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 Post subject: here's what I get up to when swffing is off the menu!
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 11:53 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2007 4:19 pm
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Location: Cardiff
Monday 3rd May 2010

It didn't bode well. Looking at the tugging of the trees and plants in my garden from the comfort of my living room, it was very evident that the weathermen had once more managed to get the wind-speed wrong by a magnitude of at least 2. And it was from the north, which would mean it whistling straight down the river with little shelter; more than enough to send a flimsy 2wt line sailing back towards it's sender. I've fished the river a few times with a brisk, cooling northerly, and each time it's been a struggle, but as always the eternal optimist in me won through, and I decided to chance it for a few hours.

I was mildly encouraged, as I drove down the lanes, by the sheer volume of insects hurling themselves to oblivion on the windscreen of my car. Indeed when I arrived at the car park by the river, there was a veritable smörgåsbord wafting about the air over the water, and looking upstream, fish were rising with gusto. Hm. Perhaps this wouldn't be so bad after all.....the sun's out, the fish are feeding and the river looks alive with...well...life.

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Spring has finally taken hold

I kitted up, and heeding Mike N's observations emailed to me the night before about the previous afternoon's results, I tied on the same parachute hares ear emerger that had produced well for Mike (and indeed had been the single most effective fly of the entire summer last year).

I stepped carefully into the water and eased upstream to within casting distance of the first rises - they were slurpy, lazy affairs, but I couldn't see what it was they were after. I launched my first cast...which was promptly picked up by a belligerent gust of wind, and folded back towards, me managing to get the fly caught in the leader loop. Rats. I tried again, and this time the wind tossed it to one side and with vindictive accuracy, into the one single hanging frond of bramble available, where it stuck fast. Ah. It was going to be one of those days.

I fiddled about for a while trying to present the fly to fish who were certainly confident, but irritatingly disinterested in what I had to offer. Creeping upstream I placed the fly again and again on the risers but to no avail. I briefly tried changing patterns to an olive para adams, but just didn't feel confident with it (you know, that "feeling" you get that tells you that's just not going work, so you fish it sort of half-heartedly for a while before giving up and cursing the wasted time). I even changed to a small PTN, and whilst that did quickly pick up a nice grayling, again it was without a sense of accomplishment, as I enjoy dry fly fishing far more.

Eventually the vegetation behind me cleared, exposing the high bank directly to the edge of the fields beyond. As the breeze dropped, and the sun's warmth grew a little more noticeable, I sat on a low ledge and watched for a while as the plops and splishes continued. Then I suddenly found myself surrounded by a swarm of what looked like Hawthorn flies, blowing off the field behind me. Nothing ventured, I thought, and rummaged about in my chest pack for my less than impressive collection of flies. Lo & behold, within the little box I had a couple of size 16 black paras tied up 'hawthorn style' complete with nice trailing knotty back legs.

Well, the effect was instantaneous, and the fly was enthusiastically engulfed by a nice sized grayling that put up a good show on my little 6ft 2wt. It was followed almost immediately by another, and another. This was more like it! I moved up through the grayling shoal, racking up a good many landed fish, but where were the Trout? The answer was forthcoming; behind a couple of boulders, by a steeply cutaway bank, there was an energetic swirl and splash, betraying the whereabouts of a reasonable fish. The cast was spot on, and the little white tuft of the fly tracked perfectly over the ambusher, who couldn't resist it's buggy charm. The take was robust, and the fish was not happy at having been deceived, charging up and down the little river, shaking it's head madly. I scooped the net under it and was absolutely delighted to see a lithe, handsome trout, not big (they generally aren't monsters, but that's not why I fish for them....they're perfect and wild as wild can be) but stunningly beautiful and in pefect condition.

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In the net

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Look into my eye...

He was briefly admired and set free, but the little run hadn't disgorged all it's offerings yet, and just a few feet upstream another, smaller trout fell to the little black hawthorn, and virtually tail-walked across the river to my grasp.

