Saturday, 31 December 2011

Some new lures

There has not been much chance of getting out on the River Dove over the last few days due to the extra water but this morning I was perked up by the arrival of some new lures. They were shad patterns by Big Hammer supplied by AGM tackle. So to keep up my spirits I sneaked an hour on the canal this afternoon and the Silver Phantom (!) above accounted for a nice perch of about a 1lb. I had cut it down to 2.5" and mounted as shown on the website. Unfotunately I had left my camera at home so no picture. I only ordered the stuff a couple of days back so thumbs up to AGM for prompt delivery.
Happy New Year all!!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Black Pool

After a few days in over the festive season I had suffered from the onset of cabin fever so snatched a few hours on Sunday morning lure fishing on the Black Pool. This water has a reputation for holding a few predators of moderate size so I thought it was worth a chuck what with the Dove still fining down after the recent rain. It was quite mild day very different to last Christmas when we were in the grip of winter.
As well as the pool there is also the stretch of the canal which is on the DRAC ticket. Spinning was a handy method as it obviously requires little organisation in terms of buying bait and also keeps you on the move searching out different stretches.
My set up is a little agricultural for fishing small lures as the only spinning rod in either mine or my Dad's collection is an old telescopic glass Silstar 9' suited to casting 30-40 grammes. I will keep my eye out over the next week or so and see if I can pick up something a little more suitable for flicking smaller lures, perhaps a Drennan spincast 7' if anyone has any suggestions then please post a comment.
Anyway back to the angling I'm afraid the skinny jack below saved my blank and was taken on an Abu Sonnette. I've been reading up on the net on ABU tackle over Christmas as the 'Tight Lines' catalogue was one of my treasured possessions as a boy. This lure is stamped Sweden on the blade and apparently ABU moved lure production out of the home country in the late 70's/early 80's so is a vintage spinner!
I carried on fishing down the pool from the Weston end to the Swarkestone end but no more takes were forthcoming so had a wander over to the river which was pushing through quite heavily so I gave that a miss. One of the nice things about Weston Cliff is the contrast available in the angling so it was back over to the canal and I fished back down to the bridge. I saw one other angler who had made a good showing of pole fishing a snag on the far bank with a good mixed net of fish. So much more pleasant with the reduced boat traffic in the winter. An interesting couple of hours angling and I hope to get the hang of this lure fishing a little better my next steps will be to try some of these soft plastic imitations.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all, hope you are all as ready for the big day as Barney.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Trent & Mersey Canal

I must be getting good at this decorating lark as the job I'd pencilled in for the whole weekend was finished by noon on Sunday! So a rare window of opportunity had me scrabbling round the garage getting some tackle together. I fancied somewhere close and keeping on the move so the canal it was to be with some spinners. I say some but I actually mean the only two I possess at the moment which are both ancient ABU lured. The outfit was quite novel as I realised most of my coarse rods are still in Dad's garage so I coupled a fixed spool reel with a 8 foot #4/5 fly rod.
Not many cars at Willington car park when I arrived and I thought I would walk up to Findern Pond then work my way back down. At the pond I only had a dozen casts and 80% of then came back weeded up so I adjourned to the canal. The weather had taken a turn for the worst a wintry squall starting to seep down the back of my neck, brrrr! There were only a few dog walkers out and it was really getting unpleasant when a perch grabbed my lure. Not a monster, probably a pound or so but very welcome. The lure was an ABU Sonnette one of those I remember looking longingly at in the old Tight Lines catalogue. It has been swapped from box to box over the years as I don't spin much but turned up trumps today.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Sutton Brook

I've posted a couple of times about the DRAC stretch of this water but have not fished it for a good while now. Today I received the following comments to a very early post so I'll cut and paste here for all to see that some stretches of the brook are looking pretty healthy.
Love the website Nick, it looks spot on!! I'm still convinced it is a Mordex though.

