It feels like I have not been out fishing for ages, and in point of fact it is about a month which is longer than I would normally have between outings but I have an excuse. Yes, there is the weather which has been a factor at weekends when I have the “time” to get out, but frankly, my house is a shit tip. There is no other way to put it!
Making a cup of tea, usually such a simple task, is currently a mammoth logistical exercise in Search and Recovery, Water and Energy sourcing, Hazard Avoidance and Continuity Planning. Yes people, the kitchen is currently in bits and there are essential tea components scattered round the house in different states of reachability. I blame my wife and turning 50 in 2020 for all this ( this was what she wanted for her birthday- an odd ‘present’ I thought but probably beats trying to get a holiday away somewhere in Covid times) , but that’s a topic for another time and blog. So extrapolating this on to less “essential” items, yes I am daring to suggest that fly fishing is of lesser importance than tea making….OK maybe that’s not entirely correct but in terms of frequency of occurrence, I definitely find myself making tea more often than fishing, sad as that may be. But much of my bulkier fishing gear spends it time in the garage when not in use, and the garage has been 50% of the storage space for the new kitchen components waiting to go in. The other 50% have been in the Living-room. I did say my house was a shit tip!
Kitchen parts in the Livingroom, don’t even ask to see the state of the garage!
This weekend we were finally at a state where I can (just-about) reach the back of the garage, sometimes I need to circumnavigate a cooker and lengths of worktop and sinks, but the fishing gear is just about reachable so fishing is now, once again, a real possibility.
Sunday turned out to be a reasonable morning, and I had to take advantage of the mild but showery conditions to catch up on a few much neglected garden tasks, but by early afternoon, I could see a window of opportunity ahead. Ok, so it wasn’t going to be a “full blown” river outing- much as I am dying to get out on the Grayling, but just getting somewhere to put a bend in the rod.
Enough Excuses- go fishing!
There was just enough time to get a few hours in at Swanswater so I recovered most of the gear I needed from the garage clutter, and headed down the road.
15 Fish!
Alastair informed me as I was getting a permit, that it had been fishing well and one angler who had just left had netted 15 trout! Wow! I knew my luck wasn’t going to hold though as I tackled up….
I had forgotten my tools, no nippers, no fly patch, no pliers, no forceps…. doubly frustrating as I know I had them in my hand at one point while getting my gear out.The wind suddenly started to gust, and it was to prove quite horrible and swirly for much of the afternoon.
Fortunately I did have an old pair of fly tying scissors in my jacket pocket ( I sometimes trim the bottom hackle off dries…so it shows the last time I was out was still warm enough to try them!)
There were a couple of boats out and an angler right by the dam wall where the wind was blowing right into your face. But I decided to take up position just up from here and then as I started fishing realised I knew the guy to my left, so got talking. Tim had been here a while and said that early on he caught three fish rapid fire and then nothing and that it was now very hard going. He also let me know that the chap with the 15 fish had been fishing along the dam wall and it appeared to be the hotspot. Swanswater can be a bit like this at times. The fish shoal up and one peg is the golden ticket, everywhere else has meagre pickings.
These guys in a boat seemed to be on top of the fish, as did the chaps on the bank by the wall.
I tried to fish on for a while but the wind was already starting to irritate me and I decided (probably not the best decision I have ever made) to head round to the Island in the hope that if fish were being pressured at the dam wall, they might head into the channel. At least I wasn’t fighting the wind now though at times it was no less troublesome as your back-cast was collapsed by a gust and you really weren’t sure if your flies were going to land on the water or wrap themselves around your head!
I never touched a fish. Meanwhile in the boat the two anglers there seemed to be regularly pulling fish in. One was fishing under a bung, the other seemed to be varying things a bit more but both were catching. For my part I stuck with fishing small lures, slightly larger lures, buzzers and Diawl Bachs all to no effect. The water was fairly brown from recent rain so I felt bigger probably wasn’t going to be harmful.
The boat with the anglers hammering the fish left and one of the Swanswater regulars in the other boat out, took their place. The angler had been notable in that I hadn’t noticed him touch a fish ( very unusual it needs to be said as I think he is there a lot) but immediately was into fish ( though I think I noticed him drop a few, as I also had with the others). Two other guys had taken up station on the bank by the dam wall and both of them were regularly catching. Most appeared to be fishing the bung.
Much as I hate it, I felt I was being pushed further towards that method to stand a chance of catching, and eventually I relented and tied on an Airloc with a cast of…well lets say, it really wasn’t pretty!
Still this did nothing for me though I was pretty sure the indicator did duck under though I never felt any fish when I took in the slack. I had about an hour left before my finish time and decided to see if I could manage to fish at the dam wall by the sluice, never an easy place to cast from at the best of times for a right hander, but harder still in this wind as its blowing the line right in towards you…and casting an airloc plus two Frankenstein flies plus a small red buzzer, is not the most aerodynamic delivery system….at least I hoped I would not need to cast far to reach deep water, and I could always cast backwards.
My second cast by the wall, worked! Though due to my own inattention I nearly blew that as well. As I was fishing my phone bleeped and I stopped to look see who was messaging me, it was my son, with a tale to tell, and for a second I was engrossed in this only to then realise I could feel the line pulling off over my leg( I had sat down for a break as I fished)….. yes a fish had taken and was swimming off. I struggled to get the line tight and was sure I had missed it but no it stayed on and finally I got a nice Rainbow of I would guess about three pounds, on the red buzzer.
The Rainbow took a buzzer, I have deliberately hidden the other flies I had on as I am so ashamed.
At last!
I fished on and a passer by ( another angler clearly from his conversation) stopped to regale me of his 11lb’er by the boat pier and other stories ( none of this was making me feel any better by the way!) and I am pretty sure I missed a couple of takes. However it has to be said, I had some strange “offers” where the indicator clearly started to move off and yet when I lifted there appeared to be nothing there, this happened more than a few times!
I did manage to hook one more fish….I cannot tell a lie my mind was wandering a bit when it decided to take….they really do know you know, and though I was able to stay tighter than I had previously to the fish, It splashed and got off.
I still had about 20 minutes to go when feeling a little wind-beaten and defeated by having to fish a bung, I decided to call it a day. Sometimes needs must and yes at least I had caught something but its not “really” fly-fishing is it?
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