10/10/2018 - Mad for it!

This year the boys' trip abroad saw us heading off to Madeira for a change. Once again, the LRF gear and a heavier, multi-purpose outfit was packed in the "toy bag". A bit of research, including a re-read of Scott Hutchison's excellent blog, came up with a list of potential spots not far from where we going to be staying in Calheta on the south of island. It also highlighted the fact Madeira had recently brought in the requirement for a licence for shore fishing. The on-line application process was simple enough so, rather than play the ignorant tourist, just 4 Euros got me a 30 day licence for "pesca apeada" from the Madeiran Regional Directorate for Fisheries.

An early flight from Stanstead saw us installed in the villa by lunchtime. It was only a quick, 5 minute car journey from there down to the beach and the marina, so a trip to the local supermarket was combined with a few cold beers and a recce. Whilst it did not appear that fishing was allowed within the marina itself, the large concrete blocks forming the breakwaters and sea defences provided alternative options. At the far end of the beach a couple of local ladies were float-fishing with what looked like multi-hook rigs baited with bread and one of them duly pulled out a small bream, so things looked promising.

The following day we went for our first walk along one of Madeira's many freshwater channels, or levadas, to the "25 fountains" - along with every other tourist on the island it would seem! The pool below the waterfall at the end of the walk was full of small trout, which greedily attacked any spare morsel of bread from our sandwiches. To try and catch such obviously hungry fish under public scrutiny seemed a bit rude, so I waited until we were off the beaten track before going stalking with a bit of red angleworm on a small jig head. First cast into a tiny, gin-clear pool below an overflow saw a follow and a take from dark, heavily-spotted rainbow trout. I added another one a couple of casts later before the remaining fish in the pool spooked. Didn't bother them any longer as I'd achieved my goal of catching a Madeiran trout and the others were already getting bored, so it was back to the car and down to Calheta.


After a bit more shopping the LRF rod came out again and I headed to the end of one of the breakwaters. Casting a dropshot rig baited with angleworm past the concrete blocks, I was instantly rewarded by a fish, albeit a familiar one, in the shape of an ornate wrasse. I had suffered these in plague proportions in Gran Canaria, so I wasn't surprised when a few more of these followed. However, a longer cast onto the sand eventually resulted in a new species for me, a two-banded sea bream.





















Unfortunately, fishing close to the blocks started to become expensive in terms of dropshot leads, so after a few more wrasse we headed back to the villa.

The following day we were up early and drove into the interior again for another walk. The route up to Madeira's "sugar loaf mountain, the Pinaculo, was along a levada cut out of the side of a basalt cliff and was at times vertigo-inducing, but the waterfalls and views along the way were spectacular. After lunch we headed back down through dense cloud to Ribeira Brava. Whilst Rob and Duncan headed off to find a coffee, Stuart and I walked through the tunnel to the working harbour on the other side of the headland.


Walking to end of the harbour wall we were soon dropping our rigs into clear, but incredibly deep water. It was soon obvious that there were loads of ornate wrasse about as shoals of them dashed out to intercept our baits as they dropped down the wall. Casting further out I managed to get a bait on the bottom, where it was snaffled by a colourful Madeiran rockfish. The angleworms we were using periodically came back chopped up like beads on a string, so I wasn't surprised to eventually land a puffer fish, albeit a new species - the Guinean puffer.





















At this point we were rudely disturbed by a returning tuna boat, so I clambered down onto a flat concrete platform on the other side of the breakwater. Again, it was difficult to keep the bait away from the wrasse, but I eventually managed to catch a few Canary damselfish , another rockfish and a tiny Macronesian sharpnose puffer.


Stuart hadn't risked climbing down with his dodgy knee and I'd been baking in the sun for long enough so, after losing a few more dropshot leads, I packed up and joined the others, who were also a bit frazzled and in need of a swim. As a dip in the harbour wasn't really on we headed back along the coast to Calheta again. However, rather than join the other son the beach, I decided to head off to where we'd seen some locals fishing. Due to the rocky nature of the bottom I set up a caro rig with a 3" straight worm on a Tict jig head. After I few casts I started getting a few pulls and eventually hooked into a hard-fighting, little derbio.





















Moving on to the adjacent beach I followed this up with an Atlantic lizard fish before my thirst got the better of me and I went back and joined the others for a couple of cold beers. 

