Tuesday, 31 August 2010

There's Gould In Them There Hills.....

Ian Gould's first visit to the beautiful Wye in Bakewell and the tourist board marks the occasion with a specially commissioned balloon.

Bank holiday Monday the 30th August had been a long time coming. I'd booked onto Derbyshire's unbeatable river Wye along with Ian Gould of Errwood Fly Fishing Club. Ian enjoys reservoir fly fishing, and the occasional river fishing and really fancied landing a large Wye Grayling.

From the early hours of Saturday morning right up until lunch time, we'd had heavy downpours in Leek and I wondered what the weather would be like in the hills above us. Those very hills that supplied our destination with its waters. One or two anxious texts between Ian and I resulted in me piling the kids into the van to speed off towards Bakewell to check out the conditions. I needn't have bothered, the river looked perfect, and as long as we didn't have too much more rain, all would be fine as long as the wind dropped.

And so, at 10am Ian was collected from Buxton and we made our way towards Bakewell, very much looking forward to an incredibly large breakfast to see us through the day. I'd forgotten the fact that it was bank holiday and basically, every parking space in Bakewell was spoken for so we'd collect our tickets and start fishing early instead.

Ian had set himself a target early on. As long as he went home having caught 1 of each of the native, Grayling, Brown and Rainbow Trout, he would be a very happy man indeed, and he was soon off to a perfect start with this wee Rainbow.

What started as a chilly start, soon turned much warmer and I was glad that I hadn't bothered with my waders or jacket. There was loads of fly life and plenty of rises to be seen but during the day, it was smaller fish that we seemed to be attracting to our tiny flies. Griffiths Gnat and Grey Dusters seemed to do the job with the LTD putting in a rare, and certainly the first for me...wait for it...blank! Maybe it's time for a new LTD Pointon....the fish have seen it too many times! :-)

During the evening we made our way towards the town and enjoyed quite a few small Grayling to our tiny flies. The town centre had been incredibly busy during the day and unfortunately, the lunkers were not particularly hungry, in fact, they were that full they'd gone off to bed early. Despite this though, Ian managed a lovely, touching 3lb Brownie which was a classic end to the evening.

Ian and I had a great day, and Ian's aim of 1 of each of the native Grayling, Rainbow and Brown Trout was achieved. Come on Ian...get on the Wye on the 12th September!

Thanks to Richard W for spending time with us explaining the spinner fall and indeed providing us with a couple of his own patterns for the evening rise.

We finished up chatting with Dave and Jan besides the Wye in the town centre and I thought it was a good time to fetch out this week's mystery dram from the van......a lovely single cask, single grain whisky, 40 year old Invergordon, which was about the same colour as the sunset reflected on the river in the pic above...good health!



Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Queen of the Moorlands Whiskies Reviewed by Whisky Online Blog

Angus from the Whisky Online blog has reviewed some of our best Queen of the Moorlands Rare Cask bottlings and has written a great post about how our first bottlings came about....

Check out the post at......



Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Fancy a Trip to Islay, Angling and Dramming Heaven??

Anyone fancy a trip to Islay?

I'm planning a trip to my favourite Hebridean Isle to enjoy the last of the season's fishing and to pick up a whisky or two. Anyone interested in joining me should email me or give me a call (07875 405 980).

We'll be fishing Lochs Finlaggan, Gorm, Ballygrant and Ardnave and there is a possibility that we'll be heading over to the Isle of Jura to fish the incredibly remote Inver for sea trout and salmon.

We'll be staying in self catering accommodation. The cost for the trip will be around £200 to include transport to and from Islay, and accommodation. The fishing is £15 for the 5 days in Islay and £10 if we head over to Jura.

I'll be leaving Leek at 4am on the 24th September and we'll be back in Leek in time for tea on Wednesday 29th September. I can of course arrange to pick anglers up anywhere en route to the ferry.

I've got 3 spaces available at the moment.....contact me if you're interested. If you've not been to Islay before, I cannot recommend it enough.


Monday, 16 August 2010

Dawson's Olives from Farlow's of Pall Mall

Well, its a long way to go to try to 'match the minnow' but I've visited my fave London fly fishing shop and armed myself to the teeth with horrible looking Dawson's Olives, determined to crack the Errwood code tomorrow with Brian.......
David Wood, The Wine Shop and The Queen of the Moorlands Whisky Co. 01538 382408. Mob 07875 405 980. www.wineshopclub.blogspot.com

On the look out for Her Majesty's Royal Carp, St James's Park SW1

Oh, if only Pointon was here with his Streamflex and his chum flys. This looks a likely spot for some city centre angling. I'm just off to one of my fave angling shops, Farlows of Pall Mall.

