The Sea.

As the clouds dash across the sky the water colour changes with  an accentuation of it’s moods.  It’s only water you may say, but there is power, as this huge body moves under the influence of tide and wind.

 Devon Days.

Land's End

You can always sit and watch the water at any point on the coast of Britain and just observe.  The sky touches the horizon and there are dreams about the adventures out there. There is also the fear that goes with the power concealed in that movement. For me it’s the changes that happen in front of you and the smallest detail can become important, but don’t take my word, give it a try.

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Fishing The Okanagan Valley

When you move to a new country and there is an over abundence of lakes, the fishing you hope is good but, where do you start?

 The Lake At Peace

Finding myself in this situation some 5 years ago, I faced the problem with the usual approach. Purchases of maps, studies of all available material in books, magazines, local anglers and tackle shops.  Consumption of information is great but, for a dedicated and habitual angler, a bit depressing.  You have the detail, but a rationale behind tactics, tackle, etc, was often lacking. In the early days I enjoyed some success, but the learning curve was steep, with the ever present feeling that my fishing had returned to those tentative steps as a juvenille angler.  Half a century of experience and no knowledge.  In the Okanagan valley the opportunities seemed endless, but the local anglers I met didn’t seem to be enjoying the consistent success I would have expected.  All those years as a seeker of specimen fish in the UK had led me to a point where I needed more than just a day on the water, trolling some sort of lure behind the boat.  I had questions about the lures used, line strength, light, depth and all the minutai that had driven my angling career.  A selection of answers did come my way, but the jigsaw was not bonding to give me satisfaction. Being a long time carp angler, I didn’t target the trout and salmon, but slipped back to British style carp fishing.  An easy solution to a problem, but not ideal.  Large carp came my way, with some trout to the fly rod.  My particular angling approach could not let me continue in this fashion; there had to be a way out.  I knew there were big fish in the Okanagan Lake, and the valley generally, as anglers occasionally caught them. I needed an approach that would help me to move forward.  My wife often says ‘don’t search too hard and the solution will appear’.   In this case it turned out to be a true statement.  As the queue moved to the cash desk at my local tackle store I noticed a card for a fishing guide on the Okanagan Lake.  Salvation at last ?  When I got home I called Rod Hennig of Rodney’s Reel Outdoors http://www.kelownafishing.com/ We probably spent an hour or more discussing as many aspects of fish and fishing that our imagination could throw at us.  We agreed a date and price for my first guided trip on Okanagan Lake.

 21' Thunder Jet

My son and I arrived at the dock at 7am on the day that moved my local fishing forward immeasureably.  We were met with a friendly welcome from a man who jumped off the gleaming Red Thunder Jet 21′ fishing machine.  If you have never used a guide then this is a moment of apprehension.  My earlier conversation had removed most of this preliminary nervousness.  So time to climb aboard and get fishing ! Slowly leaving the dock, Rod checked our licences and showed us his licence to guide.  Then we went over the safety features, life jackets and rules of the boat.  This is always essential.  If the guide does not do any of this then be very suspicious.  Everything checked, it was time to travel, with the 175hp engine pushing us forward, as we raced to the first fishing spot. Naturally the discussion moved on to the fish and where we were going.  I found it extremely encouraging that Rod was taking us to one of the spots I had identified, but now my knowledge was going to be enhanced with when, why and how to fish these spots.  No longer the random attack employed by myself and many of the anglers who had given me information in the past.

 Rod At Work

Rod deployed himself with great professionalism as he arranged downriggers, extention arms, trolling boards, tackle, etc.

 Trolling Board At Work

 After the first introduction to the tackle and approach, I wanted to get down to fishing which Rod immediately encouraged.  I caught fish throughout the day, with Rod offering advice and information filling in the gaps in my knowledge and correcting any little points or errors as they arose.

 Equipment Working The Waiting Rod

 In the UK it was common, among many of the anglers I knew, to examine the tackle boxes of fellow anglers.  It was interesting to see how others approached their fishing.  As confidence grew in Rod he extended to me this courtesy and I observed and talked about many of the lures in his box. My son and I caught fish and had a great day.  He caught Kokanee to 4lb and I had Kokanee and a lake trout of 2lb, which turned out to be one of the first authenticated lake trout in the Okanagan.  Samples of this fish, its length, weight and a photograph, were sent to the Ministry registering the unusual event.

 Lake Trout

 It was a great day which led me to book Rod for other excursions at a later date. http://www.kelownafishing.com/ Have a look at the link and see some of the trips that can be arranged in the Okanagan valley. You won’t be disappointed.

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Oliver Kite, Master Fly Fisherman….

Casting my eye over the ocean that is YouTube and I came across these classics….

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptV1OORfvlI]

Oliver wrote amongst others “Nymph Fishing in Practice“, and invented the Kites Imperial and is synonymous with the Hampshire Avon, in England.

from JesusBoom, www.theboomerverse.com

Fishing In Rock Pools.

