The Dove, A Salmon River

We've had a fair bit of rain over the weekend and Glen Pointon and I were doubtful that we would be able to fish either the Wye or the Dove because of the conditions. Glen picked me up from Leek and we headed off to a spot on the Dove where Glen has seen the Salmon leaping at this time of year. I couldn't believe my eyes. The Salmon were taking advantage of all the rain that we've had, and the high water levels, to push further up the river.

When we arrived there were another couple of chaps there trying to spot a fish or two. One of them kindly let me have these photos. After only a couple of minutes we started to see fish trying to get up the weir. Some of them were absolute monsters of well over 10lb each.

I was surprised to see very large Brown Trout leaping up the weir too, so as to get further upstream to spawn.

Many years ago, the River Dove and The River Churnet, one of it's tributaries, were Salmon Rivers until the Industrial Revolution began. Leek was a textile town famous for it's dying works, and much of this dye found it's way into the Churnet, some historians say that it was the most polluted river in Europe. Up until quite recent times, the Churnet downstream from Leek, could be any colour of the rainbow at any given time. Thankfully, all this has changed.

A few years ago, many thousands of Salmon Parr were introduced into the Dove and the Churnet and now, these huge fish travel from the North Sea via the Humber at Hull, onto the Trent and eventually our River Dove and their epic 150 mile journey to spawn is complete. Apparently, some of the fish that we saw jumping were Sea Trout. I'm not too up on the subject but Sea Trout won't have been stocked as Parr so they must have returned to the river of their own accord and took it upon themselves to make that 150 mile journey upstream.

If anyone reading this has seen Salmon or Sea Trout in the River Churnet, please leave me a comment as I'd be interested to know just how far upstream and near to Leek that they are reaching.

The chap who kindly gave me these photos said that he never thought he would see it in his lifetime, and seeing these amazing fish here in our rivers goes to show how much work has been done to remove pollution and how much more care is taken to keep our environment clean. I consider myself to be incredibly lucky to be able to fish these water life rich rivers in North Staffordshire....oh ok then...and a little bit of Derbyshire.


Monday, 9 November 2009

A Perfect Autumn Day with a Lunker in Dovedale

It seems a lifetime since those warm and late summer evenings, Kelly Kettle bubbling in the background, tall tales being exchanged, stalking lunkers, proper lunkers, clunkers, and all manner of classes of large, wild Brown Trout. Russell Crowe charging up and down Dovedale with his merry men is a distant memory, an event that now seems so surreal that I question myself as to whether it really happened. It seems that Crowey and his mates filmed at just the right time as, visiting Pointon's Glen yesterday, I noticed that the main area that was used for the set has now been dissected by a sturdy new fence.

It was a classic November morning. Thick mist shrouded Highfield and Leek but the sun was just peeking through. I wondered whether it would be worth a run up to Dovedale, whether the levels would have come down, and whether the Ladies would be on the feed given the heavy frost we'd had during the early hours.

I grabbed a bacon, egg and black pudding bap and sped of in the Wine Shop van, armed to the teeth with my Greys Streamflex 6ft 6, waders and other essential angling accessories.

I arrived and made my way up to the footbridge, my first impression being that, after seeing how much water was pushing over the measurement weir, today may turn into more of a pleasant Autumnal walk rather than an angling session. How wrong I was.

All was quiet at first until I had fished up to the mid section of Pointon's Glen. At one point, I caught myself looking around to see who was chucking stones at me, having heard a couple of splashes in the pools that I fished, but it soon became apparent that these were Trout on the feed. I made my way to the pool where recently, I hooked into, and landed the biggest Grayling I've ever seen never mind caught, and made a few casts. As usual, I'd rigged up a duo set up, weighted Pheasant Tail Nymph on the point with a Klinkhammer on the dropper.

The water was running through quickly and I had to really concentrate so as not to loose sight of the klink. After a couple of casts, the klink darted under and I struck. A big fish was on and I was desperate not to loose it. I could tell straight away that it was a Grayling by the way it was twisting and turning like an eel. Eventually, I landed this beautiful fish. I'm convinced that it wasn't the same fish that I caught a few weeks ago, this one being slightly smaller. Chuffed to bits, I'd exceeded all my expectations, having caught, and not only that, having caught a cracking fish. I wondered whether to pack in there and then, or whether to have a few more casts upstream.

