Daddy Long-legs flies – possibly the daddy of all flies when it comes to Chub Fishing

After the failure of my last trip chasing the chub on the river Brue, I decided to try again. A silly o’clock start to make the most of the forecast light winds saw me at the bankside by 7am after my hour and some drive. I went straight to my favourite spot where I’d failed to land a nice fish previously, and then been sabotaged by Wessex Water chaps. This time I went for a heavy tippet of 7lb mono straight to my fly of choice – the trusty foam bodied daddy long-leg fly. Something big, easily visible and worth any lazy chub’s effort to go for..

I made my way carefully down the bank through the long grass opposite to the spot, where I knew the fish would be and was pleased to be proved right. Several big chub were present and actively feeding.. Only problem was that quite a lot of weed and lilies were now present, leaving only a very small patch of open water to fish.. Any fish hooked would undoubtedly be straight in the weed. I weighed up my chances with my now much beefier setup and decided that I had a fair chance of extracting a fish from the weed if need be with the stronger tippet. Just had to hook them now!

First cast landed a little way out from the bush I was aiming for, but happily a couple of nice sized chub came out to investigate and the first one there, snaffled the fly without hesitation. I had a short and thrilling battle in open water before inevitably the fish found the weed. At this point I was relieved I had gone for a heavier line than last time and prayed to the fishing gods as I eased the fish and a not inconsequential amount of weed to the net. The fish went just shy of 3lb which in my book is a very decent fish. 1 cast and 1 fish! not a bad start to the day and well worth an early start and the drive.

I headed off down stream looking for other groups of fish and eventually found quite a large group feeding in close the the near bank amongst the lilies. I sneaked down through the nettles until I dared go no closer for fear of spoken get fish. By this time I was probably just over a rod length from the fish and just needed to flick the fly out over a few reeds and nettles that had screened my approach. I must of got lucky because a gentle flick and the daddy long-legs touched down gently in the margins and was devoured straight away. This fish, much the same size as the previous one put up a spirited fight and I just mangled to steer it clear of the surrounding lilly’s and into the waiting net. This one also just nudged he 3lb mark.

Again, the fight had put all the other fish into hiding so I continued my travels. Throughout my ambles this morning I had been plagued by horse fly’s and after this 2nd fish they just seemed to be getting more persistent; enough so that I headed for the car with some haste to try a different stretch of the river.

A short drive saw me at another of my favourite sections of the Brue. I had the place to myself and took a stroll to see what fishy activity I could see. Thankfully the place was devoid of horse flies! the river was also a little less overgrown with aquatic vegetation and offered slightly more opportunities to fish. This place had large shoals of chub basking at the surface. The fish weren’t big but were plentiful. My first cast again landed another fish, this time all of 6 ounces, after which I couldn’t get another take. I tried everything and practically every fly I had in my arsenal, all to no avail. The fish either ignored the offering completely or took a look and shied away. I even tried going much lighter with the tippet strength given that the fish here were smaller and the water less overgrown, but nothing worked.. With the temperature rising and the wind starting to pick up, I decided that I’d had the best part of the day and headed for home.

I could have packed up after the first two casts of the day having landed two nice fish and saved myself some hassle – but that’s not necessarily the point of fishing is it. Half the fun is in the trying!

 

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Sabotaged by Wessex Water

I’ve had my fair share of misfortune, bad timing and general sessions where nothing goes right and by now have learned to accept these days with a certain magnanimity. My most recent trip being no exception.

Having dropped my wife and kids off at Clarks Village in Street, I rushed off for a quick session with the fly rod to one of my favourite spots on the River Brue, promising that I’d only be an hour or two at most. The weather was far better than on the previous trip and the river looked it’s normal inviting self, the wind was light and it was warm and dry – couldn’t be better…

I set up my #4 rod by the car and sneaked stealthily down to the bank. Just as expected I could see a good few chub feeding under one of the overhanging bushes on the other side of the river and wished I’d brought a slightly heavier set up with me. In fact there were a couple of monsters which in true “wily chub” fashion, I fully expected to melt away as soon as I got near. As it happened, they were either too preoccupied in their feeding, or I was stealthy enough on my approach this time that they didn’t seem to notice me. I couldn’t believe my luck (and bearing in mind that I know I’m no stealthy ninja, it was apparent they were feeding hard which boded well from my point of view!). A good cast put a daddy-longlegs fly right under the bush and next moment I was connected to a pretty hefty lump of a chub that did a good impression of being rocked propelled as it shot off down stream. Awesome! for the few brief moments he was hooked – but sadly the combination of large fish, numerous lily-pads and light tackle meant that particular fish wasn’t destined to grace my landing net….

