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A Mixed Bag

A nice brownie from a lake on Anglesey

For the most part, the weather over the past couple of weeks has been incredible for the time of year. The weekend of the 1st of November saw air temperatures touching 20C on my patio and the sea as flat and as clear as it should be in a normal July. Yes, we’ve had a flurry of east winds, strong ones too, but on the whole, I’m not complaining.

As a result it’s a bit of mixed bag this blog, freshwater and salt. The trout season is over now, but I had a good run right up to the end of October when my local fishery shuts for the winter. I had rainbows to 3lb 1oz on descending nymphs. I only fish a 5-weight, and this fish had me in to the backing in the blink of an eye, plus jumped five times turning over in mid air. Anglers who say rainbows don’t fight must be fishing very heavy!

I fished a lake on Anglesey where there are brown trout and took three to 1.5lbs on a sub surface black nymph at long range one cloudy afternoon. It was again a difficult day with no fish showing on the surface. This seems to have been the theme for me for most of the year when I’ve been fly-fishing, little sign of feeding fish. I get a real kick out of casting to rising fish, but this year it’s been a rare chance.

A nice brownie from a lake on Anglesey
A fine brownie and my biggest of the session taken on Llyn Coron, Anglesey.

Mike Jr and also I went to a fishery near Chirk and found the trout there, again difficult to say the least. They were following the flies and turning away. Some were also taking just sub surface emergers and dimpling the surface as they took. I figured the trout were seeing the Fluorocarbon in the gin clear water, so I switched to a lighter 3lb copolymer leader and tippet, changed my fly to a small size 16 Klinkhammer, and ginked only the wool on the fly to let it sit right down in the surface film. This resulted in an instant take and I picked up four other fish that afternoon, three to the same technique. Mike also caught and it was a good day out with a picnic lunch and a bottle of beer. Dad and lad days are always good!

Rainbow Trout from Chirk
One of my rainbows from a fly fishing session at Chirk Fishery.

Sea wise I’ve been picking up some good flounder. Not huge fish, the best about 1.5lbs, but I’ve been getting them in fair numbers, the bulk on plain old mackerel strip. I’ve been using a form of Ghost rig and it’s proving effective not just for shore fishing, but also off the boat. I’ll put a feature together on how I build it and you can maybe try it for yourselves if you think it fits your fishing.

Its great to see the flounder coming back in numbers after a decade or more of not great catches. My recent results suggest it’s as good as I can remember currently for at least 20-years! Quite a statement, I know, but I feel it is accurate, certainly locally!

A recent session on my home beaches provided some great flounder, dab and turbot sport.
A recent session on my home beaches provided some great flounder, dab and turbot sport.

I also enjoyed a day out fishing with Gethyn Owen aboard My Way out of Holyhead a couple of weeks back. It’s the first time I’d been afloat to fish myself since July. We couldn’t get round North and South Stack due to strong Northerly winds, but did get out a couple of miles from the marina and enjoyed a great day bagging up on ballan wrasse to 3lbs, big whiting, huss to 11lbs, plus pollack a little shy of 4lbs, and one lad had a nice thornback about 8lbs. My lad took a mate with him, Tom Wain from Northamptonshire, who’d not fished before and he really got in to it catching some cracking huss and a host of species. Tom’s now as keen as mustard to get some more fishing in. Watching him on the boat, I reckon he’s a convert and will fish forever more.

Mike (left) and Tom (right) with two cracking bull huss caught aboard Gethyn Owen's My Way
Mike (left) and Tom (right) with two cracking bull huss caught aboard Gethyn Owen’s My Way

I stayed mainly small bait fishing for the species that day, though did get a couple of huss, plus added a cuckoo wrasse and a short-spined sea scorpion to the days overall count. To be honest having not been out for so long I just wanted to fish and enjoy it, which is exactly what, I did! I get “rusty” if I don’t fish for a while, and it took me an hour or so to lift my game. You ever noticed that? It takes a while to get back “in the zone”. A modern term, but a good one!

With this unseasonal good weather, I’m not sure what I’ll be fishing for next. If it gets rough from the west, I want to try for a cod, but if its calm, then it’ll be back on the rock ledges for the big conger and huss. However the conger fish better when there’s been a frost or two, and here on the coast we haven’t had a sign of one yet. I’ll also try and fit in a whiting session or two.