Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Practice makes Perfect:

Gearing up for my annual jaunt down to Knotted FlyAscension Bay in Mexico, tying flies for bonefish, tarpon and permit has consumed me of late. And whilst having the killing fly is crucial these are only as good as the knot that secures them. One thing that’s vital out there is being able to tie on a fly (often quickly in a rocking skiff…) using an articulated knot. Time spent practicing is rarely time wasted.  The trick is to make sure all turns bed in neatly and little if any kinking affects the leader close to the fly.


Saturday, 15 October 2011

There’s caddis about too:


~Yours truly disturbing caddis…or something like that~



Although much of our sport centred round upwinged hatches the San boasts an incredible population of caddis too. Admittedly, many of these emerge undercover of darkness before making for bankside safety. Believe it or not, retrieving a snagged fly from overhanging trees has certain advantages. Any adult caddis resting here were easily disturbed and soon scuttling about the surface. In such circumstances it’s hard not to take advantage by flinging a fly into the immediate area.


We all like a photo of a good fish for posterity and Paul Mercer is no different.  However, whilst trying to snap a plump grayling, it happened to slip from his hand……that’s what he reckons anyway!


Friday, 14 October 2011

A bumper hatch


It’s not everyday you have an opportunity to experience Blue-winged olives that run into their thousands. Equally, not every river is capable of producing such an event.  Yet, when she’s on song the San yields an astonishing number of fly.  A drop in temperature was just the job to spur these on when we were treated to a bumper hatch.   Better still the boys managed to connect with some quality fish too.




~Mark Whitmarsh…one very happy chappy~


Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Blue winged-olives bring it on:


~Brian Garner and Paul Mercer search out a sheltered corner~




Back home weather conditions often dictate our fishing and the same is pretty much true in Poland.  Faced with a niggling breeze, we had to search out a quiet corner or two in a bid to find rising fish.  Thankfully, parts of the San flow through heavily wooded regions which provide welcome shelter.  It was here that Blue Winged-olives hatched in abundance with grayling and trout close on their tails.  During lulls in the wind, grayling responded to our carefully presented flies.


~Grayling like this were in the offing~


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The sun doesn’t shine on the righteous:


~Pat Naish cradles nearly 50cm of prime San grayling~

Like most of Europe, Poland has been basking in sunshine for weeks on end.  However, we arrived just as a rain front came in, covering much of the region in cloud.  The upshot being Blue-winged olives streaming off in droves.  Of course being on the river at the right time counts for everything and those prepared to forego lunch were rewarded with some belting fish.  Using a size 20 CdC emerger, Pat Naish led the charge with Mark Whitmarsh close on his heals.


~Smiles all-round...!~


Saturday, 8 October 2011

Poland-A time for Grayling:

Poland 10 052

Autumn is prime time for fly hatches on the San River in south west Poland.  Recently though drought conditions have scuppered any Blue-winged olive activity.  However, forecasters are predicting a change so fingers crossed, cloud cover and accompanying rain will kick start hatches for our week ahead.


A day on the Wye:

Wye 034

Friends of Cressbrook and Litton AA hold an end of season bash on the Derbyshire Wye.  I was there spending a day with Kris Kent of the Wild Trout Trust, wearing my WWT Vice-President’s hat of course.  True to form the day dawned dank and miserable, making trout or more importantly the insects they care to eat a little lethargic.  Though come lunchtime things were in full swing.  John Glynn, Kris and myself passed up this slap-up affair in favour of fishing and what fun we had.  Using tiny dries on fine tippets afternoon sport was as good as it gets.  Though occasionally, both Kris and John turned to the dark side by knotting on a tiny nymph…bah.


Wye 033


Known as the “Silver back”, Kris has enormous hands which makes any trout look small!  Though one thing you can’t deny is the sheer beauty of Wye rainbows which come into their own during September.

