Word of the Year Our Word of the Year choice serves as a symbol of each year’s most meaningful events and lookup trends. It is an opportunity for us to reflect on flood Protection Options for Rocky Ripple language and ideas that represented each year. So, take a stroll down memory lane to remember all of our past Word of the Year selections.
Change It wasn’t trendy, funny, nor was it coined on Twitter, but we thought change told a real story about how our users defined 2010. The national debate can arguably be summarized by the question: In the past two years, has there been enough change? Meanwhile, many Americans continue to face change in their homes, bank accounts and jobs. Only time will tell if the latest wave of change Americans voted for in the midterm elections will result in a negative or positive outcome. Tergiversate This rare word was chosen to represent 2011 because it described so much of the world around us. Tergiversate means “to change repeatedly one’s attitude or opinions with respect to a cause, subject, etc.
Bluster In a year known for the Occupy movement and what became known as the Arab Spring, our lexicographers chose bluster as their Word of the Year for 2012. 2012 saw the most expensive political campaigns and some of the most extreme weather events in human history, from floods in Australia to cyclones in China to Hurricane Sandy and many others. Privacy We got serious in 2013. Privacy was on everyone’s mind that year, from Edward Snowden’s reveal of Project PRISM to the arrival of Google Glass.
Exposure Spoiler alert: Things don’t get less serious in 2014. Our Word of the Year was exposure, which highlighted the year’s Ebola virus outbreak, shocking acts of violence both abroad and in the US, and widespread theft of personal information. From the pervading sense of vulnerability surrounding Ebola to the visibility into acts of crime or misconduct that ignited critical conversations about race, gender, and violence, various senses of exposure were out in the open this year. Identity Fluidity of identity was a huge theme in 2015. Language around gender and sexual identity broadened, becoming more inclusive with additions to the dictionary like gender-fluid as well as the gender-neutral prefix Mx. Xenophobia In 2016, we selected xenophobia as our Word of the Year. Fear of the “other” was a huge theme in 2016, from Brexit to President Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric.
Despite being chosen as the 2016 Word of the Year, xenophobia is not to be celebrated. Rather it’s a word to reflect upon deeply in light of the events of the recent past. Complicit The word complicit sprung up in conversations in 2017 about those who spoke out against powerful figures and institutions and about those who stayed silent. It was a year of real awakening to complicity in various sectors of society, from politics to pop culture.
Our choice for Word of the Year is as much about what is visible as it is about what is not. It’s a word that reminds us that even inaction is a type of action. The silent acceptance of wrongdoing is how we’ve gotten to this point. We must not let this continue to be the norm. If we do, then we are all complicit. The Roman Numeral Bowl: Are You Ready For Some Football? Where Do Our Favorite Emoji Come From?
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The Lugg with its well-charged spring was one exception which kept on running at a good level. The rivers were certainly busy with anglers this month and there were some respectable catches, particularly in shady places or if the day was cloudy. On the 4th, JA from Leominster caught 5 from the Arrow at Kington using small dry flies. On the same day HP from Monmouth reported an unpleasant experience downstream at Arrow Mill, where an electric fence gave him a jolt in the back.
I sympathise with that, although I might point out there is a worse experience you can have. Suffice it to say never, ever, make the mistake of relieving yourself against an electric fence. Others may find it funny, but you will not. On the 7th SF from Madrid enjoyed himself at Ty Newdd on the Wye, taking 5 trout on a dry sedge imitation. GW from Bromsgrove had 15 at Lyepole, mostly with a nymph fished New Zealand-style.
JM from London had 7 on dries from the Dore at Chanstone Court, while DR had 6 during a mayfly hatch at Abbeydore. PB of Gloucester with a friend fished the Irfon at Cefnllysgwynne and caught 10 trout up to 15 inches on dries. On the 14th TL from Kingsland enjoyed himself on the Arrow at Whittern taking 6 trout, but wondered how you get back from the top of the beat? In fact, it’s easier than it looks and certainly there is no need to wade all the way back over a long and uneven river bed from the upper end. If you have reached near the top of Lyonshall Wood – and having covered so much water in the day you should have some aching leg muscles by that time – just look out for the footings of the old railway bridge. Also on the 14th, GM from Usk had a 17 inch fish in a bag of 5 from Talybont Reservoir.
