Book Review – Philadelphia on the Fly – Tales of an Urban Angler by Ron. P. Swegman

How do you review a book that you like? I know what I don’t like in a fly fishing book these days- basic how to books, books that are stating the obvious, books on fishing that have very little actual fishing in them – do what so you look for in a book on fly fishing ?

I suppose what I look for is a connection with the author; I like to read the authors experiences and say to myself that I could see me somewhere mixed up in their musings. Which is why when I was sent “Philadelphia on the Fly: Tales of an Urban Angler” I knew there was going to be something in it that I liked – I was not mistaken.

The book takes you on a journey as his skill levels rise from when Swegman gets his new rod through the post to philosophical wonderings about the ethos of killing fish. His experiences with fly fishing in an urban environment struck a chord with me that not many books do.

This is a quirky book, in a positive good way – full of interesting photographs and drawings spread through the pages that made me really connect with the places that Swegman fishes. It can be the hardest thing sometimes to explain to someone what a spot on a river looks like – in one memorable story Swegman describes a spot with some boulders. The picture in my minds eye I was pleasantly surprised to find was exactly like the photograph on the next page – I like that.

It is one of those books that I just know I will read time and time again – I keep a stock of fishing books in my bedside drawer – I just have to read a story every night before going to sleep and this book has definitely been added to that list.

You can of course buy it from Amazon…

Sizzle Sizzle – although no trout for the BBQ

Another hot hazy day down at the other river that I fish. I arrived at the water around 0930 and then almost had to come straight back home again. Once I set up my rod etc I found that my tippet material was once again giving me a bit of jip – it kept snapping every time I tightened a knot. I was pretty annoyed to say the least. I telephoned Mike who it just so happened was on his way down anyway so I spent around an hour contemplating the river bank, the cows and various funny insects I was having trouble in identifying. Once Mike arrived a new tippet section was added and I was off to a lovely day – caught around half a dozen trout and lost one at around a pound and a half. I think I lost it due to severe bad karma – as I was playing it I was imagining it sizzling away on my barbeque at home…ping it was off.

All my trout today were caught on the dry fly; it was pretty much half and half risers to just opportunistic trout when I was covering water.

The same plan is to be applied tomorrow although this time without the tippet problem.

The Brack

Seeing as how it was such a nice day weather wise, my wife and I decided to choose a walk out of the Pathfinder book we had bought last year.


The walks are split up into three sections – easy, medium and hard. I chose one of the hard ones a 10 mile walk around The Brack

Wikipedia says:

The Brack is a mountain, located in the Arrochar Alps, around the Loch Goil to Glen Croe area. The second peak can been seen around about Loch Long, and the main peak can been seen around about Glen Croe and Loch Goil. It is on the Ardgoil range, which is located on the east and north east side of Loch Goil and the west side of Loch Long until the lochs join at the bottom of Loch Goil. The Brack is connected by ridges to Ben Donich and Cnoc Coinnich. The Brack is over 2500ft and is known to have been a corbbet. The Brack is surrounded with huge mountains that rise towards 3000ft. It is much harder to climb The Brack from lochgoilhead, but it is also harder from Glen Croe. The mountain is steep, rocky and susceptible to landslides. Glen Croe, Arrochar Alps, Ardgartan and Loch Goil are home to Pine Martens and eagles because of the rugged terrain.

Sounds lovely doesnt it ?
The walk I chose did not take us up The Brack but around it, here I am at the beginning of our little journey.


I look quite happy don’t I? The Pathfinder guide describes the walk as “an interesting walk with no strenuous climbs”
Approximately 5 miles after that picture was taken I was thinking of writing to pathfinder with an alternative description.


Still once we got over the initial hell it did turn out quite pleasant – ironically the short cut was the ascent of The Brock itself.

The forecast is for sunshine the whole weekend – I am not sure how that will effect the Olive hatches – maybe we will see more trout rising than last week – a week at this time of year can make a huge difference.

 

 

 

Blog Awards: The Shortlists – Updated

Got my official email with a nice logo to show off the fact I have been shortlisted for the Metro Blog Awards

You’ve been short listed in the Sport category, for the Best of Brit
Blog Awards 2007 (BOBB’s) brought to you by Ask.com and Metro
Newspaper. The BOBB’s were launched earlier in the year and are
designed to discover the most talented wrtiers in the blogosphere.
We have had a staggering response to this year’s awards with over
1,000 entries – all at an outstanding level.

