Friday, December 30, 2011

On Wednesday one of the regular pier crabbers caught 7 Dungeness in his first pull of the morning. Thursday, another regular caught 13 in his first pull and landed two more throughout the rest of the day. Most everyone else were catching far less, but at least we know that the crabs are here. Boaters on the bay are consistently catching a few Dungies. Outside, the outer bay is definitely showing signs of wear with numbers and size both dropping. You can still count on catching dinner, at least.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Making The Best Of It

OK...I know at we are expected to spend a little extra time with our families at Christmas but it’s hard to stop looking at those online gauges to check the river levels or in my case walk the dog along the river watching for any signs that herald even the slightest possibility that casting a line is worthwhile.

Rain has made up the bulk of the weather over the festive period and has left the rivers and streams in the upper Wye system severely full, but a day or two without rain should bring them back down very quickly, such is the nature of these spate rivers.

On Wednesday I seized my opportunity and sank my waders into the still high and partially coloured river Irfon, the wind was blowing hard and the current was pushing hard against my waders but it was good to be casting a line again.

I had set up a three fly combination which consisted of a very heavy tungsten nymph on the middle dropper with two lighter nymphs either side, these were fished on a short line using my 10’ 4wt Streamflex with a short lob to get them out in the flow.

Heavily weighted dual tungsten 'sacrificial' nymph

The method worked well under the conditions and I caught 12 grayling in just a few hours with some nice fish amongst them. The fish took all three flies but the pink point fly was possibly favourite.

I also snatched a couple of hours today (Thursday) where the Irfon had dropped a couple more inches and was a lovely colour, the wind was blowing even harder but similar tactics proved good again and I was rewarded with some more nice grayling including one which I would consider to be one of my best from this river, a stunning 18” fish which was full bodied and in perfect condition.

Very deep 18" Grayling
As I write this the rain is lashing against the window (as it has done most of the afternoon) and the planned day out tomorrow fishing with a friend looks certain to be put on hold until the New Year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The crabbing is still ok but definitely not red hot. Dungeness numbers in the bay continue to drop with most people still catching a keeper or two but not many limits. The pier catching is erratic with some days being pretty good but the majority of days are slow. The outer bay still has a good quantity of keepers, if you can get there past the bar. The swell has been large and the bar has been breaking, so think twice before trying shoot outside. It is much better to eat crab than have them eat you.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Festive Greetings

Almost the end of another year which has seen some quite adverse weather conditions. The rainfall experienced through much of the trout season was woefully short and some of the smaller streams I fish became little more than a trickle.

For me this year has been quite productive in many ways. Firstly I took up membership of a new club which has given me a lot more waters to fish within my area, these include first class wild trout and grayling rivers which even in the low conditions produced some magnificent fish.

I have also spent much of the year getting to grips with the 'long leader' European style of fishing used in conjunction with a long/lightweight rod, this will not appeal to all but I find it a great way of getting the best out of certain rivers. This style of fishing is becoming more and more popular and rod manufactures are now incorporating a range to cater for this. Amongst others Greys have a range of rods that are specifically designed for this in the XF2 Streamflex range. I have a friend who has built himself a 11' #2 rod which is just a dream when it comes to casting a long leader and light nymphs so I can see a new addition to my rod range for next year!

I am also trying to improve on my fly tying skills which I am now realising is a long term project, but there is always pleasure in fly tying and trying out a new pattern which catches fish.

With a long festive break coming up I'm watching the river gauges like a hawk and hoping the recent high levels drop in time to give me a chance to over-indulge over the next two weeks.

Just leaves me to say that I thank all those that have dropped by to read my blog and those who have posted comments, I wish you all the best for Christmas and hope you all find next year brings you new and exciting experiences.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The good news is that there are less commercial crab pots down on Ten Mile. The bad news is that they're leaving because the number of crabs is dwindling. My catch for Saturday was 26 Dungeness in seven pots in a three-hour soak. We limited on rockfish and caught three lingcod. The outer bay was showing signs of wear as well, with sizes and numbers dropping. Inside the bay was business as usual with some guys doing well and others lucky to catch a few reds.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

So far today two guys have limited out on Dungeness on the pier. Also, if anyone is interested, there is a whale in the bay, directly across from the pier. You can crab and whale watch.

