Izaak Walton Angling
NEWS & PICS 2021
Entries in reverse date order
28 November 2021 Christmas Contest
Driving towards the sunrise on a crisp Sunday morning only the neatly cut off ends of fallen tree trunks poking out of the hedgerows indicated what a stormy two days we had just suffered. Richard was there before me but I didn'y stop to chat because the track was frozen and I wasn't sure if I could start up again. I waved gaily to Richard, drove to the top of the track and promptly got stuck in a deep rut. I tipped all the fishing gear out of my rucksack and set off back down the track joined by Richard who had come to see where I was.
I was aiming to pick up some chipping from a heap down by the farm buildings. Richard said that we might find something to help under the hedge by the pool and sure enough there was a wheelbarrow!. I half filled my rucksack with 200 pounds of chippings and put about the same quantity in the wheelbarrow. Richard scampered off up the track with the wheelbarrow and I trudged after with my load of chippings which had grown to 500 pounds by the time I arrived at the car. The car jumped out its wallow and Richard scampered back to the lake with the wheelbarrow and I followed serenely behind in a very mud spattered car.
Ed Bond, Martyn Macefield and Rosie had arrived by this time so we all celebrated the lovely morning in glorious sunshine and not a breathe of wind - what a contrast to the two previous days of storm Arwen. A lovely day but not ideal fishing conditions. The fish must have thought they were living in a freezing cold jacuzzi for the last couple of days and were just relishing the calm, floating there exhausted. They certainly didn't want anything to eat. Rosie thought she had a bite but Martyn reckoned that the slow sinking was due to hooking a leaf on the bottom. I had one fierce bob and that was the total action for the day.
We were all wrapped up very nice and warm and it was a wonderful day to be out and about. The angling result was exactly what we expected so no disappointment there and we ended up with a wonderful slide down the track as the frost had come out of the ground.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
25 November 2021 Tenbury bankclearing
I had cut down a large branch a few days earlier which was too large to haul up the bank unaided. I returned with stepladder, winch ,cable, ropes, pulley, etc. and of course a wheel barrow to cart the lot down the field. I learned some time ago that the winch and the cable are to be transported separately if damage to the elbow joints is to be avoided.
While I was assembling my kit Ian Wilson arrived to see what I was up to. He had dropped out of sight for a few weeks and it turned out that he been hospitalised with a pulmonay embolism. This clot on the lung is extremely painful and can be life threatening and Ian cannot emphasise too strongly that it is to be avoided. Any hospital visit is to be avoided of course because medics are as insatiably curious as a four year old but unlike a four year old they have lot s of gadgets to find things out. By the time they had finished with Ian they had a string of further tests to do later - had they found out what caused the blood clot...no but something might turn up by the time they have finished!
. Ian returned in the late afternoon to help with the final winching up the bank (a ten foot drop) to complete the exercise. I'm hoping that his strenuous efforts did not put his convalescence back.
Ian has decided to avoid contact with a lot of people while he is convalescing so will miss the Christmas Contest on Sunday (28th) but I hope to see some of you then.
28 October 2021 Newbridge on Wye
River too high and coloured so the outing was cancelled.
Everyone was put off by the threat of a biblical flood with the Met Office issuing Yellow and Amber warnings for different parts of the country. As I live close to the venue I had a different slant on things but quite understood the feelings of those who had a hundred mile trip to get here.
It would have been interesting because there are several factors affecting the height of the river on this stretch. There is the main river itself which reflects the rain falling on the western and southern flanks of Plynlimon; the regulated flow from the Elan Vally complex; and the Ithon which enters the Wye part way down the stretch, The heavy rain arrived after darkness had fallen but some light rain fell all day. Fortunately the Ithon which carries a lot of clay colour when it rises was unaffected during the day but rose rapidly after 6 o'clock exceeding 6 feet by the end of the night. The main river was hardly affected during the day but the Elan, which had been inexplicably set to run several inches above normal for the past few weeks was suddenly cut back at midday by eight and a half inches down to dead low summer level and would have resulted in a fall of several inches at Newbridge later in the afternoon.
By this morning (the 29th) the Wye had missed the worst of the weather and only risen two feet but combined with the Ithon would look a horrible sight. The problems of trying to predict if the river is going to be fishable remain very difficult but in view of many factors at work I have no regrets about cancelling the trip. We had a good year for fishing this time at Newbridge and look forward to next.
I'm looking forward to the Christmas competition at Wicken's Pool on Sunday 28th November 10 am to 2 pm to finish off the IWAS year with a bang.
21 October 2021 Newbridge on Wye
River too high and coloured so the outing was cancelled.
I went to Tenbury to use up some maggots. Caught a lot of minnows but also a perch and three dace. I fished Peg 9 and tried a float to begin with, putting maggots in with a bait dropper, then swapped to a swim feeder. It was so long since I had fished with one of those that I had forgotten what we used to do. If I had given it more thought earlier I would have swapped to a feeder rod and put some hemp in with the maggots. The maggots would have lasted longer and there would have been something left on the bottom of the swim to keep some other fish there. Still it was nice to some dace and the perch was unexpected.
7 October 2021 Newbridge on Wye
I almost called it off but had cancelled on a couple of times in the past only to see that if would have fished so I thought I would give it whirl. Geoff brought maggots for us all but I thought I would have a go with the nymphs first. The trout were ready for anything but surprisingly the best I caught was the first one about one and a half pounds.
I haven't done much fishing there in high water with nymphs (Start playing the violins - years ago we would have caught stacks of Dace under those conditions). When the water is high, just below where the Ithon enters the Wye, the fish come out of the channel and feed on the slabs that we usually stand on. After I had an early lunch I moved down the river to find that Geoff and Richard were fishing the deep slow water above the Ithon, Geoff with maggots had caught two trout and Richard with bread had caught nothing.
I started fishing over the slabs and in four casts I caught two trout and a grayling and then flicked my team of nymphs into an overhanging branch that I hadn't noticed. I checked with Steve the river keeper then went back to the car to get my long pruner and cut down the offending branch. Taking the pruner back to the car I mentioned my success and went further downstream. Trout seemed to be everywhere but grayling were harder to come by. The light made for difficult wading and wading down Hoyval I caught on some grass which I thought was in the middle of the stream! I caught a nice grayling of a pound there before moving back to see how the others were doing.