The winners will be announced during the week starting 23rd April,
chosen by our expert panel of celebrity judges including music
legend, Alan McGee and TV personality, Jason Bradbury.

On the fishy side of things I am going fishing Saturday and Sunday as my beloved wife is working 12 hour shifts. Ahhh, the pain of it all…

[tags]metro,metro blog awards [/tags]

Ron. P. Swegman

Over on the right hand column there you can see books that I am currently reading. I will be posting a review very shortly of the current book but in the meantime head over to the authors lovely little corner of the net and check it out.

Blog Awards: The Shortlists

Good grief, it seems I have been short listed in the Sports category for the Metro blog awards.

I have been eyeing up the contenders in the category and it seems I have some pretty stiff competition.

Next steps:

Now our panel of celebrity judges – including England cricketer Alastair Cook, TV presenter Jason Bradbury and rock mogul Alan McGee – will decide which blogs will emerge triumphant.

 

It is Alastair Cook the famous cricketer who currently plays for Essex County Cricket Club and England who is judging the sports category.

Fingers crossed :-)

 

 

 

 

Olives on the Water

A howling gale with intermittent light rain finally told me the trout season was finally under way. Over the Easter weekend I was visiting family in sunny Birmingham, and boy was it sunny – almost shorts weather. However scanning the weather for today here in Glasgow it was too be cloudy, windy with rain – fantastic – I had a hunch the Large Dark Olives would be coming off. For once the hunch was correct and we were soon met at the water with many large dark olives on the water with sporadic rising trout.

I managed to winkle out two trout using my olive comparadun whilst Alex caught many more using nymphs.

I was glad of my new 5 weight rod – it certainly helped to put out a nice line in the howling gale.

Sadly I did not walk up as far as the dead sheep so am unable to give a full detailed summary of its decomposition.

From here on in it only gets better.

1st Visit to the Kelvin of 2007

So toninght I am driving down to Birmingham to see some family. I managed to wangle my way out of work early so instead of tidying up my house I decided to do what any normal fly fisher would do with mounting laundry responsibilities – I went fishing.

I would like to say I caught a trout but instead I went for a nice wander and spoke to a few chaps fishing with bait.

I arrived at the water around 2pm- I got the feeling I was a little late and considering I only seen a couple of trout rising I think I was correct. The actual river is at a nice height bust still has that dark winter look about it.

I did get a couple of trout rising to my dry fly at this little spot.

But I was either to slow or they were just splashing the fly so never actually made contact – they soon stopped.

Later I walked along the river looking at all the pools that have changed. I took a picture of this bridge that goes over the Kelvin


…as I found a photograph from around 100 years ago that I found interesting. In fact I love looking at old pictures of the Kelvin as you can see how the river has changed over the years.

I think showing you all the photographs I have collected may be for another post though.

My next trip out will be Monday!

Review:Safe Passage Complete Chest Pack

Like clothes and French fries fishing trips often come in three sizes- small medium and large. I always think the amount of stuff you carry often directly relates to the amount of time you spend on the water. For small trips where not much tackle is needed , for example, a tiny burn being minimalist is the way to go. For medium trips, anything up to a few hours, you can get by with a waistcoat, a bottle of water can be stuck in the back pouch although it can be mighty uncomfortable. I have been pondering large/long sessions for a while and have never really found a solution that might suffice. On longer sessions you must carry a larger bottle of water, lunch and a greater assortment of tackle so that you are not taken unawares in a situation. Heaven forbid I leave my monocular, walky talky or camera behind on a serious days fishing, heck I would say that’s what makes a days fishing. Anyway, with all these thoughts Orvis were kind enough to send me a Safe Passage Complete Chest Pack

The blurb from Orvis is thus:

Carry all you need for both day trips and back-country fishing. A roomy main compartment houses numerous fly boxes, accessories, and tools. Backpack carries your lunch, rain coat, or extra layering. Two integrated coil zingers. Hand-warmer pockets with tool storage. Forceps pocket and two mesh tippet pockets. In forest.
Front compartment: 11″ x 9″.
Back compartment: 14″ x 12″

Yup, that all makes perfect sense and sounds like the solution for a longer session. But the proof as they say is when someone other than the seller is trying to punt you it..read on, read on…

Initial Impressions

I am not going to lie to you, this bag got extra marks just because it came with a little card from Orvis that stated “proudly packaged by” and then a squiggle where the name should be. Classy I thought!

