Paul's Diary

  • Tuesday 26th July 2011

    Well - I sold my ton-and-a-half of books. The weather and the punters were kind to us and we all had a jolly weekend, enlivened by the presence of Mole Pledger who was working on a painting on our stand. We launched "While My Float's Still Cocked," and sold lots of copies.
    I'm suffering from fair-lag today, but also conscious that the forecast is set fair and that the river must have fined down to a good level for night fishing. And that the sea should be flat calm tomorrow morning. I can't really do both, and go to work. Think I'll potter in the garden while I ponder on it.

  • Tuesday 19th July 2011

    Vyrnwy was as hard as I expected in the bright sunshine. I winkled out half a dozen wild brownies including one of well over a pound. However I had the entertaining company of the oldest of the old fff..fellows, so enjoyed my day.
    Since then I've been busy packing books. I sent off three pallets to Blenheim today, so now I have to sell a ton-and-a-half of books before I can come home.
    We had a huge flood in the river yesterday and today, on one of my busiest days in the year, I knew it would be fining down. Anyway, I snuck off at 5pm and had a few casts above the tide. In an hour I had hits from a dozen fish, none of which stayed on, then I lost a shiny two-pounder at the net, then returned a couple of sewin, then as I was about to leave I caught three fish in three casts, one of them about three pounds. So my hour turned into almost three.
    I've enjoyed spinning this year; there is lots of scope for experiment. Tonight I had nothing on larger and brighter spoons or plugs. Then as soon as put on a small ABU minnow-spoon, with some added weight to get it out and down, I started hitting fish.

  • Thursday 14th July 2001

    I had a few more sea-trout on Saturday, including some nice little sea-liced sewin.
    My new waders arrived on Tuesday so I've been putting them to good use. It's been a typical week of saltwater flyfishing. On Monday evening the river mouth was full of bass and you-know-who had a tremendous haul on the fly, including some of around four pounds. I, of course, was at home having an early night. On Tuesday night I joined the picket-line at the river mouth. There were shoals of mullet as far as the eye could see, but no bass. I outlived the picket-line and stuck it out until after midnight. Last night I returned with Luke and no fish of any kind were to be seen - or caught.
    Today, in blazing sunshine, I have an appointment with a bacon sandwich at the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel in about an hour, followed by two hours fishing, a large lunch, and another two hours fishing. I won't take it too seriously.
    Then I must get busy preparing for the CLA.

  • Saturday 9th July 2011

    Well, Thursday's boat-trip was blown off, and the river was brown and unfishable. I went out after dinner and it had cleared enough to try the new lures I'd bought at Scone. I've tried and failed to add a picture of the Scone spoon that I used. It caught me half a dozen good sea-trout in an hour before I changed to a pretty little limited edition Rapala (also cheap from Scone) which was immediately eaten by a five-pounder. Even having put the smaller fish back, I still came home with four between three and five pounds.I've done worse some entire seasons!
    All of my waders leak, so I've ordered more, to be here after the weekend. Last night I braved wet feet in my thigh-waders for an unfruitful hour with the fly.
    Last night we had such torrential rain that I've spent the morning dealing with the aftermath. Later I'll put my wet waders back on and return to the river.

  • Tuesday 6th July 2011

    I'm just home from a successful trip to the Northern Ireland and Scottish Game Fairs with the Taxidermist. Only a little sport - I foiled the tackle-grabbing rocks at Isle of Whithorn by float-fishing a strip of mackerel, though I had to catch a mackerel first. Then had lots of fun as smallish pollack, coalfish and mackerel fought over the bait. In Perth I rowed the ancient Archivist around a beautiful small loch, catching several of his very nice trout.
    I made use of the trip, apart from selling loads of books to the canny Scots, to deliver a few de luxe Kelsons, and to renew old friendships. Last call was on the not-so-ancient Mr Grayling, who claims that he wants to retire. I helped him on his way by relieving him of a few more boxes of books. We probably arrived home carrying slightly more weight than when we left.
    Heavy rain this morning, but will it be enough for me to give a trial to the great assortment of plugs and spoons that I bought with my Scone takings? I'm booked on a boat-trip out of Aberystwyth tomorrow, but the forecast is rough. No matter, river, lake or sea - I'll be out somewhere tomorrow!

