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  1. #1
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    Default Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.

    After my stolen mini session on Wednesday when I somehow caught a couple of roach and a little chub, I decided to have a proper try today.
    The conditions had to be better as it has been pretty dry since Wednesday except for the rain last night. Typical.
    I didn't fancy the Thurlaston brook again and the main Soar was still pretty huge on Friday so I decided to head up the M1 to the Black Brook in Loughborough. It's only about 8 or 9 miles away so if that was a no-go then I wouldn't waste too much time and would be able to hit a plan B venue.
    When I arrived it was already nearly 1pm - why didn't I leave earlier?
    Oh well. The brook was actually way more coloured than I expected plus with rain forecast and the fact it was already spitting, it wasn't going to get any clearer anytime soon.
    Last night's rain was the culprit. At least it wasn't too high and bombing through as this brook is fast and straight especially for a coarse fish venue.
    I grabbed my rod and headed to the "banker" swim which I know really well. It's just up from a road bridge, slightly wider and slightly deeper with a narrow slack on the far side.
    The fish are always close to the far side when there is any water pushing through. I'd set up my Sunray "Zero" at the longer 11' 8" length but still had to wade in the near side to reach the slacker water over.
    I gave it about 15 minutes but never even had a knock - so much for the banker!
    Upstream to the ultra fast old weir swim - another banker which looks far too rapid for coarse fish.
    The fish tuck right in tight to the far bank when it's up and bombing. I knew there would be fish there if I could get them to take.
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-23-11-12_blackbrook1-jpg
    You need your flies within inches of the trailing brambles.
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-23-11-12_blackbrook2-jpg
    The old weir just upstream - that is shifting!
    Again I had to wade to reach the catching zone but it was only knee to thigh deep although a leaking right foot didn't help. ;-(
    Here I decided to shorten my leader in an attempt to make the whole rig more positive. I moved the dropper up to about 30" below the fly line and the point fly only another 18" below that.
    There was quite a lot of junk coming down but thankfully most of the autumn leaves had already been washed away with the crazy floods of the last few weeks. A long leader tends to catch the debris more than a short one.
    Within just a couple of casts I had a really positive knock - something was willing to have a go. ;-)
    Slightly downstream of that take I had another tap and hooked into a nice fish but it was off after just a few seconds.
    Next chuck though the rod's fine tip just sailed round and I was fighting a fat roach! Roach are rare in this brook. I think I've only ever had 3 others out of it and that swim looked the least roachy possible.
    That roach in the fast flow with the Zero rod was something else. You don't need trout or monster fish to get the heart going, not with the right kit, you don't.
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-23-11-12_blackbrook-jpg
    I soon added a nice sized dace but then lost the next two fish before bites dried up and it was time to head upstream.
    It's not flyfishing if you're throwing bait in....learn to do it properlyHidden Content

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.

    Upstream I tried various swims but I have to admit only half heartedly until a swim that normally produces.
    This one is deeper and slower but not much slower today! Somehow I missed about 8 or 9 takes from a near side eddy I actually hooked 4 fish here which felt like small dace but they all came adrift - not striking right because of the tight overgrown spot.
    Further up I wasted half an hour trying to catch what I think might have been minnows tapping at the flies. I finally gave up trying to get a positive hit and headed back down.
    I far side slack produced 2 small dace but I missed another 7 or 8 good takes there.
    I was soon back at the old weir where I lost another fish but then nothing.
    I was sure there were fish under the faster water slightly further out from the far side slack so I lengthened the leader by 2.5 foot plus added another dropper. Now I'd got two 4mm tungsten beads on the droppers and a 2.8mm on the point. This was going to get down better. ;-)
    An instant dace seemed to hint that I'd made the right changes.
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-23-11-12_blackbrook3-jpg
    Reaching further down and across I managed a couple more takes on the new rig but again both of these fish came adrift - having a shocker with lost fish!
    Bites dried - it happens even in really coloured water. You only get so many chances before they all know the score and ignore your flies.
    The light was starting to go so I headed back to the banker 1st swim for the last 5 minutes.
    By the time I was there I was already thinking to was too late. With the coloured water and the light levels dropping fast I thought any chance of another fish was gone. Wrong!
    I lost yet another nice fish. At least the new rig was working here as the lighter rig had failed completely a couple of hours earlier.
    Then the tip sailed round and I added a small chub -that had to be the last action as it was almost completely dark. 4:19pm on my phone/camera when I took this snap.
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-23-11-12_blackbrook4-jpg
    It was now raining and fully dark. I could only see the fly line thanks to a street light on the road bridge just below the swim and still only barely.
    I thought the tip moved so lifted up and was shocked to feel a proper fish go crazy boring into the far bank. I'd hooked a 2lb chub which I managed to play to a stand still but the hook pulled when I was drawing it up against the flow - gutted!
    Next chuck though and I was in again!
    This time a dace at 4:36pm - completely dark!
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-23-11-12_blackbrook7-jpg
    That was the final action. ;-)