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Thursday, 29 September 2011

Cumbrian Kent:




The Cumbria Kent ranks as one of England’s fastest flowing rivers.  Obviously then, any trout that care to live here are best described as “turbo charged” and when hooked, even the wee ones test your knots.  A flying visit to Burneside AA was well worth the effort.  Although little in the way of fly hatched, we found fish willing to take dries with small beetle patterns and olive paraduns producing well.  This system is arguably the last bastion of our native White-clawed crayfish.  Clear evidence that these crustaceans are thriving were their discarded remains left by herons and other predators.


~Photos: Rod Calbrade~


Sunday, 25 September 2011

Schoolboy Error:

Spider Box 002


Being well travelled, you’d think by now I’d have the luggage bit down to a fine art.  However, Bosnia didn’t quite work like that.  Always looking to lighten the load, I trimmed my waistcoat contents to the bare minimum.  With dry flies taking precedence, nymph and spider boxes were left behind.  All seemed fine until one morning on the Ribink when Kris Kent and I decided a sparse waterhen bloa would be just the job to fool a shoal of stubborn grayling.  Yet, fumbling about my vest, I suddenly realized where they were…whoops.  Kris embarrassed me further by claiming he habitually carries everything bar the kitchen sink!  Ah well…there’s always 2012 for introducing those Balkan grayling to the charms of a North Country fly…


Thursday, 22 September 2011

Final Fling:

Bosnia 11 013

Our finally day dawned with glorious sunshine once more.  And although the hatch was slow to get going, we had some interesting fishing.  Clear water certainly helps when it comes to locating trout and believe me, you’d be hard pushed to find more pristine streams than those in Bosnia. Come lunchtime, we retired to the shade before a final fling into darkness.  Paul Mercer was the last to call it a day, who was literally dragged kicking and screaming from the Pliva.  Plans are already afoot for a return visit next season.  Details will be posted on:  


~Clear as a bottle of Gordon’s~          


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~One of my final grayling from the Ribnik, a good note to finish on~


~Guides and fishermen-a great bunch of guys~

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Sunday, 18 September 2011

Evening Entertainment:


~Bosnian guide Mita waits for the evening action to get underway~   

The Pliva might have a staggering head of fish, but if they’re not intent on feeding, it’s best to play a waiting game.  Granted, we managed to tempt a few fish under a relenting sun though once this slipped behind those towering mountains, fly started hatching in earnest.  Thankfully both trout and grayling responded, giving us a chance to connect with them using a range of small dry flies.


~Trout like this were in the offing for those exercising patience~


Saturday, 17 September 2011

Grayling get going:


~This Ribnik beauty pushed towards 3lb~


Judging by recent weather forecasts the UK continues to be battered by gales and rain.  However, here in Bosnia we’re being treated to sunny days and temperatures nudging 30oC. Yet, despite this heat, grayling are feeding like no tomorrow.  The main reason for this are numerous ants continually tumbling into the Ribnik’s margins, a delicacy relished by grayling shoals.  Using stealth and careful presentation it’s possible to winkle out some pretty impressive specimens which have grown fat over the past few months.  Of course fly selection makes all the difference in the World!



~Jasmin Dvizac displays the golden shades of a Bosnian grayling~       


Friday, 16 September 2011

Food & Drink:


Visiting new destinations brings the opportunity to sample local fare.  All I can say is traditional Bosnian food stands up with the best of them.  And, as for drinks, strong coffee helped kick start us in the morning.  Though come lunchtime a plate of freshly prepared vegetables cooked outside provided energy to battle the Ribnik’s spotted inhabitants.  As for Plivovica (the local plum brandy) this kept us entertained on many an evening.  




  ~Kris Kent (aka The Silverback) enjoying morning coffee~



Claiming it would help give us “maximum concentration”, our host Pedja would insist on supplying us with Plivovica at breakfast for the day a head… Typically English, we decided to stick with strong coffee instead and savour the liquor after a long day by the river.








~Who could say “no” to such freshly prepared food..?~        


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Beetles buck the trend:


Whilst the rivers Ribnik and Pliva are reputed for their small, delicate dry flies, occasionally, it can be worth trying something totally different.  I’d actually found that Bosnian trout and grayling had a fondness for a large tan Klinkhamer run down fast flowing pools.  Kris Kent went one better, by using a large, brash beetle.  To his amazement, some large brown trout came looking for a meal when the offending fly “plopped” in the water.