Hi dave, browsing around and stumbled across your blog site? I feel duty bound to enlighten/update you and some of your fellow bloggers on your comments regarding Sutton brook .I have fished almost its entire length at some point or other over the past 50 years and been chairman of Blount flyfishers for the last 24. We now control the fishing rights on around 3 miles of the brook from just below Sutton village road bridge almost continuosly as far as Longford. The fishery is run solely as flyfishing for trout and grayling and has survived {not without crisis} for at least 35 years Fortunately for us our fishery creates the perfect habitat for trout and the food they eat and contains a heathy population of indiginous breeding stock,which is supplemented annualy with brown trout of takeable size ,anyone intrested in joining our small friendly syndicate should contact me without delay on 01159 328669 Nick Bulmer chairman Blout flyfishers or visit our germinating website at P S, Dave the reels a grice and young not a mordex.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Autumn in South Derbyshire

This afternoon I knocked off early from doing some jobs and took a walk over to the River Dove with Barney. It was a great afternoon and although I did not wet a line what a cracking time to be out.

The Dove looked in fine fettle carrying a little extra water. This is definitely my favourite time of year as the temperature drops there seems to be an unbelievable fresh smell to the air.

What a handsome lad!

The colours are incredible at this time of year with greens through yellow and golds to russet and brown.

The gravel pit above is just off the path down to the river and if you look closely there is one angler out enjoying the afternoon sun.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

A brook rod

I've just acquired a delightful little Greys GRX 7' rod from one of the members of flyforums. Although I do have a 7 footer this one is a little more refined and I will be looking forward to trying it out next season.
This rod will be just the ticket for small rivers and brooks such as the River Ecclesbourne. I have had a GRX previously this was a 9'6" #6/7 which always fished nicely on venues such as Foremark or Thornton. In my opinion these are extremly well made rods and when I saw this one up for grabs I did not hesitate. There is a lot of bunkum and tripe about fly rods generated by advertising and fashion, you do not have to spend hundreds of pounds to find a nice rod that will last you many seasons.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Back end-ish Derwent

After a period of inactivity following our house move I was determined to get out for one last fling at the trout. Yesterday was the planned trip and I packed up the car with my tackle, worked the morning and headed off up to Darley Dale at lunchtime. The weather was incredibly warm and I had hoped this would generate an afternoon of activity from the brownies on the DRAC water. On arrival though there was quite a stiff westerly breeze which seemed to put the fish down for most of the afternoon.
I soon bumped into Phil and it is always good to pick his brains on this stretch he appears to know very well. A few new runs were introduced to me so although not productive yesterday have plenty of potential for the future. Lots of ground (and water!) was covered for not much return and I ended the afternoon with the one fish below and Phil did not fair much better. Around 1730 the wind really got up and we dropped in on the stretch closest to the road for a last cast but it was becoming increasingly difficult to turn the leader over. My car was parked up at Redhouse and I set off back upstream hoping to find a sheltered spot to drop into. It soon became obvious I would not find one so I bade farewell to the 2011 trout season.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Ellastone Heartbreaker

Ellastone has a reputation for being a real spirit breaker at times and can return the angler a broken man. Last night was one of those typical evenings with the fish not really on the fin. It looked really good from the bridge but I only managed three fish all evening, the last one was the best but it was taken in the dark. My successful flys were a grey duster variant the PP and the LTD sedge. I also tried various olive patterns and spinners during a sporadic rise but nothing really hit the spot, well not until I got a cold can from the fridge upon returning home.
With the benefit of hindsight the water was quite coloured which I would have expected to clear by now after last weeks rain.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

River Ecclesbourne

Last night I thought I had blown it upon looking over the bridge at Ellastone to find the Dove still the colour of drinking chocolate. Fortunately as plan B I had put my 7' #3 rod in the car and so drove over to Hazlewood.
The fishing on the Ecclesbourne is pure jungle warfare and by this stage of the summer it is very overgrown and the balsam is rampant. I did my share of pulling up but it would take an army to eradicate it.

It is very hard work to trick the Ecclesbourne into giving up her treasures and last night I had a brace in just under an hour and a half which is good going. Both fish fell to a PTN and of the three fish I saw move I caught two so was quite pleased. The third ended up with me standing on tip toes to retrieve my fly from the canopy, not an unusual experience on this river. I hope you agree that although small the trout are great looking fish. They came from the two pools immediately upstream of the bottom pool by the bridge. I fished up til just past the cattle drink that has now been neatly fenced off. By this time I had got a right lard on as it really is graft battling through the undergrowth. The water had a slight tinge to it but was a damn sight more fishable than the Dove.
Things sound like they are getting moving on our impending house move so this may be my last trip for a while unless I can sneak out early next week. Tight lines all!

Monday, 18 July 2011


My rod from Steve Parton was long overdue a christening and last night the thought of that forced me up to the Dove when the weather was really telling me otherwise. Showers in Derby soon became persistent rain as I went west along the A50 but after being in all weekend needed a few lungfulls of fresh air without the kids bending my ear or the dog requiring attention.
It was blowing up the Dove valley and I could see the squalls passing over the bridge at Ellastone, ah well in for a penny as they say. The rod cast like a dream and is incredibly light. I have been fishing with a Snowbee 9' ZR2 for a while and although the Sparton is only 6" shorter it felt like I was fishing a 7'6" rod so really pleased with it. Only one small brownie came to hand and I dropped another fish off, both on nymphs. Good news then as it did not start out life with a blank and I'll look forward to some more hopefully productive sessions with it.
Balsam has sprung up with a fury at Ellastone this season so I pulled up a few clumps and would ask other anglers on the stretch to do the same. The exit from fording the millstream near the bridge was almost entirely choked with the damn stuff for those who know the beat.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

River Dove

Yesterday evening I tried a stretch of the river I'd not fished previously. Some of the swims looked a complete picture and I found a barbelly looking peg with a line of reeds along the far bank.

It was a beautiful evening and although I didn't commence until 2000 a real wind down after a day at work. Another angler soon passed me and we exchanged pleasantries but did point out that barbel were 'few and far between' on this stretch.

Well there were no barbs for me so he was right but I have had some good luck just recently and thought I was staring at a blank. At 2215 the rod went round and I caught quite a nice chub, guess about 5lb ish. I didn't weigh him as I was keen for one more cast before calling it a day. The picture of him is not brilliant I've had a bit of a lapse in photo quality and must try harder. This looks to me like it could be a very productive stretch but would need the hours putiing in to work it out. A busy summer ahead for me so don't know whether I'll have the time to do it justice.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Thorpe Cloud

There have been showers on and off all day in Derby but I had a feeling about catching some good weather this evening so bundled the kids and the dog in the car after work and headed up to Dovedale. They thought I was crackers as we sat in traffic (25 minutes for the 4 miles across Derby, grrrrr) in a really heavy downpour but once we got past Ashbourne it cleared up. A quick stroll up Pointon's Glen to the stepping stones and then I managed to persuade the kids to traverse Thorpe Cloud. I'd forgotten my camera so we used Meg's phone for this shot on the top where it was quite bracing.
We rounded off the trip with a bag of chips and a can of pop in Ashbourne market place, it was a great evening to be out.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

A Fine Brace

Yesterday I managed a short session at Scropton as the day drew to a close. I found a nice swim where I expected the barbel to be feeding in mid water and put in several pouchfulls of hemp and pellets before tackling up. Then I set a new little record for myself of time to bank the first fish, my first cast was about 2000 and at 2015 I had returned a 7lb 7oz barbel.

The fish were obviously on the feed as I've never had so many pulls and twitches on the rod tip throughout my session. About an hour or so later another firm pull resulted in the fish above which I did not weight but would guess about 6lb-ish perhaps a bit less.
The bigger barb was in great condition as can be seen below, unfortunately it is not my best barbel pic, I was thinking too much about getting him back in safely which is the first priority with these fine wild river fish. At 2215 the light was going fast and as I could only just make out the rod tip called it a day.

