Friday, 31 December 2010

The Last Lady

Well what a great way to end 2010!
This afternoon I had decided to head over to Ellastone for a couple of hours whilst the rest of the family went to 'Wind in the Willows'. I'm sorry but I just don't get pantos, what is funny about fat blokes wearing dresses? Unless you are on rugby tour of course when it is perfectly acceptable behaviour.
Anyway, it has been a while since the fly rod has been out and I've been tying up a few patterns over the holiday inspired by some DVDs from Brian. So today I did not bother with maggots and took my 9' #3-4 rod to have a go at some bugging. The Czech nymph technique is deadly in the hands of an expert but I don't seem to get chance to practice it that often as when the weather gets colder my mind turns to the trotting rod.
I knew I would not last long in the water at this time of year but it felt a lot warmer than my trip to Eaton a few weeks back when it must have been a good ten degrees colder. Into the fast water at the top of the beat without seeing any other anglers as I walked up the meadow. In the first fifteen minutes I bumped off two fish and thought I was going to get a few. Then it went dead as I moved upstream and then I realised that the fish were in the slacker water. Re-tracing my steps I started to work upstream again from just above the outflow. My legs were really getting numb now but that was soon forgotten when I netted the fish above after a determined fight. It took some working to get into the net making a strong play to remain downstream of me. The fish took an olive shrimp pattern that I had tied up in the Autumn.
This is one of my most satisfying fish of the season, to trick a wily wild river fish on a hand tied pattern using a method I would love to master.
Happy new year all!!!


  1. Dave well done on the fish. The Dove looks like it was running a bit high. In a bit of a tiz about the EA readings. Think it was saying .60 metres above at Rocester (very close to Ella) for last night, when I have alawys struggled with anything above .14m. Beginning to wonder whether my benchmark is right or if the EA readings are out. Probably the latter.

    Once again well done on getting out and catching a fish on the fly.


    Ps love the blog by the way

  2. Hi Conrad, I think you are right about the EA readings, the datum has changed since they went to the web based system. My rule of thumb when it was the riverline phone number was don't travel if it was above 0.15m at Rocester. Now on the web (there is a link on the RHS of my blog) the autumn/winter steady level appears to be about 0.26m. I've fished it up to 0.38m on the link which I think was somewhere near the level yesterday morning. It was pushing through a bit though! Eaton Dovedale is below Rocester and the point at which the Churnet joins and this also influences the level there. I've bait fished a few times recently at 0.38m and it was fine. With the benefit of hindsight it was perhaps a bit high for Ellastone but the good thing about the new link is it shows the history of the last two days. I've just checked it again and it is 0.34m now and clearly fining down. Should be spot on beginning of next week.
    Cheers, Dave.

  3. That really is a great way to end the year; what a beauty. Hopefully the Rams can come up with the goods as well. Happy new year.

  4. Well done Squire! That's a solid looking fish. This post is interesting for many reasons, mostly (to me) because my father and I also visited the Ellastone yesterday so we must have left just before you arrived. We, however, didn't manage even a bite during our time there so you've done a fantastic job at luring that lady out. We did spot a good 3lb+ trout down by the bridge which will hopefully still be there for the trout fishing season but that's as close as we got. I think we're planning on going tomorrow, have you got any tips for us? We wondered if you were short line nymphing or casting well up-stream to allow the nymphs to sink to the bottom?Also, did you wade all the way up the river from the bridge to the shallow water or did you just enter at likely looking spots? I did try to wade up from the bridge but decided it was safer not to.

    Cheers, Patrick

  5. I have read this post properly by the way - the question about wading from the bridge is purely because I wondered how you got to the outflow. I'm tempted to risk entering from the oposing bank in hope that the bailiff doesn't spot me ;)

  6. Fatjack, a nice win for those tricky Rams!!

  7. Patrick, I was short lining with heavy nymphs. If you are not catching bottom every few casts then they are not heavy enough. I only had about 2m max of fly line out of the rod tip and about a 3-4m leader. Experts at the Czech techique will say that if your fly line is touching the water you are doing it wrong!! :eek:
    Always happy to have a chat if you want any more details, give me a ring on 07973486150.
    Cheers, Dave.