    A really interesting session. Only 8 fish caught but I lost far too many. I think I need to strike harder with the extra soft Zero rod - might just have been one of those days though.
    It was also the 1st time I've ever been able to catch in the dark in coloured water too.
    I've caught several time in winter when fishing really clear water but whenever I've fished as coloured water as I had to today all sport has stopped long before dark. Often the best time is the brightest part of the day - makes you wonder how the fish find your flies.
    I'll deff. be trying after hours when I'm back at that spot next.
    It's not flyfishing if you're throwing bait in....learn to do it properlyHidden Content

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.

    I prefer the term ‘inspired by’ rather than ‘copycat’ but however you put it it seems like whatever Dee is up to I want to have a go at myself.

    So, having read the above posts, I headed off to running water.

    The heavy rain had given away to drizzly showers a few days ago, and the streams were dropping accordingly. Although the water was still high, over the banks in some places, the visibility was improving, so, with bright enough flies, I might have a chance.
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-flood-jpg

    I quickly tied up these two ‘flies’ (I’m out of beads so I had to add split shot to the line) and headed out.
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-flies-jpgBack on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-flies-jpg
    My first set up was the orange fly as the dropper and a size 16 pink shrimp (that has failed repeatedly on Grayling trips).

    The stream looked promising as I approached it. And on the first run trough I thought I felt a tug on the flies. I repeated the cast and every few drifts there was a definite knock as the line swung round toward the bank. Eventually I struck at the slightest hesitation and soon discovered why I’d been struggling to hook up.
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-minnow-jpg
    I swapped the pink shrimp for the red home tied fly and moved on to the next likely looking spot…….

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.

    I’ve often found high water fish under debris build ups and today was no exception. The best fish of the day was this Dace (you can see the cover he was under in the back ground). He was only small, but he fought like a Rainbow. He must have leapt out of the water 10 times while I brought him in.
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-dace-jpg
    I just had time for one more pool so decided to try down the side of the local supermarket. The stream is fairly natural here (although right on the edge of town centre) but there isn’t much casting space due to the 8 foot fence on the bank.
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-river-jpg
    By straddling a tree trunk I managed to get the flies across to the opposite bank, but as they drifted down stream I was pretty much fishing behind myself.
    I found a shoal of small Chub, but due to the awkward position, they kept coming off. I finally just about got this one to the bank, then called it a day.
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-chub-jpg
    Last edited by jerryrum; 26-11-2019 at 03:39 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.

    Two weeks on the trot!
    Yes, managed to hit the local rivers for the 2nd week on the bounce today.
    It had been relatively dry for most of the week but then hammered it down on Thursday but was dry all Friday, both day and night, so I was hoping the brooks wouldn't be in too bad condition.
    Today I'd got Swelly (Simon) for company as he isn't adverse to a few coarse fish in his fly fishing life - variety is what it's about.
    He picked me up at about 11am and then it was decision time - Loughborough and the reliable Black Brook which I was certain would be fishable or risk the drive to Kettering for the River Ise which was a slightly more iffy proposition.
    We took the risk and headed south into Northamptonshire convincing ourselves it would be fine, on the 45 minute drive.
    Bright blue skies and a good frost meant the rivers would only be getting clearer not any worse during the day but what was the Ise like?
    Upon arrival it was the obligatory short brisk march to eyeball the brook. At first glance I declared, "it looks fine" but quickly realised it was actually still quite high and very coloured plus moving way faster than usual. "It's okay, we'll still catch some", I said sensing Simon's worry. I don't think I was so certain either though. It looked like it might be a battle to avoid the blank but that is a battle which I've won many, many times before. ;-)