The bag feels light in my hand and is a nice green color, the color of these types of bags is important as this year my fishing buddies and I have named “The Year of Stealth” When it comes to stealth green is good ! The only thing I dont like is the funny handle on the top of the bag as I am not aiming to carry it anywhere as it is an….er….back and chest pack. There are straps to to tighten it up- they are maybe a little long – but easilly fixed with a pair of snips – obviously it is designed for even bigger chests than mine. Overall though, this bag feels nice in the hand and not bulky. I was looking forward to examining its insides.

The Back Bit

There is this nice little clip where you could store a stuffed jumper or rain jacket if you did not want to put it in the main back compartment.

There is little side pockets that can be used for keeping small items that you won’t be using all the time. On my first trip I kept my monocular. I would suggest not keeping anything you would be using regularly like a camera (I wish) as you have got to be a bit of a contortionist to actually get anything out.

The main compartment of the back pack has two little pockets for storing things. One of the spaces is partitioned by a separate sheet of material and one is netted off with a zip. There is a little clip for your keys, I like things like that as I am always paranoid I will drop something and have to spend the day going back on my footsteps. It holds a bottle of water or a small flask with ease. I filled it up with miscellaneous junk and when I put it on I did not feel anything jagging into my back, so a big plus point in the comfort factor.

The Front Bit

The chest pack is split into two main compartments – the front pouch does not have a lot of space but I reckon you could squeeze a fly box in there as well as some of the bits and bobs we all like to carry.

The main pouch is a lot bigger and would hold just about anything you could stick in there for a serious session. I managed to cram in a large fly box, a walky talky, a camera and some other bits and pieces like floatant and sinking putty.. I don’t like carrying too much and I especially don’t like having too much at my chest as it may feel bulky. I think I was adequately covered for just about any situation without going overboard.

The pack sat high on my chest and quite tight in, I liked that as my other William Joseph Chest pack tended to hang forward and just plain annoy me – being tight in also means it does not interfere with casting.

I have worn it twice and like it a lot- as usuall I will update you again after further serious fishing.

Good Points

  • Plenty of space for lunch and sweater in back pouch.
  • Ample pockets without going overboard.
  • Chest pack is held tight into the body.
  • Ample straps for those of us with a bigger…er…chest.
  • Standard features like forcep holder and tippet dispenser.
  • Hand Warmer pockets are the bees knees

Bad Points

  • The clip to fasten the pack together is on the back pack rather than the front. This I think is a design flaw, it means you have got to reach back behind yourself to get in fastened. Very annoying and very hard.
  • There are two magnetic holders over two mesh tippet pockets on the front pouch. When it does actually stor etippet the magnets dont appear to work. Still, this is just after a couple of sessions so I may be able to work it out eventually.

In summary, this is a nice bit of kit that serves its purpose well, I am going to enjoy putting it through its paces and reporting back.

The Dead Sheep

When we were out fishing the other day Steven stumbled upon a dead sheep. Well, when I say stumbled I mean he was fishing away happily and noticed a funny smell – a rotting sheep was amongst some reeds on the bank. We all had a good look at it through our trusty monocular (boy are we glad they came in useful) and pondered the sheep’s fate and the possible mishaps that led it to be a woolly carcass at the side of the river. Probably washed down during a spate and may well get moved further on the next time there is a lot of rain.

We all got to talking about the horrors that could occur if you did not notice the sheep and what could happen as the season progresses.

Horror One

You walk along, fail to see dead sheep, stumble and fall face first into the carcass.

Horror Two

You walk along, fail to see the wooly mass, stumble and raise hands which sink into the dead sheep’s carcass.

Horror Three

Dead sheep is washed down the river only to take up residency at the top of a very nice pool – trout then get fixated on eating maggots – you have no accurate bluebottle imitations.

Horror Four

Noticing a large amount of fly life and trout taking flies around dead sheep you cast towards it thus hooking it – on trying to dislodge your fly the dead sheep starts drifting down the current towards you.

Horror Five

You have no yarn to make an indicator and the only available wool is on the……..dead sheep.

I will give accurate  reports on the dead sheep’s progress as the season progresses – If it is still there.

[tags]dead sheep [/tags]

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