Monday, 15 December 2014
My pal Malcolm has made so much progress with his casting of the fly that I decided to take him to the lakes at Albury Estates, near Guildford. I also wanted him to see what a real fly fishing shop was like so we visited Peter Cockwill's Albury Game Angling tackle shop. I need some fly tying materials and I wanted to make sure Malcolm invested in some blue flash damsel nymphs as they are deadly on the lakes.
Peter Cockwill is a splendid instructor, guide, author, lecturer and tackle shop proprietor. He has been guiding trips to Alaska every year since 1988.
Peter's shop has everything you need to fly fish and fly tie.
We started fishing at Weston on the main lake, with me wanting to sight fish, but the fish were staying out of sight so we had a go at the Wood Lodge Pool where we could see fish, especially where the water flows in through the feeder pipe. Malcolm caught on the blue flash and I blanked so after a sandwich we drove the mile or so to Vale End and fished the river pool. Malcolm positioned himself adjacent the tail of the pool (I hadn't told him that was where a couple of years ago our mutual friend Ashok had caught a 10lb fish). I positioned myself at the side of a large tree, hoping to use it as cover because the water was fairly clear. Whilst I was pulling a bit of debris from my fly Malcolm called out and pointed to the far side of the lake. I looked round the tree trunk and saw a very large ring rapidly expanding on the water about 25 yards away. I quickly worked out some line, false casting like crazy and double hauling dropped the fly at the center of the ring. Reckoning that the fish was probably still high in the water I started tweaking the fly in immediately and was rewarded with a firm snatch. The fish splashed and Malcolm gave me one of his "I don't believe it looks"! Ten minutes later having been taken back onto the reel, and having steered the fish out of reeds on both sides of the lake I managed to get it on the bank. It was in perfect condition with a lovely full tail. It weighed in at 4lb 8oz.
We both went on to have another fish each and ended a very pleasant winters day so glad we had gone fishing.
I tend to fillet larger fish as it is less trouble than gutting them, but note the filleting glove under the filleting knife.
Thought for the day: Bragging may not bring happiness, but no man having caught a large fish goes home through an alley!
Tuesday, 2 December 2014
Well I finally got all of my children (all 7) together for my mother's memorial service. The pictures in the background are of my mum.
Then I managed to take my son Daniel (the tallest at 6' 10" who had flown in from the States) fishing in a boat at Bewl. He even managed to land a big one, with a bit of help, whilst wearing gloves!
My pal Malcolm was in the boat with us spinning! I am pleased to report I caught 50% more fish on the fly than he did spinning. Well, OK he got 2 and I got 3!
Then I slipped down to the Salisbury and District waters to tackle the grayling. The fishery manager, Andreas recommended I try the Laverstock Fishery on the River Bourne and as I had never fished there I decided to give it a go. In spite of the recent rains it was running beautifully clear, so clear, I kept spooking the fish. Also I had failed to bring my box of size 18 grayling flies with me so I was fishing nymph that were too big. The net result, well there weren't any "net" results as I blanked. However, I did get to wade the river and to find the official access by the bridge (the map in the Year Book is a bit misleading). In the afternoon I fished the Avon at West Amesbury. There was a lot of coloured water coming down and I blanked there as well. On the positive side I did see all the work the river keepers had been doing. I particularly appreciated the plastic matting covering the boggy patches. Well done!
I made up for my disappointing fishing yesterday when I took my American pal Bryant to Albury Estates Western Fishery. We met up with the fishery manager at the lake at Western and had a pleasant chat and he suggested we try Western. The water was crystal clear and I soon realised that I could, if I looked hard, see the fish cruising 2 to 4 rod lengths out. It was the dark reflection of the trees on the opposite bank that enabled me to see in the water. So I was fishing with my back to the road. I got my first fish fairly quickly. Then I spotted a fish and cast my blue flash damsel fly to try to get it a couple of metres in front of him/her. The cast went wrong and the fly dropped behind the fish. Hearing and feeling the sound, the fish turned and hit the fly. We had a 5 minute tussle and just at the net the fish came off. I tried several other areas with no luck so I returned to where I could see the fishing. I found that having spotted one, if I took my eyes off it, even for a second or two, I would lose it visually. So I tried to retrieve and cast all the time, keeping my eyes on the fish. The next encounter was pure text book stuff. I saw, I cast it took and I caught, but not quite!!!. When it saw the net the fish took off and surprise, surprise the hook broke on the bend. Meanwhile I kept an eye on Bryant, occasionally offering tips on how he could improve his casting.
Then I spotted a large fish well out from the bank. Knowing I had to extend my back cast in order to get the distance on the forward cast I checked out the trees behind me and positioned myself to take advantage of a gap. Double hauling like crazy I deliberately cast well behind the fish as I was just gauging the line length required. Having adjusted to get that right I went for the big one landing the fly about 3 metres in front of it. I then lost sight of the fish and gently retrieved using a slow figure of eight. My arm was wrenched forward and I was on. The fish quickly took me back onto the reel and the rod bent through 90 degrees. I recovered line as it ran towards me and then it made for the protection of branches that hung in the water. I tightened the clutch and managed to turn it back into open water. Some minutes later it was in the net and on the bank. It was a cracker and I was chuffed.
It was exactly 5lb in weight and perfect
Just to prove it was me who caught it.
Whether river or lake, sight targeting fly fishing gives me the most satisfaction. Well done Albury Estates, we had a great time.