Mid Winter – Christmas morning 2010:
Time rolls on ever so fast these days and half years turn over like half a month; sometime in mid winter last year I set myself the task of writing a blog for a year and now it seems we’re half way through, the blog has taken on a character all of it’s own, it’s like I am part of it but somehow it almost seems to write itself, I simply need to engage with the opportunities offered me and flow with the stream, taking on the chances to get out there and fish when they come my way. Similarly, the concept of fathers’ day creeps up on you fast and this year I’ve found that something that I didn’t consider all that important before some how becomes something you take a little more seriously. It was a good day, the children are at at age where they can now work under their own steam (well almost) and with only a little help from the local school and mum, I was blessed with a card each from the children, plus a new shirt which was a bonus that came as a surprise (as well as a new Orvis CFO fly reel from the whole family to me, via me … ahem) – not half bad. The first half of the day was a typical family Sunday morning, followed by an afternoon of leisurely fly tying of some summer flies that I’ve promised to tie for Mostyn in return for a silk line he’d given me. A pleasant thing to do whilst sat at my desk with one of my favourite films streaming to the computer in the background; the children had left me in peace and visited their grandparents for Sunday dinner. Now I would usually welcome a Sunday roast over in Wales but this time I dodged it by using my ‘fathers’ day trump card’ the one that’s given to you for good behaviour the rest of the year and that allows you to do what you please on this particular day, freeing time for a late afternoon trip out with my buddy Nick on the local river.
Nick arrived around 5pm to collect the booty I’d bagged him from the BFFI the day before and then we whizzed off to the river around 5.30pm. Fickle fish were few and far between and only the odd rise was visible but on the local we’re in our natural environment, so by being efficient with time and distance, covering the most likely spots as a priority, we still managed to catch a good few. What sticks in my mind is how nice an evening it was; the weather was not too hot, which is surprising, as at this time of year the sun feels very close (it is the equinox after all). The light levels were high though, even with the evening fading away as the sun gets lower in the sky, high luminance levels meant that powerful rays still managed to glare through the tree canopy, penetrating through the densely leaf burdened overhead bows with ease. It’s all very yīnyáng this time of year, in the mid winter the trees lose their foliage whilst the ice makes solids of the water as the sun fights to push it back, in the summer the sunlight contrasts strongly with the shadows thrown from the foliage that guards the more sensitive flora and fauna underneath from being scorched by too much heat.
So, on to the notable fishing events – one big break off for me at the end of the evening is still haunting me, a ‘Humpy’ lost at dusk beckons a further visit later this week (if I can squeeze it in) and a nice Grayling came to the dry fly for Nick. The latter was pleasing, as Nick is now sorted with fishing outside his comfort zone, resisting the urge to use habitual techniques that he usually relies on and is now happy to forego the nymph or duo in favour of seeking active or induced rises with stealthy dry fly stalking. In my opinion this is the best way to enjoy the summer months on our home turf; to see Nick getting to grips with this with great skill, using the back handed cast demonstrated so well by Paul (Lighthouse) and getting the ‘angle of the cast’ right for presentation was a high point of this particular little trip. The positioning of the fly was an eye opener for me, as I would usually aim to be more cautious in landing my fly beyond the fish in it’s stream position but that’s the beauty of fly fishing, misconceptions abound and we all learn on every trip … we had a great evening and I even managed to capture proceedings on film (see below), hopefully the clip sums up what small stream dry fly fishing is all about?
There’s no need for me to spend too long waffling on, as it was clearly a halcyon summer’s evening on the local stream, one to remember during those cold winter months.
Tight Lines, Splash