The next day I was feeling distinctly worse for wear after consuming several more beers, a couple of gins and a bottle of red wine and by the time we had wended our way along the twisting coast road to Porto Moniz on the north coast, I having difficulty holding my breakfast down! After checking out the natural swimming pools we headed down to the working harbour. The predominant catch of the small fishing boats appeared to be small tuna, pole-caught and then butterflied and left out in the sun to dry, and grey triggerfish.

Peering down into the deep water of the harbour I spotted a few fish including a small barracuda and a zebra sea bream. I'd never caught one of these before so, despite my delicate condition, Stuart and I got the rods out while the others went to find a coffee shop. First drop down the side of the harbour my angleworm was taken with a thump. Thought at first it was the barracuda, but it turned out to be a decent diamond lizard fish instead. Had another next drop down into virtually the same spot. However, it was quite slow after that and, whilst we had a few puffers, rockfish, wrasse and damsels between us, it was hard going in the sun. Walked along the wall a bit and dropped down next an obvious piece of debris on the bottom to have the bait taken with a thump again, this time by a female parrot fish.

By the time the others came back I was desperate for a cold bottle of coke, so we packed up and headed home via the supermercado. Thankfully I was feeling much more perky the following day and, after a stunning walk to the source of the Levada Novo with more waterfalls and vertigo-inducing views down into the valley below, we dropped down onto the coast again at Paul Do Mar. Again, a small harbour at one end of the town provided me with another fishing opportunity while the others sat on the beach and swam. However, the harbour itself seemed to pretty featureless and barren, with just a few wrasse and damsels swimming up and down the wall. Casting over the sand in the hope of a flounder or a weever didn't result in anything, so I was soon back with the others for a swim in the natural pool under the gaze of the naked mariner.





















Rather frustratingly the swimming pool was full of fish, including mullet, several species of sea bream and a big shoal of salema! 

I had one more session over the last couple of days of the holiday back down at Calheta, but only added one small lizard fish to my tally. However, we did have a little bonus when we dropped into Jardim Do Mar and found the village was having it's Saint's Day. Tucked around by the church we found a "pop up" bar serving ice cold beer, potent local liquor served in thimble-sized glasses and big plates of limpets, or lapas, with lemon and garlic butter for just a few Euros. Tasty and a bargain!

Overall, it's always tricky balancing the needs of a group, so I wasn't too disappointed that I'd not managed a few more sessions, or caught a few more species. We'd only really scratched the surface as well in terms of searching out suitable fishing spots. Plenty to go at next time as I'd certainly go again given the opportunity. Cheers Madeira!

11/09/2018 - Difficult times

The above title doesn't refer to fishing and for that reason it is a very hard piece to write. The family tragedy referred to in my previous entry was the sudden and unexpected loss of my father under circumstances that we yet to fully come to terms with as a family. In the process of sorting out his affairs I found a full set of pictorial rod licences stashed away in his wardrobe. In recent years it is true that we did little or no fishing together, his age and his increasing commitment as carer to my mother playing a part, but that hadn't stopped him from buying his licence. Thinking back, it was my grandfather that actually introduced me to fishing, the first trip literally a bent pin for a hook and a matchstick for a float before I got my first "proper" outfit consisting of a six foot fibreglass rod and a Gladding Intrepid Boy'o. However, it was subsequent trips out with my father and my brother that developed my interest and skills, whether it was catching greedy little perch from a tiny farm pond on the outskirts of Birmingham, being hopelessly out-gunned by barbel on the River Severn at Stourport, or catching "monster" pike from Bosherston Lily Ponds in Pembrokeshire. Even then I remember, whilst he did catch the odd fish himself, he was the one more likely to be sorting out the tangles, baiting up the hooks and getting the stove going for a bacon sarnie or a cup of tea. He took equal, if not more, pleasure from both the social side of fishing and the success of others, even on a day on the River Swale when I sneaked out and bagged a trio of "donkey" chub from a swim he'd earmarked for himself. That was his nature.


The period immediately before and after his death was a whirlwind - a holiday cut short, a mad dash up the motorway, two weeks sleeping on my brother's sofa, meetings with the police, coroner and solicitor and the start of seemingly endless arrangements and paperwork. We all probably ran on adrenaline over this period and didn't really have time to think, simply because we were kept busy. As things calmed down, amongst the messages from friends, family and my GP was the advice to carry on as normal. 