On the 15th, MT from Evesham with a friend took advantage of overcast weather to take 22 trout on nymphs and spiders from the Wye at Ty Newydd. On the following day, the opening of the grayling and coarse season, JS from Oxted had a very good trout in a bag of 6 taken on nymphs from the Irfon at Llanfechan – despite this river being very low. On the following day CB from Ross on Wye with his uncle fished at Monnow Valley for two trout caught, but queried the access arrangements for an ageing angler. Well, I would query them too, and I’m much nearer 70 than 60 myself. I reckon I’m old enough to speak for pensioners.
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On reflection, I suppose I must keep going to MV because I somehow imagine it keeps me fit! Meanwhile TR from Cape Town was busy again on the Colonel’s Water of the Irfon, where he had 6 trout and 4 grayling. I just love these visitors who go hard at it every day! And RB from Llandysul fished at Teifi Pools for a dozen trout to a pound. He was using a team of small Claret Hoppers, most of the fish coming to the greased one on the top dropper.
I only wish I lived nearer Teifi Pools. By now the growing heat wave, sun and lack of rain were really making themselves felt. Despite the unforgiving weather, a few of the results were still better than you might expect. On the 22nd, RH from Broadwas had 16 trout and 18 grayling from Ty Newydd, fishing with heavy nymphs and concentrating on the fast, oxygenated water. Up in North Wales, GS of Crewe reported 5 grayling on a small olive dry fly from the Dee at Glyndwr Preserve.
Water conditions were now becoming quite severe as the hottest days of the year were recorded with no sign of rain. The water temperature of the lower Wye reached 23. 5 degrees C which must have amounted to an effective barrier to new salmon entering. Levels on the Wye were to a certain extent sustained by a compensation agreement to release extra water from the Elan Valley dams, and for the Usk by planned repair works to the dam at the head of the river. 26th June, AS from Malvern, Usk Reservoir – “A very warm day in the end, had 7 bites and caught 6 x trout, good size ones as well, really pleased with my day’s fishing, will return with my dad once he’s off his holiday, thanks Usk Reservoir. Been here 5 times in the last 2 weeks as I had time off work. Not a single trout caught using fly, spinner and ledgering.
Ain’t seen the reservoir stocked for weeks on end. Really, really, poor from a reservoir that I’ve grown up to fish. Well, that tells a story, doesn’t it? If I were a sarcastic man, I might suggest that AS of Malvern had caught all the fish the previous day! It’s a reminder, if one is needed, that even on stocked waters fishing is not quite like putting money in a slot machine, pressing a button and receiving the promised bar of chocolate.
God forbid that it ever becomes so. You can study the form and you can study to be a better angler, but there is never a guarantee of success. Fly Fishing and Fly Tying magazine is always worth a read. Perhaps with a view to tactics next spring, anglers in our WUF catchments will be interested to see an article by Ceri Thomas in the July edition. This is about Talybont Reservoir, a water which is rich enough to produce some superb brown trout, but which also has a well-earned reputation for being moody and difficult at times.
Let’s take a look at something different. Fox gloves have been in flower for a while, which means that it must be about sea trout time again. Lord knows we have been waiting to start. Early in June, by which time anglers almost everywhere had already begun praying for rain, we held our committee meeting of the Pontardulais club. Membership this year is slightly down, but we know quite well that a few more will join as soon as the sewin arrive in numbers into the river. I was out guiding last weekend with an American visitor and we stumbled across half a dozen or so sewin in a big deep pool. I watched them for a while and they clearly looked uncomfortable with the algae and the low, low water.
