Thursday, 26 April 2012
Rain stops play?
The downpour continues this week. A nightmare keeping the camera dry, but the fishing has been really interesting with both bait and fly. I've been itching to find the canals clear for some fly sport, but to no avail just yet. I might be a bit of a romantic, but there's little point casting flies into chocolate coloured water- and some old school bait tactics were just the trick with fellow canal fan Russ Hilton. Using casters on the Grand Western, we found some formidable bream. The old stager I caught wasn't the prettiest, but awesomely dark and ancient looking. Being a male fish bang on 6lbs, this one was probably at least 15 years old. Russ did even better with the pole, taking a bream hat trick for a combined weight in excess of 15lbs! They fight more like tench than the usual sleepy old timers here too- just look at that long tail fin and you get an idea. One of the finest bream I've ever laid eyes on: The rivers are looking muddy too, but I still got my fly fix at Bratton Water near Barnstaple. A pretty water as it happens. Lacking the vast turnover of the really busy fisheries, the rainbows and browns here get well acclimatised and really key in to natural food. We saw a few sedges and buzzers hatching- including a real beast of a fly that a trout swirled at and missed twice. Ian Nadin was first to catch and the fish he took was spooned to reveal loads of caddis. My dad also made it out and was soon into a fish while I was busy missing them: Strange really, you go through the card and look for that killer fly- and in the end it's one of the simplest buzzers in your box that does the damage. I had my whole three fish bad all on buzzers fished across the breeze. Rocket powered fish they were too- and not bad with mustard sauce later on! So, rain has foiled one or two fly fishing plans, but you can always spend a rainy day at the vice. My arsenal for the season is already looking really varied. First up, I've been tying loch style flies for a short break to Scotland coming up: Stacks of enquiries on "Flyfishing for Coarse Fish" -and I've been blown away by the enthusiasm, support and questions sent. One common theme is which flies make the best all rounders for coarse fish. If you like dry fly sport (and it's not pissing it down with rain) you really can't go wrong with a little black Klinkhamer or emerger. This one's a size 16, tied in the parachute style- very practical, easily spotted and easily stolen by any self respecting roach, rudd or chub: Buzzers are another universal for so many fish species- but again, smaller is better for roach and rudd. This one's more trout scale at a size 10, destined for an afternoon on Chew and -touch wood!- some trout cruising the upper layers: For those who don't tie, or want to leave the hassle with someone else, don't be afraid to give me a shout. I seem to be tying more and more pike and coarse fish flies, especially in the sizes and patterns the shops don't sell.