Te Te

David Wood, The Wine Shop and The Queen of the Moorlands Whisky Co. 01538 382408. Mob 07875 405 980. www.wineshopclub.blogspot.com

Monday, 9 August 2010

An Afternoon at Errwood Reservoir

Errwood Reservoir in the stunning Goyt Valley

I was delighted to have the opportunity to fish at Errwood Reservoir yesterday, just a couple of miles outside Buxton amidst the beautiful scenery of Derbyshire's Goyt Valley. I'd arranged to meet up with Commo and Mick (aka Bonehead) at around 10am in Leek from where we'd make our way, in our dodgy vans to the picturesque venue.

A few months ago I was contacted by Ian Gould, secretary of the Errwood Fly Fishing Club. He asked me if I would be interested in selling day tickets for the 85 acre reservoir, through The Wine Shop in Leek. I agreed straight away. Not only would I get new faces through the door of our shop in Leek, it would also give me extra opportunities to blether about fishing.

Other than the lochs of Islay, it's rare that I get to enjoy a little still water fishing as I've been keen to explore the rivers on my DRAC and LADFFA tickets, and so, I had a job to decide what to pack in terms of tackle for the outing. On Islay, I enjoy fishing the lochs with my 8ft 6" 4wt Hardy Demon, much to the amusement of David Morris who always gives me grief about my choice of light tackle. It's great catching the wild brownies of up to 1.5lb and there's usually a stiff breeze to aid the casting. And so I thought that I'd get away with it on Errwood too....

King Commo of the Reservoirs into his first Errwood Rainbow

Earlier in the morning the weather was quite dreach and we'd driven over the roaches in a blanket of cloud and drizzle, but as we arrived at Errwood, conditions were much drier, warmer and overcast, all in all looking good for the fishing ahead, and there were plenty of rises too. There was an angler coming off as we arrived and he advised that the fish were near the surface and he'd been taking them on red diawl bachs.

I was able to do a little preparation before I attempted to fish at Errwood. The fishing club has an excellent website containing an array of useful information for the angler, whether a member of the club or the occasional visitor on a day ticket. There's all the information you need for a good days fishing from how to get there, to where to park, what methods to use and a map (see below) that's linked to specific information about all the various locations on the reservoir. www.effc.co.uk

The club also hosts it's very own forum, and I'd used this to get information from members about how and where to fish and I found this to be very helpful. Without this info, we could well have spent an hour wondering about where to start. I'd also arranged to meet up with Ian and he found us later on at Duffer's Bank...the perfect spot for Commo, Bonehead and I! http://effc.myfreeforum.org/

Please click on the map below to expand.

Initially, I thought I'd be clever and set up like I would at a loch with a team of 3 flies. An LTD sedge on the first dropper, then a black bibio with a red flash, followed by a weighted pink tailed hare's ear nymph on the point. I had little success on this, although I did have a couple of large rainbow's chasing the nymph right into the bank and creating huge boils and bow waves as they did so. Commo was enjoying most success, he gave up quite early on nymphs and the like preferring a huge bushy daddy, which did the trick almost immediately. Well done Commo!

I pinched his idea early on and did have a couple of takes but it wasn't until I tried a static cdc emerger that I had any real success in the form of a rainbow trout. We'd noticed that the fish did seem to patrol the banks, appearing in our swims at regular intervals. Most fish were topping and tailing but I took my first fish when there wasn't any visible surface activity and the 2 1/2 lb fish came from the depths like a missile, battering my small cdc fly, and actually hitting it that hard that it will never be used again.

Commo does it again on the daddy

Commo stuck to his daddy patterns and quickly took another great looking rainbow on a black daddy, basically the biggest in his fly box. By this time, Bonehead was following suit with his fly selection and he too was beginning to land fish.

Before long we were joined by Ian Gould who offered me some great advice. He was a little perplexed by my choice of rod and particularly the length of my leader, which was about 5ft. I asked him how long my leader should be and he said he never fishes with a leader if less than 16ft! He kindly gave me a couple of the biggest flies I have ever seen...big hairy green things with huge black eyes, this would do the trick he assured me, as I couldn't help imagining the flies squaring up with the rainbows their enormity being so vast.

Anyway, he was of course correct, and I'd managed to "match the minnow" and it wasn't long before I was into a good sized fish that bent the rod right over as I'd quickly retrieved my aesthetically challenged imitation through the murky depths of Errwood Reservoir.

By 4pm, Commo and Bonehead had 3 decent trout each in their tackle bags, each destined for the dinner table. I'd had a nice brace of rainbows and it was decided that we should each point our dodgy vans towards Stoke and to head back home over the rugged roaches.

