Sunday, 7 November 2010

Learning about the Upstream Nymph

On Friday I was thinking about the Internet and how it is helping to forward all kinds of fishing. People are meeting, going fishing, talking about tackle, tactics and all manner of other stuff via social media, blogs, forums etc. David Burton brought up a very interesting point in his comment about that post which you can see here. He said that we use the Internet to "virtually" fish when time does not allow us to head to the waters edge. Too true! In a nutshell I guess we would all love to go fishing everyday but the simple fact is we have to work. Is that a groan I hear!? "You go fishing everyday Nick!" I would be the first to put my hands up and say I have a great job but the fact is that guiding is very different to actually "going fishing". That's another post, right now I am thinking about Grayling, Nymphs and Fishing upstream.


I had been relishing the thought of heading to the Anton since we set the trip up almost a year ago. I have guided a lot of chalkstreams and fished them of course. But the Anton is different. I have guided there and watched clients catch a bunch of fish, but in fact had never caught a fish on the Westover Farm beat myself, because I have never fished the venue! That all changed on Saturday.


Fishing with a Pink Shrimp (technically not a Nymph!) from the new Tactical Range by Fulling Mill we all enjoyed some superb Grayling action, fishing mainly short line, upstream. Check out some photos here and here. Now on our spate rivers I often fish (and guide) upstream with a nymph (such as a Copper John), set below a dry fly acting as an indicator. This is deadly in the fast running streams but the slow moving chalkstream allows for some proper "traditional" upstream nymphing.





Other than picking up a few fish off the top on a CDC BWO, I opted to fish a long fluorocarbon leader and see how many ways I could tempt a fish to pick up my fly. Flicking well ahead of a target fish it was all about line control. Get the depth right, watch the speed and observe the fish. Sometimes the takes were obvious as a greedy Grayling charged over and chowed the weighted Shrimp. In the shade I watched for the flicker of a white mouth. If that didn't work I applied a little sweep of the rod, watching the fish and the line for signs of a take which may have been a savage stab or a very subtle stop. Sometimes the line just felt a little "heavy".
Whatever happened my reaction to any or all of the above was a smooth lift. By the end of the day I was having such a great time that I was left wishing for more fishing and more light, the days are just so short at this time of year! Thankfully I am back off to the Anton on Thursday and although I won't be guiding not fishing I will get just as much pleasure out of showing my guest for the day how to fish this challenging but highly addictive tactic.

Friday, 5 November 2010

What would we do without information super fishing?

Yesterday, I took some time out from a busy day working on our new website, sat down and finally set up a facebook page which you can see here. It really set me thinking. What would we anglers do without the Internet? It has changed our lives.


This season I have frequently used the network of web cameras set up by the clever guys at Farson Digital. There are around 24 of them in England now, spying on rivers such as the Exe, Tamar & Lyn in the South right up to the Tees, Wear and Tyne in the North. See the cameras here. If you fish in Scotland then there are a further ten cameras set on famous venues such as the Tweed, Spey and Deveron. Just recently I visited this latter river for a week, but probably spent at least a month before that regularly checking the water height and condition! For guiding purposes the cameras have proved invaluable as the live stream refreshes every ten seconds, allowing me to ascertain the exact state of the river. In the past I would have to make a few telephone calls or just take a chance.

This weekend I am off to the Anton River in Hampshire with a bunch of guys. I gave David Burton a shout through Twitter, within seconds he had replied and a few emails later the day was arranged. I even downloaded a PDF map from the guys at Famous Fishing who offer the finest chalkstream fishing available ... take a look at the website!



(Above) The Anton. A traditional chalkstream in beautiful English countryside. Far removed from today's technology and yet more readily available because of it.

While in the process of arranging this trip I decided to check out Davids recent Twitter posts and clicked on a link to this site. Its a little off the wall, but then with a name like Fat Guy Fly Fishing you may expect that! There are just so many blogs out there now offering viewpoints, tackle advice, tactical thoughts and inspiration that its amazing that we ever manage to go fishing. During the last couple if years I have neglected my own blog and really regret it. One guy who certainly hasn't is Henry Gilbey who surely has THE lure fishing resource online now. There is a whole community on their discussing fish, tactics, tackle ... the problem of lure addiction and of course, metal!


I was looking at Henrys blog last night when Skype came to life and my great friend Chappie Chapman appeared ....all the way from Christchurch, New Zealand. We chatted away for well over an hour, about fishing of course and began hatching a plan for a trip. I showed him a copy of Adventure Fishing over the webcam built into my laptop while chowing on my dinner and at the same time dropped a line to James Dawkins who had just sent me a direct message from Twitter to say he was off to Alderney.

So I guess you could say I spent an evening virtually fishing. And that set me thinking about something else. Would our great sport be as advanced as it is now if the Internet had never been invented?