Sunday, December 20, 2009

Good To Be Back

Sub-zero temperatures, snow, biting cold wind, freezing cold water...absolute heaven. After something like 7 weeks where the rivers have been in an almost continual flood it was a joy to finally have the chance to flick out a team of Grayling bugs in the hope of a catching a few fish that hadn't been put off by the recent drop in water temperature.

A few hours on the wye on Saturday and an hour or so on Irfon on Sunday resulted in a total of a dozen fish...nothing big but all very welcome.

All 8 fish caught on the Wye took my recently tied V-Rib Pink Glister Grub so I think it may result in a few more being tied this week.

Biggest of the weekend (gloves have non-absorbent palm!!!)

With a bit of luck the river levels will remain fishable over the Xmas break so we can all catch up on a little Grayling therapy.

I hope this Salmon got the chance to spawn before the resident Otter had it for breakfast!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The crabbing has definitely slowed down. While there is a still a good chance at getting a dungeness or two off the pier it is not the near certainty of the start of the season. Even from a boat, getting a limit is difficult. The red crab are still available to make up for any dungeness you're lacking. I haven't heard of any perch caught this past week, but then again I haven't heard of anyone fishing, either. Rain is forecast for the weekend so there may not be much to report next week, either.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Magic Glass V-Rib Nymphs

The last 4 or 5 weekends have been spent hoping and praying that the river levels would come right and allow us all to enjoy a few hours indulging in our favourite pastime, only to be told that 'more heavy rain was forecast' scuppering all plans to cast a fly.

The weather in Mid-Wales and around the Marches has wiped out any serious river fishing for over a month and with the water tables filled to capacity any further rain just keeps topping up the rivers to overflowing.

Time then to attempt my first Step By Step of a fly pattern using a material new to me...Veniards Magic Glass V-Rib is a exceptionally versatile material which brings nymph pattern to life and is easy to use even for a relative novice like myself.

Yellow 'Magic Glass' Grub

Hook - #12 Skalka G
Bead - 3.5mm Black Tungsten
Thread - UTC 70 Hopper Yellow
Tail - Grey Partridge
Breathers - Pale Yellow Ostrich Herl
Body - Magic Glass - V Rib (Yellow)
Extra Weight - 4 or 5 Turns of .60mm Lead Behind Bead
Thorax - Dark Olive Seals Fur
Tie in Partridge feather for tail.

Catch in Ostrich Herl and V-Rib, then add 4 or 5
turns of lead behind the tungsten bead and coat
it with a layer of varnish.

Wrap the body with the thread to form an even
tapered body.

Wind up the V-Rib material to form a
segmented body.

Then follow up with the Ostrich herl laying it
in the groove of the segments.

Apply the Seals Fur dubbing using the split
thread method.

Some variations using Veniards Magic Glass V-Rib
Same as above but without the herl body.

Using fluoro pink thread and shrimp pink V-Rib.

Partridge hackle added around collar.

Pink glister dubbing under V-Rib body.

'Free swimming' rhyacophila.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Some nice crabs came in last week, including the largest dungeness I've ever seen caught from the pier. It was well over 7" wide. The numbers of crabs dropped off toward the end of the week but they should rebound with the numbers of crabbers dropping off. Still a few perch coming in.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's the same story, crabbing from the pier is averaging OK with a couple of people limiting out (10 crabs) in a few hours to some people not catching any. The average is 1 to 3 dungeness per group. Boating is better with catches ranging from 3 to 30. Working the gear regularly and adding fresh bait between pulls is definitely affecting the numbers. Last week there were a few rubberlip perch caught by a boater drifting near the kelp across the bay from the Landing. No trophies, but good eating.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The crabbing was slower in the bay this weekend. Several boats had limits of dungeness but most had less. The pier was slower yet, but most of that was due to more crabbers than crabs. That should change in the next few weeks, notably after Thanksgiving week. Outside of the bay the crabbing was even better, especially down on Ten Mile Beach. Unfortunately the weather forecast for this week will prevent the sport fishermen from going there. Next week, then.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The crabbing in the bay is still good. One group with 8 traps caught 27 legal dungeness on the pier on an overnight set. Most of the pier crabbers did not do as well but still caught dinner. Crabbing by boat was, as usual, more productive. Leopard shark fishing was good near Marshall on live sardines and the surf fishermen are still catching perch on the incoming tide.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The boaters definitely had a better average than the pier crabbers. All the boats brought back some crab and a few boats had limits. Dave Alexander and crew used ring nets to catch five limits of dungeness crab in about five hours. If I find out what he was using for bait I'll let you know.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

