Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Seductive Sea Trout

Its been busy at the fishery over the last few days as children break up from school and families begin their holiday in this magnificent part of the world. There has been lots to do in the shop amongst the guiding but migratory fish have got to me this year and so I have been enjoying as many sessions as possible. Sea Trout are the perfect fish in every way for me basically because I can catch them after work during dark and both my kids are teething right now!

On Monday night Neil and I enjoyed a session in far from perfect conditions; a near full moon and clear sky. We like it as dark as possible for these fish, then they seem to take better. But that's the great thing about fishing. Nobody makes the rules. We arrived on the Mole in plenty of time to survey the scene but all looked quiet. We sat about and put the world to rights while waiting for darkness to fall but by 10.30pm there had not been much of a change. Looking up into the sky above there was not a cloud to be seen and so we decided it was time to get going before the night had ebbed away. I love the first 2 hours of a Sea Trout session, they can be electric. Miss this witching hour and you could be looking at a blank or a very late night/early morning! Dawn is another productive time, Sea Trout are very active during light changes.

Neil got going on the well known "Island Pool" while I tried out a new pool that has been cleared just this year for fishing. Requiring a rope and a little abseiling to get there I eased into the water which was still pushing through despite the fact that the floods subsided a while ago. My instinct said the floater on my Hardy Demon Reel was wrong and so I pulled out the Midge Tip instead. This is an awesome Sea Trout line and also amazing on still waters; the perfect nymphing/buzzer line. The original version by Rio is still the best and you can buy them here.

The leader is 10 ft of 10lb line. I often fish 15lb because some real heavyweights run the river but as it was not truly dark I opted for the lower diameter material and my all time favourite Sea Trout fly; The Loxy. Just casting at night is an adrenalin rush and after reports that many fish were running the river my expectations were running high. The atmosphere when Sea Trout fishing is just electric. But 30 minutes in and not a pull. I continued working the river, getting the fly in close to the opposite bank and yearning for the moment when an invisible force takes hold. A sudden snatched take awakened me, definitely a Sea Trout but it had taken short. This spurred me on but again it went quiet.

Another half an hour later I was to enjoy 5 minutes of fishing that I will never forget. Fishing on the dangle (the line straight below me, almost ready to recast) I got an arm wrenching pull. So hard the rod almost went in. Next cast and a fish was on, but then off. Cast 3 and yet another fish smacked into the fly, so close and so hard the fly pinged back over my head into the vegetation above! I retrieved the fly and another 2 consecutive casts were met with savage takes but no Sea Trout. My heart was pounding! I tried a couple of different flies, larger and smaller to see if I could get a fish to stick, but nothing, not even a take.

All went quiet. But I was confident and so when a tap, tap signalled some interest I decided in split seconds to do something I rarely do when fishing for any migratory species; I struck. The result was a small Sea Trout (often referred to as a peal in the West Country) which launched itself into the air and proceeded to dash and dart all over the river before being captured by my camera and than gaining its freedom again. Again all went quiet. This is what is so awesome about night Sea Trout fishing, the tranquility and then the high octane action. A perfect blend.

Another school peal followed a while later and was released. Shortly afterwards I was into the top of island pool. Meeting up with Neil I was hoping to congratulate him on his first Mole Sea Trout. But so far he had only got one take for his efforts, which is far better than I managed during my first outings on the Mole. It took me 3 attempts to even get a take, let alone a fish! Island Pool is great but tricky and Neil had only just seen it a few hours before (in the dark!) so I suggested we head to Sandmartin Pool, which is more open and easier to read. By now it was 1.00am.

Setting Neil off down a prime section I went in lower but with a chill in the air and the moon reflecting on the water I did not expect much. Ten minutes later Neil hooked a fish but sadly after all his effort it got off! I was luckier landing another Peal shortly afterwards and then it was time to head home. Arriving back at base around 3am I found Sue had only just settled the kids after they had awoken throughout the night with teething pains. Ah, the joys of Sea Trouting!

The CLA Gamefair is around the corner so I won't be able to get my Sea Trout fix for a few days. I shall be making up for it next week! Check out my next post for details regarding my demos at the CLA and also news about the Hart Flyshop Open Day.

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