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BristolBlanker Goes Forth...
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BristolFlyer
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I realize that this diary is getting a little tedious, a bit samey Ė pictures of pretty flies, pictures of pretty rivers, but no pictures of actual salmonÖ.

So here you go, this is what a wild salmon looks like according to the butcher at Bristol farmersí marketÖ



Nice warm day yesterday so I thought I would forget the waders and fish in shorts and wading boots. Seemed like a really good idea at the time, but more on this laterÖ.

Our top beat is the most productive for salmon and most of these come from one short pool in middle of the mile long stretch. I was of course going to give that a good run through, but I also wanted to check out a couple of other spots where salmon have been caught in the past. In the heat of summer salmon will often leave the deep pools to lie in the oxygen rich broken water, even if it is quite shallow. So after fishing through the Ďhotí pool I set off downstream on an adventure. This side of the beat is furthest from the car park and the bankside track soon disappears, presumably because members donít venture this far. Thick bush, thorny scrub, nettles Ė remember Iím wearing shorts. I finally make it back to the river and find a lovely stretch of broken water ending in a deep pool. The lower boundary of the beat is down here somewhere, but with all the summer vegetation growth it looks completely different to the last time I was here in April. I carry on until I am almost certainly poaching, and then itís another bundu bash to get back to civilization. Legs now itching more than somewhatÖ

Final run through the hot pool with a small dark fly. Wind has dropped completely, the river is now alive with exuberantly rising trout, and it has become one of those magic evenings. With a trout rod in my hand it would have been pure heaven. With the long rod, the joy has to come from casting and knowing that if there is a salmon there, I have tried my absolute best to catch it.

Back to the car in the dark, change in to dry clothes, which seems to be the signal for my legs to explode to a whole new level of itchiness for the 50 minute drive back home. Lesson learnt, waders next time!

And now for some boring pics...

Pretty fly




The 'hot' pool..



Some riffle...

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BristolFlyer
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Three weeks today and Iíll be fishing the Nith hard for three whole days. Salmon fishing in May or June can be very pleasant, but with the very long days it can be knackering if you are the type that feels compulsed to fish every moment of daylight. Mid October and the fishing day is a far more manageable 8.30 am to 6pm.

That is where the good news ends Iím afraid. After two poor years in a row, the Nith has had an even worse season this year. This may explain why I was able to secure three days fishing on a top beat at the best time of year Ė the ones in the know are probably spending their money elsewhere.

Lots of things are being blamed Ė pollution from nearby mining, poaching, floods five years ago Ė I donít know, but if the forums are to be believed the salmon run is crashing.

The more optimistic are saying that rising sea temperatures mean that the main run is getting later because the fish are staying on the feeding grounds for longer. Any day now and the river could fill with fresh silver fish. To be honest, I donít care Ė as long as there is one salmon in the river Iíll fish all day trying to catch it.

Iíve been tying a bunch of flies Ė Iíll start posting a few pics soon.
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Roobarb
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't listen to the merchants of doom! Confidence is more than half the battle when it comes to salmon fishing (although a few fish in the watr does help!)

BristolFlyer wrote:
To be honest, I donít care Ė as long as there is one salmon in the river Iíll fish all day trying to catch it.


This is the right outlook, there will be more than one fish in the river and there is no reason why you shouldn't catch it. The first time I wnt spring salmon fishing in Scotland there hadn't been a fish taken for six weeks off the entire river. In fact the total catch of the river for the season stood at one fish! Everyone was full of doom and gloom apart from me. I was fullfilling a life time ambition to go spring salmon fishing in Scotland and I was going to enjoy it not sit in the hut moaning all week. The result was two fresh springers for me and bugger all for everyone else. Ok luck had a lot to do with it but so did my outlook on the situation.

Try to get yourself in that positive frame of mind. The beat might not be producing the numbers of fish it did in the 1960's but then where is? You see it all the time where the locals give up and then someone who knows no better turns up and gets a hatfull! I know because I've been on both ends of the story Wink

Go get 'em!


Andy
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BristolFlyer
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Andy. Good news from the Nith at last. A rod fishing Closeburn Castle last week broke their all time record for a week. 15 grilse and salmon to a single rod in six days fishing. Right place at the right time of course, but he didnít catch them on an internet forum or sitting in the hut complaining about the lack of fish!
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Bazza
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BristolFlyer wrote:
Thanks Andy. Good news from the Nith at last. A rod fishing Closeburn Castle last week broke their all time record for a week. 15 grilse and salmon to a single rod in six days fishing. Right place at the right time of course, but he didnít catch them on an internet forum or sitting in the hut complaining about the lack of fish!


Please excuse my ignorance on the matter, salmon I know but what are grilse?
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BristolFlyer
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A grilse is a salmon that has been to sea and come back within a year after spending only one winter in the salt. Generally in the 4lb to 8lb range, serious salmon anglers don't regard them as 'proper' salmon and record them separately. At this stage, I would take a scrawny 3lb grilse over a blank!
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BristolFlyer
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't catch anything, but I had one of the most enjoyable day's salmon fishing yesterday on the Nith. Saw fish moving all day and had one pull in the afternoon as the heavens opened. Wet and cold I headed back to the hotel while the guide fished for the last hour or so. I found out later that he had an 18lb cock fish on his fourth cast. He was spinning with a big rapala.

River is in flood today so no fishing yet. Going to try with the spinning rod this evening and then hopefully it will have dropped enough for the fly tomorrow. Beautiful place to be, despite the weather.
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MarkS
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good luck Dave, Mark
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BristolFlyer
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Nith salmon!