It is not a good day to be a crab, at least, not near the pier. The open ocean is a bit safer for the crabs due to the 14'+ swell. There are a fair amount of crabs coming in, just not very many per person. Some boats are out on the bay and hopefully I'll get a count from them later.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

13 to 15 foot seas are forecast for Friday and Saturday so crabbing outside the bay is out. If you are planning on going to Ten Mile for the opener please go to Bodega Bay. If you want to try for crabs here inside the bay, where we have been seeing good numbers of dungeness, come on out.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The last day for rockfish was Saturday with one boat catching limits and others with none. McClure Beach gave up four more halibut on Saturday. No giant fish, but Halloween halibut are pretty rare around here. It sounds like there is some rain predicted for the dungeness opener, but if the crabs stay in the bay for next week it should still be worth the effort no matter what the weather does. Keep your fingers crossed.

River Test - Grayling

This was the one I'd been waiting for...the chance to target Grayling on a southern chalkstream and the destination was the famous River Test.
Three of us made the long journey south and a finer day you couldn't wish for, no rain, no wind and extremely mild for the time of year.

The river was running low but looked everything like I'd imagined having read all the many articles written about this legend of chalkstreams...manicured banks, fishing huts, quaint little foot bridges spanning across the crystal clear get the picture.

The walk down river was enough to get the juices well and truly flowing with shoals of Grayling easily spotted amongst the weed beds also the river was full of some monster trout which had obviously been stocked for the privileged few who were able to fish here during the trout season.

The day started slow with only the smaller specimens coming to hand, in between the Grayling the inevitable capture of some of the 'out of season' trout certainly got the heart pumping a little and any caught were carefully returned.

It gets quite frustrated when you can see these large Grayling in front of you but they don't even flinch when you carefully pass one of your 'killer' bugs passed their noses. Fortunately towards the end of the day as the light began to fade these fish became less wary and succumbed to my fly pattern.

The day ended all too soon and on the drive back we all reflected on our 'chalkstream' experience...the overall verdict was how soon we could book our next one!

Monday, October 26, 2009

A few rockfish this weekend, a few sardines from the bay, and a report (from a Fish and Game warden) of a boat on Sunday with 4 halibut to 30 pounds drifting live bait on the bar. This morning a sea lion ate a halibut here at the pier. Still lots of dungeness around and still keeping my fingers crossed that they stay around.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Three halibut from McClure Beach on Tuesday but by Wednesday they wouldn't bite. LOTS of seaweed there. Luckily the 15'+ swell should have tossed all that weed onto the beach by now. Rockfish was slow with the hungry fish being scattered. Catching a limit required lots of moving to different spots or trolling. The weather for the weekend looks OK for in the bay, questionable for outside. Many sport-legal-sized dungeness in the bay. Let's hope they don't know when their season opens.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The rockfishing got slow but the halibut are still biting at McClure Beach. Mike Gibson and Tom Carter had three halibut today, all in the first few drifts in the morning. I'm getting very interested about the dungeness season, especially after watching a guy pull up a ring net on the pier with 7 legal-sized dungeness in it. Things can still change, but right now the opener looks pretty good.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The weather forecast is good for this weekend and the storm didn't chill the water so halibut fishing should still be good. Dillon Beach produced a few more halibut before the the storm hit so it's probably the best place to start, but McClure's produced so many fish last week that I wouldn't count it out. Rockfish should be good but it doesn't look like I will have a report until tomorrow.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Those of you who fished at McLure's Beach on Sunday recognize this albino seagull. Apparently he followed someone home. I've never seen one before, so I thought it was noteworthy. As for the fishing, the halibut bite was really good at McLure's on Friday and Saturday, OK on Sunday. Dillon Beach also had a fair bite on Sunday. There is a boat fishing McLure's right now with 4 in the box. Hopefully this storm won't blow the fish out and we'll be able to get a few more this weekend. The rockfishing was also good and the legal-sized dungeness crabs were eating any dead baits left on the bottom.