EFFC offers day tickets at £15 each that can be purchased at various local outlets including The Wine Shop, 22 Russell Street, Leek, SY13 5JF. 01538 382 408. The club also offers an annual membership that is set at an incredibly reasonable price...more info on the club website. The fishing season takes place between the 3rd Saturday in March until 31st October. As well as the stocked rainbow trout their is also a population of native wild brown trout.

To sum up, we had a really enjoyable afternoon at Errwood. The Goyt Valley is an absolutely stunning part of the Peak District National Park and an area that I'm very much looking to exploring with the kids of the remainder of the summer holidays. The fishing is cracking with an abundance of good sized fish that are more than willing to take the dry fly, even huge ones, and at close quarter. The parking is great, and the company is good too, fishing for normal folk with a complete lack of pretence, something that we could do with more of on the river bank.


Ian with a good sized rainbow caught on a previous occasion

Friday, 6 August 2010

Come on Pointon, Let's Get On The Wye

I managed to free myself up yesterday for a whole day's fishing. I've struggled on my local waters of late due to low water levels and I knew that if I ventured to one of those, that I might give up if conditions were tough.

I thought about giving the Derbyshire Wye a go. That way, having purchased my day ticket, I'd be more likely to preserver and to concentrate harder if the going was tough. I was aware that it was the second day of the Bakewell Show and that I might have to think about avoiding the crowds. I usually like to spend an hour or two in Scott's Garden but this would be out today due to the fact that it had become a temporary car park for the two day event.

I gave Jan a call first thing to check conditions and he told me that there was a fair breeze and there were occasional light showers. I packed up and sped off to the Peacock Hotel at Rowsley to pay for and collect my ticket and a few flies, managing to resist Pointon's habit of morning coffee, preferring to find a quiet spot away from the show goers and to land me a couple of fish.

I made my way to a spot where I'd done well on my last outing on the Wye. I tried a few different patterns but seemed to struggle and quickly felt my confidence drop. I'd been sure that I'd be into a fish on my first cast.

10 mins to observe the river and chill out was required. 5 years ago, this would have been time for a smoke and a little contemplation.

A small hatch of sedges commenced.

Glen's LTDs were running low in my fly box and I seemed to be down to the dregs of them, ones that I'd probably tied after a few too many glasses of Sauvignon Blanc and gave the appearance of what can only be described as a distressed sedge.

I managed to get one to look somewhere near presentable, carefully muded up my tippet and cast to the far bank, mending my line continually and trying to remain drag free for as long as possible so as to be still fishing when my sedge made it's way under the low branches of a willow on the far bank. Almost immediately, and to my great surprise, there was a huge flash of silver, a big swirl of fin and water and a tremendous bang on the tip of my 8ft"6 4wt rod. The result of this frantic activity was a lovely Grayling in the net and at last, the first fish of the day.

A successful time was had at that spot and I managed another Grayling, a Brownie and 3 wee Rainbows. I made my way downstream and fished around the sheep bridge managing a nice brace of Rainbows and then my OCD kicked in and I started to worry about illegal parking and where I would park in town in time to rendezvous with Pointon who was imminent. I shifted the car and queued up for chips, peas and gravy with 500 Bakewell Show goers and waited for Pointon to arrive. I was glad for the rest as I'd been walking up and down quite a lot and new that energy would need to be conserved for the evening's fishing around the town centre.

Pointon arrived and he was clearly a man on a mission. When ever he goes fishing he always has some sort of a target in his mind. He is unlike me, when I go fishing, I just enjoy catching fish and am grateful for anything. Glen is driven by a particular fish, in a particular swim and doesn't get closure until he's caught it. e.g.....the 9lb Wye Brownie, the Tean 2lber and so on. He'd been watching a particular, large Grayling in Bakewell and raced to the spot to have a cast or two at it before me. Almost immediately he requested that a might bring the flipping net while he tussled with the fish whilst it thrashed in the shallow waters, continually displaying it's huge dorsal fin.

Before long the beauty was landed and weighed. 2lb spot on, a clunker of a Wye Grayling and an angler's dream fulfilled...again.

Jan joined us with his dogs and as the light faded we strolled upstream, casting here and there and awaiting the spinner fall. Rises were not as prolific as they'd been a few weeks ago in more than favourable conditions when we fished with CooommmmoooooooOOO and Bonehead, but a couple of 2lb plus Rainbows were managed along with another nice Grayling.

All in all I'd enjoyed catching 15 beautiful fish, Browns, Rainbows and Grayling. Another belting day's fishing on the region's finest stretch of river. I can't wait to return and to explore upstream and the swims that I've not even seen yet. Come on Pointon, let's get on the Wye.