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And so it continued up the river for another 50 metres, the hawthorn flies bimbling and dipping through the air all around, skittering across the surface in a deadly dangerous game of chicken. But the air didn't belong to them alone. As I approached one of my favorite little sections, a fast and writhing run, bashing against rocks on the far bank before serenely easing into a roiling and gradually slowing teardrop-shaped pool, other larger insects were emerging. I'm no entomologist, and no doubt a great legion of you will click your tongues and say "well, that's obvious....", but all I can say was, there was quite a few of these olivey things!

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My lovely little pool didn't disappoint! In fact, it was as good as it's ever been, and I was frankly amazed at how aggressively the fish took the fly as tumbled down the narrow, boulder lined channel. A superb, feisty grayling and two further two trout took me up on my dinner offer.

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Something was lurking at the font of the run. It rose twice before finally hitting the fly and there was no doubt that this was a good fish. I struck and connected, and my rod instantly thumped downwards as the fish surged off. I got a good look at it as it tore off past me downstream, and another look as it went back up again....a trout to truly be proud of! And no doubt I would have been if the hook hadn't parted company and catapulted backwards over my head under the tension before lodging itself high in the tree behind me. Nuts. I wiggled the rod and tugged the line a bit before slowly becoming aware that I was being watched. I turned my head and lowered my eyes and had my gaze met by the resident impertinent Mink that I've encountered before. He's a handsome chap and big, as mink go, and he does seem to show up when I'm making a fool of myself. He watched for a while, not 10ft from me on the other bank, then sauntered off, presumably when it became apparent I wasn't going to do anything else funny.

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I get self-conscious with an audience...

Finally I wandered up a little further to the convergence of two streams, which has held some nice fish in the past. But here, the wind decided it had given me enough leeway for the afternoon, and came shoving through, funneling down the two channels and ruining my somewhat suspect targeting systems. I missed a couple of rises and then, by attempting to get too close, spooked a fish I hadn't spotted and no doubt put his chums down too. Oh well. I decided whilst I was there to do a little pruning of some irksome trailing branches. As I did so I suddenly found myself in an incredibly isolated shower, which upon further inspection, turned out to be emanating from a squirrel in the tree above me, which had evidently had several pints at lunchtime. I made a hasty retreat from this unwelcome cascade, and not a moment too soon as the squirrel then decided that, having gone to this much trouble so far, he may as well complete the set. I'm fairly certain that had I not put the fish down myself, a rodent evacuating it's bowels from 40ft up over their heads would have done the trick nicely.

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Charming....

That seemed to be a sensible note upon which to call it a day, and a suitably rewarding one at that. Why? Well today was the first time I felt I'd truly 'matched the hatch', and it had certainly paid dividends!

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persistant slow learner and optimist...
Fish are like sex - tons around but I never seem to get any.


Last edited by polite on Fri May 07, 2010 11:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: here's what I get up to when swffing is off the menu!
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 12:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 7:50 pm
Posts: 61
That is a very nice write up of what sounds like an enjoyable day outside.


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 Post subject: Re: here's what I get up to when swffing is off the menu!
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 3:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 11, 2009 8:58 am
Posts: 188
Location: neath. s. wales.
Exellent photos Joe, glad you had a good day out once this cold wind goes the SWFFING should start to pick up. :D
Cheers Ray.


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 Post subject: Re: here's what I get up to when swffing is off the menu!
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 6:51 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 9:38 pm
Posts: 65
best report of a days fishing i've read in ages with some quality snaps too, great stuff thanks for sharing

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cheers dave


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 Post subject: Re: here's what I get up to when swffing is off the menu!
PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 9:25 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 9:42 am
Posts: 438
Nice, descriptive recount Joe, backed up with quality photographs.


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 Post subject: Re: here's what I get up to when swffing is off the menu!
PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 9:21 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 9:23 pm
Posts: 776
Location: Swansea, South Wales.
Joe, Nice report, and have to say the pic's are spot on.

Dai.

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Any day with a y in it, is a good day to go fishing.

http://daijonesflies.blogspot.co.uk/


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