    We quickly rigged up and donned chest waders which were more for warmth as neither of us fancied getting in the cold water much. There would be plenty of near bank features to fish so we'd just ignore the far side however inviting rather than wade to reach those "grass is greener" swims.
    Both of us today used the Sunray "Zero" rods - Simon had seen mine earlier in the autumn and had to get one as they are on a half price "Black Friday" offer this week. Still a pricy bit of kit but if any of you love your silvers (roach, dace, chublets, bleak, etc.) then it is "the rod".
    I'd be so gutted if I didn't have mine that I bought another this week too!
    ...to the fishing...we decided to head upstream as downstream is 100% roach and not easy when it's flowing due to some swims being ultra deep. (for a tiny brook) Upstream there is a good mix of chub, perch, roach and a few dace with the 1st two usually dominating the catches.
    Today I thought it would be small chub as it was too coloured for the perch plus the frost might have knocked them on the head.

    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-ise_30thnov19-dirty-water-jpg
    Coloured water.

    Simon was first to get fishing whilst I finished tying my terminal tackle.
    I went for a double squirmy attack - both red with red tungy bead heads (4mm and 3mm). These I rigged only about 12 inches apart, something I'd never do in clear water. Then it would be proper little nymphs at least 3 foot apart below a heavy top dropper. Today though was a squirmy day for sure!
    Simon hadn't had a sniff by the time I was ready. I dropped in just upstream of him and slowly jigged my flies back right in the margins out of the main flow. An almost instant knock settled the nerves - yeah, we'll catch!
    Within a few minutes I'd caught a small roach which surprised Simon but boosted his confidence and a few minutes later he was back from a little upstream with his 1st fish, also a roach but somewhat better than mine.
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-ise_30thnov19-simon-1st-jpg
    Pretty soon we had both had a few fish but all roach which is unusual plus the takes were really positive - maybe the water colour was just perfect for the roach to feed confidently? Whatever we were enjoying them on the ultra fine tipped rods.
    I dropped in a swim that Simon had just failed in and added two nice plump winter red fins - that was my local knowledge scoring. Simon didn't know that swim was a banker which always held a good shoal so he moved on after snagging up a couple of times. I didn't give up though as I had the knowledge. ;-)
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-ise_30thnov19-swim-middle-jpg
    The swim. Not much to look at. Only about 12 or 13 foot across and waist deep but eddying back slightly on the near side where the roach would be holding.
    It's not flyfishing if you're throwing bait in....learn to do it properlyHidden Content

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.

    One of the roach from that swim:
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-ise_30thnov19-roach-jpg

    We were both catching almost at will from any slight slack on the rear bank - it didn't have to be big or particularly deep. I had several fish from no more than 12 inches of water.
    One of Simon's slightly fatter roach:
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-ise_30thnov19-simon-jpg
    Everything was a roach though? Not a single chub and there are masses of little ones in the Ise, until I dropped in behind a mass of snags that were creating a beautifully large slack.
    Attached Images Attached Images Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-ise_30thnov19-chub-swim-jpg 
    Last edited by Skateboard Dave; 30-11-2019 at 08:50 PM.
    It's not flyfishing if you're throwing bait in....learn to do it properlyHidden Content

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.

