May as well brush up while it is raining…

I have this book and so should you!

 

The Small Stream Dry Fly

The image is a link to Amazon UK!

Charles Graves: a dedicated man!

When you talk about being a dedicated fly fisher you might think about getting out every few days or even every day (before kids) however Chuck Graves has taken this to an entirely new level.

He just shrugged off those miles like cobwebs…

Dedication is driving for hundreds of miles across Europe (after flying their from the States), under the English Channel and then another few hundred miles through England to end up in a hotel next to the Kelvin and then hit some tourist spots for the day with the wife and kid just so that you can fish the Kelvin for an evening.

Phew!

That my friend is what you call dedication – true dedication!

Chuck catches a Kelvin trout…

The only other time I have seen dedication like that is when last orders is called in a Glasgow pub!

I wanted the Kelvin to be in top form for Chuck and everything seemed to be going well during the day with fairly high temps around the 18-20 degree mark however there were storm clouds on the horizon and if I have learnt something over the years (that I promptly forget as who the hell wants to be a skeleton at a wedding) it is that a few days of shitty weather means the fishing the night before will be difficult.

Chuck still managed to winkle one out!

And it was difficult, however we all still managed to winkle out trout and Chuck got to meet a couple of kelvin legends: Alasdair P & Jim Burns. I had walked down to the river earlier and watched Alasdair fishing the worm in the Big Blue (pool) when Stuart Hunter went to join him – I watched as Stuart strung up a rod which Alasdair told me was his brand spanking new salmon fly rod.

Of course Alasdair managed to snap it almost on the first cast and felt bloody awful about it.

I too managed to winkle out a trout!

We fished on up the river watching the occasional Yellow May flitter about however the big trout were being particularly belligerent and it did not help matters that I managed to catch a few trout before Chuck – some people might think this was skill when in actual fact it was sheer bloody luck!

Chuck – full on urban action!

We did a car dash to another part of the river before darkness came down as it may have been a tad more sheltered and were presented with several spooky trout – Chuck witnessed a monster leaping out the water before deciding that a couple of pints and a fishy chat in a local pub was the order of the day.

Chuck has a go at the ultra spooky tree trout!

Chuck has been reading and commenting on the blog for several years now and noted that the pictures of the Kelvin trout have certainly got bigger this season – I did notice him checking my hands in case I have in fact shrunk however my non- tiny hands have been confirmed resulting in a definite rise in trout size.

Of course this session seems like an age away now as the river is now an unspeakably huge raging torrential mess which is only good for bringing in the  Salmon…

Trout fishing not possible!

What this means is that when this rain stops the river will have a lovely clear out of all the junk, weed and other detritus and we should have some great fun in the  well  oxygenated water.

Bring it on!!

 

 

 

Hardy/Greys Customer Service..

I am going to start out and say I should not really have expected anything more.

I have always had a bit of a weird relationship with Hardy and their customer service. I suppose I should be glad they do not treat an opinionated asshole with a blog any differently than any other punter.

After my favorite Greys rods (the old style 2 piece GRX 8 foot 6 4/5weight) was crunched in my car door by my beloved three year old I was kinda hopeful that the lifetime unconditional guarantee would kick in – I would fork out the £15 that I had obviously paid for when I bought the rod and a new top piece would be in the post.

What of course I did not expect was to be blindsided by a “we have none of them left”  and do you wanna pay £50 for an upgraded model?

Browsing on the net for fishing tackle shops I find a Greys GRXi from North East Tackle for £100 so the £50 offer is looking pretty good. However I do not want a new model with a funny new action that I may not like for £50, I want to pay £15 and get my old rod back that has grown with me over the years – it has a great action that suits my casting style and I love it. Pity it was such a pain in the arse for being in two sections though – and now sadly in three!

I suppose what would have made me happy would be if they had said:

“We are very sorry to hear about your loss, seeing as how we did not take account of the number of breakages of this particular model please accept the upgraded model for the sum of £15 which is what you agreed to when you bought the rod and we agreed to when we sold you it”

How could you say no to this guy – a nice trout caught with my GRX

What do you think?

 

 

You gotta have a thick skin to run an Urban Fishing Club!

