24 hours on from casting for 8 hours solid… my arm felt as if it was hanging off last night! But I felt really good… Smug? Very likely!
It has been half-term, the kids have been off and for a variety of reasons the week was a bit of a non-event… sadly boys like staring at screens like the one I’m looking at now, rather than taking fresh air into their lungs and doing something active… anyway the end of the week arrived and they were deposited at have gone to their dad’s for the weekend and we decided to go to my in-laws overnight so that my wife could spend some time with her folks. This is where I make all you folks out of their jealous… my wife asked if I wanted to fish for the day at a location near her parents. Happy as a pig in muck as the saying goes!
I was looking forward to trying out a variation on a theme I’d tied the day before. Many will know that I’m the fan of the bucktail deceiver and have tied many variations of it… I think I now have the mix right and am now playing with alternative colour ways and volumes of material… Black is the new orange. The perfect mix is… long cock saddle hackles, bucktail and flash material. I have had some of Toby Merigan’s Funky Flash for a while and incorporated it into the latest tying… all I can say is that it is fab stuff to tie with and highly mobile in the water.
So armed with two rods one with an intermediate line and the other with a floating line I set forth for the fishery… I was there early, early enough to start at 0730… sadly the bailiff wasn’t – hey ho I started at 0800hrs.
Primarily a trout fishery but with pike in as a bonus species to tidy up the sickly and not well handled trout, my personal view is that the trout are the “by” catch here!
I chose what the trouters feel is the best casting area and it didn’t disappoint with numerous trout of 1lb to 1.5lb following the pike flies in… so it was the right pattern for the day then!
I moved around the lake to see whether I could see any pike signs and with the prevailing wind to my back I decided to cast into the top corner… had a number of follows on the floating line but no takes. I decided to change tactics and go for the intermediate line spooled on the Abel reel on my favourite rod… “Caledfwlch” – the Harrison 9/10 weight medium/fast action rod. I cast to the corner then counted down allow the fly to hit the kill zone! I then retrieved with a reasonable speed and few pauses. My second cast and a long count followed by a swift retrieve gave me what I wanted… a hit. I new I was into a rainbow as I saw the red cheeks and pink flank glint in the watery autumnal sun. Frankly no match for the rod and the almost 3lb ‘bow was in photographed and put back.
Call this coincidence but just maybe the taking of a trout woke up the main characters in this blog… the pike. 3rd or 4th retrieve and the hit was a solid hard hit. Instantly recognisable as the strike of a pike and I was in! The pike gave a better than average account of itself and decided to go deep on a few occasions. I have so much confidence in the rod that I can bully a well hooked pike to coming in early to the net. At 6lbs I watched this pike recover in the salmon net and then gently slipped it back and with a whoosh of the tail it was gone…
All went quiet for a time and the wind picked up and it grew colder… getting bored with trying to get another trout in and having lost a bigger pike I decided to move on!
The opposite corner was challenging as it required casting into and across the wind… it was blowing a good 18mph at this stage… gusts probably more. I spotted some big trout in the shallows and decided that I cast a line to the far bank in the hope of a pike loitering with intent. My second cast was perfect – that doesn’t often happen! It was across the corner and I stripped back… half way back the fly was absolutely nailed by another rainbow. It was a lovely sight and the weight surprised me… a little over 4lb… I was chuffed.
I did give it all that I could and cast on until the light faded… we had a few more takes but they accounted for nothing.
A good day on a new fly that is equally at home with trout as well as pike!