Whilst nothing will ever be "normal" again, I knew this was advice given with best intentions and with my mental well-being at heart, so when my friend Stuart suggested that we had a couple of hours trotting one evening on the Embankment in Nottingham, I threw a minimal amount of kit in the car and set off to meet him. Despite living in Nottingham for nearly 30 years I had never fished off the embankment and, apart from the carp anglers occasionally bivvied up opposite the Forest Ground, I had never really seen anybody else fishing it either. It was only when Stuart spotted a chap catching dace and roach on the stick float whilst on his way home one night that alerted us to the possibilities and, whilst the concrete steps make it look barren and uninteresting, closer examination revealed lush, marginal weed growth and a clean gravel bottom. The evening in question was warm and sunny, so there were a large number of boats moored up along the river, which basically left us a small section upstream of the suspension bridge. Plumbing indicated a depth of about 11 foot off the rod tip, just about manageable with the stick float. 























Sitting on the bottom step and trotting maggots down the side we were soon catching roach, dace and perch. The latter were particularly abundant, gorging themselves on the loose feed and probably muscling every thing else out in the process.The best of these went a pound and a half, but I lost a much bigger fish that plodded upstream against the curve of the rod before snagging me up. I could still feel the fish thumping away on the end of the line, so slackened off hoping that it would swim out of the snag again. Unfortunately, the inevitable happened as the hook eventually pulled out leaving me to rue to the loss of an unseen "monster"






















We carried on fishing for a couple of hours, chatting and and watching all and sundry enjoying the river in their own way - walkers, cyclists, rowers, boaters and winos - before we lost the light and a bit of a chill descended. It had been exactly what I needed and we parted ways agreeing to meet up again for another session very soon. It had also been just the thing that my dad would have loved - a float rod, a few maggots, loads of fish and good company. My hope is that, if I'm wrong about there not being a god and an afterlife, he was watching from somewhere and enjoying as much as me. 




For John Edward Firkins, 09/04/39 - 05/08/18

29/08/2018 - Summer sea round up

Signed up to the Sea Angling Diary project a while ago, not only to provide myself with a bit of an incentive to get out and do some fishing, but also to put back into the sport and to help provide accurate information about the impact that recreational angling has in the UK. You only need to look at the recent restrictions placed on recreational bass anglers and the subsequent acknowledgement that this was based on poor data to realise what importance such a study could have. A few days after signing up on-line I received my pack, which included a fishing log, a handy fish ID guide, a tape measure and instructions for logging catches using the dedicated web tool. August saw two family trips down to Pembrokeshire, so a few sessions were duly planned to fit around the prevailing tides. What follows are the diary entries for those trips - some more successful than others!


02/08/18 Hobbs Point, Pembroke Dock, -0.5 hrs HW +1.0 hrs. Grey and overcast with drizzle. Fished off the pontoon using a two hook mini flapper baited with bits of raw prawn. Had loads of rock gobies (as usual!) and a solitary, male corkwing wrasse. 























Lost three rigs to something that either broke me off or dived into the kelp and snagged me.  Did spot, but failed to tempt, several large mullet under the pontoon. A target for another time. Popped into Raven Trading just as the bait digger arrived with that morning's freshly dug haul of ragworm. Result!

03/08/18 Milford Haven wall, -2.5 hrs HW +1.0 hrs. Grey and overcast with showers. Had been warned that the harbour authorities were getting a bit zealous and had been kicking anglers off for "anti-social behaviour", so set up to the left of the mackerel landing stage and well away from the lock pit. Fished a double mackerel fillet at range on a pulley pennel rig hoping for a bass or a doggie and a two hook flapper rig baited with ragworm closer in for anything else. Got to high water with no interest in either, so fished down the side with the LRF rod with a mini two flapper baited with scraps of ragworm to relieve the boredom! Had several corkwing and ballan wrasse, pollack, shannies and a surprise silver eel (an addition to the species hunt) before my stomach called time and I headed home for breakfast.


 



















04/08/18 Cleddau Estuary, Lawrenny Quay, LW +4 hrs. Sunny intervals with a light, changeable breeze. Had sorted out my gear the day before to find the tip ring on my lure rod had broken off in transit. However, a quick trip to see John at Raven Trading saw that easily rectified and at minimal cost, much to  my relief. Started by fishing weedless, soft plastics over the slack water period without any hits, before switching to hard lures as the tide picked up. However, I was only able to manage just one small schoolie on the usually dependable Megabass x120, so got the bait rod out for the last half an hour. Fished a two hook flapper baited with ragworm out on the crease and had bites straight away, resulting in two more schoolies. Saw a huge shoal of mullet topping at the mouth of the inlet. They all moved upstream past me in procession as the tide turned, presumably heading for their (as yet unknown) feeding grounds.


