Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A spanking on the Skirfare!

We'd heard that the trout of the river Skirfare were skittish, but when Rob and I decided to have a day on the Arncliffe water run by local pub The Falcon, we weren't totally prepared for the humbling experience which was to follow! Despite recent rains, the river had already started to fall back low and although there were signs of feeding fish, they were bloody difficult to approach and almost impossible to fool and a full day's exertions yielded only one small fish each!
A tributary of the Wharfe, this picturesque little river flows through some of the most stunning countryside that the north of England has to offer. Verdant green fields contrast with brooding limestone escarpments above and in Arncliffe, the valley of Littondale has one of the area's most unspoilt villages for sure. The Falcon Inn is one of the most old fashioned pubs I've ever set foot in - like time has stood still since the early 1900's - and is all the better for it. Landlord Robin Miller serves your pint of bitter from a jug, his wife serves excellent sandwiches and pies, and in the lounge room, a fishing journal dating back to the late seventies catalogues the daily returns on the Skirfare, with local author Laurence Catlow featuring prominently. Apparently, 40-odd quid gets you a bed for the night, evening meal, breakfast and a days fishing - now that has got to be worth investigation!
After a tough morning and a couple of lunch time pints, an even more gruelling afternoon was spent upstream of the village in search of rising fish (there weren't many). Any fish we did see melted away at the merest sign of our presence and we retired knackered at around 6pm, soundly beaten and a bit dispirited.


Bloa said...

What an Enjoyable blog. I've been meaning to go up to the Skirfare for the last couple of seasons, and will definitely do so this year, May/June time. Hopefully timing my outing with the emergence of the E.danica.
Not having seen the river up close, Im wondering whether I would have a greater chance of success going short, 7'4 weight with a 6.5ft leader. Or using a 9'4 weight, with an 11ft leader?
It sounds like you had difficulty getting close.
Would the shorter one be better suited above the village, and the longer below?

Matthew Eastham said...

Thanks for the comment. I think the key is to catch it with a bit of water - fining off after a spate. When it drops low and clear, the fish are as nervy as any I have seen and you would need to go after them with a long leader. Your second outfit sounds the best bet, although as you say, a short rod would be useful amongst the trees above Arncliffe.