By now my presence on the bank was no secret and the fish in this area all seemed to have lost their appetite. I took a stroll downstream looking for other opportunities to put my ‘new found’ stealthiness to the test. Saw a few other big old chub and even managed to present flies to them, but this time around the fish just inspected and rejected the fly. To be honest, whilst I did see several big chub, there wasn’t really any sign of small stuff feeding and I didn’t catch anything at all which is very unusual. I wasn’t unduly concerned at this stage by my lack of success, as I knew that after resting the first swim for an hour, the original group of fish should hopefully be back and feeding.

On arrival back at the original swim I was proved correct – the monster chub were back and feeding under the same bush again. Again I sneaked down the bank and made ready to cast. At this point a very friendly chap from Wessex Water, wearing a bright orange jacket ambled down the opposite bank and stood right above the bush I had been hoping to extract the chub from under. We exchanged pleasantries – and he cheerily announced he was just inspecting a culvert that was adjacent to “my bush” but that he wouldn’t disturb me at all. We chatted. His work colleague turned up as well. They got out a petrol strimmer and other tools of destruction. I headed back to the car and packed up.

The ‘Traditional’ Start of the River Fishing Season

June the 16th – the start of another coarse fishing season. My ‘Tradition’ for the start of the coarse fishing season is to head to the Somerset Levels around Glastonbury and fish the river Brue. Stalking chub amongst the lily pads along the tranquil river is my idea of a perfect start to the season. The only problem this year happened to be the significant amount of rain we’d had in the week or two leading up to the 16th… Still, the start of the season just wouldn’t be right without at least getting out and making an effort. Given the amount of rain we’d had and the forecast (more rain), I wasn’t holding out much hope for having the kind of enjoyable session I’d been imagining over the last couple of months..

Arriving at the South Drain near Westhay to have a quick dabble in a new (new for me) stretch of water before moving onto the River Brue itself, I was gobsmacked to find the water pretty clear and perfect…. Perfect except for the amount of lily pads present across the whole surface as far as the eye could see. I guess this section of the South Drain must be pretty shallow to allow lily growth so abundantly. Given the blustery conditions I opted to leave the fly rod in the car and float fish. The only patch of clear water where I felt I could sensibly fish was right adjacent and practically under the bridge – so here started my 2019 river fishing season.

 

It wasn’t a surprise to start catching rudd straight away, especially as they could be seen feeding whilst I set up the rod. The rudd seemed plentiful if on the small side which provided suitable amusement for a while. After I’d failed to tempt anything more impressive I decided that as the water conditions on the South Drain were so good, maybe the Brue would be miraculously just as good. I hopped in the car and drove the few miles to my favourite section of the River Brue at Wallyers bridge, only to find the river much higher than usual, running fast and a forbidding murky brown. Things didn’t look promising!

I attempted to fish the usually shallow sections near the bridge before deciding it was unfishable and giving up that idea. A move further along to a deeper stretch at least provided less turbulent waters but not more action than before. I persevered through the intermittent rain showers and managed to tempt some chub, smaller than the rudd I’d been catching earlier, before losing a half way decent chub at the net.

Whilst it was very pleasant whiling away some time by the river during the occasional sunny spell, some days you just know you’re not going to have great success fish-wish, and today was definitely one of those days. At least on my drive home I could tell myself I’d tried. Anyway on a positive note – hopefully this years fishing can only improve?

Windy Fishing at the River Brue

Met up with Jason to fish the River Brue, but I arrived late due to the summer holiday traffic. Met Jason at the Cowbridge stretch of the river, where he’d been fishing for a little while by the time I eventually arrived. A pretty lively wind was blowing straight down the river making conditions not exactly idyllic. Jason had been catching roach and rudd for a while and drawn the attentions of one of the resident pike which was trying periodically to snatch fish as he brought them in. Fortune was smiling on him, as he managed to hook and land the marauding pike on his coarse gear before I’d even managed to wet a line. Nice angling! not that I was jealous, honestly….

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With this success recorded for posterity we decided to move on in search of some shelter from the wind. Given the rather exposed nature of the Somerset levels, we didn’t really manage to find much in the way of shelter from the wind so just had to persevere. One of our favoured spots was showing quite clearly the affects of our long hot summer with the weir running dry and actually leaving dry steps from which to fish.

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We both float fished maggot and had a steady stream of fish (chub, roach, gudgeon, perch and minnows) – although nothing big. Still – all good fun.

It was really strange because despite looking insanely fishy, the weir just didn’t produce the quality of fish it has done in the past for us. Maybe it was the low water levels, lack of flow or just “one of those days”.

As dusk approached the wind did finally drop to give us some nice fishing conditions and at this point I had a small chub decide to take a minnow – showing its not just the pike and perch that the little fish need to look out for!