    From that slack I finally caught something without red fins!
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-ise_30thnov19-chub-jpg
    Chub at last!
    Simon caught up with me and he too had encountered a chub but a huge one that had smashed him! C'est la vie.
    That was to be the only non-roach action of the session.
    We added odd fish before heading back but as the light started going bites tailed off, as you'd expect - no repeat of last week.
    None of the roach were massive but all were lovely plump wild river fish - I love 'em. I think I'd still bait fish if I couldn't catch them using the fly methods I've developed over the last 20 years.
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-ise_30thnov19-simon-2-jpg
    Simon with a plump one.
    I managed a double header from one swim -a tiny one and probably my biggest of the day:
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-ise_30thnov19-double-header-jpg

    Right at the death when both of us had all but given up I answered my mobile only to find I had a last gasp roach hanging on when I wound in after the call. I'm always jammy. ;-)
    That one was at about 4:15pm so pretty dark by then but not like last week.
    I ended with 27 roach and that chub. Simon had a least a dozen roach.
    Both of us were well pleased with the result - lots of action and regularly bent rods when most wouldn't have gotten out of bed.
    It's not flyfishing if you're throwing bait in....learn to do it properlyHidden Content

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.

    I thought I wouldn't get to fish running water this weekend so went fishing on the GUC on Saturday. The Soar was really close to bursting it's banks yesterday and it rained again in the night.
    This morning though skies were bright and unbelievably the Soar, a couple of miles from my home, had dropped by about a foot, despite the night time rain?
    I was on my way to Bradgate Park for the usual Sunday work out - a muddy and very hilly 10 mile run but after that I would be free to fish and just maybe a brook would be fishable.
    By midday the run was done and I still felt energetic enough for a spot of fishing so decided to drive to Loughborough to check out the Black Brook.
    If any river was going to be worth a shot then it was the Black Brook. It fines down faster than most streams and the fish are quite obliging even when it's bombing through and coloured.
    I was pleased to find it not too high but more coloured than the last session on it. Despite the colour I was confident of catching. Yes, I'd get on a river this weekend after all!
    I started at the swim which last time had produced right into darkness - nothing doing but a couple of half hearted taps. On to the shallow riffle below the old weir which is always productive but not today! Again several timid knocks but no hook ups. Two of the best banker swims had failed to produce (or should that be I had failed!). There had been some action though so I knew eventually something sliver would slip up.
    I didn't have to wait too long as just above the collapsed weir and old bridge the brook is wider and slightly slower a dace was finding sanctuary from the torrent here.
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-blackbrook_8_12_19_dace-jpg
    Just below here the water is confined in ancient stone walls which the dace seem to like.
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-blackbrook_8_12_19_bridge-jpg
    Another lovely plump one came from the slightly slower flow against the far stone wall.

    Opposite where the first dace had come from the bank is covered with overhanging brambles and hawthorns. There the flow is a touch slower and it drops down an extra half foot or so. It is also the home of chub, perch and dace- shame it was too coloured for perch as I've had a dozen in as many minutes when conditions are perfect.
    I worked for about 15 minutes, missing several takes, before this one stuck:
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-blackbrook_8_12_19_chub-jpg
    Last edited by Skateboard Dave; 08-12-2019 at 09:32 PM.
    It's not flyfishing if you're throwing bait in....learn to do it properlyHidden Content

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.

    Part 2.
    That little chub was hiding under the far bank cover even with the turbid water - they know how to avoid the predators.
    The swim:
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-blackbrook_8_12_19_swim-jpg
    To get the two flies into the take zone I cast downstream into the middle of the stream and fastest water then sunk the rod tip below the surface to get the line under the trailing branch and the rod tip close to the far side. The flies would then swing into the far side, held on a tight line, and slowly sink in the slower flowing water under the brambles. You do what it takes to get a fish, in this case a lovely hard fighting little chub - classic fly fishing it ain't!
    Tactics like that catch me so many fish. Get some in your bag of tricks and get catching where others fail.
    Upstream another 3 plump dace came from a far side slack of a fast riffle.
    A massive brown trout launched itself out of the water as I lifted off in a really fast run. Out of season but it would have been fun to test the "Zero" rod on it - the water was really fast!
    Just below where the trout had made it's brief appearance is a deeper hole here I hooked a really nice fish that threw the hook. It was on for 10 or 15 seconds and really looked like a huge roach! Easily pound plus, it looked like a roach and felt like one too. I really hope it wasn't as it would have been my biggest ever on fly and the one fish I really want to catch. Please say it was a chub and I was mistaken.
    A few minutes later another good fish threw the hook. This one remained unseen and felt chuby though. ;-)
    I decided to head back to downstream catching odd small chub and dace from various swims. The old weir produced nothing - for the first time ever I think.
    The after dark banker swim gave up just one fat dace - a very poor return for that pool.
    Further downstream was a slight bend with slacker water over and a load of fish holding woody debris at the far end of the slack. There had to be fish holding in the 18 inch deep water. Several missed takes and then finally a perch, I love catching them in fast water, it wasn't too coloured for this one. ;-)
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-blackbrook_8_12_19_perch-jpg
    Next chuck gave the final fish of the session- another small chub.
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-blackbrook_8_12_19_small-chub-jpg

