Entemology(ish)

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Quiet times on Tamanawis of late. With the new season coming, however, things are sure to get more busy. In the mean time, a nice story on the BBC today about pearl mussel conservation in Northumberland. I’ve never come across any freshwater mussels whilst out fishing, but I’ll be sure to pay attention this season.

One of the great things about writing a fishing blog is that it gives you a near-permanent record of the season’s fishing exploits. I often scroll through my old blog posts recalling trips and thoughts. It’s a funny process really, a bit narcissistic, but it’s also very enlightening. It’s possible to ‘chart’ the evolution of one’s fishing life, with all the highs and lows, the glory and the disaster.

The only problem is that it’s actually quite a bit of effort to keep a blog updated (eh…), and so inevitably one doesn’t record all a season’s trips. The real nitty-gritty detail of a trip is also lost on a blog: stuff like the atmospheric pressure, the temperature and the colour of my socks. I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately: there are bound to be some hidden jewels of fishy information in those lost and under-reported trips.

I think the solution is the Diary of Future Past. A concise, all-encompassing record of every fishing trip I make. We’re talking hardware here folks, the real stuff, not just 1’s and 0’s and digital trickery. It’s the kind of record the real folks of old used to keep, the kind you can carry around and flick over whilst on the bus. I’ve been meaning to do so myself for the past couple of seasons, but it’s only now that I’ve discovered the secret to making good such ambitious intentions. Preparation, preparation, preparation.

In my old folly I thought a simple notebook would suffice. A few ruled lines, a ballpoint pen and a little determination. But the time folks, oh the time. I am really just as lazy as the next man, and it just takes too much time to start a fishing report with a totally blank sheet of paper. I need a little prodding, and the Diary of Future Past prods nicely.

There are lots of commercial fishing diaries out there, but the ones I’ve seen are rather expensive, not very good and full of advertising. So I decided to make one myself, using the glory of JFig, my printer at work and the lovely folks in the graphics and photocopying wizardry department of the University of Edinburgh. The lovely thing about making your own diary is that you can include precisely the empty spaces you want. There are also no adverts, dodgy photographs or deeply inspiring quotes from Robert Redford. It’s a diary without the fat and cholesterol, streamlined to sharply prod me into faithful adherence.

I think I’ve included the most important stuff: empty spaces for the date, details about the weather, the general hatch and trout activity, notes about the flies I used and plenty of space for meanderous wanderings. The Diary is A5 size, so it’s nice and portable, with a stiff cardboard backing and clear plastic covers. Each report has two pages: one with the writing, and a second on the back available to stick in wee photos if desired. Book one has space for 83 diary entries, which should see me through a season or two. I reckon it should be possible to file a report in about ten minutes, which fits nicely into my morning turd regime. No more excuses.

So on Sunday I headed down for the day to a river. It was an absolutely splendid day. If you asked me when I thought the first day of spring was, I would have said Sunday. For the first time a bit of genuine warmth, provided by the glorious sunshine. I was on stream by around 11am, and noticed a good trickle of march browns comming off, together with some large dark olives. I spent some time fishing a hare’s ear nymph below a bushy sedge, and it wasn’t too long before a feisty wee trutta came up and took the sedge, which in actual fact looked like nothing that was on the water (to my eyes anyway). Funny how that happens. I think “ok, I’ll fish a nymph today, because there’s not much moving yet”, and of course the nymph is ignored.. Ho hum.
Eventually a couple of fish did start to take the odd dun off the water with quite splashy rises, and I immediately tied on one of these jobbies and landed a beatiful little fish of around 3/4lb.


I then fished the run for a good while (I know there are plenty fish in there..) but nothing was interested.. or maybe I’d cocked it up and spooked it all. Still, same result either way.
There’s some lovely water where I was.. but nothing really rose after lunchtime.


Certainly this was because nothing much hatched after then, which I was very surprised about. Seemed ideal conditions (always beware of ideal conditions) but the hatch held back.. So of course I did what I usually do, which is sit around and enjoy the sound of the stream and take photos of the bugs I can find.

This guy’s called a large dark olive (I reckon) and is a really important spring fly on the rivers I fish. Actually, I think it’s a female (small eyes), but that’s just getting into dangerously poncy territory.. I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s a bonny little critter. Something about the upwing flies I just really like. Perhaps it’s got to do with the fact that their appearence may bring on a rise, but I also reckon they’re just damn pretty. (Please come back, I’m really not as odd as I probably sound..)
Finally, I uploaded a short clip to Photobuck, really just to see if it works. Nothing very exciting I’m afraid, but I like it. A few seconds of footage of the flow of the river..

Well I headed down to one of my favourite stetches of stream today. Weather seemed ok to start with: overcast, reasonably warm, south to south west breeze.
Turned out to be a rather slow day. And by rather slow I mean of course a blank. I fished for about 7 hours, using nymphs, spiders (both fished upstream and downstream), dry fly and large meat pies. I saw precisely zero fish, and had zero takes. Still it was smashing to be out of course 🙂
The one thing that did seriously beging to rile me was that by the time I got a bit further up the river it was blowing at about force 8. The stream I was on runs from west to east, so this makes casting upstream (as I like to do) pretty interesting, especially when you are seriously crap at it.
Given the lack of fish, I then decided to practive double hauling (in the gale), but quickly realised that I’m not very good at juggling for a reason. The old hand eye coordination wasn’t quite there today..
Finally I resorted to taking some photos of the myriad of fly life on the river, which of course the truttas weren’t very interested it..