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Summer time on the River Brue

What a summer! It’s been so hot for so long! Today’s trip was no different – very very hot and sunny although a bit breezy at times.

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I mainly concentrated on fly fishing although without massive amounts of enthusiasm. I think the heat installed a general malaise in me that sapped my willingness to perservere after the first few casts at each new place.

I did catch a couple of small chub on fly. Although it wasn’t until I switched to float fishing with maggot that I started to catch a little more regularly with gudgeon, perch and minnows.

Jason coarse fishing throughout and had a good variety of fish including: chub, rudd, roach, perch, gudgeon, minnow and hybrid.

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We started off at West Lydford in the hope of making use of the shade of the trees we knew were along that stretch, before ending up at the Cowbridge stretch. I had fun stalking large chub that could be seen on the surface basking in the sunshine, and managed to tempt one of the biggest to take a daddy-long legs fly, only for me to miss the take! If only!

 

Start of the Fishing Season on the River Brue

It’s that time of the year again – the start of another coarse fishing season. As has become a bit of a tradition for Jason and myself we headed up to the river Brue on the Somerset Levels near Glastonbury. I love the fishing in this part of the world and as usual had really high hopes for the start of the season. I’d really been hoping for some still and sunny conditions so that I could stalk some chub with the fly rod.

The weather unfortunately wasn’t quite as good as we’d have hoped for and we had to make the best of the conditions. The weather was cloudy and breezy with a short spell of heavy rain.

Caught a couple of gudgeon, numerous minnows, chub and roach. All on float fished maggots.

Jason had a nice chub amongst his steady procession of chub and roach. Probably the highlight of the trip, not for size, but due to it being a first was that Jason caught a Ruffe. Quite a pretty little fish and very similar in appearance to a baby perch. Now there’s something for me to aim for in the future!

Whilst we had fun, the fishing was undeniably difficult all day – possibly not helped by the long spell of dry weather we’ve had and the amazingly low water levels. Don’t think I’ve ever seen the water level as low on the Brue as it was. It also didn’t help that despite the hot weather of late, the temperature did drop in the evening and it actually got a little cold – first time we’ve felt that sensation for a while!

Coarse Fishing the River Brue

I met up with Jason for an afternoons fishing on the River Brue near Glastonbury. The wind was pretty strong – certainly strong enough to dissuade me from even getting the fly rod out of the car. We both decided to tackle the river with float rods and a combination of maggots and lobworms for bait. The water was slightly coloured and with a bit of chop on the surface not exactly my ideal conditions. We set up on a corner of the river with the wind behind us where we had a bit of shelter and started loose feeding maggots. We both started catching a steady stream of silver fish – mainly chub and roach although I seemed to have found my very own shoal of minnows.

After an hour or two we moved further along the river, with the intention of targeting some of the big perch we know inhabit parts of the Brue. Fishing was slow and steady in the main, although after a while I had built up a swim of tiny but ravenous little chublets. I got lucky in the closing stages to land a lovely perch, but other than that the session was not as productive as we were hoping or expecting.. Still – this remains one of my favourite rivers.

With a couple of weeks holiday coming, it will be a while now till I get the chance to fish the Brue again. It’ll be interesting to see how it fishes in the autumn and on into the winter.

 

 

 

River Brue – Summer Roving

I met up with Jason at the river Brue; after yesterday’s solo fishing I was looking forward to having a fishing companion. Much like the previous day, the weather was quite spectacular. The wind had died to a slight breeze and with cloudless skies and blazing sun, temperatures were scorching hot. We started off fly fishing; searching out shoals of chub visible amongst the lilies & reeds. We caught a steady stream of chub, mainly on bead headed flies but some fell to dry fly. Nothing big graced the net but we did see some very large bream basking near the surface obviously enjoying the sunshine too. The larger chub were all very skittish and would inevitably melt away before we could get within casting distance despite our best efforts at stealth and the help of the verdant bankside vegetation.

A few hours of stalking chub in the sunshine was enough for us, and we moved along to the West Lydford stretch of the river Brue to try some more sedentary fishing. The glorious weather had brought people out bridge jumping & swimming, so we put as much distance between us and them as possible. We settled into a couple of swims and tried float fished maggot and bread baits but after an hour or two had little to show for our efforts. Some good chub were visible on the surface lurking under the far bank vegetation so with a lack of action on the float rod, I switched to fly fishing with a large wasp dry fly. Almost the first cast one of the larger chub idled over to the fly and slurped it down – somehow in my eagerness or possibly surprise I mis-timed the strike and pulled the fly out of it’s mouth..! Cursing my stupidity I recast only for one of the smaller fish to intercept the fly, which after playing and landing meant that every other fish in the vicinity had become instantly more wary. No more fish followed after that.

