Monday, 29 November 2010

Flies and Ice on the Severn

The temperature having turned from "brrr it's a bit cold" to "sodding freezing", the classic advise usually suggests that fishing is a bad idea. But is it really so? Admittedly, you might have to change plans- and in my case, a trip to Rutland quickly became an impossibility. Cue a hastily planned gamble on the River Severn.
Desperately cold, yes, but the river still looked tempting and clear enough to fly fish, a fact soon confirmed by one or two pulls on a deeply worked baitfish pattern. Pike were first to arrive- followed by perch and zander. Not hectic fishing, but rewarding enough and perhaps fly fishing is not so mad on a freezing river after all?
The slow, subtle presentation of a fly proved especially useful for the pike, with one slack area producing an almighty "thunk" on the fly line. Curious fighters these winter pike- slow, heavy pressure at first, before a real surge of power as they wake up and really take offence.
The fish was immensely long for its weight- and another of similar size came adrift the next day. All the fish were tempted on a fast intermediate line, using flies tied with dumbell eyes to fish point upwards best to search deep, snaggy areas. With the temperature ducking right down to -4C it was necessary to keep clearing the ice from rod rings- credit also to Russ Hilton who soldiered on too, catching his first ever zander in the process. Local knowledge was also important however- and we owe a big thanks to Jim Smith, a real gentleman, not to mention a passionate and highly knowledgable predator angler. By the by, Jim will also be at our monthly Pike Anglers Club meet in January to give a talk.

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