What seems like an age ago now when the RKAA was run by some old codgers dedicated individuals with some time on their hands I made  a suggestion that we could put up some signs to combat poaching – they huffed and puffed and stated that they would simply get pulled down. One of the first things we did when we staged a coup were voted in to take over the association was to put up signs 

Expect to see more of them…

Of course some folk were annoyed and did their best to try and rip em’ down – after finding we had concreted those bad boys to walls things got a bit more inventive.. 

Breaking Ducks & Rods..

So two ducks were broken (not literally) over the last couple of days – firstly I fished with a new member (Bridger) who caught his first Kelvin trout and secondly I have finally had a fly rod break.

It did not die due to a fish, a bush, a tree or a stumble resulting in a snap. It was a simple accident with the closing of a car door by one of my children that caused it.

I had left my waders,boots, vest and rod in the front seat of the car – of course I had not put the rod away as I was planning on using it again soon – the time factor of getting it out its protective bag seemed too long. And anyway, it was propped up out the way – it must have slipped!

It was my first proper river rod and was a budget Greys GRX 8 foot 6 4/5 – this was the first season in a few that I had got it out my loft and I have been loving using it. Out of all my rods the action suits my casting style and it really is a pleasure to use !

I have contacted Hardy/Greys so lets see what happens!

So last night I was out again – thankfully I have another river rod in my Orvis Troutbum and already it was attracting the wildlife like crazy.

Attracting the life!
 
As I parked my car I noticed the Legendary Jim Burns was already parked up however he was nowhere to be seen for the first hour or so – at the spot we were fishing it seemed a bit chilly and as it got gradually darker the trout started to respond. I met Bridger and walked to the long pool that has been so kind over the last few nights. He got into position and caught his first Kelvin trout like a pro….

Like a pro...

 He wanted to know out of the few fish that were rising and he had covered how many we would have caught – Burns would have caught them all and I would have probably caught none. It was then my turn to target the rising trout and as the trout were paying no heed to my offerings Burns and Bridger wandered off to catch some more trout. Meanwhile I was getting refusal after refusal – I could see the trout that was boiling on the surface cruise up, inspect my fly and then cruise back down to the depths again – I put on a size 24 klink (you read that right) however they were having none of it.

Burns in action!

 At around 9pm all the action stopped and Burns suggested we head to another spot – now here is where it gets interesting as the other spot was only a couple of Kilometers upstream and it was alive with rising trout and fly life – it was maybe shaded from the wind or something. I had a cast for Jims fish and then moved upstream – Jim caught his pet monster trout and I had a lovely one that I lost at my hand.

I really need to start carrying my net!

 
 

 

Wildfisher Fly Lines

I have been a visitor and sometimes contributor over at the Wild Fishing Forum for a while now – in fact I rate it as one of the best forums out there as it has a nice atmosphere of gentleness and camaraderie that you do not get anywhere else.

A while ago Fred the owner brought out a series of fly lines at an affordable price. I am not sure that when he named them “Wildfisher” that he meant that fishers would be wild although sometimes I think they should be given away with the Kelvin permit.

Essentially, they are just no frills fly lines that do the job well. They are so affordable you can buy a new one each season. I bought one for my four weight which is all I have been using this year and it has done the job as well as any of the other fly lines I have owned. I have owned much more expensive lines that performed pretty much the same as these ones.

I have also owned cheap rubbish called “mill ends” which are the height of dreadfulness. Also avoid any line with the brand name of Airflo – they are the worst lines ever!

Personally I really do not see the need for spending over twenty bucks for a fly line which is just as well really as these cost just under sixteen and that is with postage and packing.

This is what arrives at your door!

So, if you are in the market for a fly line these wee gems will not break the bank and perform just fine, they cast well and float well. Personally, I have found all my fly lines sink at the tip so I apply floatant to the first few yards straight out the packet.

Head over and get one of you are in the market!

 

 

 

Freaky Friday…

They say it is a brave angler that goes on the Kelvin on a Friday night – tonight I think I was a lucky one.

In the bushes they could not see me although I could hear them – they were obviously very drunk and shouting and fighting with each other.