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With evening approaching we jumped in the cars and headed to another section of the river hoping for some of the large perch we had encountered there several times previously. We arrived to find a section of the bank and a large tree had fallen into the river right at one of our favourite and most productive spots, but set up anyway on the basis that the tree would only provide the fish a nice bit of cover. I found I’d left my rod rest in the car and could face the trudge back to the car in the heat, so had to improvise with a conveniently shaped and proportioned stick. Who says you need to spend a fortune on fishing tackle?

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Jason built up a swim opposite the new feature and had a steady procession of bites and fish; numerous chub, roach and gudgeon – & even a cheeky little brown trout not to mention a decent sized eel. In the meantime I float fished maggots at various spots and really struggled to get bites, eventually concluding with a small chub, roach and a solitary gudgeon. The days exploits were nicely finished off with a fantastic Chub that Jason tempted on a ledgered lobworm from beside the new submerged tree feature.

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For me the evening ended with a half chewed gudgeon that was savaged by something with teeth on pretty much the last cast. Whilst not the spectacular end to the day I might of wished for, we could at least face the drive home with memories of a varied and fun days fishing.

Start of the Coarse Fishing Season 2017

The magical 16th of June arrived bringing excellent weather with it for once – the fishing gods must be smiling on me I thought. Seemed only fair to have a day off work to make the most of this unusually auspicious start to the coarse fishing season.

This year I decided to invest in an annual license for the Glaston Manor waters and had purchased my license from Thyers tackle shop in Highbridge before hand which meant I didn’t need to chase around trying to get a day ticket and could instead just crack on and go fishing from the off. I dropped the kids off at school and hit the road taking care to set my alarm to ensure I didn’t get carried away fishing and forget to pick up the kids.

Arriving at the River Brue I discovered that despite the cloudless skies and tropical temperatures, there was a pretty serious wind to contend with. Having only brought a couple of fly rods with me, I would just have to do my best in the windy conditions. The aim of the day was to travel super light and work my way along the river sight fishing for chub as I went. As it was the fishing wasn’t easy and there wasn’t masses of chub visible with those that were generally on the small size and easily spooked. Each sighting of fish would invariably give me 1 or 2 casts before they would make themselves scarce leaving me to continue my wanderings.

I caught a good few chub in the course of the afternoon, struggled with the wind and suffered in the heat, and generally despite the adversities thoroughly enjoyed myself. I guess thats what comes from being able to fish the eagerly awaiting start of the season whilst others are working..

The fishing was difficult but that just made the capture of each fish all the more special. I found that the most successful fly today was a scruffy gold bead headed fly which would invariably be grabbed as soon as it hit the water. If an immediate response wasn’t received it generally meant no fish. A couple of chub were tempted on the dry fly, with a wasp pattern being their downfall. I only used the wasp pattern because it was big and bright and easy to see rather than for any other reason. The chub didn’t seem to mind no matter how small they were.

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Whilst not spectacularly successful in terms of numbers of fish caught or their size, the day was hugely enjoyable and also proved a good opportunity to scout the river in anticipation of the following days planned trip.

Autumn Perch from the River Brue

Our fishing on the River Brue, to date has always taken place during the summer months, where we can rover around fishing various stretches of the river and often stalking chub in the clear waters. This latest trip was to be a bit of a departure from the norm, slightly later in the year than usual with autumn seeming to have well and truly settled in. The leaves are falling, the temperature has dropped, and the weed growth begun dying back. On top of it all the river itself wasn’t quite as clear as usual, but slightly coloured. The weather forecast wasn’t ideal either, with heavy rain showers forecast – but we decided to brave it anyway with waterproofs and fishing umbrellas on hand just in case we needed them.

We didn’t have a particularly encouraging start with the fish just not seeming to be feeding and struggled to get a bite for an unnervingly long time until a move of location and a bit of patience, paid off. We both began catching small chub and roach after building up a swim with a steady flow of bait.

The promised rain eventually came, and we spent the next hour under umbrellas. At this point I thanked my lucky stars that I’d had the foresight to come prepared..

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I mainly fished single red maggot on the float rod and started to consistently pull in chub of around 8oz or so. A switch to the ledger rod however brought instant results with a cracking perch of around 2lb, followed by another slightly smaller one which I promptly lost in a raft of reeds under the rod whilst I was being a bit blasé about things and chatting to Jason rather than concentrating on netting the fish.. That’ll serve me right!

After that I missed a few more perch before landing another, whilst Jason also had  lovely perch on ledgered worm. The fading light brought an end to proceedings and the end a what turned into a good days fishing.