I’ve not seen the river so low for years and they reckon the Towy is worse! I hope the fish that are in the system survive. No news on any fish being caught. Everybody’s waiting for rain – then look out! It seems we will have to be patient a while longer while we wait for the drought to end. Trout and Salmon’s James Beeson recently interviewed Cyril Fox, the legendary gillie at Abercothi on the Towy and certainly a man to take advice from on sewin fishing. He made several points which certainly chimed with my limited experience.
Firstly he stated that successful sea trout anglers always lose lots of flies. Mr Fox likes a night with no moon, no mist and perfectly clear water. That’s an uncompromising statement, although most would agree with it. I have had the odd good fish in moonlight, but I certainly have had no luck at all in a mist. Perhaps there is something discouraging about the cold air conditions which create the mist in the first place, very likely to send the angler back to a warm bed.
While we are on the subject of problems with our rivers, it might be timely to mention the algal blooms which have caused us problems during this and other summers, particularly on the lower Wye. The reason for the increasing growths in free floating or filamentous algae during periods of sunshine is almost certainly the presence of high phosphate levels in the water. Anglers in this part of Wales, perhaps sensitized by the recent pollution of the Teifi, once bitten and twice shy, are keeping a careful watch on farming practices and the spreading of slurry on riverside fields. While waiting for the start of the short sewin season – it ends in September for me as then the serious grayling fishing starts – there is time for some reflection.
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In recent years at least, I have had that sense of opportunities missed. In the case of sea trout in particular, there is always that idea of a key to be found, a key which once turned in the lock will open the door to the most amazing catches. It was in 1921, that summer of record drought, that I first heard of Mr Bluett. I came home on leave from Constantinople, early in September, to find that everybody on the Tavy was talking about the wonderful success with sea trout at night of a young Cornish schoolmaster. If I remember right he had over 90 in the summer holiday. Bluett was essentially a night fly-fisherman at a time when that approach was not nearly as popular as today, and he eventually published his book after more than 30 years of experience on West Country rivers.
Many of his tactics fit with those we still use. Bluett’s big theory, however, unique as far as I can tell, was that he always had better results with a growing moon rather than a waning one. He produced a comprehensive catch list over one season, during which he fished for five evenings a week over four months, which does seem to prove his point that he was scoring much better catches during the new moon and the first quarter. I felt much more comfortable about my own fishing when I noted that Bluett, too, had quite a few blank nights.
However, looking back at my own records I can see nothing to confirm or deny Bluett’s contention. This is mainly because I don’t fish regularly enough and nor have I been at the game long enough or successfully enough to come up with any meaningful statistics. Finally note that Major Dawson, writing again in his introduction, highlighted the value of Bluett’s local dedication: “I am sure Mr Bluett is right in asserting that the man who sticks to one or two rivers until almost every stone is a personal friend will, in the vast majority of cases, be a better fisherman on these rivers than he who is forever changing his angling venue. RW Mountjoy’s The Sea Trout Diaries is a very different and rather romantic book which includes a description of a West Country childhood in a coastal fishing port and a West Country life in which sea trout fishing and the landscape of Devon and Cornwall have clearly played a big part.
It is in terms of spinning with a Mepps spoon that Mountjoy has produced diagrams to illustrate his own theory of sea trout fishing and the means of provoking a take, which should be just as valid for fly-fishing or for salmon fishing. Effectively, he proposes that there is a zone within which a migratory fish will be disposed to be annoyed by, and with luck attack, a small object coming close to him. On the other hand, in the case that the water is somewhat coloured, the visibility zone of the fish on station is reduced in size to something like the same size or even a smaller size than the annoyance zone. In this case, the first sight of the lure is its sudden appearance out of the murk, at close hand and within the annoyance zone, and the immediate response by the fish is to bite at it. I think I am at least half convinced by this theory and if you believe in it at all, there are lessons for the salmon as well as the sea trout angler. For example, when you are fishing a pool down and across with the traditional “wet fly swing,” if you wade down no more than a step per cast, effectively less than a yard at a time, any fish is going to get quite a few sightings of your fly gradually approaching from upstream before it comes within taking range.
