Tuesday, 22 December 2009

~Tony Riley casting on a biting cold day~

Snow Time:

Recent heavy snow in Cumbria may have caused traffic problems, which ultimately curtailed our trips out fishing, but there's still a chance to get out and flex a rod. Tony Riley and myself decided to sharpen up on presentation casts-involving curves and mends. Whilst it's no substitute for actually getting your string pulled, there's a heap of fun to be had.


~A nice wiggle cast~

~Of course, the ultimate is being able to scribe your initials into a cast....!~

Saturday, 19 December 2009

~Almost in the net~ (photo Rod Calbrade)

Bessy Beck delivers the goods:

The current arctic blast has had us all cranking up the central heating. And following recent snow, it seemed only the foolhardy would venture out (apparently, where there's no sense, there's no feeling..). With lunchtime temperatures clawing up to a heady minus 2 degrees centigrade you could say that conditions were somewhat chilly on recent visit to Bessy Beck. http://www.bessybecktrout.co.uk/. Thankfully, aerators prevented the fishery from freezing over though ice continually formed in my rod rings, making casting and retrieving line a task in itself. Fortunately the trout didn't seem to mind and even a light midge hatch encouraged a few fish to the surface. Although lures initially helped in locating them, it wasn't long before buzzers and other nymphs tempted some hard fighting trout. Despite numbing hands we experienced blistering sport with a number of well conditioned rainbow trout. I'd recommend this venue for those wishing to blow away the festive cobwebs.


~A winter rainbow bids for freedom~ (photo Rod Calbrade)

~A solid rainbow from Bessy Beck~(R Calbrade)

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

~Tony Riley watches on as Jim Williams braves a strong breeze~

Have a Cast:

Due to recent heavy rain the local rivers remain somewhat out of condition (some might say positively angry!). Jim Williams had made the long pilgrimage north to try for grayling and rather than twiddle our thumbs, we set out to do a little casting. Aside from being good fun, what better way to sharpen your skills for the coming season than flexing carbon. Honing our accuracy and timing, Jim, Tony and myself had great entertainment on an otherwise chilly afternoon. Unfortunately the following day saw even more rain, so Jim didn't even get anywhere near the Eden-there's always next time Jim.


Wednesday, 9 December 2009

~Bonefish up close-those camouflage stripes are clearly visible~

~A typical Bonefish~

Bonefish Fever:

Ebbing tides bring a slight drop in water levels, opening up many areas for wade fishing. This involves strolling through ankle deep water, searching for bonefish. Their tails often give them away, as bonefish tilt head down to forage for shrimps and crabs in the sandy bays. Sleek, elegant fish that have blistering pace and I never tire of pursing them. Hilary Langan agrees 100% and joined me for a day on the flats. We had an absolute ball sighting nervous bonefish that often called for a delicate presentation to tempt them. Of course, any wayward casts sent fish scurrying to deeper water. Our company for the day came in the way of an occasional lemon shark, quartering the flats in search of a meal. It's always good to see such predators as they indicate other catch-able fish are nearby, which usually respond to a fly.


~Hilary Langan-the smile says it all~

Monday, 7 December 2009

~A nice snook from the mangroves~

North Wind brings on the Snook:

Snook are tenacious predators that constantly plunder baitfish around the edges of mangroves. They seem to favour cooler conditions and with a north wind pegging back water temperatures, guide Rafael took us in search of them. Thankfully, we found a few sinister shadows that eagerly snaffled our size 2 streamers. Of course, hooking them is only half the battle. Snook are quick to retreat to a tangle of roots, so some serious side strain along with holding your nerve are required to win the day.


~An aerobatic Snook~

~Off to fight another day~

Thursday, 3 December 2009

~A permit under the belt on the first morning~

Permit on the Prowl:

Those new to tropical saltwater fly fishing will initially find striking fish an issue. To set the hook properly, you need to pull sharply on the fly line rather than lift the rod, as we commonly do when trout fishing. All sounds simple enough in theory, but in the heat of the moment, it's easy to forget and lift the rod instead. So having ease into my annual trip by stalking bonefish, with promising conditions, we went in search of permit. Highly prized, these fish have blistering pace and can be difficult to fool. Imagine our excitement then to find them feeding hard on the first day. The fish above took the fly a mere rod length from me. Moments later it was some 150 yards away and still heading for the horizon. Jonathon was possibly one of the most fortunate that day. Skillfully hooking a permit the fish charged off, only to come unstuck moments later. He managed to get another cast at the same fish and amazingly it took again (jammy sod....), no mistake second time as Jonathon piled on the pressure to land a cracking permit.


~Jonathon strikes lucky with a stunning permit~

~Crocs haunt the margins, terrorising fish and frogs~

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

~A promising lagoon~

Light winds and sunshine:

Our first morning in Ascension Bay brought clear blue skies and the faintest of breezes-ideal conditions for visual fishing on the flats. Quietly navigating the many channels allowed us to slip into secluded lagoons in search of tailing bonefish. Of course there are many more creatures which share the this environment too. Along with horseshoe crabs (a prehistoric looking arthropod), flamingos dotted the margins in their stunning pink livery. With ospreys wheeling overhead too, it was difficult to focus on the job in hand.


~Slowly does it~~Flamingos feeding along the mangrove margins~