Richard was fishing over the slabs but the colour was thinning out and the river was falling so the fish were beginning to move back into the main stream. I caught a couple of grayling there then went to see Geoff who said he had caught a few trout just below the Ithon on Klink and dink but then the fish started to rise so he went back for his dry flies and managed a grayling and a couple of trout before the action finished.
Iwent up to the bridge and couldn't find a fish anywhere so down Grimwood's where I hadn't caught a fish all year and landed one grayling and hooked two others before I had to pack up.
We all learned a lot!
25 September 2021 Tenbury competition
River dead low but cloudy for much of the day. I scambled down to Peg 1 and then scrambled up again to find some branches to put on the flat rock to hold the keepnet (optimism). I wanted to catch some dace but tried bread to begin with in case there were some chub around and promptly caught a cracker over three pounds. I put some groundbait in and fished maggot and caught three grayling, two salmon parr, a number of minnows and another big chub who was a twin of the first one. I lost three grayling which were on for a couple of wags.
Richard fished immediately below me as I suggested that he would benefit from my groundbaiting but like a chump I had failed to realise that he had not had chance to get any maggots. Peter Mountford came to his rescue in the late afternoon so at least he caught a couple of minnows. I didn't find out where Dave fished but Tenbury seems unkind to Dave. I'm sure we will see a return to form on another day.
Peter fished on Peg 11 (the shopping trolley peg) and fished with maggots hoping to catch some dace. He ended up with four lovely bream for 16-12-00 all over three pounds with the best 4-10-00. What a catch on dead low water!
We were delighted to see that the peg numbers for 12 and 13 were up on their posts. Tony Whitney had been at work knocking in the posts and screwing on the signs to match the rest of them down the stretch. The numbers are invaluable at the start of the season when the vegetation has overwhelmed everything. Many thanks Tony.
22 September 2021 Tenbury bankclearing
It started on Sunday (19th) really when I decided to clear the overhanging branches on Peg 8. I cut a few fairly small ones off then decided that the only way to make a real impression was to cut a big one. The chosen branch had started life growing downwards at 45 degrees before the main trunk was rudely cut off just above it. Seizing it chance for fame our side branch reached for the skies.and grew upwards causing it to form a U bend. The stresses on the bend as the branch gets bigger promote it to thicken and strengthen to counteract the stresses. I could see this and knew that it would likely lay inceasing amounts of lignin inside the cells to strengthen it making it very hard.
It is very much easier to cut vertically downwards using a long pruner so I decided to cut down through the bottom of the U and expected the branch to break off as the cut weakened it. Just over half way through the branch split and pinched onto the saw blade. I fetched another long pruner from the car and with its help tied two nylon cords to the branch and pulled it in different directions to see if I could free the saw.
No success so I decided to cut a wedge out of the branch just above the jambed saw blade. But the branch pinched down on that.! Oh Bother I said. I tightened up the two straining cords in the hope that something might give and went home. I phoned Mrs Pattrick,from whom we rent the car park space, and asked if she would be kind enough to come to my aid with her tractor. We agreed to meet on Saturday morning by the offending tree. I could see how much everyone would love me for sending parts of a tree crashing into the water at the start of a fishing competition.
On Monday I returned and pulled on the saws but they were solid. I set about tightening up the straining cords and eventually freed the second saw. Then I was greedy and overtightened the nylon cords and one broke. All the strain went onto the other cord and stripped the rachet. No chance now of retrieving the first saw that way so I decided to cut out a wedge at a very shallow angle down to an earlier cut.The problem there was that the more you cut with the grain the more difficult it is. After another two hours of sawing I had felt the blade beginning to tighten and it had become blunt. Next morning I studied the blade carefully to see how to sharpen it. Unllike a normal blade the tip of the tooth had a second facet ground or rather machined across it. It had been hardened so a file would not touch it but a pink abrasive wheel did the trick. It was after lunch before I finished so I waited until Wednesday (23rd) before trying it.
I cut down to the deep end of the shallow wedge and freed that then cut another wedge at a steeper angle and realised that I was cutting into the wood below the split. and that the whole thing might go at any moment. I had tied a fairly thick rope to the branch for the tractor to pull and it was loosely tied out of the way above my head. if the branch went down I would go with it. I hurriedly tied that to a different tree then cut through the branch which fell with a satisfying crash into the water against the bank.
I now managed to free the first pruner much to my satisfaction.
Having cut up the big branch I got down to water level and cut off the branches that were growing out over the water.When the water is high there is a back current which bring some overhanging branches upstream into play so I will have to sort those out shortly.
I thanked Mrs Pattrick sincerely for her respose to my dilemma and explaned that her aid was thankfully not required after all.
All good fun.
16 September 2021 Newbridge on Wye
A bizarre day. Neither Richard nor Roger could attend so it was up to Geoff, Dave and I to make up for their absence. It started normally with Dave catching on small worms and Geoff and I struggling.with wet fly and nymph respectively. Back to the car for a late lunch and comiserations with Geoff. I left to fish under the bridge while Geoff returned to the place just below where the Ithon enters and where Roger and Richard usually fish.
Fortune smiled at me under the bridge and I weighed six grayling as well as returning three small grayling and three small trout. Down to find Geoff and indulge in a bit of boasting only to find that he had experienced an amazing spell of fishing. He was using two dry flies and had caught nearly twenty fish with two occasions when he had two fish on at the same time. He said the fish just went mad for and hour and he hadn't moved from the spot.
Dave had to leave early but even if he had a purple patch I don't think he would have had a chance against Geoff this time.
