Some of the first things to emerge from my new workshop have been some handmade trotting floats for catching Grayling, the lady of the river. There's something very satisfying in catching fish on tackle you have made yourself. Certainly beats using some of the soul-less plastic rubbish found in most tackle shops these days.
Grayling mostly feed on the bottom of the river preferring gravel bottoms where the current stirs up lovely fresh water shrimps and other aquatic insect life for them to munch on. Usually you can catch these beautiful fish using a fly fishing technique known as Czech Nymph-ing where you basically bounce a fast sinking nymph type fly along the bottom of your chosen swim and feel for the characteristic bite through the line.
Trotting a float down river is so much more relaxing though. The very first time I tried this baby on my local stretch of the River Derwent at Darley Dale in Derbyshire (that's a lot of D's), I chose a relatively slow moving strech of water that dropped off to a deep swim just before a sharp bend. I adjusted the distance of the float from the bait so the two maggots on the hook just grazed the bottom as the rig drifted downstream naturally with the current. They take a lot of shot these floats which helps keep the bait down near the ground. This first batch are made using balsa on cane stems. The next lot will be made from cork I think. More of them in a future post.
The first fish, early that cold February morning, was a Brown Trout, accidently as it's out of season at the moment, but a good size. This was followed steadily through the morning by no less than seven Grayling, all a decent size, one at over a pound and a half. Very pleased with that and my little float.
I didn't have anything to put these Avon style floats in so rather than buy a box I decided to make one and craft a marquetry beech veneer front and plain beech veneer back to spice it up a bit. A few coats of varnish later and it's not turned out too bad. The others will be better though (I'm going to make quite a few).
I'm not usually bothered by the weather but I prefer to go fishing when it's at least not pissing down with rain all day. I'll have to grab an afternoon this week if I can, weather and work permitting.
Anyway, here's the next in the chicken gang line-up, Violet. This hen is probably the friendliest chicken of them all and will regularly jump onto my knee for a chat and some corn.
She was in charge at the start and made no bones about keeping the others in check with a peck or two. She's much more subdued now Louis (official name Louis the First) is in charge of his hareem on his side of the orchard, but Violet is still the boss of the hens.