Autumn Grayling Fishing

When the leaves on the trees start to turn red & gold and the temperatures are telling you that going fishing will require some kind of thermal protection...something stirs within a lot of fly fisherman...the realisation that now is the time that the fly box with the heavy nymphs gets moved into the front pocket of the fishing vest.

I truly love this time of year and when conditions are right then great sport can be had as was this case this weekend.

Fishing two very different rivers but both with there own appeal the target fish was obviously the beautiful Grayling which are only too welcome to oblige this time of year (once you have located them).

Saturday was an early start and I had the company of Paul who runs the Sea Trout Fishing website & Sea Trout Forum and certainly knows how to catch a Grayling or two. On this day we caught many...with some real beauties for such a small river.

Sunday I was back on the River Irfon in Mid-Wales where the Grayling are much harder to find and tightly shoaled but when found you can normally take a few fish from the same spot without moving and can be very big.

Many 'out of season' trout also willing to take the bugs.

As the weeks go on and the temperature drops further then I'm sure the Grayling will only be too happy to provide the more hardy amongst us with some cracking sport...I for one have got the thermals and fleeces all ready to go.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The weather is calm and supposed to remain that way until at least Monday. The water is cold and clear but the halibut and rockfish are still biting, especially so now that the high overcast has returned to cover up the nearly full moon. This is probably the last shot at halibut and there's only three weeks left of rockfish season, so get 'em while you can.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The wind was bad on Monday and Tuesday and cooled the water off. A few halibut yesterday from McLure's beach and some rockfish come in. Then, the wind returned, and boy, is she angry. This weekend looks to be blown out but starting on Monday the seas lay back down. Let's hope it stays that way.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The water cooled off and the halibut bite slowed but the fish kept coming in. Several fish in the 20-30# range came in yesterday from Ten Mile and Dillon Beach. Rockfishing was pretty good at Elephant and slow at both points. The forecast is good for today and tomorrow but wind after that.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nathan Porter of Dillon Beach poses with his 34# white sea bass. Nate caught it and a halibut while trolling Ten Mile beach with sardines on a "special rig". Another boat pulled out before Nate with two limits of halibut to 23#. If you aren't fishing out there right now I feel sorry for you. Yes, I feel sorry for myself, too.

Tad Vogler of Dillon Beach with his 28# halibut. The halibut are on Ten Mile Beach and McLure's Beach. 5 boats had 21 halibut to 30#. Live bait and trolling were putting them in the box. Rockfishing was just OK. The forecast is pretty good for the rest of the week.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A few halibut and rockfish came in today even though the water was not the best. The best catch of the day was by Scott Mason. A boat flipped over on the bar, tossing four people into the water. Scott called the Coast Guard, then started pulling people out of the water. They were back on shore before the helicopter arrived. Nice work, Scott. For the record, the National Park Service was also on scene before the helicopter arrived. More swells are forecast for tomorrow and there will likely be an intermittent break on the bar, especially after the tide starts going out.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A few halibut are showing on Ten Mile Beach now, as well as on the bar. Watch out for the swells, though, as they have been breaking out into 30 feet of water on occasion. Remember, you are there to fish, not surf. The rockfish are biting slow but steady. A couple will bite when you first drop on a new spot, then the bite tapers off. When they stop biting you are better off moving to a new place. It is easier to find a few hungry fish than to try to force stubborn fish to bite. Weather permitting, an albacore run is being planned for next week, probably Tuesday. And there are still lots of sardines south of Pelican Point.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cluns Alien Invaders!

Last Saturday myself and two others decided that a trip to the River Clun in Shropshire was in order so we headed towards the upper reaches where the river thins out a bit but previous experience told us that there were still plenty of good sized grayling along with the trout to be caught from the deeper pockets of water.

After our arrival at 7.30am we spread out along the 2 mile stretch and began fishing. The river was low and relatively clear and with the bright conditions the fish were going to be very nervous so stealth was a must to get the best out of the water.

The first decent pool I came to saw a couple of brownies come to hand taken on a small tungsten head pheasant tail nymph fished beneath a klinkhamer, then a little while later a couple more, nothing big but the trout on the Clun can weigh a fair bit more than trout caught on a lot of other waters due to the abundance of food available to them.

My journey upstream saw me under attack from a bombardment of missiles fired from the 'over-ripe' Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens Glandulifera) pods which stretch along most of this river bank, when these things go off it makes you glad you put your Polaroids on. Since its introduction into the UK from Asia during the late 1930's and its escape later in the 50's into the British countryside the spread has been phenomenal with few rivers escaping the invasion.