12 September 2021 Junior Contest Wickens Pool
A lovely day for fishing wjth high cloud and little wind. Five teams turned up with a full range of age groups. We were delighted to see Tony Quarterman on the bank again after suffering a stroke some months ago. Richard Stowe with Jimmy and Martyn Macefield with Rosie chose to fish at the back of the Island which had its pluses and minuses. Plus - there were a lot of little fish there, Minus - there were a lot of little fish there.Both Richard and Martyn were getting desperate trying to takle up for them selves and take little perch off a hook and put a maggot onto a hook and cast in, and thread another couple of rings before "I've got another one" meant they had to put their rod down and unhook another little perch and put another maggot on and cast out and pick their own rod up and.............. I sorted out Rosie's slipping clutch and helped unhook a couple of perch before doing another curcuit of the pool.
Ian Wilson and Tarlia were having a very subdued day by their high standards and the fish stubborly refused to move into their part of the pool. The "Bad Day" is one of the mysteries of fishing and every angler gets one occasionally. This day it was their turn to get it. Nothing you can do about it.
I feel sure that if Tony Quarterman had been fully recovered he would have chosen some shallower water but with limited mobility he and Adam fishd off the dam. The fish just didn't come in but it was still wonderful to see the maestro fishing again.
The A team, Alex Greenhow and Aston, were slickly putting carp into there respective keepnets so obviously needed none of my bungling assistance.
Jane was valiantly trying to help Jimmy and Richard was ailing fast when I completed the circuit and helped Jimmy with the unhooking of little perch and the hooking of little maggots and the casting out, long enough for Richard to get organised and cast out for himself. Usually Richard and Jane provide a barbeque for the teams and camp followers but in a nod to the pandemic decided that they couldn't risk the close proximity required for serving out food to the ravening horde. I must show him how to hook a maggot some day - he's had a very sheltered upbringing! Despite the distractions he had a nice bag of carp in the circumstances.
After the whistle we all gathered for the presentation of prizes. Richard explained that because of the Pandemic we had not had an AGM with its associated Annual Prize Giving so was taking this opportunity to present the Shield for the winner of the Junior Contest which took place in 2019. This year it was the turn of Alex Greenhow and Aston to take home the winners momentos with a great catch of carp with a sprinkling of roach
Everyone caught fish and it was a very enjoyable morning for everyone.
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2 September 2021 Newbridge on Wye
A bit lower than the previous visit and very clear. Overcast and feeling cold in the North Easterly breeze. I thought with the nip in the air the fish might need something a bit bigger than I had been using of late and took off the size 18 nymphs and replaced them with 16s. That was a mistake. I moved hardly anything and most of the decent fish I hooked pulled off. Everyone else caught on small dries.
Dave Evason couldn't make it so the total catch was down a bit but the weather didn't help. In the last hour the sun showed itself a little and the fish started to rise and the rods atarted to bend.
30 August 2021 Tenbury
After we packed up at Ham Bridge on Thursday I called in at Tenbury and took some stakes and markers across the field to the new Pegs 12, 13 and 14 at the bottom boundary. Tony has promised, bless him, to bang the stakes in and fix the peg numbers to them. The big willow at Peg 12 has suffered the same damage as the one at Peg 6 - the trunk has broken 20 feet or so from the top and is dangling down to the water. It looked pretty rotten so I returned on Monday, put a rope on it and pulled it across and swung it in and out. Then I pulled it upstream and it creaked a bit. Eventually I broke a bit off one of the branches but couldn't really claim victory. I think I'll get the twelve bore out and see if I can shoot the branches off!
28 August 2021 Ham Bridge
My grateful thanks to Eddie Brady and his friend (whose name I have ungraciously forgotten) for making accesses through the bankside jungle to fishing spots along the stretch. Eddie had mentioned that his friend had caught a goodly number of dace near the top of the stretch so I made a bee-line in that direction. I found the spot which looked an absolute flier but unfortunately it required waders to fish it and my plentiful supply of waders were warm and dry at home!
I ended up on a lovely little beach which provided a comfortable and spacious fishing platform commanding a relatively swift flowing stretch of about twenty yards of water about two to four feet deep dropping of to deeper water. The mornings exertions meant that it was time for a quickly gobbled lunch then into action. The first fish kicked free leading to a change of hook size and pattern. Off came the size 16 fine wire to a size 14 wide gape pellet hook which looked a bit oversize with a single maggot but most stayed on after that.
Lots of little dace, bleak, a couple of small but sizeable (6 inch limit) chub, a few minnows and a salmon parr kept a constant stream of fish coming to hand. A good matchman would have caught a good bag of sizeable fish (6 inch limit) but I weighed in 8 dace and 2 small chub for 2-14-00. It doesn't sound like much of a catch but it was great fun with the threat of a big chub turning up at any moment.
Richard caught a couple of small chub but the very low water made the fishing hard going.
Writing this report has made me remember that I always used to use Animal Barbless hooks for river fishing. I have a stack of those somewhere and I must unearth them for active duty.
My thanks once more to Eddie and friend for tackling the jungle.
19 August 2021 Newbridge on Wye
The river had been up and down a bit in the last couple of weeks but was very clear and back to near normal summer level. It came up a little during the day but didn't put in any colour. Fly life was at a premium but I did notice a few sedges flying over the water in the afternoon.
I found out from the consultant that the partial loss of balance I have suffered is not due to brain damage but to a small tumour growing on the sheath of the auditory nerve (auditory neuroma). I have discovered that when I'm wading if I turn round quickly I tend to overbalance which leads to an hilarious display of break dancing with whirling arms, plunging legs and lots of spray. It sometimes ends up with me flat on my face in the water but fortunately no damage to the rod.
Richard tried the Klink and Dink method that Geoff had used so successfully on our last visit but with no success. I must make time to practice the method myself to find out more about it. The weighted nymph method (Eurostyle) continued to work well for me but the nymphs on the droppers had to be small (size 18). The heavy end nymph is just to keep the rig near the bed of the river and at this time of the year is rarely taken.
I was lucky enough to land a lovely two pound grayling which once more made me sing the praises of modern barbless hooks for strength and lightness. I'm going to give Dave Evason some size 14 to try for his worm fishing as he said how many grayling he had lost particulary as he went to net them.
14 August 2021 Wickens Pool
Eddie Bradley went one better than the first time he fished with us at Wickens by winning with a good bag of carp and a few nice roach. Peter Bennett lost a good carp which would have narrowed the gap at the top. It would have had to have been over 6-11-00 to have claimed top which is not impossible. The big one that got away again!
