Category Archives: Fun stuff

There and back again

Early Saturday saw us loaded and northbound to our first stop, the Wild Trout Trust bash in Derbyshire.  Some fascinating talks on stocking policies, gene pools and the Riverfly Project and a chance to catch up with some old friends was followed by a guided walk of the rivers Bradford and Lathkill.  I think everyone was eager to get out on the river and get out of the most uncomfortable chairs a behind has ever had to endure 🙂

The river walk was designed to explain the habitat improvements made in order to support the decision to stop stocking in 2005 [?]. Whilst this was educational, what everyone was spellbound by were the profusion of wild browns and rainbows lazily finning and confidently taking the profusion of aquatic flies drifting over them.  Simply mouth-watering.

After an overnight stay in the Peak District and an early morning northward dash, we set up camp about 10 yards from the River Braan.

Bongo and Awning - Braan

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The rest of the day was spent in reconnaissance, taking in the breath taking scenery and being totally blown away by the amount of fish-able water within easy travelling distance from our base, the sheer size of some causing comments like the one from the passenger seat as we drove over the Tay bridge in Pitlochry, ‘Feck me!  It’s the English Channel!’

Having had our appetites well and truely whetted we were more than ready to fish on Monday.  At the reccommendation of the guy in the tackle shop in Pitlochry, we headed for the Tummel, just below Coronation Bridge.

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For all other purposes the weather was magnificent.  Hot, cloudless blue skies, no wind.  Needless to say, this was somewhat less than ideal for fishing a strange river.  Very hard work but at least we caught fish and got rid of the yips.  I hear that the World Fly Fishing Championships will be held on the same stretch of water later this week –  I hope they have more joy than we did.

Fishing continued in the same vein under a mercilessly cloudless blue sky for the next few days.  Plenty of fly life in the air but very little on the water and no consistent ‘risers’.  Fishing into the darkness with very little success, frustration building, the decision was made to de-camp to the Upper Clyde.

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We fared no better here, a few small fish caught, more lost, and the sight of a monsterous brownie hoovering up fry was our total return for a hard day fishing against the odds.  Neil claims to have had a huge pike brush by his leg in a pool at the tail of a riffle but, by then I think the sun had got to him [or me] 🙂

The following morning we were racing south, heading for home waters.  We stopped by the Annan for a couple of hours, just in case things were better there – they weren’t.

A bath, a decent meal and a very surprised wife set me up for the following day.  I met Neil at Waterloo Bridge on the Monnow where, apparently things had been tough too but, shortly after I arrived it started to rain.  Would this be what the river needed to freshen things up a bit?  Absolutely!

We both took fish.  Good, wild fish.  And last knockings found me in a long shallow stretch with a decent run under some low over-hanging branches.  There were rises so subtle as to be almost undetectable.  I swear the surface remained unbroken while the trout were sucking down flies from a few inches down.  Fly disappears, wait a few seconds and tighten – fish on!

I took four good fish out of that short section, the last being the fish of the day and possibly my fish of the season, a touch over 16 inches.

So we were back.  Older certainly, wiser maybe, more appreciative of just how good the Monnow is – absolutely.  Would I do it again?  Yes.  Would I do it with Neil again?  In a heartbeat.  I think it’s time for more beer & bullshit.


Heading North

It started out as a half-assed plan, hatched during a closed season beer & bullshit evening with Neil [he of the jammy bugger smile].  Far too much bullshit and way too much beer, in fact, so much beer that I had to be reminded that a plan had bee hatched at all!

This was a very long time ago – a couple of seasons at least.  Since then we have been holding regular Strategy Planning Meetings in the same pub where the hatching first happened, with the result that asolutely nothing has been planned.  More bullshit, more beer.

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Queue jumping

This is what happens when a certain someone attempts to by-pass the selection process for the Monnow Social…

I presume that I can by-pass this unseemly scramble for places and that my honorary gold invitation is en route. The Royal Suite at Alltyrynys also needs to be reserved in case I do decide to bestow on you the privilege of my presence. The rest of you serfs can wallow in the mud of your pikey camp.

And the reply from Dave….

Well now, it so happens that I received the following letter from the manager of the Alltyrynys Hotel this very morning:

“Dear Mr Smith
Many thanks for your recent enquiry as to the availability of The Royal Suite for your friends proposed fishing trip in May. I am happy to confirm that the suite is indeed available for the full duration of the desired period and that it will be our complete pleasure to once again host your friend; his diverse tastes and unusual appetites provide a challenge that all our staff look forward to with relish.

My staff and I have given due consideration to the list of ‘little details’ that your friend wishes us to attend to, and whilst they are as diverse as ever, we will be doing our level best to meet them fully, legislation permitting. Whilst most can be met without fuss, there are one or two areas in which we need further guidance.

  1. We were all truly sorry to hear of your friend’s recent sight troubles, but this has given us considerably more scope in the task of selecting his ‘Special’ Chamberpot Maids. These girls make up with fitness and enthusiasm what they perhaps lack in physical appearance; although as you point out, he will not notice the difference in age and complexion.
  2. In a similar vein to the above, we have had limited success in meeting his requirements for – and I quote – “Well furred companion”. I am afraid that it is now the common practise amongst ladies of Eastern European extraction to shave themselves thoroughly, except of course for that little inch or three between the eyebrows – though I believe some Welshmen grow up finding this attractive on account of their mothers.
  3. With regard to the extra fittings and fixtures in the bedroom. The local carpenter has examined the sketches your friend kindly sent to us but informs me that such alterations would not only be unsuitable for an antique four poster bed, but would also contravene animal welfare legislation.
  4. On the plus side, on hearing of your friends visit, and his special needs, the well known company Stannah have offered the use of one of their portable applicances for the duration of his stay. There is no fee attached this service, merely a hopeful request that your friend’s golden countenance will grace the pages of their catalogue in future years.
  5. Finally, we at The Alltyrynys appreciate the need for discretion, and given the nature of your friend’s previous exploits during his stays in this area, we certainly appreciate the need for anonymity on his part. However we find this year’s choice of nom de guerre, Mr Ivor Fatcock to be neither amusing nor intelligent. Having spoken with Truda and Olga, whom your friend will remember well no doubt, they have suggested that he provides a “somewhat less ironic” pseudonym.

As ever we seek to cater for all needs, and if any of the above should cause anxiety or disappointment to your friend, then I can recommend a thoroughly good campsite at Longtown, where I understand a group of highly personable young men will be staying. Should you or your friend need furhter clarification of arrangements, then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best Regards
Sir James Tolerance-Stretcher
Manager
The Alltyrynnys Hotel


Remember the Monnow Social?

For those that can’t the post is here. Anyway, it seems that planning for the 2008 version is already at an advanced stage. I’ve been lucky enough to secure a place at what is surely the Welsh Marches’ premier social gathering of the year and, once again, in the driving seat are Rob Denny, Dave Smith, Tim of FREE BEER fame and Neil Marfell.   The most important person there will be chef-du-camp Tom, who’s breakfasts are legendary and who’s peppered steaks summon the reluctant angler away from the river at dusk.

If you’re thinking social refinement and sartorial elegance; think again!  If last year is anything to go by ‘rough & ready’ will rule the day.  There will be much drinking, some falling over [especially if Neil let’s me anywhere near his Jack Daniels again], a fair amount of bragging, a HUGE amount of p1ss taking – in summary, a damned fine fishing weekend.  Can’t wait.

To steal a line from Tom Chandler – see you in the river.


Drake Magazine Videos

Thanks to davidms from www.flyforums.co.uk for pointing me to some excellent footage on Drake Magazine

Enjoy


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