“Keeeeeeeeeelly – fur fucks sake” 

“Moan tae fuck, wheres ma bottle”

I cast to rising trout at what I am starting to call “Madness Corner”

Madness Corner

You see there are always some trout rising here, however the drift has got to be exact, behind you there are bushes and trees and you must get your fly exactly into the correct place – madness.

“Come here I wanna another drink” shouted Kelly (I think)

Eventually I tied on a klinkhammer and finally I caught one of the trout – obviously something happened that aligned all the various variables that make a trout take an artificial instead of a natural…..It then wiggled out my hands taking the magical fly with it.

No matter, a few moments later I caught its pal – significantly small however just as grumpy to see me..

Hello grumpy - why you so sad?

I then wandered up and down a couple of hundred yards of water casting to rising fish and missing them.

Meanwhile, I think Kelly and co had started shagging (not the dance)

All in all a good couple of hours!

Exploring the Kelvin

I have mentioned this book before however every now and gain I like to mention it again. I regularly dip in and out of this book any time I see something about the area of the Kelvin i do not understand –  like where Mills were for example – it does not just tell you about the Mill it tells you who owned it etc – it also tells you lots of other fascinating little pieces of history which you would likely not be able to find out without a lot of digging around.

Good old Alex Matheson has done all the leg work and provided it all in this packed book.

It should be given away with the permit – in fact I am going to suggest the association buys a dozen and raffles them at the AGM.

If you click the book you can buy it from Amazon.

Unfinished Business…

So the trout on the Kelvin are largely responsive throughout the day at the moment, which is pretty shit as my fishing opportunities are in the evenings. Usually as a trout angler you do not want blazing sunshine throughout the day however at the moment it would be great to head out at 8pm and know that by half ten the dusk would be making the trout more responsive. However, the temps during the day have been hovering around the low teens and by the evening the temps have dropped to 11-12 degrees – this pretty much kills the action. It means the trout sporadically rise and are super spooky.

Still, I managed a few hours out with the legendary Jim Burns the other night, there were lots of wee flies around which I had difficulty identifying..

Absolutely no idea - you?

Jim managed a lovely trout as soon as I got their and was setting up – I thought it might be a sign of things to come however after this the trout became too spooky to tempt.

Burns in action...

On that evening I managed to lose around a dozen flies to the tree branch you can see in the river – I had tied the majority up that day in preparation for the session. With hindsight and after what I learned on today’s session what they were wanting was something stuck in the surface film.

Today, I managed out for a few hours in the afternoon as the time was pre-booked with the old ball n’ chain. I hit the river with Atkins and after a quick discussion with a homeowner who did not want us walking through the bushes behind the fence at the bottom of her garden we walked through the bushes behind her fence at the bottom of her garden…

Atkins...

It was a pool we had not fished for trout before and we had some fun working out the wading. The river bed was made up of the usual rubbish: boulders, bits of metal, random wire and a huge metal cylinder that freaked me right out.

This morning while out for my run I had already spotted the trout so I knew where we had to go. When I am out for my run I always peer at the river and see these trout rising confidently and safely. I doubt these trout have been fished for and very soon after a change of a fly to a tiny klink that sat in the surface film I was awarded to a lovely wild Kelvin trout…

Wild Kelvin Trout - the chances of this trout seeing a fake fly were slim until today!

Atkins somehow managed to catch the smallest trout in the pool and then after I caught another smaller one …

Smaller...

Tell you what though, even the small ones we had to get the drift exact for the trout to even look at our flies – Atkins managed to raise a few to his fly and fluffed every one due to thinking about Salmon probably.

All in all a thoroughly great couple of wee sessions, my supply of tiny klinks have dried up so it looks like a session at the vice is on the cards for me – I have never been that good at micro flies (now I wish I had stuck in during the winter) however I shall rise to the challenge.

Just not tonight!

I have unfinished business at the vice and at the river!

 

My wading boots are causing my jip!

My friends, there are two kinds of breathable waders, those that leak and those that are just about to leak – my own breathable waders (my 3rd pair, I have got to admit I do well) are now struggling however I can put up with a weird wet patch on my leg and a wet foot (actually it is hellish) however my boots are fair causing me jip.

