Friday, 10 September 2010
If I had to choose just one species of fish on one method... I couldn't do it and would probably just go mad. It's impossible. There simply isn't the time for even half the fishing I would love to try. Given a choice however, I'd say that a fly rod is about as much fun as it gets.
No military preparation or ton of tackle required- just simple kit and a bit of thought. With just a little scrap of summer left I've been back on the coarse species- first of all carp. Yes, they take dog biscuit type flies. But I'm more intrigued by using snails and other natural patterns:
Are they as efficient? Probably not. But the process is somehow more rewarding. Both Millhayes and Padbrook Park have proved good fun in the last few weeks.
Better value still is the canal, where roach and rudd continue to provide great sport on dry flies. Some days the wets work better- but lately little parachute style emergers are even more effective. A light tippet is a must though(2lb or so), for this approach which is surprisingly selective. A small fly landed gently, just in front of but not too close to a moving fish, is often taken without hesitation. The art is in making it look like something edible has just dropped in the drink. Again, it's not brutally efficient but a lovely way to pick off some nice fish:
These leisurely little sessions are great, but bigger excursions have also been calling in the desperate push to get features covered. A bit of a discovery this week too- you would be hard pressed to find a more beautiful small stillwater than Tinhay Lake (below), near the famous Arundell Arms hotel.
The grown on rainbows at this flooded quarry are fantastic fish- stupendously fit and fresh looking. Even better, the way to get them is often with emerger buzzers and dries. Local guide and former angling Editor Tim Smith was a great help in taking some shots and also passing on his intimate knowledge of this cracking water. Long, degreased leaders were a must on a calm day after fussy fish. We managed some smaller but nonetheless stunning rainbows, but my most vivid memory of the day remains a lost fish that sprinted an outrageous thirty yards across the lake, taking me into the backing in jaw dropping style before coming adrift. So much for the cliches of trout fishing as a sedate pastime! The Arundell Arms is well worth a call- the lake is booking only, but well worth a visit (www.arundellarms.com). Look out for the feature this autumn in Total Flyfisher. A big thanks to Tim for taking some pictures and being so helpful- as you can see below, you won't find finer looking rainbows anywhere in the Westcountry:
Less sedate is perhaps my most unlikely recent haunt, the urban River Exe, the subject of my Angling Times story this week. Empty tinnies and concrete... but also leaping salmon and some surprisingly rewarding fishing for a whole range of species. Exeter based reprobates will recognise the spot instantly (and probably steer well clear!):