A switch to one of my favourite grayling bugs fished with a fair bit of weight in the deeper glides started to produce a few decent fish, the grayling along this river are a real eye opener...its hard to imagine where they all hide but I'm convinced that some of the deeper depressions in the riverbed can hold a substantial amount of fish and if they are not spooked then catching 2 or 3 from one spot is always on the cards.

Below: possibly the darkest trout I've ever caught.
Taken from right below a wall which is permanently in the shade.

Although there was plenty of flies coming off the water (mainly Stoneflies) the surface activity seemed restricted to the smaller specimens resulting in rather futile splashes at anything that was chucked at them.

Between the three of us we ended with a total of 44 fish with the majority of them being grayling, so under the conditions we all left happy and looking forward to our imminent return...hopefully when the Himalayan Balsam has died of a bit!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Not much to report. A few halibut off of Dillon Beach and south of Pelican Point. A halibut from Ten Mile Beach. The halibut were not giants, but a legal halibut is a good halibut. The rockfishing was good this week with a few more lings showing in the counts. There was a failed albacore mission on Wednesday. Three boats, 57 to 62 degree blue water, fifty miles of trolling each, no bites. Maybe they'll bite next week. For this weekend the big swell has the bar breaking steady and big, so fishing is limited to bay activities.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Terry Fogal caught this 23# halibut in front of Dillon Beach on a live sardine. The water out front has cooled down to the low 50's and slowed the bite but not completely stopped it. There were a few sightings of the school of white sea bass back by Marshall this week and I heard of one being caught, but for the most part they're not interested. Rockfishing has been decent with a few lingcod showing up here and there. Tomorrow looks to be the good weather day for the weekend, with Sunday and Monday being better days to chase those sea bass.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wind Of Change

I have noticed within the last couple of weeks that there is a significant swing in favour of Grayling in my catches. Generally most of the water I fish has a good head of Grayling in them but early to mid season catches have always been dominated by Brown Trout.

Last weekends four fishing outings (long weekend!) on both the Wye and Lugg are a prime example with the Grayling out-numbering the Trout by roughly 2 to 1. That included two trips with catches in excess of 20 fish.

The reason is obviously down to the amount of Grayling in the water to start with, combined with the fact that August is notoriously a difficult month to catch Trout with very little fly life coming off the water the trout are quite content to sit back a rest a little after their over indulgent gorging on the prolific early summer fly hatches.

The other notable thing is the quality of the fish I've caught recently, with many Grayling over the 14" mark...particularly on the river Lugg.

Its hard to believe that this beautiful fish was persecuted on some waters in the past in order to try and maintain a 'trout only' fishery when the Grayling offers (in my opinion) an equal if not sometimes more enjoyable quarry as the Brown Trout.

The other big bonus is that this hard fighting fish allows the more hardy of us to fly fish through the winter months on rivers where they are present increasing our season to a full 12 months...All hail the mighty Thymallus thymallus!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Grayling On The River Ithon

With all the recent rain it was difficult to find anywhere to fish over the weekend. With the Irfon & Wye both out of sorts my first choice was the River Edw but when I got there the river was pushing through hard and this river can be difficult wading at the best of times, so I headed for the River Ithon about 10 miles away.

Looking over the bridge when I arrived I could see that the river was quite high with a fair bit of colour still in it...perfect!!!

Having fished this river many times I have found this tributary to the Wye fishes best in just these conditions so I tackled up and set off down river. Trout came immediately to spider & nymph patterns and a later switch to some heavy bug patterns in some noted grayling area produced instant results.

It turned out to be a very memorable days fishing in terms of quality with 4 of my 10 Grayling measuring over 15" and many trout up to 10" to fill in the gaps.

When this river is low it can be hard to find any fish and you can end up with a very frustrating day, but choose the right day and you can come away with a big smile on your face.

I also squeezed in a couple more on the river Irfon (still very high but running clear) & another on a very picturesque stillwater near Rhayader called Llyngwyn where you can always spot Red Kites flying overhead.

The Irfon was still pushing hard but had cleared adequately to produce a few Trout & Grayling to shortlined nymph methods and being out on a boat at Llyngwyn is just a delightful place to spend a few hours...catching some Rainbows is just a bonus.