Friday, 9 May 2008

Dry Run Sea Trouting

I have had a couple of nights Sea Trouting now. The first was guiding Tim & Tony who have just spent the last few days with me on various rivers including the Exe, Badgworthy Water & Barle. They return in August to try and net themselves a grand slam ... this is our equivalent of the famous saltwater slam comprising a Bonefish, Tarpon & Permit all in one day. Later this year we will be attempting a Brown Trout (possibly a Grayling), followed by a Sea Bass in the afternoon and then a Sea Trout in the evening. It would be great to add a Salmon but maybe this is asking a little too much of the guys!

We caught up at the Anchor Inn for a meal and then headed down to a fantastic stretch of the Mole (as this day time picture by Henry Gilbey shows) that I manage along with two other friends. This is top Sea Trout water but at this time of year the expectation is to make a few trips fish-less in the hope that a big fish finally takes hold as the large specimens often run during the early season. Tim & Tony were therefore in deep but both coped very well in the enclosed conditions, double speying their way down one of the well known pools.

It takes a while to adjust to the conditions but by the end of the session I was confident that we were fishing the water effectively. We returned without any fish as the air temperature suddenly dropped, but this was after a few hours spent fishing under a beautiful star lit sky. By the time they return the river will be in a very different state and the fish will be running; look out later in the year for a full grand slam report!

Last night I spent the evening on the Mole myself and took the chance to fire up the Corrado and make the short drive to the river. I met up with Andrew Maund who is part of the syndicate with me and owner of the Exe Valley Fishery. Don't tell him I said so, but Andrew is one hell of a Sea Trout angler and I have learnt a lot of the techniques I use today through evenings spent fishing with him. Although there are a couple of superb pools that we know hold Sea Trout, this year we intend to explore more as in fact the whole river has massive potential. So just below Sandmartin I watched as Andrew set off down a new stretch while he provided a constant commentary regarding where we should fish and how many fish he was going to catch! Anyone who has fished with Andrew will know what I mean, but in fact it is very helpful. As I said in a recent post, never be too proud to learn from your fellow angler.

Once he was down the pool I waded in an began fishing myself. There is something about Sea Trouting; it is just electric. Every cast I expect that explosion of anger as a fish realises its mistake. A fish splashed close to Andrew and I called "Fish On?". "No, a bugger just moved, very close to my line", he replied. "Their here then" I said. All fell silent, this is Sea Trouting.

Steadily I continued but as I neared the area where the fish had moved I slowed, allowing the Rio Midge Tip a bit more time to sink. Several casts in and nothing, in fact I was almost out of the pool when the fish hit me ... hard! The rod bucked ... and then fell slack. This is also sometimes Sea Trouting. But the lost fish didn't matter, I had hooked up and felt that moment of euphoria when the line snaps tight and an invisible force pulls line from the reel. We fished on for another hour but with the rain belting down and no other signs of fish we set off for home keen that in just a few weeks the wonderful evening silence will every now and again be disturbed by the sound of a screaming reel. I can't wait.

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