Thursday, 22 May 2008

Trout 3 Ways

I was guiding Bob Harding today who has been a customer of the shop for some while now. For Christmas he received a gift voucher to spend a day with me learning how to river fish. A lifelong angler Bob has been into the still waters for a long while and his practiced casting technique confirmed this. But we can all learn something new, so while waiting for the river to warm up and a hatch to get going we spent a while chucking a line back and forth on the lake with a Greys Streamflex 8'0" #4. A few overheads, rolls and sides later and it was away to Bend Pool, a favoured spot of mine on the truly awesome river Exe. To have such a fantastic river on our doorstep is a privilege and although I have guided many of its beats hundreds of times over the years I never tire of it.

Stringing up a tapered leader the East wind we have been experiencing over the last few weeks was still with us but a little less ill tempered. Our first method was dry fly, consisting of a parachute Olive knotted to just 2lb leader. Carefully Bob made his way upstream, getting to grips with the unusual process of retrieving line in time with the flowing river, rather than having to animate the flies stillwater style. As is often the case he missed the first take which was typically lightening fast! But soon afterwards we landed a palm sized Brown followed by this 10 inch "specimen", that snaffled one of my home tied Klinkhammers without hesitation. We fish this fly so often; so often with results.

River days are a great deal of fun and to be honest in many circumstances a dry fly fished upstream will catch a lot of fish, but while out for the day I like to show people as many techniques as possible, so having fished the morning out we headed back to the river with a 10'0" #5 Hardy Marksman outfit to fish short lined nymphs and dries in fast water. This is becoming a favoured technique of mine and when its working (which is most of the time!) the results are devastating. We took 3 fish in the morning, within 5 minutes of starting the afternoon session Bob caught 1 fine Brown in the 10 inch bracket that took the dry, followed by 3 escapee Rainbows (all taken back to the lake!!!) on a Black Birds Nest Nymph. Before we left the pool Bob also added a Grayling plus some more Trout to his score.

Finally we took off upstream to complete the day with a New Zealand Dropper, but alas the sport was over as a cold wind kicked up and the fish went of the feed. Heading back to the shop Bob was champing at the bit to buy some gear and get out on the rivers, after all this was his first ever day on flowing water and at 68 years old he has some catching up to do! Making use of our "try before you buy facility" we played with a variety of rods before finally settling on the Hardy Demon, a product that is impressing me daily and one of our top selling rods of all time.

The short lining game has really bitten me; it is such an amazing way to present flies with a drag free drift. So much so, Henry Gilbey and I took off for Badgworthy yesterday, a river that I reported on recently. We got a long way up, but still not as far as I want to go and so very soon I will be heading up to find the source and some of the leviathans that I believe inhabit these head waters. It is always cool working with the stunning fish that these moorland stream provide a home to. Check out Henrys pictures here, isn't that one of the most beautiful Browns you have ever seen? Palm sized it may be, but size has nothing to do with a day on these heavenly moorland streams. Go for the solitude, adventure and challenge. Where else can you get such a buzz for a fiver?

Just to confirm how deadly short-lining is I had another note from Tim Watson this morning titled "Shortlining conquers Dartmoor".

"Just a quick note to thankyou for the advice about fishing on the upper West Dart.
You may not remember, but you suggested we try fishing on the West Dart above Two Bridges. Despite a cold East wind, we both caught well using short lining up through the pot holes. The river is small this high up, but it still holds a decent head of fish in the 8-10" size."

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