Our worthy Secrectary claimed that he ws giving us a chance by not having a hook on the line which followed to its ultimate conclusion means that the fish he caught must have been caught using an illegal method. We will let it go this time but we are watching him.
I was delighted to see Shirley on the podium. He puts so much into looking after the lake that is nice to see him get some reward. So much of the work that he and Ian do is not noticed. The overhanging branch that catches your line as you cast is not noticed once it has been cut down! We thank them both very much.
The cool wind was a bit of a nuisance but perhaps the slight drop in temperature was not a bad thing - carp like it hot but there are limits even for carp. Altogether a lovely day's fishing.
11 August 2021 Tenbury
Richard and I met at Tenbury to dig out a fishing platform at Peg 11. That went well so we went to the bottom boundary to see what we could do about making a sign for the boundary.We decided on putting a sign on a tree about ten yards upstream of the boundary. While we were there we were dismayed to see how the vegetation had completely hidden the paths that we had cut down to the water for the competition on the 26th of June. We are now going to put up numbers 12 to 14 on posts as we have done for the other pegs
I was very disappointed when we had a look at Peg 6 where Tony Whittney had laboured so hard to remove the overhanging branches where the top of the big willow had cracke and swung down into the swim. The stormy weather had swung some of the remaining branches round to replace the ones we had removed. I haven't finished with that tree yet!!
5 August 2021 Newbridge on Wye
The forecast of heavy rain followed by thunderstorms once more proved wildly pessemistic and my vision of the river turning into a brown torrent faded through the day. Eurostyle nymphing proved effective once more for me while dry fly was less effective.
I had been fishing at Corwen on the Dee a couple of days previously and struggled with dry fly and Eurostyle nymph but met someone while I was packing-up who had done well. He had been fishing Klink-and-Dink so when I met up with Geoff and Richard at about three o'clock I gave them some nymphs and instructions on setting up a Klink-and-Dink rig. Basically this is a bushy dry-fly on a short dropper with a nymph about 2 - 3 feet away on the tail so that the nymph drifts down with the current suspended by the dry-fly. Geoff caught three grayling, two of which were nice fish about a pound using this method. He said that I would be satisfied that he had followed my instructions for using a bushy fly and triumphantly produced a Dapping fly about the size of a golf-ball. He claimed that he could see it!
Another lovely day by the river all the better for having been stolen from the forecasters.
29 July 2021 Tenbury
Overhanging branch clearing The forecast was heavyy rain leading to thunderstorms by lunchtime. Just right for scrambling up and down the banks of the Teme with sharp tools to add spice to a skid down the bank and a tumble into deep water. I met Tony Whittney at the car park and we headed to Peg 6 where a big willow had collapsed and the top branches were hanging into the Bream Hole.
Tony's pole saw soon cut through the main branch but it proved far heavier than we expected. Tony is very strong but I'm afraid that time has weakened me to the role of rope holder. Fortunately, with the help of some rope-rachets I had with me, we managed to haul the branch up the ten foot drop to a flat section where we could cut off the main trunk before hauling the remainder up. Once out of the water the reason for the heaviness was revealed - the ends of the branches that had been underwater had sprouted masses of roots.
By getting down to water level Tony could just reach part-way up the other main branch to cut it off. Tony hooked out the rest of the small branches that had collected behind the main branches.
By twelve o'clock the rain had made the banks very slippery so we decided to call it a day before the thunder arrived. We were content with making a very good peg fishable once more.
I have a photogaph of the spot before we went to work so the next time I am down there I will take another snap for a before- and-after illustration.
Many thanks to Tony for giving up his day off to test his strength to the limit by cutting off and hauling out overhangiing branches.
22 July 2021 Newbridge on Wye
A quick flurry of emails on Wednesday (21st) found assurance that we could fish despite an edict issued by the chairman of the Wye Conservators that no fishing sould take place in the main stem of the Wye. This edict (which arrived at 2.30 pm) was based on the fact that the water temperature at Erwood (a village downstream of Builth Wells) had reached 70 degrees. At this temperature there is no doubt that trout and grayling are severely stressed and should not be subjected to further stress. However in these conditions more than half of the flow at Newbridge comes from the Elan Valley Dam complex which brings the temperature right down to a good tempeature for the trout and grayling. The owner and the river keeper were in total agreement so we breathed a sigh of relief.
The fish did not respond well to the dry fly that Richard offered them but I found several willing victims for the nymph. I had to come down in size to a size 16 to really interest them and I'm amazed how much force such small hooks can withstand.
I checked up on the river temperature before lunch by falling flat on my face while wading over the slabs at the head of Cornwall. Fortunately the water was deep enough to cushion my fall and gave me the opportunity to look at the bed of the river from under water. I bounced up pretty quickly and shipped enough water to keep me cool for the rest of the day but not enough to squelch as I walked. Luckily the permit I had issued to myself that morning was folded up in a waterproof pocket in my waders so I could record my catch.
I was lucky to capture a much higher percentage of larger fish than usual with seven of the twelve I weighed being over a pound. No monsters but very nice all the same. I was lucky as well when I caught my best fish of the day. Sometimes all sorts of things go wrong when you are trying to land a fish - the tip of the rod gets caught in an overhanging branch - the heavy tail fly gets caught on the bottom of the river, the reel falls off, the net tangles itself and the fish slides off and the dropper catches in the net, then the fish in the net rolls over and over and practically kills itself. But the gods smiled and the biggest grayling of the day slid into the net, the fly fell out as the pressure was released, the dog-clip that attaches the net to the extender reel didn't flip over and smack me on the side of the head, the spring balance hooked neatly onto the net and as I lifted it to weigh the fish the daughter of the owner said from the bridge overhead "That's a lovely fish, Lance."
15 July 2021 Wicken's Pool
A glorious Summer's day in the well tended lawns of Wicken's Pool. Shirley and Ian know how to pamper us and our thanks go out to them. We started with a group photo of five which had to have two added using the wizardry of Paintshop. I'm not much of a wizard unfortunately but angler's are very unforgiving and pretend not to see the joins.
