Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

I Saw A Little Fishy

I went for another walk along the river today. This time I went a mile or so downstream of the factories. The river is in the best condition I have ever seen it, almost chalk stream clear. I saw some fish, not many, but at least I saw some. It would be an almost perfect trout stream, except there aren’t any trout. I spotted a lone Perch and not a very big one, not big enough to be solitary but unfortunately it was. I spotted a small shoal of Chub but not the bigger ones I have seen in the past. I did catch a glimpse of something of a reasonable size but we spotted each other at the same time and he melted away. I saw three or four dozen May Flies, I even managed to catch one. Three or four dozen may not seem a lot in the scheme of things but to me it was magic, I have never seen one on this river until yesterday. I saw several laying eggs so it looks promising for the future. I also saw a few mid sized olives coming off, again something I can’t remember seeing before. It’s a shame there are no trout to rise to them. Absolutely no sign of the shoals of small stuff I used to see. I will have to take regular walks along the river in future and see what transpires. I will take a fly rod and see if I can tempt a Chub or two. I found a few places I can get in and practice switch casting but there are no places wide enough to do any kind of change of direction casts.

Talking about casting, I have been out practicing with a 27g head. The BFCC are introducing it to replace the nine weight event we used to have. If anyone is interested Mike Barrio has the lines for the job, you get two in one. Cut it in the right place and you get two versions, one slightly longer than the other. You will need a set of scales because it will need to be weighed and cut to get it right. I suggest 26g or 26.5g to make sure you are within the regulations. I am getting quite good results from a 10′ eight weight rod but I think a ten weight or more might be better. That’s the beauty of this event, you can make up an outfit to suit yourself (within limits) the rules are now up on www.thebfcc.co.uk .

Talking of which we (the BFCC) have their next event in Ashford next weekend. Come and have a go.

May 27, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Where Have All The Fishies Gone

I have just come in from taking Albert for a walk. We often go via a route that allows me to walk half a mile of the river Stour where it boundaries farm land on one side and a perfume and food processing factory on the other. It looks, on the face of it, perfect. Deep runs, shallow riffles, gravel beds and four or five kinds of water weed beginning to grow quite profusely. I didn’t see any hatch but there were swarms of tiny flies just above the surface of the water. I was hit in the face by what may have been a sedge fly and, right upstream, I saw three May Flies, which I got quite excited about because I have never seen a May Fly on this river. I saw several Pied Wagtails flitting over the surface and a swan serenely…swanning about. You may notice something missing…fish. All the way to just beyond the last culvert that brings water in from the factories I never saw a single fish. Not the shoals of little Roach or Dace that are always over the gravel, nor any Pike lurking in ambush places. Nothing. Not until I got passed the last culvert and I spotted four Chub, not big, just a pound or so, but they were the first signs of anything fishy I had seen. I used to know this part of the river quite well, I worked for a while for a company that did the maintenance at the factories and I often used to go to certain spots to watch the Perch and good sized Roach and once even saw a Brown Trout. I don’t know if the fish have all been pushed out by all the flooding we had last year and over the winter or whether it’s something to do with the factories. I know they have to sample the water quite frequently and I would have expected the rules and regulations to be much more stringent than they were back in the seventies when I worked there so I am slightly baffled about the lack of fish. Next time I will go further down stream, below the factories, and see what’s happening. In recent years there has been a good head of Chub with a few in the four or five pound category. I hope they are still there.

May 26, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Old Spice

There I was just sitting there chewing the fat and watching some nice casting when Magnus Angus from Fly Fishing and Fly Tying asked me if I would like to be interviewed. He had some new equipment he wanted to try out. So I was miked up and had a camera pointed at me. ‘What’s your name’ was my cue to then babble on for thirty seconds or so and I found myself saying that, essentially, I was here for the older person. Basically I was saying I am to oldies casting what the Spice Girls were to girl power, a zig a zig ha. I really hadn’t thought of it in those terms until now. I think it’s fair to say I am often the oldest person at the annual Sexyloops gathering, the oldest competitor anyway, and I have been for a while now. I am still slightly perturbed that, at my age, I am still worthy of being a notch on someone’s rod butt. I am not the oldest, by some margin, at a lot of the BFCC events. It’s actually very rewarding to see someone as old or older improve their casting to a point where they are happy to compete but the BFCC seems to bring the older caster back into the sport for some reason and most of them improve tremendously with a little bit of guidance. Of course there are some who, once they have the ability, can keep producing some stunning casting. For instance Mike Marshall was 73 when he took my seven weight record off me and still casts the tournament gear better than pretty well everyone in the club regularly putting a T115 well over 200ft, to our continues awe. I still get to win the odd event although it peeves me to be asked if I want to claim a record based on my age (which I feel I  have to otherwise records become meaningless).

So, if you are feeling you are may be a bit passed your best think again. Even as we slide into the autumn of our years we may still create the burst of colour that enhances and enriches our lives and puts the wind up some of the younger folk who think they have the right to beat us just because they are younger.

So far this year it has been quieter than last year. I haven’t done half as much instructing but I have been doing some traveling. Wales three times, one of them actually catching some fish and Scotland for ‘Loops gathering plus a trip to Devon and another to Hampshire for a day in the pouring rain. Apart from my holiday I don’t intend going aboard at all this year so I have plenty of time to add a few feet to the mature fly fisher who wants to go out in a blaze of colour by showing the youngsters that there is life in the old dog yet.

May 11, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments