Brown trout reward late visit

April 20, 2015 at 11:29 pm

Warmed by spring sunshine, each visit to the river at this time of year reveals  the rapid greening of the banks, while flylife increases daily and subtle changes in the river bottom create new fish holding areas, while old favourites lose their charm.

urbanfieldsportsman 675

A change of plans resulted in time for a late afternoon visit to my syndicate river this week, where I was hoping to find the trout had switched onto the fresh appearance of Hawthorn flies dancing on the breeze, but studying the surface, these black flies were being ignored as they drifted downstream. With a dry fly not an option, I tied on a tiny size 18 rubber legged Hares Ear, with a heavy gold rib and gold head, ideal for fishing under the banks and bushes, where the trout seem to be at the moment.

urbanfieldsportsman 671

Wading upstream, flicking the nymph just short of the undergrowth, there was soon a response and a small brown lifted out of the water in front of me, to fall off the hook seconds later. Further up, the force of the stream had hollowed out a deep pocket beneath a bush and I tried several casts to get the nymph to fall right without hooking the overhanging branches. More by luck than judgement, it curved round behind the bush, sinking into the pool and held. A downstream strike hit solid resistance, the rod bent round and stayed there. My heart slumped, then pumped as the line quivered, the suspected snag had come to life, a trout was shaking it’s head trying to lose the hook three feet below the surface. Seconds later the river erupted with the sight of the gold flanked brownie cartwheeling over the shallow gravel, when it burst out of it’s hideaway, big red spots clearly visible, as it powered past me searching for deeper water. My reel squealed, as the slack was taken up and I raised the rod to cushion the frenzied fight, watching it swim from left to right in the rapid flow, clearly visible, a deep trout about 15 inches long. Forgetting the small hook, I took up the fight and paid the price, when it shook free. We all know that hollow feeling, when a good fish is lost, something that doesn’t lessen with experience. That trout could have made my season.

Back on the bank, I made my way downstream, meeting a pair of fellow members, who had finished for the day, telling me of small fish rising further down. I enjoy catching on the surface, whatever the size and true to their word, the river was dimpled by rises over a 20 yard stretch.

urbanfieldsportsman 648

Lowering myself in below them, I tied on a size 18 elk hair emerger and cast to the nearest beneath an over hanging tree. The fish were not maintaining station and the first fish hooked confirmed my hunch that they were a shoal of  dace patrolling the tail of a deep pool.

urbanfieldsportsman 1238

Beyond the shoal, a larger fish was rising steadily, probably a trout and I began to work my way toward it. At this point I turned to see a big cob swan was behind me, chasing the current love of his life upstream, the pen getting airborne with feet and wings flailing and stepped back to allow the pair to pass, watching them crash land at the head of the pool. This was the cue to make my way back to the van, but a noisy rise in a pool as I passed, caused me to back track.

urbanfieldsportsman 1247

Wading upstream, the fish rose twice more just above the riffle, to what, I couldn’t see, but the small emerger was worth a try, measuring the distance, then moving up ten feet to make the cast. The air was still and the fly fell softly to the surface to be aggressively taken with a plop. A lift of the rod and I was in, the fish running forward to the safety of the pool, while I stripped back line, wading to the tail. The fish remained deep, running round the pool, while I tried to steer it away from the bank side roots, a desperate leap finally confirming that I’d hooked a respectable trout, not ready to give up, until the last bit of energy had been expelled. With the earlier lost trout in mind, I took my time, letting it go, when it wanted to, netting it as it made a break for the shallows.

urbanfieldsportsman 1244

Measuring 13 inches, this is my best trout from the river this year, which despite a prolonged fight, soon recovered, when held facing upstream, kicking free from my hands to swim back to the pool.