What better way to spend a Winter evening than learning a skill in good company, with beer and excellent food?
Yes, it was another very successful fly-tying evening at The Chequers in Lamberhurst last night. Keith demonstrated a range of techniques in tying the very deadly Duracell nymph. Nobody was quite sure how it got its name, but they all dismissed my suggestion that it was tied with hackles from Battery Hens. At least the Fish and Chips were reliably good, and at only £15 including a pint, the whole evening was a great bargain.
Thanks to all those who braved the freezing weather to make it a success - I heard that Goudhurst was the coldest place in England that night. Several members managed to tie a convincing Duracell, but feel free to come along even if you you're not keen on tying, as it's a good place to find out more about the river and members' experiences, as well as a good evening out.
Keith actually managed to catch on a Duracell today, albeit a slightly heavier variant, but the river was not a great place to be in the East wind. I had chosen to visit Harpers to do the monthly water testing (all OK), and also to try out my new Xmas present. I'd decided to dip my toe in the water (so to speak) and have a go at Tenkara.
I gather that that many anglers have little time for the T word, as it can be seen as a bit gimmicky and pointless, but I thought I'd try and find out if there's any applicability to our river. There's a load of info online of course and I've spent several enjoyable evenings watching all the Youtube stuff. My primary motivation was really the Grayling in the Outfall pool.
The (often very small) Grayling frequently rise there, but can be very difficult to catch. One of the reasons is the very tricky currents there, and the difficulties of avoiding drag. My other motivation was that I often find myself fishing up the beat with a nymphing rod (especially with a high, coloured river) then finding the Grayling rising up at the top and wishing I had a fly rod with me. The answer was a telescopic mini-Tenkara rod that collapses down to 14", which I can keep in my bag for such occasions.
You probably know that when fishing dries with Tenkara, you keep all of the line off the water, except the fly and perhaps some tippet, so in theory it could overcome the drag problem. I have to admit that today was not a good choice for my first test-run, but you know what it's like when you have a new toy. I worked my way up the river from below the Tractor Bridge, trying to find spots where I could avoid getting caught in the trees with my extremely fragile 12' rod. I managed to carefully untangle it a few times, and arrived at Destination Grayling, only to find that, for once, there was nothing rising at all. Just a bit frustrating, and very cold, but an interesting exercise anyway.
One success for me was that I managed to get away with not breaking the rod, which was a major achievement. The rod I bought actually came with a spare top two sections, as they are extremely thin and so easily broken. I'll explore the Tenkara possibilities again in future and may post a blog or two if I have any success, or just anything interesting to say about it. I imagine that by this time next year it'll either be consigned to the bin, or I'll be a convert.