Monday, 4 July 2011

The Pennine Way

I've decided to blog my trip up the Pennine Way. If you enjoy the outdoors you might like this.

A new river rod

I've always fancied a hand built fly rod for the river, something not from the far east and made by a bloke that you can go and talk to. Upon hearing that Steve Parton was downsizing the retail side of his business I decided to take the plunge.
The rod is an 8'6" AFTM #3/4 two piece built on a Harrison blank. Steve has given it a couple of little personal touches, firstly the name which was a complete surprise and also a little hardwood button on the butt to avoid scratching my reel when the Kelly is on the go. I've yet to have a dabble but am sure it will be a corker. So there you go, a hand build British rod for less than the price of most middle of the road Chinese mass produced stuff.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

My First Double

Last night I headed off to the River Dove in search of a barbel and was amazed to find I had the popular stretch at Scropton to myself. So straight to my favourite swim and just to confirm what I knew already the river was the lowest I've ever seen on this stretch. My rod was in for about 1900 and I sat back to enjoy the evening. Another first for me last night was a Kingfisher perched on my rod, probably all of 3 seconds but I felt very privilleged. After about 30 minutes a few taps started on the rod end and then it went round, this was a chub though still that was the blank saved early doors!
It then went very quiet for a while and not until after 2200 did things start to develop. The rod whacked round and I knew this was no chub. After holding the fish for a while I began to move it upstream but it was strong and made a good run for a known snag on the nearside bank. I felt the line scrape against a branch and to get more leverage it was into the river with my net and start to bully it away. Luckily everything held and once in the open the fish had the drag spinning as it made for midstream. Pressure eventually told and it turned back towards the bank but was then into some weeds. Here strong tackle really counts and I was able to get it's head up and into the net. I rested it here for a couple of minutes and then up onto the bank for a quick photo and weighing. At 10lb dead this was my first double and I was over the moon with it. The fish was in fantastic condition and I made sure it recovered properly in a shallower area one peg down, it was great to see it swim away strongly.
That was it for me as it was now getting pretty dark so I packed up and slowly made my way back to the car very pleased with my angling.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

River Trent

On Sunday evening I tried a peg that had set me thinking since a work party a few weeks back, it was the closest one to the bridge that was cleared. The result was a repeat of my last trip, no barbel and one chub. Also similar to my last outing was using braid as hooklength the other coincidence is I'm losing a lot of tackle and snagging up regularly. May have to consider a return to Maxima. Any other tips from anglers on this subject are welcomed.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

River Trent, Shardlow

Last night I fished in the same area as opening day but was not lucky enough to tempt a barbel. The weed was also a lot worse than last week which is a known problem with the Trent through the summer. One chub saved my blushes and this was taken from the third swim I fished in a reasonably short session. Although it is always nice to catch a barbel we should not curse chavender as he has prevented many a blank. He is not in the best of condition at this time of year though and this chap did a passable impression of a bream. I didn't weigh the chub but guess he was around 4lb.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Opening Day

Well it is years since I have fished opening day of the coarse season and I had forgotten how magical it is walking along the bank knowing that no-one has cast a line since March. As I had arranged to meet up with Andy and Dave from Sheffield then the River Trent at Shardlow was the venue. As I had a variety of jobs to attend to today by the time I arrived at around 1100 they were already filling their boots with some lovely fish coming to traditional Trent float fishing tactics.
I had decided to try for a barbel so moved a little further upstream to the faster water. The river was not too wide here and I guess I was fishing threequarters across below an obvious snag. After being out for a curry and some refreshments last night I was anxious to get the Kelly on and get some tea down me as I was still feeling a little jaded.
Bites were few and far between but after just over an hour fishing the odd one started to develop. A big drop back and what I think was a chub but it was soon off. Then a real bite, no indication problems here the rod was straight off the rests and I picked it up off the grass with the baitrunner going!!
The fish was straight into a snag but eventually the pressure told and after a very spirited fight I netted a 6lb 2oz beauty. This fish was in great condition and made some tremendous runs setting the drag spinning.
So for me a great start; good company, Kelly on the go, sun out, and a barbel.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

