Mistakes, I’ve Made A Few
I have been promising myself that I would give salt water fly fishing some serious effort for the last couple of years. I recently heard of a venue not a million miles from where I live that promised Bass and Mullet. Not big Bass, but as even a two pounder can put a serious bend in the rod, and I was new to it, I thought it an ideal location. When I left home it was hot and sunny with hardly a breath of wind. Perfect for a first (well second actually) bash at swaffing . As I got nearer the coast I noticed the odd tree gently swaying in the breeze. Not a problem, I knew it was going to be a bit breezier on the beach than it was inland. However, it wasn’t a bit breezier, it was blowing force four or five when I arrived. Ok, I know swaffers are hardy folk and a bit of a wind isn’t a problem so undeterred I set off on a long walk to the water, made even longer by the fact it was a spring tide and the sea was way out in the far distance. It was then I discovered mistake No 1, I was on the wrong side of the estuary and would have to cast into the wind. I wasn’t about to walk all the way back to the car and drive several miles, and hike again, just to get the wind behind me so I decided to make the best of a bad job and rigged up the seven weight. At best I was putting the fly out about forty feet but I had been told the fish are close in I thought that would ok, if a little wimpish for someone supposed to be a decent caster. The sun was out and scantily clad females were cavorting on the beach behind me so I settled down to wait for the tide to start to come in bringing me loads of fish to cast at. While waiting for fishy I experimented on different ways to get a decent cast in. Mistake No 2, I tried delivering on the back cast. Half way though one delivery everything went slack. The fly line had cut in two! Luckily the wind blew the free bit back to me and after some investigation I discovered a corroded rod ring which may have been the culprit, made worse because I was back casting. Luckily it had cut in the running line so I re-attached the head to the backing and made a bit of a shooting head. When I looked up after all this I noticed the coast has disappeared because a bank of fog was drifting in off the sea and the scantily clad females had disappeared, either in the fog or, more sensibly, decided to head inland to where the temperature was decidedly warmer. I decided that if the sea wasn’t going to come to me I would have to go to it and set off to find it. Eventually I did and waded out. This is a very shallow estuary and even a hundred yards had me only knee deep but at least I could now cast with the wind. And still the tide didn’t turn, and there were no signs of the cavorting fish I had been promised. Plus I had lost all landmarks as the fog got thicker. I only had a vague idea of which way to head when the tide started to come in and I didn’t know this bit of beach at all. I had waded through several deepish gullies to get where I was and didn’t fancy them filling behind me and cutting me off. I decided to head back to a safer spot and wait. I had a quick glimpse of a tower I recognised and headed back in the general direction. I am not usually a spooky sort of person. I mean, nothing is going to happen to me, is it. But somehow it did get to me. Not in a panicky way but certainly in a I really don’t like the feel of this sort of way so after a few (non productive) casts in the river as the tide finally decided to come in I decided enough was enough. I wasn’t enjoying it, it hadn’t lived up to weeks of expectation and I might just get home to watch the end of the British Grand Prix.
Lesson learned. Clean your bloody tackle after a swaffing session. The corroded ring was caused because I hadn’t cleaned the rod properly after my first attempt at salt a couple of years ago. Now that was a big mistake.
I’ll be back.