05/05/18 Cleddau Estuary, Lawrenny Quay, LW +1.5 hrs. Bright and sunny. Planned to fish with lures again. It was very still and calm when I arrived, so I opted to fish on the top. Set up an IMA salt skimmer with a sandeel fly on a dropper three feet up the leader as a "teaser". Fishing around the moored boats I had seven strikes in quick succession, which I converted into five schoolies - two on the teaser and three on the skimmer. Was building into a great session before I was called away to deal with a family crisis.


25/08/18 Fishguard inner breakwater, -0.5 hrs HW +3.5 hrs. Sunny intervals with a brisk westerly breeze, so fished off the right hand side of the breakwater, drifting float fished mackerel strips around over the kelp in the hope of a pollack, wrasse or garfish. Saw a grey seal catch and eat a large mullet a bit further along the breakwater and wasn't too chuffed when he later popped up right in front of me although from the way he barked at me I don't thnk he was pleased to see me either! After a couple of hours I'd had nothing on the float, so got the LRF rod out and switched to fishing angleworm and fish strips on a mini two hook flapper down the side instead. Had several small pollack and a tiny little poor cod, which was at least a new species for the year, before packing up. Still haven't really got to grips with the venue. It always looks more promising than it actually is, but I'll be back again in the Autumn to for codling and whiting.

26/08/18 Saundersfoot Harbour inner wall, -0.5 HW +1.0. Overcast with a stiff, offshore breeze. Had been looking forward to having another go for the garfish at this venue for a while. Arrived in the early evening just before high tide to find a few people already set up on the inner wall, including John and Jay from Raven Trading out species hunting. Was less impressed to find that the sea was very coloured due to the high winds we'd had earlier in the day. Set up the float rod anyway with mackerel strip and fished bits of prawn on a mini two hook flapper down the side of the wall. Had two shannies, so at least avoided a blank, unlike everybody else around me! There was a brief moment of excitement when John spotted a fifteen spined stickleback on the surface, but even this had disappeared by the time he'd set up a rig for it. Not a session to remember!


27/08/18 Hobbs Point, -0.5 HW +1.0. Overcast with strong westerly wind blowing straight up the Haven. Nearly turned around and went home. Had planned to have a go for the mullet under the pontoon, but it was so choppy it would have been like fishing off a boat! Fished a two hook flapper down the wall instead baited with whole raw prawns for a bass, pollack or wrasse and a mini version on the LRF rod, again baited with scraps of prawn for the mini-species. Bite detection was a bit difficult because of the wind. However, the rock gobies were obliging and I managed nine of these and a single pollack before I'd had enough.

In summary, I didn't really set the world alight this summer, but I suppose that's reality and not Youtube! Looking forwards, apart from the sad and tragic family event that cut short my first trip down to Wales, we received the happier news that my lad had passed his A-levels with flying colours and confirmed his place at Exeter University's campus at Falmouth to do Zoology. 


Whilst it's a flipping long way, it will hopefully open up a whole new world in terms of venues and species. First trip will be in September via Exmouth, so fingers crossed! 


22/04/2018 - Scratching about

After my last grayling trip, weather and work conspired against me and, before I knew it, my river season had fizzled out yet again. A consolatory, canal zander campaign never got off the the ground and it wasn't until Easter in Pembrokeshire that I managed to wet a line again.














Ever hopeful, I'd put in my sea fishing gear, along with my fly rod for a bash at some brownies. However, it soon became obvious that I would not be needing the latter! Heavy rain on the days leading up to our trip and a good topping up on the Bank Holiday Monday meant that the rivers were brown and swollen the whole time we were there. Focussing on the sea fishing instead in what was a truly miserable Easter week, a few sessions on the Haven resulted in two blanks with the bait rod and just one tiny pollack and a shanny on the LRF gear! Poor water clarity and the amount of cold, freshwater in the estuary may have been a factor, but it just seemed as if nothing had woken up yet. Left Wales disappointed, but at least I was off the mark in this year's species hunt.
