Shirley, who fishes the pool regularly, said that they were being a bit picky and by the final whistle I agreed with him. I used my usual recipe of liquidised bread and bread punch and caught two very small roach. Then I tried bread flake and fluked a pretty black and white koi of about 10 oz. Then I swapped to floating expander pellets but struggled. I had a nice little common of just under three pounds then noticed that the fish were fizzing over where I had continued to throw in the liquidised bread. On went a small piece of flake, up went the float, down went the shot and I had two nibbles - great stuff! I must admit that I didn't really give it a thprough trial as of course the carp kept coming round and I couldn't resist sliding the float down and the shot up and fishing floating flake. I caught the odd one doing that but never really felt confident in what I was doing. The fish wouldn't come right in to the side for some reason as they usually do. I love to catch them just under my feet when you can see them come up and play with the pellets, sometimes dabbling the in the surface film to con them into a take.
Eddie Bradley, a new member, whom I had met at Tenbury on the last contest where he caught a nice bream despite low conditions, gave Peter Mountford a run for his money. Peter's nice carp of five pound four ounces may have just swung the result in his favour. Ian Wilson had the same experience as myself with fizzing fish that refused to take anything but he still managed almost enough to catch Eddie.
Another good days fishing with plenty to think about - how to catch those extra two fish to swing it.
13 July 2021 Tenbury
Success! I finally managed to cut through a willow branch about three inches in diameter after cutting off the "anchors" that I created by removing some of the cutting teeth. It has been a very interesting exercise for me. Exercise being the operative word. With a physique honed by forty years of cutting holes in dentine the rigours of using a manual chainsaw threw into sharp relief the lack of muscle power available. I'm turning to modern technology and a small chainsaw mounted on a pole.
I was reading through my last entry for typos etc. when I realised that some anglers may be mystified by the farming expression "topping". This is nothing to do with cream cakes but all to do with grazing animals and their predilection for eating fresh, growing grass. Long tough grass and seed growth is left in preference for the new growth so a patchwork of seeding grass and thistles separated by patches of better grass appears. The farmer runs a mowing machine over the field to cut off (topping) all the old growth so the animals can then eat the new growth resulting, but the mowed grass is not harvested.
There aren't any grazing animals so why top it? The Teme and its tributaries are deemed a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the farmers are not permitted to cultivate,spray or fertilise the ground within 10 metres of the top of the river bank. They must cut the vegetation yearly in the summer-time. As in this case the grass and vegetation is cut but not harvested it is called "topping". The farmer receives a grant for this loss of usable acreage.
12 July 2021 Tenbury update
On Friday (9th) Richard and I reinforced the steps on Peg 11 (the Shopping Trolley peg) and rearranged the top steps on
On Sunday I visited Tenbury again to try the modified manual chainsaw. I met Mrs. Pattrick from whom we rent the car park and she told me that she had topped the vegetation alongside the river for which I thanked her very much. She said that it was higher than she had ever known it. Whether this is the result of it lying fallow for years or just the growing conditions this year I cannot hazard a guess.
It still jammed! The modified chainsaw as you can see has had some of its teeth ground down. What I failed to realise was that the other part of the cutting blade, presumable a guide, would act as an anchor once the tooth had been removed so I have now to grind those off. Those of you familiar with chainsaws will realise that this is not the usual kind found on power tools. It is double sided and half of the teeth cut when it moves in one direction and the other half come in to play when the direction is reversed. Back to the grinding wheel.
5 July 2021 Tenbury branch felling
A stuttering success but nevertheless a success with a picture to prove it. My next step will be to grind off over half the cutting teeth on the chain in an attempt to make up for a lack of horse power. If/when that fails it will have to be one of those battery powered pruning chainsaws but they do seem to be rather limited in reach.
2 July 2021 Tenbury branch felling
I know, I know, stop nagging. All this rubbish about fly-fishing. What you really want to know is how did I get on with the manual chainsaw to cut off the overhanging branches at Peg 6. The first outing could politely be termed a steep learning curve but the main lesson was that you cannot saw a dangling branch with a manual chainsaw. It started well and the chain bit into the branch but then as the branch swung towards me of course it jammed. Moral - get up close to the trunk.
Second outing proved positive as I met a fairly recent addition to the membership, Paul Hand, who has already met several of the members at Wicken's Pool. (note to Paul, if you want to catch some grayling on a float come with us to Newbridge on Wye with some worms).
This time the operation was a bit slicker as I had made some quick change couplings for attaching the cord to the various devices for presuading the cord to go round the branch and return to hand. Saw correctly positioned I retired up the bank to the optimum angle of cut and started to saw but it all went solid. Using hi-tech equipment, a long branch, I repositioned the chain and tried again but the same result. The chain simply buries itself into the soft, sappy branch.
Two outings and two failures but much learned. I'm going to try on an Alder branch next to see if that will do the trick. The first victim will be at Peg 5 where I left Paul viewing the offending branch where he was going to add to his tally of one minnow caught at Peg 1.
1 July 2021 Newbridge Fly-only
The water was up a little compared to our last outing here as a result of increased release from the Elan Valley dams but it had started the day following our last visit so the fish had time to acclimatise to the drop in temperature and may well have approved of it. The weather was so warm that I don't suppose it made much difference anyway.
Steve Grimwood the river keeper had laboured mightily last year to sort out the stiles and cut through the vegetation of the stretch above the bridge so i felt duty bound to go up there and fish it. The floods over the last few years have not helped the stretch and there is not much depth to escape predators but I managed my best grayling of the day (1-09-00). from the deepest hole. Steve said that it was much easier to sort out this year and he may join up the two sections of the riverside path next year so we can travel the full length without getting into the field.
After lunch I went downstream to find out what was going on. Richard had been catching but Roger had had a horrid day with fish splaxhing at the fly but not taking despite changing to to a finer leader and changing the fly frequently. Where they were fishing, just below where the Ithon joins the Wye, the river flows very steadily and the fish have lots of time to study the fly and leader and decide not to engulf the fly.
