Thursday, 1 May 2008

Cracking Colliford

I met up early yesterday with Henry Gilbey to shoot a feature on Colliford. Leaving my house at just gone 5am I was amazed to be at this huge Brown Trout only venue by 6.30am including a stop for fuel and a slow start due to fog. As I arrived at the lake I could not believe the light, a huge Rainbow and blue sky. I should have taken a picture at that point but was far too excited at the prospect of some Brown Trout action tackling up as fast as I could! I ignored the ominous looking cloud heading our way and got down to business.



There was not another soul in sight so I had this huge venue and the Brown Trout that inhabit it to myself. The fishing is never easy on these wild fisheries. Expect to cover some ground so pack and travel light. Henry got his set up shots and we began fishing towards the North bank, making some casts, trying a few different retrieves and then moving a few yards. Not long into the session the cloud arrived .... big time! I don't think we have ever shot a feature in such incredible rain. Deluge was the right word!

But for all the wet and cold the fishing was superb and once again I found that Gold coloured patterns and Brown Trout go together like bread and butter. The sport was not thick and fast but using an intermediate and Gold Mini Humungus fished with varied retrieve soon got us into a lovely 1 1/2lb fish. The markings were quite simply stunning and these fish put up a very dogged scrap. Landing the Trout in torrential rain was easy for me but Henry had to work hard under his umbrella to get the shots he needed. One drop of rain on the lens and the shot is ruined. Certainly tough conditions but that made it all the more fun.

A fish in the bag always helps and so we worked even harder although all I received for my efforts was one very strong pull. I get twitchy if the fish are not taking and so started searching for an answer. Changing to a floater and mini booby on the top dropper with the Huey still on the point I wondered if the fish may chase a disturbance pattern. Half an hour in and nothing so I gave up on that and reeled in only to see a huge bow wave take chase! I tried for another 5 minutes following this, but nothing.

The rain continued and the wind blew ever harder but it was awesome to be out there, we certainly knew that we were alive (although Henry had started to mention cafes and coffee!) "No way" I said let's stick at it, "come on weather, do your worst!" Making a move away from the North shore and past the main car park I found a nice point to fish from and began considering the temperature drop. Back on with the intermediate and a slow figure 8 to allow the fly to get down. Bingo! A Brown hammered the Huey and once again scrapped away as the heavens threw everything it had at us.

I have a great deal of guiding coming up but I have to say that the very first chance I have I will be headed towards Colliford once more. Driving around the lake at the end of the day (see picture - it had stopoed raining!) I realised how little of the venue I have actually fished. There are some sexy looking bays near the dam for example. Why not try it for a change yourself? Rainbow Trout are cool of course but Browns are our indigenous game fish and personally I feel a huge connection with them. Right now I am away to the river with a guest which after a rise yesterday and temperature lift today could fish its socks off. Check out the blog to see what happens but if you have the chance today, pack the rods and get down to Coliford. You won't be disappointed.

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