...not mine unfortunately...


I had a very good trip but didnít pop my salmon cherry this time. The salmon is the big fish that Henry the guide had in the evening on that first day. That is his biggest fish in 30 years of salmon fishing, so I could only be happy for him.

It continued to rain through the night and the river was up 5 foot by morning. It dropped quickly through the day and I had three hours in the evening with the spinning rod on the most productive pool in the beat. My first time spinning since I was a teenager and I soon got back into it. You have to admit that it is an incredibly effective way of covering the river - just not as much fun as the fly rod. Late on something slashed at the lure as I lifted to recast, but it could have been anything as I only saw the swirl.

On the last day the flood was dropping off perfectly with the water the colour of a whisky and soda. I was on a beat with a very famous pool and expectation was sky high. Working down the pool with a long winged Park Shrimp tied by Ross Macdonald himself, I was expecting the pull to come at anytime. Then it did Ė the line pulled taut as the fly came around on the dangle and my heart jumped as I lifted into it. Doh! - it was a big grayling that soon succumbed.

We saw a couple of salmon moving through the day but I didnít connect. Still, absolutely beautiful bit of water that I will definitively go back to given the chance. The drive back was a mere five hours late on Saturday night, so much easier and probably quicker than flying to Inverness or Aberdeen and hiring a car.

Fishing in the rain on the first day. A sharp tug came soon after..



Nasty flood on day 2.



Day 3 looking tasty as water drops




The Burn Pool

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Allrounder
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A gave a loud cheer when I saw the top pic Dave, ... and then I realised it wasn't you that caught it. Sad

Great report and pics. Keep going mate, it's bound to happen soon! Very Happy

Alan Wink
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If you see me on the bank, say hello... from a safe distance! Smile
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Bovver
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smile really looking forward to hearing about your next trip out. Good luck
Ian
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MarkS
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Allrounder"] Keep going mate, it's bound to happen soon! Very Happy
[quote]

What is considered 'soon' in terms of salmon fishing. Five, ten years.....?

Great report Dave.
Mark
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BristolFlyer
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't think I have ever looked forward to the start of the fishing season as much as this. Can't wait to get out on the bank after work - river, lake or concrete bowl - I don't mind Very Happy Winter hasn't been too bad, but I haven't fished at all. I did have an encounter with a fish, but I think it won..

I was on my annual surf trip to Morocco a couple of weeks back. We went quite far south into the desert this year and surfed some spots without a soul around for miles. One day I was out on my own about 200 yards from shore. The sea was calm and the water was about as clear as seawater gets. Killer whales pass through this area occasionally, but we hadn't seen anything more worrying than shoals of mullet and bass. Still, your mind does play tricks on you when you are alone and I did get a bit nervous when a shoal of mullet surfaced near me. I breathed deeply a few times and told myself that sharks are rare in this part of the coast. Just then, I caught a movement out the corner of my eye and looked down to see a huge grey shape cruising slowly underneath me. It took a couple of terrifying seconds to realise that it was the wrong shape to be a shark and was just a big harmless manta ray.

I paddled across to where my mates were and was very happy to see them! Safety in numbers and all...
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BristolFlyer
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Warm weather is finally here. It has been a good start to the season on Bristol waters despite the frigid conditions. Maybe the fish have been that much hungrier with the lack of insect life. This was Blagdon a couple of weeks back as the temperature plummeted even further after a cold day. Still a great place to be...


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BristolFlyer
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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Wye has had a good start to the season. Good water levels early on allowed early spring salmon to move well up the system and they have been caught much higher up than in previous years. There have also been a large number of kelts caught, which must bode well. Kelts are salmon that spawned in the winter and are caught in the spring as they drop back to the sea to pack the weight back on; mostly females - the thinking is that the males stay on the redds waiting for late running females and pay the price for their lustful irreverence.

The big salmon that have spent three or four winters at sea usually return right at the start of the year. These can weigh in the 30ís of pounds and are the ultimate prize for the devoted spring salmon fisher. There have been some good ones this year Ė I genuinely donít know what I would do if I hooked one.

Water levels have dropped back now and it is the lower river that has been fishing well lately. My club has this year leased a beat in this area, and I fished it for the first time yesterday evening. What a beautiful day Ė spring seems to have arrived in a couple of days and the drive up the Wye valley to Monmouth is a great way to appreciate it Ė even when you are stuck behind a slow moving coach!
The beat is in a secluded area with only a few farm buildings and a big manor house overlooking it. No tackling up in the Quikfit car park on this beat.

I had the spey rod and the spinning rod and spent the first couple of hours running through the pools with the fly. The river is wide at this point and my best cast was still five yards short of the deep gulley on the opposite bank. As the water warms up the lies in the shallower runs become more productive, and these are easier to cover. I was fishing well last October on the Nith, but at first it was like I had had an arm transplant in the winter; every cast was going wrong in a different way. I donít mind not catching fish if I feel like Iím fishing well and giving myself a chance, but if Iím casting badly in seemingly ideal conditions then I get so frustrated.

So I got out he river, sat on a rock, had a mental cigarette break and thought back to my lessons Ė mentally going through the basics of the stroke. Five minutes later, back in the river and hey presto, I can cast again. Weird thing the human brain, or maybe just mine.

I went back and fished from the top again and enjoyed myself immensely. I eventually conceded defeat and went back through with the spinning rod and a Flying C. What had taken two hours with the fly rod I now covered in half an hour. Same number of fish though Very Happy

My new house...







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