What you have to achieve is the fly floating down ahead of the leader without any drag to spoil the effect of an inert insect. By drag I don't mean creating a wake but moving the fly in relation to the bubbles and floating things in the surface film. My father perfected the "Heap Cast" without any training (that was just the way he cast!) and I have seen many, many grayling rise to take his fly from the middle of coils of leader. It wasn't pretty but it was effective. Trying to convey how to do this to an angler who has always cast straight as Roger has done is difficult especially as I do so many things unconciously. I don't know what I'm doing so how can I teach someone else!.
I must spend more time experimenting with different patterns of nymphs because I don't catch as many as I ought to. I might take some time off thinking about Tenbury and more on weighted nymphs.
26 June 2021 Tenbury Competition
Scattered thunderstorms with torrential rain throughout the Midlands meant we approached the river not sure what to expect. There was little colour in the water so so targeting the chub and dace seemed to be the order of the day.
First we took advantage of Peter Mountford presence to have a quick walk of the stretch for his advice on which pegs to fish and also his comments on the bottom pegs that Richard and I had dug out on Tuesday. He thought that the water was a bit too shallow for the bottom peg but the one above looked good (provisionarily numbered 12 and 13). I say provisionarily because there were one or two places I had cut down through the vegetation which might yet receive the accolade of a peg number.
Recconaisance completed I went back to the car for yet more tackle and met Ed Bradley, a local member who was coming down for a few hours fishing and was happy to join in the competition.
The water was chilled from the rain we had received.in the last few days and sport was very slow. After lunch I decided to change from maggots to bread on the float. A bigger hook was called for and I hesitated over a 2.5 or 3.8 hooklength. I decided on a 3.8 which was just as well as the 3lb chub I hooked on the 3rd swim down spent most of its time being dragged through the short reeds along the margins. Why it didn't come off I will never know.
After some time I gave up on the bread and decided to walk back to the car for a couple of swimfeeders. Richard, Peg 11 (the shopping trolley swim) had seen the tell-tale wake and bubbles of an otter swimming up through his swim, Ed, Peg 5 had seen a few rattles on his 8mm pellet, Peter had tried Peg 8 with maggot with no result so had moved to Peg 1. This is a lovely swim for trotting but he had only caught a small trout, then as I watched caught a small grayling.
Before changing to the feeder I had a cast with the bread again and caught a chub about a pound. I caught nothing else with the feeder.
At the weigh-in my two chub were overshadowed by Ed producing a cracking bream from his keepnet which took the scales down to 5 pounds 5 ounces, which well deserved a photograph and winning the competition. Well done Ed!
22 June 2021 Project Tenbury Bottom Boundary
This was another project which should have taken place in the Winter. The dream team were in action - Secretary/Treasurer Richard and Chairman Lance ! and of course a copy of the map from the Conveyance of the fishing rights.
A two minute demo of how to dig steps down the bank and Richard was in action to produce Peg12 while I set about the vegetation with a brush hook. After an hour or so we had mission accomplished with a new fishing station, Peg 12, accessible down a neat flight of steps, and another new fishing station, Peg 13, aka The Bottom Peg or the Boundary Hole. We were keen to make these two pegs fishable as our Teme angling expert and fount of local knowledge Peter Mountford had said that the top and bottom pegs were the places to fish in low water and we have a competition at Tenbury here in a few days time (Saturday 26 June 2021).
Lunch over we headed for the top pegs. I had done a proper job of the steps at Peg 3 but we hadn't time today to do that so we renewed the earth steps at Peg 2 and then turned our attention to ...........wait for it .....The Top Peg. This is not to be tackled with a wheelbarrow loaded with fishing tackle, in fact fishing tackle should be kept to an absolute minimum - everything kept to an absolute minimum! There is a rope to help you down which makes it much easier. We can't cut steps because the bank is dominated by tree roots but I did winkle out as much earth as I could from round the roots that we use as steps.
I'm exaggerating of course. I'm nearing eighty and my ribs are held together at the front with wire where they cut through them to get at my heart for a bypass operation .... but perhaps it would be wise to go down first without any tackle.It is well worth it as it is a classical run-in to a pool and there is a nice big shelf of rock to put all your gear down.
To return to the bottom boundary. It is situated directly beneath the overhead power cables where they cross our bank. Be aware that there are a pair of electricity cables which cross the river about forty yards below which are carried on poles across the field from near the car park. Our boundary cables are carried on enormous pylons loaded with five cables carrying zillions of volts.
I point this out because a few years ago I stood under these enormous cables trying to find an angler for our weigh-up.The phone conversation went "Where are you Dave?" "I'm under the electric cables". "So am I but I can't see you". "I'm standing on the bank waving to you". And there he was, thirty yards away. The cables are so high that once you get near to them without craning your neck you don't see them. Fortunately we still rented that water in those days so we didn't throw him out for poaching.
It's damn good fishing at any height. Come along on Saturday to fish or see what we have caught.
19 June 2021 Newmill Bridge
The venue having not been fished for twelve months and our weed sprayer Tony Quarterman out of action due to a stroke the jungle has taken over. Added to that the winter floods have caused the usual deposition of debris along the banks with the odd bit of erosion thrown in and fishing was never going to be a cake-walk.
The situation could never have demonstrated more clearly what a good move it was when we took over the Tenbury water to mark the pegs very clearly. Of course to do that you need someone who knows the water very well to mark where the swims are and we were fortunate that our member Peter Mountford fitted the bill.
Not having a guide I spent all morning cutting paths through a six foot wall of nettles and goose grass to get to vantage points where I could see the river. I retreated to the car for my lunch not having found a place to fish. The aforementioned Peter Mountford arrived so we went together back down. I decided to dig steps down the steep slope through the undergrowth to get to the water's edge in one spot and Peter decided to utilise one of my paths to commence a battle through the undergrowth.a short distance above When I got to six feet above the water I found that a large willow tree had fallen down parallel to the river with the horizontal trunk held in place by its branches. I cut a long step along the bank so that the tree trunk formed a table just below waist height - ideal for a box of maggots and a catty.
