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Shaken Not Stirred

It’s been a real cocktail of angling experiences over the past couple of weeks. I really enjoy mixing things up. It creates way more challenges and gets me really thinking about my fishing.

I’d been watching the rain running down the front window for a day and half and figured the river would be rising. I had to go in to town on an errand and took a quick detour to suss the rivers height. It was carrying colour and looked like it would lose a little height in the next few hours as the rain abated. It looked just right for a sea trout.

I sneaked out after tea for a short session working just a few likely pools. The first pool was empty, or at least any fish present were not interested. The second pool was a long glide, deep at the head, getting shallow towards the tail of the pool. I picked out a silver bodied plug and flicked this across to the far side aiming to get the lure just splashing down under the tree branches dipping in to the water.

I fanned the casts progressively down and across the pool looking to cover as much water as possible from mid stream to the far bank. The trick is to cast, then leave the bale-arm of the reel open for a few seconds to let line trickle off but keep the plugs tight to the far side. When you close the bale arm, and retrieve, this puts a deep belly in the line and pulls the plug back across the pool in a sideways and downwards arc. It presents the lure to the sea trout perfectly as they lay in the current.

It was my fifth cast, and as I tightened in to the belly in the line, I watched the line arc across the pool. I saw the line stop before I felt the savage take, which hammered the hooks home and the fish leapt clear of the water, then bore off on a fast run. I turned the fish, which then went back upstream a few yards, turned back ripping line off, then briefly sulked. With rod pressure it thumped around and took a few yards of line a couple of times, but then came in to the near side where it was safely netted. Not huge, about 3lbs, but a nice fish, and it went back leaving a big boil on the surface where its tail found purchase.

Sea Trout

I have to mention my lad, Mike Jr, who had a week’s carp fishing in France recently and bagged a belter of a fish at 58lb 6oz, plus others over 30lbs. Knocks my best at just over 36lbs down a peg or two. Guess it’ll be a while before he beats that 58! Great fishing, Mike!

Mike Jnr with carp

We teamed up with two friends, Tom Wain from Stoke, and Trevor Phillips from Arthog for a lad’s weekend away in Union Hall, Ireland. We’d booked with Tom Collins, a skipper I rate very highly and one I really enjoy fishing with. We had a mission, Mike Jr, Tom and Trevor had not caught a shark previously. We only had two days fishing, but I was confident, that with Tom Collins we were in with a good chance.

I chose not to fish that first day, and worked with Tom to make sure the lads caught. Trevor achieved his goal within a couple of minutes of putting a bait in the water with a very small blue around 10lbs, one of the smallest I’ve seen, but a blue none the less, followed quickly by Tom, and then Mike Jr. The lads each had four or five blues during the day to 50lbs, with Trevor getting the biggest that looked about 60lbs. The sharks were picky though, and they dropped and lost a few too. Mike Jr gave me his rod for the last hour and I picked up two, a small blue about 20lbs, then a better fish again about 50lbs.

Mike Thrussell with a Blue Shark

The second day we enjoyed some great reef fishing, though the fish were not huge, but included ballan and cuckoo wrasse, cod, ling, conger, pollack, coalies, dabs, gurnards and smaller species such as poor cod. We briefly tried for a common skate late in the afternoon, but dipped out, though skipper Tom, the next day, the day we left, reported a 100lber off the same mark.

Tom Wain with a pollack


Trevor Phillips with a pollack

It was a great three nights in Ireland with some great grub and a few pints, with fishing and football dominating the conversation…a proper lads weekend away! The motorway systems in Ireland now have made travel so much quicker north to south and east to west. The overall lack of traffic compared to UK motorways is bliss!

Returning home the weather took yet another bad turn. I get stick for moaning about the weather, but here in North Wales, and many other parts of the country, the windy and wet weather just seems to keep on coming. I believe it’s been less erratic down south, but north of the Bristol Channel, without doubt, it’s been a poor one. It pretty much ruled out any chance of sea fishing as inshore was carrying a stain of flood water which sees catches drop and weed was a real pain.

Liking my fishing “shaken, not stirred”, I went for some lake trout and happened to pick a day when the wind was howling. I lost a trout, but it was the only take of the session. The next trip out was a complete contrast. I fished later afternoon into evening with barely a breath of wind and a sky filled with light cloud just dense enough to keep the sun hidden as just a golden hue.

It was hard fishing and I caught only one small rainbow on a nymph early on. As the light started to fade a few trout began erratically rising. There was no pattern to them, but they were taking just sub surface, their bodies boiling the water as they sipped food in. It was a case of waiting, no line in the water, until a fish rose within range, then making a couple of false casts to extend the line, then drop a size 14 black nymph close to the last boil. This worked a treat and I caught three to just shy of 2lbs, and missed a few more pulls. All three making several leaps and long runs. I really like this style of fishing. It’s crafty and needs a little stealth making sure you keep low on the skyline and not wading unless it’s absolutely necessary, but being patient and picking individual fish off pays way better than randomly casting hoping a trout passes by and sees the fly.

Rainbow Trout

I’ve dropped from a 5W outfit to a 4W for this style of fishing, and use a double taper line designed specifically for light and delicate presentation. It sacrifices a little distance for me, but providing I don’t muck the cast up, which I’m well capable of doing, the line just settles gently on the water making minimum disturbance and presents the fly delicately exactly where I want it, just on the outside of the edge of the last boil. That said I feel the trout often come to the “plop” of the fly as it enters the water, much like a bass does to the splash of a lure or lead weight.

I’ve just been over to Ireland, with some interesting results, so my next blog we’ll have a look at how I got on, plus take a look forward at what I’ll be targeting as we get into autumn.