Sunday, 25 May 2008

Sexy Sea Trout

They are here!!! Friday night was a very cool night, in fact so was the day. I was guiding Nick Mansfield and Stuart Jebb who I have looked after in the past, helping them last year to their first Bass on Fly. This time the guys had hoped to tackle Salmon but the low water conditions meant that the chances were slim. I like to provide my guests with the very best opportunity for fish action and so advised that perhaps a session of Sea Trout fishing would give them a chance of a migratory fish. Casting tuition and going through the motions is fine but lets face it the object of the whole exercise is to catch a fish!

Heading off to the Mole by late morning my first job was to touch up Stuarts Spey casting while teaching Nick from scratch. This cast is so useful and many assume that they are difficult to master, but in fact Speys casts are just change of direction rolls. The weather was outstanding and with all the fishing rising, many to Mayfly I wondered whether we should have packed the Trout kit. But we had a job to do, so we cast and then visited the pools we were going to fish that night. Disturbance must be kept to an absolute minimum when Sea Trout fishing but I do believe visiting the site of your fishing prior to a night session is imperative. It is amazing how things look so totally different in the dark.

Through the day I watched as both Stuart and Nick improved their casting, eventually ending up on a couple of Salmon pools, flies tied on, just in case there was a late springer about. The real purpose however was to imagine how it would feel to be casting and fishing during the dead of night. One of the best ways of doing this is to shut your eyes during the day, then cast and allow the line to fish. They call it "visualisation" and it works!

By late afternoon I was happy that the guys were ready so I left them to head back to Ashwick House and visited the shop to prepare for the evening ahead. Sea Trout fishing (in fact all fishing) is about preparation so final checks completed the truck sat poised for another journey to my beloved River Mole. Meeting up with Nick and Stuart by 8.30pm we were slightly concerned that the skies had cleared a little after the warm day we had experienced. I love cloud and warm air temperatures for Sea Trouting, my confidence soars in these conditions. After a brisk stroll to the first pool we were delighted to see a large bank of cloud heading our way that thankfully did not cascade upon us. The air temperature was constant, the trees darkening as the sun lowered and the anticipation was at an all time high. Is there anything better?

Climbing into the water I was amazed how dark the run we were about to fish looked. Just a few days back I had been on the same beat with my friend Mike Boniface when a full moon meant that we could walk back to the car without torches! Tonight we could hardly see our hands in front of our faces. In fact while moving between the guys during fishing I had to call to check they were not to close to one another, that's how dark it was! Nick was first down the pool and showing great confidence. During the day he really chilled out after some tuition and had a consistent double Spey cast that was presenting the fly to the far bank. After a few casts I left Nick and set Stuart along down the pool. I was helping him when there was a shout from Nick ... "I think I have got something!" Rushing down with the net I was puzzled as this fish seemed big, certainly not a small wild Brown and yet it had not jumped. Sea Trout almost always jump! Coaching Nick to stay calm and let the fish take line if it needed it the close range fight came to an end when I took a net shot at a splash. I had been looking for a silhouette of a silver fish, but could see nothing and was loathed to use the head torch for fear of spooking any fish still lying in the pool.


Heading to the bank for unhooking I turned away from the pool to survey Nicks catch and was gobsmacked when I saw what was lying before us. What a river the Mole is, look at this fish. A Wild Brown Trout of close to 2lbs if not over! What a result. Not a Sea Trout but a very worthy catch which was safely returned after some snaps. It was not long before Nick was back casting in earnest.



It didn't seem long, perhaps 10 minutes and as Nick neared the hot spot a huge shout went up. With a thunderous splash this time Nick had not hooked a Brown, there was no doubt that this was a Sea Trout. The fight was typically explosive, big jumps, hard runs and all at night! The sound of heavy breathing could be heard for miles around as the Hardy Demon Rod did everything it could to tame the beast while the drag on our Greys GTec Reel proved as reliable as ever. Nick played the fish faultlessly and as the apparition appeared in front of me I scooped it up letting out a small war cry in the process. Nick, a first time ever Sea Trouter had done it from beginning to end. The effort had been worth it and this spectacular fish was his prize. Even better he was keen to release the fish after a few pictures.


We continued fishing into the night and I concentrated on Stuart, willing a fish to take. It happened in an area that has produced frequent fish over the last few years, but sadly the fish did not stick. Later on that night Nick hooked another that also slipped the hook. Even so our mission was completed and the drive home all be it at gone 2am was easy, the adrenalin had not ebbed! Within a few hours we were back on the same river but this time had swapped the Sea Trout flies for something a little more sedate, casting to Wild Browns with nymphs and dries.

There is nothing like Sea Trout fishing; its a mystical, adventurous and exciting . The throb of a huge fish cannot be explained , you have to experience it. So much so Nick and Stuart are booking up again for another chance at this majestic species that right now are highest on my list of must have fish. In fact perhaps I will swap the sofa for the river tonight, lets face it, there is no contest!

1 comment:

  1. Nick,

    A big thank you Nick for providing me with my first (and hopeflly not my last) Sea Trout, it was the wildest fishing kick ever!! It is certainly a big credit to you that you could teach me to spey cast in the morning to the extent that I felt fully confident to tackle the river that same night. And yes it was really dark!

    The River Mole is a most beautiful river which takes on a mystical allure at night which provided me with a really special memory.

    So, thanks again Nick, I will never forget the slap the Sea Trout made re-entering the water fighting against the line, a true night-time duel and really the most fantastic adrenalin rush ever!!

    The only problem Nick is how can you outdo this experience on our next guided adventure with you?

    Nick Mansfield

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