There were some nice rockfish landed yesterday with some of the blues weighing five pounds. They were caught "out off of Ten Mile" along with some nice Dungeness. The outer bay had Dungeness limits for the guys soaking gear there, but you can tell that there has been over five weeks of high-grading going on. The average size isn't nearly as impressive as it had been. The pier is still pretty good if you know what you're doing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The crab bite is slowing down out in the ocean. Yesterday's totals from the four boats that went out, each with two guys, ranged from limits of mostly sport-legal crab on the high side to a low of four. Ten Mile had crab for me last weekend but only barely. We averaged 6 crabs per pot for seven pots on a three-hour soak. The rockfishing was good and we limited out while we waited for the crabs. Some of the best results were off the pier yesterday with at least two people catching limits and the others catching dinner. The early crabber today had three Dungeness by 8AM. Your results may vary, but these midweek pier guys are doing as well or better than the boaters.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

We're having some of the nicest weather of the year and there is hardly anyone here to enjoy it. The crabbing on the pier slowed down again, probably due to the fast currents, but there's still a few keepers coming in. If you run down to Ten Mile be prepared to dodge a lot of buoys. I heard that there's 500 pots just by the Keyholes (Kehoe Beach). There's still good numbers of crab down there, but probably not for long.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Here's a firsthand report from last weekend: "My contribution today is spent 3 hours with 2 traps and a snare around Marker “10” and got skunked! (well aside from some undersize rock crab and a humongous starfish..).  How can crab be so fickle?" Unfortunately the crab is like wealth; it is unevenly distributed. 

Hanak European Grayling Festival - River Dee

This was my first time fishing this team event which is held over two days (3 sessions) on the River Dee around Llangollen. The rain that had fallen before our arrival on Friday had pushed the river up high but as we peered over the bridge in the town we could see that the clarity was still good.

Friday was to be our practice session so we headed on to the river to try out methods and flies for the match. It was to prove tough as expected but we all caught fish in the 20cm and above class (minimum size counted in the competition) with lots of smaller grayling also showing.

Overnight rain had pushed the level up even higher for the Saturday as the 21 teams headed off to their designated beats to fish the first of the two sessions scheduled for day one. The river was still rising during the day and starting to colour up somewhat, but the first day ended well for us and we were lying in fourth place with all of us catching some fish when many teams had blanked!

Martin and Phil Dixon (England Black Gnats) on their way to 3rd place
Our first beat
We guessed day two was going to be even tougher when the rain was falling hard as we made our way to the local curry house on the evening...guaranteed to give the waders some rear end abuse the next day!

Sunday came and it was a grey, damp, cold start as we set off, our beat was further upstream so we hoped it may escape the worst of the rainfall but again the river was ripping through.

A combination of  heavy beaded tungsten nymphs fished through the slower runs and a good dose of steely grit and determination saw us finish with 3 fish which was as good as we could have hoped for.

The final results were read out back at the Hand Hotel in Llangollen and we learned that we had finished in 4th place overall. When taking into consideration that many anglers here were of international standard and this had been our first attempt in this competition we were more than happy with the outcome with many lessons learned for our return next year.

Overall Winners - Italy Caddis
A total of 92 fish caught of the two days proves how tough it was...last year this event saw 321 fish caught in sub-zero temperatures!

Top 10 teams:

1, Italy Caddis
2, Wales Dragonflies
3, England Black Gnats
4, England Damsel Flies
5, Wales Adams
6, Czech Coachmen
7, England Dunkeld
8, England Corixa
9, Wales Grey Dusters
10,Wales Red Spinners

Total Fish Caught: 92
Top Individual: Martin Dixon 12 Fish (England Black Gnats)
Biggest Fish Caught: 47cms - Olivier Dupont (Belgium Stoneflies)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Here's my sons, Cameron and Gage, with today's catch. Cam got a 4.5# copper and Gage caught his first ling (Cam's first gaff job). We limited out on Dungeness on Ten Mile and caught half limits of rockfish in two hours. Other folks did well on the rockfish in front of Bird Rock. There were some nice Dungeness caught on the pier this weekend, but as usual, some did well and others, not so much.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Apparently the crabs were just waiting for everyone to go home. I saw one limit come off the pier by lunchtime today and most of the other buckets have Dungeness in them as well. Steve Towne landed a limit from his boat in the bay before 9:00 AM and another boat landed four limits before 1:00 PM. The currents have slowed down this week, so that might have something to do with the good crabbing as well. Great weather today and more forecast for the weekend.