Saturday, 21 July 2012

Miles Away

Photobucket I've finally experienced it. Walked and cast it. Enjoyed that day of summer heat and rising fish I've waited so long for. The canals have been calling me back for lengthy walks and hours spent squinting at the clear water looking for fish. They might not be the most illustrious waters for big fish, but I find the whole process so utterly absorbing. You really never know what you'll see or catch next. Peter Higgins, who took the picture above, found this out by catching a chunky rudd on a small streamer aimed at perch. I almost returned the favour by catching a perch on a tiny wet fly. Photobucket Dour weather doesn't make fly fishing impossible- but it becomes so much easier to spot the fish when it's bright. When the sun suddenly comes through the clouds, it's rather like someone flicking the light switch in a dim room. Fish start appearing everywhere and you can study them at leisure. The behaviours of roach and rudd are seldom written about in much detail, but I find them fascinating viewing. The fish in the above picture were hanging around clumps of floating debris and literally pulling it apart. They make great sucks and then twist backwards to tear off pieces to eat. One small fish in this scene went swimming off with a piece of weed it's own length. Undoubtedly they also devour any small creatures dislodged in this grazing activity- indeed sometimes there are little flurries of excitement as the fish spot something amidst the salad!- and a fly placed gently on the edge is often grabbed instantly. Photobucket With the fish so high in the water, I simply had to try small dries- and a size 16 Beacon Beige proved successful. I caught several and missed several, walking for miles in the process and switching flies every so often. I'm easily distracted you might say. I tried and failed to hook a bream feeding right under my feet. I spotted what looked like a lovely 2-3lb hybrid only to strike too early and pull the fly out of its mouth. Photobucket I might have just written a book on fly fishing for coarse species, but I'm still always learning whenever I stop to observe fish. The bigger roach can be especially challenging, as they hang deeper than their shoal mates. I've been picking out a few by using gold beaded flies- albeit 16s and 18s. One common roach behaviour is to see them tilted downwards at an angle, just hanging there. Are they dozing? Trying to look inconspicuous? They look apathetic, but if a tiny gold bead shrimp or similar tweaked gently on their eye level sometimes makes them snap out of their temporary slumber. This beautiful fish of a pound and a quarter did exactly that- unable to resist the sudden appearance of a wet fly teased past: Photobucket

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