Note And Photo From :- Kelowna Trout Angler.

 Fishing In Rock Pools.

For centuries there have been people enjoying fishing.  It must be one of man’s earliest activies.  Certainly fishing is depicted in Greece, Egypt and China.  In this picture the anglers are on the shores of Cyprus.  They are fishing for small fish, using the long pole which typifies many of the techniques used in Europe now and in the past.  I don’t know what they were fishing for and while I stood there no one was successful.

 Fishing In Rock Pools.

 What are the anglers seeing in the pools ? Were any of the pools better than the others ?  These are the questions we all ask when starting out to catch fish. As with all fishing it’s often a case of just being there.  Who could deny the pleasures of the warmth, the sea and the company.

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Urquhart Castle.

Note And Photo From :- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Urquhart Castle.

Scotland has some wonderful places to see and explore.

It’s an odd feeling to look down at the Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness. There are centuries of history that can be explored, but I am more concerned with the water and the atmosphere surrouding the area.

Down in the depths there lurks the fearsome ferox trout.  It lives in the deeps and patrols a shadowy world.  It’s difficult to catch, although I’m sure anglers will employ a variety of tactics to achieve success.  There is another character which shares the deep waters of the loch, the ‘monster’.  There was a time when I thought that "Nessie" was alone, but now I know there are other fabled creatures which exist in deep lakes around the world.  So Nessie may be separated from family, but not alone.

Urquhart Castle.

I do hope that Nessie’s existence remains only in the sporadic sightings of a few dedicated seachers.  If ever we can prove that monsters do exist then we will have lost something forever. Wonder and doubt are such valuable things.

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Storm Casualty

Note And Photo From :- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Storm Casualty.

On my way to work after a storm at Brighton, East Sussex, I spotted this ship washed up on the shore near the Place Pier. She was called the Athina B.

Storm Casualty.

It was quite an event and one which the whole family went down to enjoy.  There are lots of articles written about this boat as you would expect so I will spare the detail.  For me it was a strange feeling, to stand on the shingle and wonder at the power of the waves and moving water which had brought this ship ashore.  As the picture shows the storm had done it’s work and now the water looked benign. Gently the ship would rise and fall as a minor swell came in but, for us, the old skimming stones pastime drew us all to the waters edge.

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Green Shell

Note And Photo From :- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Green Shell.

Many years ago I was captivated by this shell and water.  There was no logic attached to it but, as I stood in front of the display, there was something about the light, water and the colour.  Mind you I am biased as I like green.

Green Shell.

I wish I could remember exactly where it was.  I think the picture was taken in Polperro, in Devon.

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Hovercraft

Note And Photos From :- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Hovercraft.

Who can forget the Hovercraft.  There were great hopes for these giants and many believed they were to be the saviour in many marsh type environments. The invention by Cockerwill was a triumph in British technology.  I remember making small versions with biscuit tins and hair dryers, but the sight of the real thing was fantastic.

The first meeting came when I had a chance to cross the English Channel on the car transporter.  I stood on the shore and watched as this great lumbering machine pulled into the harbour, left the water and started to come up onto dry land.  It didn’t seem real, but there it was, all noise and fluttering skirts.

Cars were unloaded and people walked up the slope towards customs. We sat in our cars until the signal was given to start loading and down we went.  It was similar to that of entering any ferry. Once seated you were aware that the engines were powering up and you were starting to float.  Slowly the beast  turned and moved forward.  We were off.

Down the slope we seemed to slide until the the slight bumps told us we were on the sea and gradually entering the channel.  The power increased and the craft bucked a little as it hit the waves.  It lifted high enough to tackle the waves without too much of a problem and the forward speed increased.  Great, unless you were sea sick !  On the journey the sea swell was kind and I remember only the fantastic speed for such a large craft floating on the surface of the water. We passed the ferry and crossed in front of tankers and other large ships on their way to and from the Atlantic.  This had to be the way to travel.

Waiting at Dover.

Hovercraft at Dover

A similar experience on a lesser scale could be enjoyed crossing to the Isle of Wight.  The hovercraft was smaller, but just as impressive.

 Bound for the Isle of Wight

Hovercraft at Southsea

Now, sadly, the hovercraft is no more.  It enjoyed the affections of the public for a short while and now only survives in specialist roles and with hobbyists that keep the spirit alive.

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Avons.

Note And Photo From :- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Avons.

The old name of Avon has been used across the spectrum, ie a boy’s name, cars, tyres, cosmetics and UK counties.  For me the name Avon is associated with rivers, fishing rods and floats.

 This is not to be a history or open discussion of rods only a few ramblings. I say this because the web is littered with heated debate about one thing or another and this is not the place – only gentle musings of what was, is and perhaps may be.

There have been some notable Avon rods in the past and they start with split cane.