    I finished with 7 fat dace, 3 little chub and a perch, missed a big trout and lost maybe my PB roach on fly. ;-(
    Once you learn how to catch winter coarse fish it is just like grayling fishing especially if you can find a fast, shallow stream with a good head of silver fish. That is the hard part, catching is easy!
    Great to be on the Black Brook again.
    It's not flyfishing if you're throwing bait in....learn to do it properlyHidden Content

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.

    The rain has finally eased a little for a few consecutive days after what seems like months of non stop downpours and the rivers around here are back in their banks. Happy days.
    Myself and Swelly (Simon) actually had a choice of small rivers to pick from for todays foray.
    We decided to head a little north to the ever reliable Black Brook. I was actually hoping it wouldn't be too clear which isn't a thought that has entered my head since back in the summer. It's a brook which fines down super fast though and despite the Soar still being several feet up I knew the BB would be down and far clearer than my previous visits this winter.
    It was but still held an amount tea staining. The bottom could be made out in most swims except for the very deepest holes so we'd have to be more stealthy. Damn! I've been getting use to fishing filthy water- you can be so lazy when you know you can't spook the fish. Flies would have to be smaller and spaced further apart too. It looked perfect for plenty of dace action so I was keen to get cracking so keen that I couldn't be bothered to re-rig. I kept the flies on I'd used on Christmas eve when fishing the Willow brook - a near disaster with just one fat dace saving me from a pre Christmas blank!
    Those flies were a super heavy 5mm olive tungsten taddy (in desperation I had gone super positive for a last gasp perch or big chub) on the dropper and a small 3mm tungsten squirmy on the point just 24 inches bellow. That brook had been really coloured and bombing. This one really wanted a more subtle approach but those flies were on and I couldn't wait. I was also hoping the big taddy might pick up a proper chub...there would be plenty of time for sliver fish catching later.
    I started at the "banker" swim whilst Simon was still tackling up and had a small chub to the point within minutes.
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-blackbrook-28_12_19-jpg
    I added a small dace but nothing else. Time to find Simon who was just a little way downstream.
    The "Banker" swim, unusually both fish came from the near side:
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-blackbrook-28_12_19-swim-jpg

    Simon was having some dace and small chub action when I caught up with him but I persevered with my crude set up still hoping for a bonus bigger fish.
    It didn't happen. I just added a few small dace and chublets all to the small point fly. We were both getting plenty of takes by fishing at long range. Long range for this type of fly fishing is only about 2 or 3 rod lengths though. Just enough distance for the fish to be out of our spooking range.
    Simon in the brook milking a far bank glide:
    Back on the rivers at last -Silver Fish in Winter.-blackbrook-28_12_19-simon-jpg
    After we'd exhausted the downstream swims we worked our way back up to some fresh pools. I'd swapped the dropper for a smaller hares ear taddy which was grabbed by my bigger fish after I dropped it in under my feet - a deeper near bank undercut slack pocket of water. It managed to throw the hook though.
    Simon, watching, thought I'd snagged the bottom. Nope, that was the fish I'd been after.
    Further up was my favourite "old weir" swim. Here I decided it was time to set up properly so on went a really small #20 red micro squirmy on the point and about 3 foot up on the dropper went a HE tungsten bomb. This is a heavy small pattern I use to get down but it still picks up silver fish.
    Last edited by Skateboard Dave; 28-12-2019 at 11:04 PM.
    It's not flyfishing if you're throwing bait in....learn to do it properlyHidden Content

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