Some of you may have noticed that there is not a lot of actual fishing going on here, lot’s of ‘how to get your fly out there’ but not a lot of what to do once the fish has taken the fly.
I went on my first serious fishing trip thirty eight years ago, on my honeymoon, with some very cheap gear I bought from an ad in the local paper. Solid glass rod, very cheap and nasty fixed spool reel and a line that lay coiled on top of the water. Don’t ask me what turned fishing into an obsession, I honestly don’t know. I do know I enjoyed the solitude (not on my honeymoon, obviously) and the vast magority of my early fishing was on my own, it was never a social thing. This may explain why I was never a brilliant angler, but I caught enough to keep me happy. I also started sea fishing in the winter, mostly from the shore. I don’t know why I took up fly fishing, it was probobly something to do in the course fishing close season, and why I continued to do it is even more of a mystery when you concider I first started on Darwell reserviour. In those days a one pound fish was a good one and a lot were in the 12 to 14oz bracket (and I didn’t catch many of them either). This was the good old pre cormorant days when fisheries could get away with stocking fish under two pounds. I blanked so many times. The flies we used back then still retain their magic for me, and evoke a lot of happy memories. Invicta, Peter Ross, Dunkeld, Grey Duster, Mallard and Claret. One fly was supposed to be the one to tie on when things got tough, the Black and Peackock Spider, everyone’s ‘get out of jail’ fly. I have never, in 38 years, caught one fish on that bloody fly!. As I have stated in a previous post, every cast was an adventure, I never knew quite where it was going or what I would snag the fly on next.
Luckily for me Bewl Bridge ( as Bewl Water was then known) opened and I had my first taste of decent trout fishing, my God those fish could fight and they were often over 2lbs, a revelation to me at the time. I fished Bewl most weeks for a couple of years, I must have caught hundreds of trout, I had a problem even giving them away. It was the norm back then to catch your limit (six fish) and go and buy another ticket, if there was time. I just don’t want to do that these days. I am happy to kill the occassional fish for the table, or a friend, but the thought of having to kill every fish I catch just doesn’t appeal anymore. That is why I switched to smaller fisheries that allowed c&r although I have got a bit tired of these as well. Part of my problem is that I just don’t enjoy driving for two or three of hours just to fish. I now enjoy two or three special trips a year, Hungary for Asp on Lake Balaton, the Test for Grayling, and this year I am determined to fish the Don, instead of standing in a field casting, at the Sexyloops get together in Scotland in May. I may even get a morning in on Mike Barrios Haddo fishery before I have to catch my plane.
I keep meaning to have a go at Swaffing, I live quite close to the coast. I just haven’t got round to it… yet