  • Thursday 22nd June 2011

    A frantic week - mainly because I've been trying to go fishing every evening, as well as loading up for the Irish and Scottish Game Fairs. On Monday we braved torrential rain in the hills to catch a few trout on sedges. The resultant flood has enabled me to catch some of the nicest sea-trout I've had in a while - three three-pounders on Tuesday and a silver four-pounder last night. Off now for the overnight ferry from Liverpool.

  • Sunday 19th June 2011

    We drove home from the BFFI in glorious sunshine. Everything went brilliantly - Jan chauffeured Terry Griffiths to Stafford by Friday afternoon, Marvin Nolte was already there, and the De Luxe copies of The Essential Kelson were delivered from the bookbinders on Friday evening. We formed a chain-gang, feeding Terry and Marvin with books to be signed, while some of the subscribers to the book hung over us like vultures, waiting to grab their copy. The slip-cases and leather bindings are superb, the mounted salmon flies look wonderful, and the whole book is a great success. On Saturday we sold loads, and today I spent the day renewing old friendships.
    We stayed in in a good farmhouse B&B, had a couple of good meals, and last night had a drink or two or three with Dominic and Jo.

    Tomorrow we can start sending out the pre-ordered Kelsons and I can start repacking the van for Northern Ireland. It doesn't seem as though we've had enough rain here to affect the river much so I may give the sea-trout a miss and try for an evening on the big sedges in the hills.
  • Monday 13th June 2011

    Paul's float

    The cool damp weather hasn't been damp enough to lift the water levels. So, despite my neighbour, Richard Noel, catching a sixteen-pound sea-trout on Monday night, I haven't felt inspired to spend much time on the river.
    Instead I've concentrated on book ideas. One, which I've confirmed this week, is to include one of Paul Cook's hand-made (and signed) fishing floats in a mount in the front of the de luxe version of "Mole" Pledger's forthcoming book, While My Float's Still Cocked. Here's a mock-up of what it will look like. I think it will work beautifully.
    Terry Griffiths has finished placing Marvin's flies in the mounts for the de luxe Essential Kelson. I haven't seen them yet, but apparently they look stunning.
    It's great being a creative director. I just sit here having ideas and the real artists plug away and produce masterpieces.
    Busy loading up for the BFFI this weekend - the binders are promising copies for Friday - so fingers crossed!

  • Monday 6th June 2011

    I did get away on Friday afternoon, taking the small inflateable down the river at low tide. It's the time for spider-crabs and I spent a fruitless half-hour trying to snare one with a plug wound tight to the end-ring of my rod. Neither fish nor fowl moved as I trolled lures and flies around the reefs all evening; then around 9pm I tried a drift across the river mouth casting a fly loch-style ahead of the boat. I picked up a four-pounder immediately, then several follows and a smaller fish, then, at 10 o'clock when I should have catching the last of the tide to get back up the river, I hooked another good one. I had intended trying for mullet at high water, but they were not there in numbers, so I motored home, very pleased with myself.
    The barbel fishers bought a few books. I'd have preferred them to have bought more, but at least I got home in time to cut the first of the season's cucumbers to eat with Danish sea-trout gravlax and spicy pheasant breasts. I don't know why I don't just stay at home.

  • Friday 3rd June 2011

    The fish have been getting their revenge the past few days. A couple of short blank sessions on the river, then I hooked two very good sea-trout in successive casts; big solid fish, fresh off the tide. Both of them threw the hooks after being played to the net.
    A pleasant afternoon in Machynlleth led to a visit to the lakes where thick cloud obscured all and a cold wind suppressed any hatches. The lads picked up one or two, but despite fishing on into the dark, the big sedges never materialised. There's always something to see on the way back. Last time, a suicidal rabbit ran under the car, en route for a pie. This time, three young badgers playing in the lane slowed us down.
    Last evening was warm and there was a big tide topping at 9pm. A good day for bass; the Dysynni would have been full of mullet; I almost went to night-fish for sea-trout; the sedge would certainly be on the lake. After a day of bookwork and gardening; in the end I went to bed.
    A glorious day today, and another good tide. If I can get loaded up for the Barbel Society show at the weekend I'll go somewhere tonight. But where?

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