Thursday, 21 February 2013

Last Minute Winners

 photo DSC_0491_zpse054165b.jpg I have a theory on current fishing. We can either make the final outcome the entire reason we bother, or we can make the process itself the reason we go fishing. I always believe it's the journey, as much as the goal. If the method you use is enjoyable in its own right, you will always have a good time. This is why techniques like lure and fly fishing are fun. The process itself is inspiring, whether you catch a few or a stack. This is also why spur of the moment trips are brilliant. I just couldn't resist fellow fly angler Charlie Hancock's invitation to jump in a car and take on some underfished pike.  photo DSC_0463_zps88f3a183.jpg Waders help when casting space is tight, but I also had a real eye opener when I saw Charlie set up a 14ft salmon rod. With a spey cast, he was getting a pike fly out a good distance even with trees slap bang behind his position. With the fish appearing to be further out however (possibly because of the recent cold snap), a borrowed boat also came in handy.  photo DSC_0582_zps8c602413.jpg Bites weren't frequent, this jack being my only taker, but Christ on a bike were we in for a surprise in a deep bay. We'd wondered what exactly was lurking when a couple of smaller pike bore big jaw marks. And then the answer was there with a vengeance, making his reel grind and spit out line like a child's toy in the presence of a monster! The fish went dead on twenty four pounds and he was just a little happy- from the picture you might wonder if he was so thrilled he intended to spawn with her before release!  photo DSC_0540_zps2bdf8249.jpg As bites dried up we formed a different plan for late in the day however. Hopping back in the car, we made the journey to Lechlade trout fishery for a final couple of hours in search of a big trout. So much for easy fishing on a stocked lake. The trout were fairly cagey, no doubt due to having seen many anglers aim flies in their direction. I tried teasing a damsel nymph in and I tried drifting a buzzer. Lures were flatly ignored. And so with time slipping away, I made the switch to a smaller, much subtler pheasant tail nymph. What a difference! A couple of little pulls were missed, before the line zipped away neatly.  photo DSC_0613_zpsfca8632e.jpgWhat began as a lazy fight then turned into a real punch up. Who says that big trout don't know how to pull back? For several minutes it was white knuckle stuff. If there's one thing even better than a goal, it's a dramatic late winner. The brown trout of ten and a half pounds in the net was not only weighty, but fantastically coloured- and it was my turn to grin like an idiot. I can't thank Charlie enough for his local knowhow and quality banter. This would have made the trip worthwhile alone. But those two brilliant fish made it perfect- enjoyable methods and cracking catches to boot.  photo DSC_0624_zpsdfb8d57b.jpg Just a final shout before I sign off is to remind all you Westcountry rods to join us at Mill on Exe on Tuesday 26th at 7:30. Barry McConnell, eel fanatic and top man, is our special guest. I also like him because he shares the same name as the Barry McConnell who once played up front for Exeter City FC and famously scored two goals to defeat Chelsea in a pre season match. Uri Geller was also there, but that's another, very odd story.

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