What a Tench

Last night I had intended heading for the River Dove after trout but felt pretty tired after work and didn't fancy the drive. What better I thought to just unwind sitting on my basket for a couple of hours watching the evening pass by. I had some corn in my basket and hemp in the freezer so that was bait sorted and I headed off to the pool I had fished a few weeks earlier. The peg I had the five pounder from was free and so I plonked myself down and threw some hemp and corn in whilst I tackled up.
I would fish just over the marginal reeds where the depth is about 8' before a rapid drop off. It is effectively right under the rod tip and so I sat well back from the edge. Now for the wait I thought as this pool does not give up its treasures easily. So for 2 hours I patiently waited for some activity on the float. The only sign was one perch that succumbed to a bit of prawn. When the bite came it was un-missable and the rod arched right over. There are reeds to the left and the fish made for these but I managed to bully it into open water. I had taken some advice from Steve and used a 1.5tc rod, if this had been on my float rod then it would have ended in tears. Time and time agian it made for the snags and all I could do was just hold it hoping the 4lb bottom and 14 barbless would hold. They did. I managed to get my net out at full stretch and after one refusal in went the tench.
Well as it went in I knew that this was a special fish and I rested it in the margin whilst I got the scales ready. I did not realise quite how big though as it pulled my Flyweights round to 7lb dead, my best tench by a country mile. The size of the fish was awesome with a prominent back and huge girth. After a quick photo it swam strongly off but that was me done in. It was getting late but there was no need for a last cast, one very satisfied customer the fish left me slightly bewildered. My tench fishing has not been easy this year and I can now confess to 5 blanks at Findern, 2 at Triangle, and 1 at Melbourne Pool. This has more than made up for those. Get in there you beauty!!!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Derbyshire Derwent

The first two weeks in June have been consistently good mayfly sport on the Derwent for the last two seasons. It was with this in mind that I met up with Phil at Red House for what we hoped would be the cream of the mayfly sport. We had a grand afternoon out allthough the fish were a little unco-operative making this the first year for a while that I don't think will see a fish to my mayfly patterns. As Phil knows this stretch well I also learnt a few more runs to try in the future as to the uninitiated a lot of the water at Darley can appear unfishable. We started in some grand looking water towards the top end of the section and I soon saw Phil into a fish. There were some feeding at the top of this section but they seemed to remain just out of casting range.
It was soon apparent that the fish would be hard earned and rising trout were few and far between but we persevered with our dry patterns. I could not get one to stick and worked my way upstream to just above the big bend. From the state of the banks this section appears to have been hardly fished and we located some fish rising against the far bank. This was an assortment of flys hatching including some dark sedges so I turned to the famous LTD pattern and it soon accounted for the beauty below, a fantastic Derbyshire brownie. It put up a great struggle, hardly surprising just look at the tail on it, what a paddle!

Another fish soon came to hand on the same fly and so it was time for a rest and to get the Kelly on whilst Phil fished up the section. Refreshed by a mashing of tea and a pork pie we decided to explore further upstream. This was a short sortie however as we did not locate any fish on the fin.
For the last hour or so we moved down to the mid section which was very busy with other anglers particularly considering it was a Monday. The fishing seemed to get tougher with few rising fish and those that were feeding taking something quite small just under the surface.
The wading on most of the DRAC section is quite exciting to say the least and we ended up in typical Darley swims; about half a rod from the bank and the water already half way up your waistcoat. The cover made an overhead cast impossible so a side cast backhand flick was required to cover some difficult fish in mid water. Luckily I managed to fluke one of these on a PT emerger after they refused a size 18 shuttlecock that I had tied before as a banker (or so I thought). Presentation though is everything, particularly on this slower section where the trout have ample time to inspect your offering. So quite tired casts do not deliver great presentation and after a while thrashing about under trees we retired gracefully after a corking afternoon out in the Derbyshire countryside.