It’s funny sometimes how the ideas for things to write come to me through a slightly weird coincidence. This past weekend was meant to be about Trout. Nick Reay had invited me to fish some private land he has access to through knowing the farmer. He described it as open rolling green hills cut into with a few rivers that held decent sized trout in relation to the size of water. What could I say? I was readying my tweed jacket, ivory handled moustache comb and smoking pipe collection in no time.
It’s good. Trout I mean. I’m excited again. I remember hardly being able to go to sleep the night before fishing and would regularly be awake past 11 when I had to get up at 3am to drive 2 hours to go fishing. Even then when I did get to sleep, I dreamt about all those awesome drag screaming fish I was going to catch the next day. Somewhere along the line that has slowed for estuary fishing. Not to say I don’t enjoy it but I don’t have that level of “stoke” anymore. I sleep like a baby and I’m pretty confident I can wake up at 7am and still catch plenty of fish. Trout has re-stoked the fire and once again I stare at the ceiling thinking of big fish and wake up 3 times through the night thinking “Is it time to go yet?” and more than once lately I have been ready to, at the spot, in the pitch black darkness before even first light.
Unfortunately, it has been a slightly slow start to the trout season. The Trout are ahead of where they normally are due to the mild winter and quick transition to warmer weather. Couple that with the need for some decent rain and things haven’t been firing. You work hard and you will catch fish but nobody would say it a bumper year so far. The good news is all it needs is a bit of rain to get it back on track.
So Nick, his son Declan and I walked a couple of lovely rivers for the first morning and it all felt very English. Foxes darting between Blackberry bushes chasing Hares and Rabbits, rolling green hills and the very occasional rise of a trout. If it weren’t for a Platypus or two you might think you were in the British Isles. Lots of casting and changing flies for no result and at about lunchtime we walk back to the car empty handed. Then Nick picks up a spin rod to put a hardbody through the pool where the car is parked and second cast he is on. From there we covered a few of the larger pools again with spin gear for nothing else and abandoned the idea of camping there in search of other water.
Next stop was a small lake where we took up the fly rods again and lots of casting on my part resulted in two good hits that unfortunately didn’t hook up. We could see fish rising occasionally out further than we could get our flies out and switched to spin gear again. I put on a Presso Minnow purely for it’s casting ability over something smaller and employed that high energy crack of the lure before a big pause into a normal retrieve and it only took a few minutes before a solid hit with me winding like a madman because the fish was greyhounding across the surface towards me. When it finally did turn the other way it went harder than any trout I have caught before. This thing was angry and I really didn’t think 3lb was going to hold him. He ended up only going 3lb himself but fought harder than the one I got over 8lb a few months ago.
The small lake was good but in the end it was just that, a small lake and we headed in search of somewhere new. We drove to another private lake and camped the night. Again, I was up in the dark ready to go. Unfortunately the lake fish were not. We would have gone to spin rods but this is a fly only dam and instead grabbed the spin rods and walked the creek below the wall. This only made the weekend even more English with Nick getting a Redfin. Just to top it all off we ended up throwing flies at European Carp in another small river on the way home.