Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Drive Through Salmon

I had one of those days yesterday when there is a ton to do and each time you sort one thing another 10 are added to the list. But there was a break in the day for a meeting with the owner of Gilberts Lake. Lunch went down very well at Woods and then it was back to the office. By late afternoon the rain had really set in (there's a surprise) and although I was itching to cast a line on the Exe, my energy had been sapped and I was looking forward to the prospect of a cup of tea and a sit down. Crikey Nick ... come on ... your only 33!

A quick sneaky peak at my emails changed all that. There was a report of several fish caught on the top beat of the Exe Carnarvon water and as Neils guy was not keen to make his fly fishing debut in the evening rain I suggested we got the Salmon gear together quick sharp and headed to the river. As you can imagine he took little persuading and a quick call to my very understanding wife met with the reply that "I should not miss such a great opportunity". So the rest was up to us.



Parking in the Anchor Inn car park we looked over the bridge on the way to our stretch and the river looked perfect. In fact it looked about as good as I have ever seen it! Neil got going in Old Woman's run and I made haste for Old Woman's pool. This is a famous bit of water that yields plenty of Salmon but the pool is not all it seems and I was yet to unlock its secrets. Many anglers catch by stripping flies up through the deep water but this proved ineffective, even when I dunked my rod tip well below the water to get my intermediate down. So I started to work the pool conventionally, although this time I cast much shorter than usual so the fly dropped just inside the seam (an area where calm meets fast water). Not long after adopting this tactic the intermediate line was gliding through a very tasty looking flat spot that looked an ideal resting place for a Salmon when that awesome thud, thud and tightening of the line heralded another fish to a Kylie Conehead. The exact fly in fact that took this fish earlier in the season.



Near to a heaving rapid I locked down on the fish, put a serious curve in my 10'0" # 7 Hardy Demon (what a rod!) and pumped the fish up into the pool. I shouted several times for Neil who dashed down to find me working the fish hard. Every time it went for the tail of the pool I just locked the drag up confident that my 15lb leader could be tested to the full. Brilliant fun! Very quickly (5 minutes max) the cock fish was in the net, measured, photographed and released. At just under 30" this fish is around 10lb and although a coloured specimen it was in great condition and scrapped superbly. It went back fresh as a daisy and I was one very happy bloke!

Neils turn. He has fished hard this year and always hit it not quite right. Would this evening be different? He got back to the run and I thought I would give Old Woman's another bash just in case my fish had a mate waiting to sample the Conehead. I worked it but lets face it one Salmon in no more than 30 minutes fishing is not bad and it was definitely Neils turn! I was just thinking about heading to a pool called Stravers Pot to see if it was worth fishing when my ears picked up.Was that a faint call? I could only just hear it over the rapids but decided it was worth a look. Checking around the corner a seriously nice fish exploded from the water and I could see a leader and line connected to it! Neil was hooked up. His fish also scrapped very hard and we had a hairy moment or two as it took off in the hope of reaching the fast water entering Old Womans. But Neil lent on it and I got my trusty Mc Leans Net out and scooped it up at the first opportunity. Fantastic ... 2 awesome Salmon in just over an hours fishing!



We could have fished on but sometimes it is right to finish on a high and lay the rods down. This we did stopping at the Anchor Inn of course to celebrate. It would have been rude not to!

Today the rain is here as forecast but not as heavy plus there is very little wind. The fishing will be tough but Jim Pool relishes a challenge and so we are going to see if we can extract something. I love playing with tactics when the river says "unfishable". Guiding a fish in these circumstances is about as good as it gets, so here goes!!!

If you have the time and like your Salmon fishing be watching the water and get out there as soon as you can. We could feel the fish in the air last night. The silver tourists have arrived! Intermediates and Sinkers will work well with tubes, my favoured pattern as I seem to lose more fish on Doubles. Plus check out Henry Gilbeys Blog over the coming week or so as he will be in Norway with team Hardy after Atlantic Salmon. I would love to fish there for them but lets face it with fish like the ones above little more than 10 minutes from my office chair I can't really complain!

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