I pretty much decided that my wading boots will not get “another couple of seasons” out of them and instead got myself an almost identical pair (looking a little less destroyed) out of my shed.

Problem is….those holes!

It is a long story how I got an extra pair of boots however it has to do with some extraordinary Orvis customer care.

Let’s talk about Orvis shall we. I bought my Orvis boots at the start of the 2007 season, a pair of Henrys Fork II Premium Wading Boot – I was pretty annoyed as the last boots I bought from another company fell apart pretty quick so decided it was time I bought a top of the range pair. Naturally I turned to Orvis as they are known as being a good reputable company with good customer service. The customer service part was one of the deciding factors – I had read on various forums about their policy particularly to do with waders. We all know the problems of waders leaking after just a season and sometimes even less for that matter – when other companies expect you to jump though hoops too get them fixed Orvis simply send you a new pair. I do expect this to be within reason though – I mean if it was like ten years later than I reckon natural wear and tear is not permissible as a fault. A rule of thumb I think for breathable waders would be 5 years normal fishing – normal fishing being a few times a week with good care being taken of them between sessions. For boots I reckon 3 years – considering they are in water and spend most of the season wet I think they should start looking tatty after a year and a half and probably giving up the ghost during the third year.

Anyway, I bought my new boots from Orvis and then wore them for the season – I put my initial impressions in my reviewsection and got used to my new boots.

Boy – they were good. The only drawback was the outer layer seemed to be peeling off causing them to not look as good but still functioning just fine. I was a wee bit concerned about the rubber toe section as after the skin came away it looked like it might follow suit as well – I knew it would take a while for that to happen though so was not overly concerned – there was fish to be caught…

All well and good until one fateful day during the first season when the felt sole fell of…I knew it had fallen off as I put my foot down on a boulder and slid around a half metre into a deep hole. It would have been a pure comedy moment if someone had been around with a camera but as it was I just flapped around a bit – got myself to shore and inspected the damage – the whole felt sole had come away.

I went home and wrote up my report for the day – thinking about what I was going to do about it – I paid good money for those boots. I was considering buying more felt and sticking them on myself but I would have to buy studs, I was then thinking of contacting Orvis to see what they could do but because of bad experiences with companies in the past I reckoned all in all it was going to be a pain in the ass trying to sort it out.

Well, within a few hours of that post going live James Hathaway from Orvis US got in contact offering to replace the boots. We exchanged a few emails; the boots got diverted to Canada by accident but eventually ended up on my doorstep.

Now, a cynic might say Mr. Hathaway was just worried about a bit of negative press on the net however I now know otherwise. Yea fair enough, he contacted me first but you know, I reckon if I had contacted Orvis the exact same thing would have happened – new boots. I have now heard similar stories from other people about Orvis, not just about boots but waders, rods and reels as well. In this day and age tackle manufacturers have got to take that little extra step to get the punters to buy the products – it does not have to be the fastest this or a techno gizmo that will help you catch more fish,, good old fashioned customer service will win the day every time

Now you know how much I moan about tackle manufacturers, but I hope you think of my words the next time you are in the market for a bit of new kit as well – that kind of customer service deserves business.

New old boots - they will do me!

Problem is the original boots still have no felt soles on them which I found slightly problematic last night as I slipped all over the rocks – I have been experimenting with bits of carpet however the damn stuff keeps coming off. I decided to coat the entire bottom of the boot with some waterproof Evostik – I could not find the stuff that comes in the metal tin (it gets you high) and had to make do with the plastic tube. Anyway, I had actually done this before however I reckon I had missed out sections – so this time got myself a pair of rubber gloves and really coated every mm of the sole..

Every MM..

Oh yea, I am looking forward to trying these bad boys out – I may be getting a chance to try them out tommorow!

However, that does not solve the issue with my breathable waders proper – they now leave me with a wet foot and weird wet patches on my legs. They have already been sent away to Diver Dave and I reckon the mould that grew on the inside did not do them any good – damn my shed with its leaky roof !

Anyway, I could possibly get another season out of them if I play my cards right!

Possibly!

 

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