As I walked up past the nursery pool I was surprised at just how many rises there were given the time of year. There were Olive hatches everywhere and the trout were on the feed. I had a few more casts, managing a couple of smaller Grayling and an accidental, but very beautiful and quite large Brownie.

All in all, a great angling session, in a stunning location, which I consider myself incredibly lucky to live so near to.

There are a couple more pics in the right hand panel of this page.


Monday, 2 November 2009

Wood and Pointon Go for the Grayling In The Highlands of Derbyshire...At Last

This was a day that had been coming for weeks, and well over due. Well, a week overdue. Last week, Leonie and I even booked into the Peacock in Rowsley so I could fish the Wye in and around Bakewell, in the right Royal Highlands of Derbyshire, twinned with Pitlochry don't you know. But it turned out that it was a charity day, so, I wasn't allowed.

And so, once again, I'd been lucky enough to be invited to fish the Wye with none other than my old chum Glen Tarquin Pointon of Haddon. (Formerly Lord Rocher of Oshbonk, previously a member of Leek and District Fly Fishing Association and Derby Railway Angling Club, but now moved on to pastures new)

I'd been looking forward to the day's fishing immensely. I hadn't been able to get out onto the rivers at all over the last couple of weeks through one reason or another and was ready for a laugh with Glen. And so, I was pretty annoyed when, at 5.30 am, I was awoke when, basically, a gale happened in our front garden. Crap. Tarquin and I exchanged a couple of phone calls at around 9am, would we go or wouldn't we, and eventually, we decided that we may as well have a run out and at least have a look at the river.

More often than not, one hears Glen before one sees him and this morning was no exception. I could hear his van and his accent as he drove down the track towards chez Wood. Wisps of B&H smoke rising from the crack in the off side window, "American Idiot" shattering the still, Sunday morning, autumnal air.

We packed up all of our kit into the back of Glen's van and we were all set for the off. All I needed to do was to negotiate my way through the Pointon debris and into the passenger seat, a feat easy than one may first imagine. It's full on advertising for Bensons, MacDonalds, crisps and disposable coffee cups. By his own admission, Glen isn't the most organised of chaps, and on top of this, the heaters were on full bore, "arr lark it worm" he explained. It was a bit like sitting in the middle of a council waste incinerator.

So we sped off up the Buxton road, through Buxton itself and on down the A6 towards Bakewell. Here and there we had a peek at the river and it didn't look promising at all. In places, the river was nearly onto the road, full of foam and colour and looking totally unfishable. However, as we got towards Bakewell, things started to look up. We stopped near Ashford and to our amazement, the river was only slightly up and had a faint milky tinge. Confidence started to grow.

Confidence started to grow even further when we decided that it would be rude not to start off by discussing tactics over an unfeasibly large breakfast, accompanied by the hottest coffee we'd ever, ever tasted (it had a half life of 150 years), and 14 rounds of toast. The waitress looked at us as if we were a bit odd.
Anyway, Glen read me the rules. No wading, barbless hooks, avoid hooking a trout at all costs, and off we went into the town stretch. The water was colouring up more and more as the day went on and I remember thinking that this could make picking out Grayling from the Trout a little on the tricky side.

Anyway, on my first cast, somewhere near to the cricket pavilion, I hooked into my first Grayling of the day, kindly modelled here by Glen Tarquin Pointon himself.

I had rigged up with a duo set up, a balloon caddis on the dropper, with a weighted pink shrimp about 2 1/2 Feet below on the point. I took a risk in the morning and packed my 6ft 6 Streamflex, wondering whether I would not have the length I might need, but it turned out to be perfect and great fun with the smaller fish.

To compare methods, Glen had decided to use his 9ft 5 wt Streamflex as he would be nymphing with a team of bugs.

Throughout the day, we both had success on our methods and we'd exceeded all our expectations. We set out in the morning thinking that a fish a piece would be good and we ended up with about a dozen or so between us.

It was another great day's fishing. Our usual haunts on the Dove further South would surely have been flooded and the Wye had given us a brief, 3 or 4 hour window to get some top quality Grayling fishing in. As well as the fishing, we'd also had a good laugh too as we always do, and we'd had a chance to put the world to rights.

The last fish of the day was this mini-lunker that took the shrimp on the lower reaches of the stretch in Rowsley and was the perfect end to another great angling session.

Cheers Glen for a great day's sport.