There was the Wallis Wizard, a rod made famous by F.W.K. Wallis. I believe he was the Mayor of Nottingham at one time.  His name has been synonymous with the rod, a particular style of casting, the Hampshire Avon and one time record holder for the barbel. A fish caught from the Royalty fishery at Christchurch, Hampshire, England.

Any discussion of cane rods will usually bring in the Wallis rod and the debate may become heated. There is a spectrum of opinion from the devotees who almost feel that they have discovered the ‘Holy Grail’ of coarse fishing rods. There wil be those who use a glass fibre equivalent of the rod and then there is the efficient, computer designed carbon rod.

Where you sit at the table will be determined by your sensibilities. The old cane avon is a beautiful piece of cane to behold and to use. It feels right as you sit in the reeds on a mild summer evening waiting for the float to disappear. I don’t believe it to be as efficient as some would have you believe. There you go – controversy already.

I have had the pleasure of using the Wallis Wizard rods from both Hardy’s and Allcocks and those used by some noteable anglers, but for me the magic ends when I put the rod down. It is not the thing I seek. Many years ago I enjoyed many fishing trips with an angler that used to fish with Wallis on the Hampshire Avon.

The late Claude Taylor wanted his Wallis rod renovated and I was honoured with the task. He always said he would try the rod again and use his old Hardy Wallis reel. There is a picture of Claude in an excellent book by Peter Wheat, and he gets a mention in John Bailey’s book. Claude, however, was a good technical angler for all species and he gave me many insights into the minds of barbel anglers of the period, in particular, his days with Wallis and tea on the banks of the Avon.

 However, Claude wanted me to use the newer Hardy glass Avon which he regarded as a much better rod for all types of fishing. Often we would sit under some old trees and float fish together for carp using the Hardy Avon and goose quill floats. At that time Claude’s sight was good, but as it failed I modified his floats with big sight bobs so we could still fish.

I digress, such is the tide of memory. Claude taught me the Wallis Cast using the centre-pin reel on the Avon rod and to this day I still use the centre-pin and Avon rod ( albeit in carbon ).

The Wallis Avon was a good rod to use at the time, but in many ways the efficiency improved with the Richard Walker Avon rods. Again they were split cane. The Avon rods were the softer rods of the MK IV stable which gave us a set of serious specimen rods covering carp down to tench, roach and chub etc. The Avon styles heralded the birth of the generation of specimen angling. You can argue whether you agree or disagree, but this is not a forum, only a light hearted mention. The historical perspective can be sort elsewhere, although I welcome anyone who has knowledge that may be put on the site with any pictures that they might like to share. As with all cane rods there were different companies producing the rods, or you could buy the blanks and make up the rod to your style. There was also that breed of skilled artisans who would follow the writings and make their own rods in their sheds. I tried many of these home made rods and the attempts were always a joy to behold.

I think the coming of glass rods spelled the end of an era, although cane is not totally dead, only in the mass market. Maybe that’s a pity. Glass Avon rods were produced at 10′ and 11′ lengths and endorsed by many celebrities. I still have a fondness for both my cane and glass Avons. Mainly because I recall days spent in good company on silent pools or meandering streams in search of fish. Each rod has an associated fish which lingers in the mind.

Fibre glass went through the solid and hollow phase with varying degrees of success, but there was the talk of lighter materials having been developed. Carbon, boron, kevlar etc., were all names in the air.

Carbon fibre finally came and we moved into an emotive age of rod manufacture and use. It seems the old skills had gone and been replaced with the "easily" made carbon rods. This was to deny the great skill and knowledge of the scientists and mathematicians who develop such rods and the engineers who design the actual machines for testing and mass production. There were and are, some excellent rods made with many of these companies engaged in space or tube technologies, even car racing.

As you can see there is great scope for emotive debate on the merits of all these rods. Not here. We only seek to peek through the door. There are sites where the debate rages and you can air your view point. Me, I’ll go fishing and be by the waters edge, sometimes using a rod from each of the stables, and I will be transported back to some English water where I sought a particular fish and the emotion of that time, place and moment will be enough.

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Bewl Water.

Note And Photo From :- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Bewl Water.

Bewl Water has the distinction of being in "two" places. If you listen to the news from BBC  Kent, the newsreaders  claim Bewl belongs to them. I suppose the confusion arises because it has a post code which is for Lamberhurst, Kent. However, the reservoir is physically in East Sussex.

Bewl Water

It’s a great place to fish for trout, either from a boat or from the bank. I always hoped that one day they might allow fishing for roach. Perhaps a record might be caught there. Once I had the opportunity to see the huge roach which lie under the trout tanks found out on the water. As the feed was thrown in for the trout, huge shapes would appear from out of the gloom – big roach. They were ‘monsters’. I offered to buy a ticket there and then, but my guide around the water way appologised and told me the ticket was only valid for trout. What a shame. I stood looking at a potential record holder only a short distance away. They might just as well have been miles and an eternity away, they would never be mine. Oh how I wish I had worked for Southern Water in Fisheries, still one can always dream.

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