Back to the car, dumped the spade and brush hook, grabbed the fishing tackle and scampered off to my perfect swim. Because there were some branches just downstream and an overhanging branch in front of me I was limited to legering a maggot. In the twenty minutes of fishing time I had available I had three bites. The maggots were unmarked so I think they were grayling. Peter had an hour and a half and had an open swim where he could floatfish and had two chub, two grayling, and two dace plus some smaller fish for four pound odd. He's good at fishing!
Our worthy secretary Richard went into the wooded bit where the shade prevents the heavy vegetation elsewhere and, aided by his trowel had achieved a fishing spot some distance above the water. He caught two chub for a pound.
Next saturday we are at Tenbury where we know we can get to the river!
17 June 2021 Newbridge on Wye
The river has become very low of course with the last addition to the flow from a thunderstorm about ten days ago. Steven Grimwood (River keeper) remarked that the silt had made the stones as slippery as glass below the Ithon. The main river had not caught the thunderstorm but one of the tributaries of the Ithon (I would guess the Clwedog) brought it up a few inches. In Landrindod we had three quarters of an inch in tho hours from that storm.
Luckily we did not have a thunderstorm to wreck the fishing and we all caught some. Dave Evason excelled again with float-fished worm while Richard Stowe stated the day with a lovely pound and a half grayling which proved to be the best of the day.In view of the extremely low water conditions a total of 24 grayling and 5 trout for 22-05-00 was a worthy achievement.
15 June 2021 Tenbury
Richard could not make it because of sickness in the family but I finished of the steep steps and the one down onto the platform. Ideally a few earth steps to the start of the steep bit would help but that can be done later. It wa a very hot day but fortunately I was working in the shade. I still managed to consume 2.5 litres of orange squash to ward off dehydration.
11 June 2021 Tenbury
I have completed the slider for Peg 6 which is on the entry for 9 June 2021. I have realised (at last you will all say) that photographs of steps are very, very, BORING so I will save myself the effort of producing yet more sliders of steps. Suffice to say that I have started on peg 8 which we had advised anglers not fish because of an overhanging half fallen tree. Back in the days before the pandemic (September 2020) a friend of Tony Whittney, with Tony's help, cut down and dragged out the offending tree without totally destroying the rickety fishing platform on the bank beneath. Since then the old stage has been dragged out and three post inserted with a back board. I'm fairly certain that this is the work of Tony Quarterman and Kevin Tandler but when I phoned Tony yesterday he still has not recovered enough from the stroke he suffered to be able to say. The bank has been cut back and a handy earth platform created in place of the crumbling wooden one..
The steps required down to the platform are very steep but mercily quite a short run. The potential for problems with tree roots verges on the certainty but Richard (of Secretay fame) is due to arrive at 10 am sharp on Tuesday so we should be able to deal with any eventuality.
9 June 2021 Tenbury
Tony Whittney has unleased his brush cutter to cut a path along the top of the bank. It was just the right time to cut as the vegetation has reached its maximum.It has certainly helped me to move about.
I have finished the steps at peg 3 and made a start on Peg 6 - the Bream Hole. Thank goodness we put the Peg numbers up because it was difficult enough to find out where to start with the height of the vegetation being so great. I had to cut my way down the bank to find out what had already been done in the way of making steps. The height of the bottom step is really too much so I will have to work something out for that.
I have added the photos of the completed steps at Peg 3 to the slider on the 4th of June and will make a new slider for Peg 6.
4 June 2021 Tenbury
Peg 3 was almost impossible to navigate before Kevin Tandler, Tony Q. and Ian Wilson at various times cut some steps into the smooth marl bank. I only had time to reinforce four of the steps with wooden bars and pack the erosion cavities under a root which helps to create another step.
A puncture on the way home was the usual recovery-service story of short staffages due to Pandemic, unprecedented demand due to easing of Pandemic regulations, 3 to 4 hours before anyone can get to you, thank you very much I'll do it myself.
I'm going again tomorrow (7th) with the hope of doing the rest of that flight of steps. In the meantime I will leave you to look at another slider.
I have added the images for the completion of the steps at Peg 3 (9.06.21).
25-26 May 2021 Tenbury Peg 5
The Chairman has been stepping again. What a damn shame we couldn't do the jobs at Tenbury that we wanted to do during the winter when the vegetation was down. I was working on Peg 5 and as you can see from the photographs the vegetation has practically overwhelmed it. In the winter you could see where the path was and the steps that Kevin Tandler and Tony Quarterman had dug . I'm very pleased that we put the numbers up so that you can still find the pegs.
Tree root were a bit of a problem and the bottom step had a layer of pebbles to work through but otherwise no big problems. It took took me two days to do this little task which I would have done in a morning thirty years ago. Still the rivers at home were too coloured to fish and it kept me out of mischief. (I fished today (27th) on the Wye and Irfon at Builth and had about half a dozen trout but not one grayling. Give it another fortnight and a clearer river and there would have been more grayling than trout.I was fishing weighted nymphs Eurostyle.)
While I was creating havoc with the steps the wheezing grunt of a Goosander made me turn round to see a family party of two duck goosanders and 14 ducklings making their way up the other side of the river. How I wished for a duck-eating Otter to arrive and scoff the lot.
I have put the photos on a slider so just click on the photo to activate the slider then click on the left or right arrow and it will move to the next.
15 May 2021 Wickens
New Kids on the Block
Peter Bennet and Alex Greenhow showed their colours on saturday. Peter was hanging back for bets on his debut at the previous competition with just a pound (although he lost a good carp) but Alex just stormed in on his debut to come equal second with Dave Hemming. Just a little tweek to the end gear might have put several of the carp he hooked into the net to easily claim first place. Watch out you old hands - we have competition!
Carp are like cats in that they move to the warmest place they can find. Shirley fishing in the corner of the lake where the cold water from the inflow came in never had a bite. Ian was fishing to the corner of the Island nearest to the inflow and caught a couple of carp first thing before the heavy rain arrived and increased the inflow. It always amazes me how long it takes for the warm and cold patches of water to mix. Sometimes on a lake a patch of water may be very coloured with mud and you can watch it move round for hours before it mixes. Put an island into the equation and trying to work out where a patch will go needs a super computer.