Fast forward to this weekend and I was off down to North Devon with the lads for our annual surfing pilgrimage to Saunton. Again, I'd put some fishing gear in the car in the hope of sneaking off somewhere for a couple of sessions. A phone call and a quick trip to Braunton Bait Box secured some nice fresh ragworm, whilst a look at the tide tables confirmed a suitable window of opportunity at Ilfracombe. Saturday morning therefore saw me arrive bright and early to the welcome sight of Verity outlined against a clear and brightening sky.

Setting up on the lower deck of the pier I started off by dropping a scaled down, two hook paternoster baited with scraps of ragworm into the gaps between the wooden pilings. A couple of small pollack were quick to oblige, followed by a surprise sand smelt. However, it soon became apparent that bites were going to be few and far between, but by dropping into a few different spots I managed to bag a colourful little ballan wrasse, closely followed by a female corkwing. 


As the sun rose higher, so did the tide and I was pushed up the steps as the lower deck flooded. Relocating to the upper deck I continued dropping down the baited rig down the side of the wall. A hand-sized pollack gave me the run around before I had another surprise in the shape of a pouting. Went very quiet after this, so scraped the lead down the wall in desperation in search of a shanny. This just resulted in me finding a snag and losing the rig so, with the car park getting busy, I decided to call it a day. 


The following day the weather had changed and was grey, cold and drizzly. However, after a lazy morning, we all decided to have a trip up to Ilfracombe anyway. The plan was that I would fish for a couple of hours while the others cruised the charity shops. Unfortunately, the weather was even worse when we got there so, after a quick wander and a pint in the local 'spoons, we were soon back at the bungalow. However, as soon as it brightened up, I was off again to Braunton to the River Caen with the fly rod. 

I'd already fished this neglected, little river a couple of times (getting a mention on Theo Pike's excellent website Urban Trout) for it's little, wild brownies, so I was hopeful of a few fish. Donned my chesties and slipped into he river upstream of the fish ladder, causing a little trout to shoot away downstream in the process. Couldn't see any activity on the surface, so went with the approach I'd used before - a single, gold headed, hare's ear nymph with a marabou tail and a bit of flash in the dubbing.


Slowly waded upstream past the urban debris and graffiti, pitching the nymph into any likely looking spots and occasionally being rewarded by a sharp tug from a spotty missile. Had half a dozen by the time I reached the footbridge over to Tesco, where I had the best fish of the day right under the noses of the oblivious pedestrians above me. Unfortunately my phone packed up at this point so, with time getting on, I decided to return to the others and check on progress with dinner.


Drove back to Nottingham the following day with reports on the radio of more cold weather to come dampening my enthusiasm, only just re-kindled by my trip to Devon. Oh well, I can always watch other people go fishing on YouTube!

07/03/2018 - A hard day at the office!

I ask you, where's St Peter, the patron saint of fishermen, when you need him? I suppose he could be forgiven for being on holiday somewhere hot, dry and sunny at this time of year (enjoying a cone of fries by the looks of it), but he really has dropped the ball lately. No sooner had the "Beast from the East" finally gone west, when the rain came sweeping in with obvious and all too familiar consequences. Extreme weather warnings were replaced by flood alerts and any hopes of a last minute pike and zander campaign were dashed by rising, swollen rivers. Not wanting to waste my hard-earned flexitime, I switched focus from the Trent Valley to the relatively higher ground of Staffordshire where, by virtue of their "flashy" nature, I knew the rivers would be quicker to recover given a couple of dryish days.


A look at the river levels on the Government flood warning service not only confirmed the earlier, combined impact of the snow melt and rainfall, but also a rapid return towards normal levels. Knowing that more rain was on the way and that I potentially only had a brief window of opportunity (possibly my last before the end of the season) I bit the bullet and provisonally booked a day off. A final check first thing in the morning showed that the river was still on a reassuring downward trend so, after dropping the daughter off at work and popping into the tackle shop for a pint of mixed, I headed west on the A50. My only concern was that other like-minded (and desperate!) anglers would have the same idea and as I got closer to the venue I got more and more anxious. However, as I pulled off the road down the access track I could see that the parking spot was empty - result!  