~Prime Ribnik brown trout~  


Monday, 12 September 2011

First Blood on the Pliva:


~A well earned coffee before battle commences~



Following an early flight out of Gatwick the boys took a much needed coffee break as we neared base camp before preparing for an assault on the river Pliva. Paul Maxwell was the first to score with a plump, golden grayling of a pound plus. Then it was Kris Kent’s (aka the Silverback…) turn, who managed to charm a string of brown trout out using tiny dries.





~A spanking trout from the mighty Pliva~


Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Bosnia Beckons:

Bosnia Sept 10 001

In truth, sometimes it’s with a heavy heart I travel to far flung destinations (for fear of missing action on my local streams…)!  However, given our current weather trend, which let’s face it is absolutely pants, there’s a huge degree of excitement about the prospect of exploring new rivers in Bosnia with Fly Odyssey:


Monday, 5 September 2011

A day in the Dales


~Clouds can never dampen your spirits in the Dales:




Happy Dales:

Every time I visit the neighbouring Dales, I’m left wondering……how come I left it so long?  The Yorkshire Ure is an iconic trout & grayling river that should be fished by everyone at some stage.  My recent visit might have seen threatening clouds spilling down the dale, but fish responded well to a range of small dry flies. IMG_8699 And whilst good numbers of wild trout where encountered, grayling stole the show for once.  One fish in particular comes to mind…a hefty lump estimated at some 2lb, which eventually spat the hook…bugger!  The consolation came in this fish below.  Ok-so it didn’t register as a 2-pounder, but it’s a damn fine specimen nonetheless.



~Photos by: Rod Calbrade~

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Eden on song:

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    ~This image speaks for itself~

We can count ourselves lucky up north as periodic rain has kept our rivers replenished for much of the season and the Eden is no exception.  Granted, high water plagued us from time to time, but on the whole, sport has been second to none.  Along with a handful of other trout, I prised this beauty out of the Eden only yesterday on a small beetle pattern.


Thursday, 1 September 2011

Ivan's the man:

~Now that's what I call a stunning pool~

We fishermen are a breed apart…ask 10 of us what we'd like to do and frankly, you'll receive 20 different answers! With that, imagine what it's like trying to organise 5 mad keen guys intent on leaving no stone unturned in the Pyrenees? Head guide-Ivan Tarin was charged with such a task and believe me, he did sterling work. Several times our game plan changed though generally speaking, things worked out pretty well. Of course, many of our madcap or more ambitious ideas were borne out of the bottom of a whisky tumbler, which might have seemed good at the time, but implementing them later was a different matter. For my money, searching the deep, crystal clear pools of a mountain stream (above) takes some beating. Salvelinus Lodge:


~Ivan extraordinaire~

Monday, 29 August 2011

A day to remember:

~All smiles as Paul Bagshaw strikes out for a distant stream~ do we get down there...?~


~Salvelinus guide-Roman searches for the killing fly~


Rugby players pride themselves in being fit, burly blokes and Paul Bagshaw (Baggy) is no different. However the true test of a man, is an uphill battle carrying a backpack in blistering heat. That is according to guide-Roman of course, who was intent on walking the legs off Paul and myself. In fairness the trek in didn't seem too bad, probably due to our excited, giddy mood at fishing off the beaten track. Then came the descent, into a narrow, canyon gorge, hundreds of feet below. In truth, abseiling would have been a better option, but no, we did it the old fashion way. Once we'd assembled our rods, it was onwards and upwards. What's uncanny, is how much ground you cover when you're enjoying yourself. Up and up we went as each pool held more promise than the last. Brook trout were our quarry which seemed elusive at first, but come the afternoon they were kind to us and boy, what stunning fish. After scrambling up a series of cascades the stream shrank to a pathetic trickle and yet still we found fish. The novelty of tempting trout in such a place fuelled us further until light stopped play....then came the walk out. Granted it had been a long day, but one that will remain in the memory for all the right reasons!


~Cascades brought many rewards~

~Wee beauties like this made it a day to remember~

~Yes, we encountered trout in this trickle~