There is another conclusion to be taken from this theory, which is that it explains the effectiveness of “backing up. What do you do when fishing a pool down if a salmon or sea trout shows behind you in water which you have already covered? Many would advise that you get out of the water, wait a spell and then get back in higher up and fish down to it again. The backing up trick can be particularly effective when sea trout fishing. The bottom there is all encumbered with rotten logs and silt, so you know well enough by feel when you have to stop.
There is a very different and much larger pool on the Towy near Llandeilo. We always fish the whole pool down, although we know the hotspots are likely to be the slowest, deepest part at the bottom end, or the wide shallowing tail immediately below. Let’s all now hope for rain, which will benefit every kind of fishing. May in an encouraging way with two big fish. On the 1st BG from Exeter sharing a rod with friend D had just 5 trout on nymphs from the upper Usk at Pantyscallog.
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However, one was a superb Usk specimen of 21. BG hadn’t been fishing for a while and Pantyscallog in the spring is a glorious setting. Altogether it must have been a happy day. The bank holiday weekend which followed was a bit of a shock, as a proper three-day heat wave arrived with the sun very high and bright and the water very clear.
Air temperatures reached the high twenties. Generally anglers reported that fly were hatching, but trout just weren’t interested and rises were few and far between. The nymph fishermen seemed to achieve better results, as had really been the case since this season opened. During the warm bank holiday weekend, quite apart from the usual paddlers, stone skippers and swimming dogs splashing around in anglers’ pools, we had some more “silly season” events. AS from Malmsey encountered a poacher spinning the little Bideford Brook – I have warned the owner about that one. CO from Swansea and a friend turned off two teenagers spinning at Dinas in the upper pool.
On the 12th, AS of Newent fished the Lugg at Litton and caught 16 trout to 12 inches, again on nymphs. Ashford House and, as a welcome change, reported using dry flies to catch 8 trout to 2 pounds. He suggested that the access to the lower end of the beat was difficult from the parking at the house itself, and that access from the road bridge at the top might work better. By the middle of the month, I had the impression that fishing conditions were starting to normalise. While out on the upper Arrow with a client on the 15th, a very hot and bright day without a cloud in the sky, it was noticeable that trout were rising in the shaded pools, but not in the ones exposed to the sun. As it was, we caught a few and there was no more need to use nymphs. The 16th was a much cooler day with full cloud cover and drizzly rain in the west of our region.
Now back to the trout fishing and for the rest of the month the reports came thick and fast! On the 16th RW from Portishead took 6 trout to 13 inches prospecting with dries on the Honddu at Half Moon. JM from Birmingham was using Haul y Gwynt, the traditional Sun and Wind fly, to take a brace from Llyn Egnant. On the 17th, PBM from Chipping Norton had a 15 inch fish in a bag of three taken with a small Rough Olive from Upper Longtown. By now long days of hot sunshine had resulted in most of our rivers having fallen relatively low.
I call proper mayfly weather in fact and good for most other hatches too. On the 30th DC from Worcester had remarks to make about the Lugg at Dayhouse, where it is not permitted to fish opposite the owner’s house. I’m slightly reminded of the Lugg at Lyepole, where anglers are strictly adjured not to fish opposite the holiday cottage when it is occupied. So ended our 2018 spring, a cold and difficult one to begin with, but with the trout fishing getting back into its usual stride by the middle of May.
We saw most of the expected river hatches, although once again the grannom were slightly disappointing this year. For those who like still-water fishing, there were some excellent buzzer hatches. You are out on the river having hooked into what feels like a very heavy fish and, after several minutes with the rod bent and vibrating with its lunges, on one of the turns you get a brief look at it for the first time. This is leading us to the important and rather lengthy subject of playing fish.