Got togged up and set off across the water-logged fields, eager to see what the river was like and at first glance it looked pretty good! Whilst it was still slightly above normal level and carrying a tinge of colour, I was pretty confident that the conditions would only improve. Unfortunately it seemed the grayling had other ideas, as it soon became obvious that they weren't properly on the feed. Didn't have a bite in my first few "banker" swims, so I was pretty relieved when I eventually slipped the net under my first fish of the day.


Worked my way downstream, and started picking up the odd grayling here and there. However, as the day wore on, it seemed that these were the willing few, but at least they were of  decent average size. Got to one of the more productive swims, a fast riffle with a sharp drop-off into a pool, followed by a long glide. Had a couple of fish from the head of the pool before the float buried and my Drennan Ultralite hooped round. Couldn't see what it was due to the tinge of colour in the water, so let it plod around the pool making some nice, big tail patterns on the surface. Eventually it tired and I caught a glimpse as it rolled on the surface. Already had an inkling from the fight that it wasn't a big grayling and this confirmed it. The fish made one last, unexpected dash that tangled the main line in a hawthorn bush. Luckily that was its last act of defiance and I dropped the rod and was able to scoop a decent brownie into the net.


It was 2lb 6oz on the scales, but was long and hollow and perhaps should have been nearer 3lb. Didn't have a pronounced kype like some of the other big brownies I've had from the river, so assumed it was a hen fish. Took a quick picture then let her recover in the net while I sorted out my tangle. Slipped her back and watched her disappear, the apex predator in that particular little pool. Moved downstream once more, winkling a few more grayling out before getting to my favourite swim towards the bottom end of the section. A recent working party had removed a fallen tree that had got lodged in the head of the pool, allowing me a clear run through with the float. However, I couldn't capitalise and only managed to add a couple more to the total, taking me up to 18 grayling and that single brownie. Called it a day after that. Had been pretty tough, but I was glad to have got out before my season potentially came to a premature end.


I also got thinking about those big brownies on the way home. With the absence of any pike in the river, it would have been nice to try a bit of ultralight lure fishing. However, club rules are float and fly only, but a bit of searching on the web threw up an article on streamer fishing in the UK. Whilst fly fishing purists might throw up their hands at this point, I'm willing to try anything so watch this space!


11/01/18 - Back amongst the ladies!

Santa was extremely kind to me this year and got me a new pair of neoprene chest waders to replace my old, leaky ones - victims of my ungainly attempts to straddle too many barbed wire fences.


I was therefore keen to christen them and hopefully catch a few more grayling in the process, so I had been keeping a watchful eye on the weather forecast and river levels since Christmas. After enduring several days of rivers flooded by rain and snow melt everything came together this week, with the weather staying dry long enough to allow levels to fine back to normal. I was therefore pretty hopeful of catching a few fish as I headed west on the A50 into the wilds of Staffordshire again.


After squeezing on the new neoprenes I headed upstream across the waterlogged fields. First glance at the river confirmed it was low and clear. Had a handful of fish out of the top swim before I moved down to one of favourite bits of the river - a fast run dropping into a pool, with another fast run immediately downstream. However, when I got there I found that the last floods had done some significant remodelling. A fallen tree had created a trash dam that virtually blocked the river. 


This had obviously funnelled the force of the flooded river causing the far bank to collapse. The diverted flow had then scoured out the first run and the pool and dumped  the gravel in the run downstream. Far from destroying the swim, this had actually created new features so, whilst it was probably a bit "raw", I gave it a few exploratory trots through.



Sure enough there were a few fish already in residence, including decent grayling that did a good impression of a brownie, leaping a foot vertically out of the water during the fight. Worked my way downstream, but by mid-day I'd only had 14 fish. The usual spots just weren't producing for some reason, so I had a break for some food and a cup of coffee.


Sat and listened to various birds shouting their alarms at something and eventually spotted a big dog fox casually trotting up the field on the opposite bank. I imagined him rocking up sheepishly at his den and his vixen berating him, "what time do you call this, Reynard?". The sharp call of a buzzard overhead brought me back to the real world, so I gathered my things and carried on downstream. I was starting to wonder whether things just hadn't settled down after the last flood.


However, in the next few swims I finally dropped on some fish in numbers, possibly temporarily relocated from their homes further upstream. Ended up in the "big pool" towards the bottom of the section with an hour of daylight left hoping for a chub or dace, but just had a single perch to break the grayling monopoly. Wasn't as prolific as last trip due to the slow start, but I was happy with my 54 "ladies" and even happier not to go home with a damp crotch!