Peter fished the same bank as Shirley but about half way along towards the dam. He could cast towards the west end of the island which must have been protected by the island from the cold water. He also caught from just in tront of him. The breeze was from behind him with deeper water in front so the breeze would push the cool surface water away from him and the warmer deeper water would well up there.
I was on the North bank (the left bank as you stand on the dam) happily waiting for the breeze to veer round - but it didn't. Alex was on the same bank but casting across to the island whereas I was fishing close to my bank.
Dave Evason fished back of the island further away from the inflow than Ian and didn't catch a carp. The Roach and Perch he was catching do not seem quite so fussy about temperature as the carp. Richard fished in the North East corner well away from the inflow but where the breeze was pushing some of the cooler water. Dave Hemmings was fishing the deep water from the dam which was probably little affected by the light breeze causing only small currents.
Alex suffered as Ian did in the previous contest with losing several carp. He was using banded pellets and found that he had to come down to a size sixteen before they would take. Fishing with a feeder at fairly long range requires a fairly robust rod so small hooks tend to pull out. It is one of those conundrums which seems intractable at times but deeply frustrating.
Despite the weather not being the most pleasant everyone seemed to enjoy the day. The neatly trimmed grass and trees is a constant pleasure with our gratitude to Shirley and Ian not forgotten. Thanks heavens that the pandemic is retreating to allow us to fish again.
I have set up the images for the "Duckling Protection Project" taken by our very own "Izaac Walton Super Snapper".Jane Stowe. They appear below for 11 April 2021.
24 April 2021 Wickens
I have been mentally rehearsing how to fish for 12 months and took two days finding where all my fishing tackle was hidden. I found an enormous keepnet that I had bought about three years ago hidden in the garage. It was so heavy I hadn't used it.but I thought it would save me the embarrassment of explaining why there were several large stones concealed amidst my fish when I came to weigh-in as my previous net tended to float up.
By lunchtime the two three inch roach I had captured were developing agorophobia in the echoing emptiness of my keepnet.I had been using bread punch on a 14 hook and grounbaiting with liquidised bread about three rod length out. No-one was catching carp in quantity so tiddler snatching was the order of the day to provide company for the two tiny roach. Reduced the hook size to 18 but kept the hook length to 3lb because of the carp. Reduced the float size to 4 No.6 and came in to 1 3/4 rod lengths.and kept the bread going in. Two bonus carp of about 2lb each meant I just pipped Tony to the post.
Tony deserved to win for catching such such a lovely Perch (2-12-00) along with several other perch and the ubiqitous roach on bread and maggots. Ian, who won the only match we fished here last year, could so easily have been top again but lost 4 carp back of the island. Peter Moutford gave us all a half day start which proved too generous on the day but caught well in difficult conditions
. I didn't learn what dreadful acts of bad luck befell the two Daves but the other Peter (Bennett) was visible from where I was fishing so I saw his bad lluck first hand. Late in the afternoon he hooked a big carp close in which chose to thrash about at the top like a trout, with the same inevitable result - the hook came out.
. Nine people fished and nine weighed-in which was an achievement in view of the conditions - a bitterly cold, gusty wind and a bright sun. The wind eventually eased about five o'clock. The water was quitee coloured so I guess they have been feeding early and late.
The "Keep at a safe distance" weighing-in protocol as a nod to the pandemic worked very well thanks to Dave Evason's experience of competition fishing during the winter combined with Richard's distribution of the guidlines.
Despite the cold wind it was a glorious day to be out in the fresh air and meeting everyone after such a long time. Shirley and Ian have been ensuring that the surroundings are as good as ever. The bridges over muddy bits and carefully trimmed grass and branches. lend an air of gentility becoming of a stately home.
I can't wait to be fishibg again.
16 April 2021 Tenbury
Delightedto find that the steps I had strengthened had withstood the winter floods relatively intact. The steps had been created by Kevin Tandler and Tony Quarterman and I had strengthened them by adding a length of 3 inch diameter, treated, wooden pole along the leading edge of each step. The bar is let into the step by delicately hacking a chunk out with a spade and held in place by delicately hammering a couple of 33mm lengths of 10mm galvanised,threaded rod through predrilled holes in the pole. I have taken a photo of the setup to demonstrate what it looks like on the slider below..
An adantage of this approach is that it is very adaptable, the pole can be up to 8 feet long and the retaining rods up to 3 feet long.With the longer poles I usually put more rods through them. The predrilled holes do not need to be aligned with one another, in fact I deliberately angled them a few degrees away from one another to resist displacement. Also they are angled a few degrees away from the front face of the step to prevent weakening it.
II April 2021 Wickens Pool
Jane Stowe sent me these photos of members and family members boating at Wickens Pool. The aim and object was to put a duckling proof cap over the outlet and to remove some overhanging branches from the island.
Shirley provided all the materials for the duckling cover and planned the operation. I have heard no reports of missing persons or suspicious deaths so I am assuming that no-one was marooned on the island or drowned. Ian dragooned several of his family to help with the manpower for which we are very grateful.
Both operations resulted in a successful outcome so many thanks to all involved. The photographer never appears on the picture but I thank Jane very much for all her trouble trying to meet all my demands for more pixels and more information so I award her the title of Izaac Walton Super Snapper.
The first photographs show some of the features of the Duckling Protection Project while the last three concern the branch retrieval plan.I'm sorry that I missed it but I was concerned that I might fall foul of the Welsh Stay Local border restrictions.
Click on the image to increase the size
3 April 2021 Happy New Year
When I put some strenthener bars into the steps at peg 9 on New Tenbury water little did I realise that it would be Spring before I would be permitted by the control freaks in Cardiff to cross the border from where I live in Wales. During November, December and January the steps have been under water by as much as ten feet of fast flowing water so it will be with some trepidation that I will eventually visit them.
24 April 2021 at Wickens marks the first IWAS competition for twelve months and I'm already getting excited. The crazy weather we have had over the last week with temperatures over 20 Degs. on a couple of days and a high of 9 Degs. promised for tomorrow should ruin any predictions for 20 days time. Will it be pinkies on a size 20 or floating dog biscuits? Anyway it will be great fun and the fish will probably be queing up for the bait.