Friday, 2 October 2015
Well another season comes to an end with the last few days bringing lovely sunshine and the ideal weather to go fishing and enjoy all the autumn colours but with all the heavy rain and floods in mid September it definitely put paid to any decent back end fishing. I had caught a couple of dark fish on the Lee but was trying to organize the closing day on one of the prime fisheries with a few lads but like everything else planning and doing are too different things. I ended up on the Lee for the last day and even though it was a beautiful autumn day it was fairly uneventful except for the odd coloured salmon plucking at the fly more in curiosity than anger. I must admit that i had fished on the Monday evening prior to the closing day and had just started fly fishing down beat 1 with my switch fly rod when i got a good pull at the fly but the fish didn't stay, checking the fly to make sure it was fishing well i then recast exactly on the same line as the take and straight away the fish took the loop and moved off very slowly downstream. Having very little strain on the line i automatically thought it was a grilse and started filming the fight but then things changed dramatically and the line started heading upstream with a few strong head shakes and suddenly the fish grew in size from a grilse to a fresh 17 / 18 lb bar of silver jumping and cartwheeling across the river. It was a great short fight with a very abrupt end when the fish buried itself in heavy weed and left my size 15 White shrimp fly in a clump of dirty weed. Luckily i got the fly back but while playing the fish a few thoughts ran through my head, having seen this beautiful bar of silver i thought this will make a great end of season video and secondly i might take it home..........well as they say don't count your chickens until they hatch rang no screamed through my mind when the fish dropped the fly and a few colourful words thrown in for good measure. But in all honesty it would have gone back to full fill its journey, as long as i can remember i have never killed a fish in the last month of the season never mind on the last day but it would have made a great video with all the beautiful autumn colours but instead all i have are some nice photo's to end this piece, but if you want to see the fish i will put up the few seconds of spectacular jumps it made soon at the end of this piece. For all those interested in sea trout fishing at night i have two video's coming out soon with some great specimens caught at night on the fly, also there will be two video's on how to improve your salmon fly fishing with my Scandi and Switch rod techniques which will only be available to my subscribers on youtube and followers on this blog... so follow the blog.
Here is a photo of the Lee in mid September in full brown flood, this heavy water pulled most of the fish up and above the dam leaving very little residents to fish for.
Monday, 31 August 2015
The water had just dropped off but there was still a fair bit of colour due to the recent floods and visibility was down to only two feet or less. I started at beat 1 and fished it slowly using a floating line and a 6 ft five inches per second sink tip just to get down to the fish because the fly being down at their depth would give them a chance to see it and maybe induce a take. Fishing around the stones i retrieved the line slowly so that it would move the fly and keep it just off bottom but also to add a bit more life to the Hot orange ally's shrimp. The salmon hit hard taking 10 yards of line from the reel and started kart wheeling down river, quickly recovering line i noticed that it was a coloured fish and put pressure on the salmon cutting down the angles so that it would tire out fast allowing me to land and release it quickly, but as all anglers know coloured salmon are great fighters and know the river well so it took me a bit longer to get this fish under control. It was in great condition nice and solid with little or no damage so she will definitely survive through the spawning cycle, sadly some of the fresh salmon and grilse this year were lean and will find it hard to survive after spawning. I will have to look around at some of the other rivers for a fresh salmon due to the fact that the Inniscarra salmon fishery on the Lee doesn't really get a back end run of fresh fish. For all the subscribers to this blog and my youtube channel i will be sending them a link for a bonus private video that i am making on tactics and tackle tips for salmon fly fishing with double and single hand rods which will only be available to them.
Friday, 14 August 2015
Having recovered from a shoulder injury i started back salmon fishing with my new Shakespeare 11 ft Switch 7/8 wt fly rod, i had bought the rod a few weeks ago but with my injury couldn't use the rod and as all anglers was disappointed not being able to try out my new toy. The line i was using was a 6/7 wt shooting head trout fly line with a short front taper but it was able to cast a Rio 3.9 ins per second sink tip and salmon fly with ease, having just started salmon fishing the water had come up by at least 3 ft due to the dam releasing water so the fly was now fishing just under the surface due to the speed of the water where as it had been fishing at about 2 ft down prior to this. I had two fish pitch over the fly as i fished it through the pool so i quickly changed over to a small Scierra bullet type tube fly that i had tied up for high fast water, doing a few experimental casts i was surprised that the line and rod were quite capable of throwing this combination with a bit of effort and tweaking on my behalf.
On moving back over these fish i hit a good salmon of about 12 lbs which shot off down river at a rate of knots but then doubled back on itself and came back towards me keeping up with the fish it then made a second good run and then the line went slack.... every anglers nightmare, on checking the fly i realized that one of the hooks was slightly blunt bad observation on my behalf while tying up the fly i should have checked this but in the excitement of having seen fish come at my fly it was obviously overlooked. That's the difference between catching and fishing just a fraction of a mm can make a good day or a bad day. Changing the hooks i started back through the pool and found that the tube fly was fishing nicely well over a foot down in the fast high water, i felt a short bump followed by a very aggressive take and i was into a nice grilse cartwheeling into the air and zigzagging across the river, it put up a great fight and i quickly beached and released it and the new rod was now christened. A few minutes later a second grilse succumbed to my new tube fly and this was also quickly landed and released, both fish were extremely fresh and had just arrived off tide due to the heavy water bringing them up over the Kingsley weir. The fly line i was using is only an outbound shooting head trout line but even though it was light for the rod i was still able to cover the whole river with a 3.9 ins per second sink tip and a heavy tube fly, i can imagine matching up the rod with a proper line like the Rio Switch fly line or even the Shakespeare Switch line what the rod will be able to do. If i was to make a few changes to the rod i would definitely make it (1) four piece instead of six, (2) shorten it to 10 ft and put an extendable double hand butt on it which would bring it up to a 10 ft 6" rod when opened then you would have the perfect Switch rod, but for the price it's a good Switch rod. When i can afford the Rio Switch line i will do a video on what to look for in a proper Switch rod / line as there seems to be a lot of issues there considering the number of views i get on my Switch rod post.
Monday, 8 June 2015
Having fished the pool earlier in higher water conditions i hooked and lost a good fish while stripping the fly so i decided to rest the pool and come back to try it in lower water. When the dam releases water is quickly picks up pace and fills up to about 6 feet above low level but when it drops back down it takes about 45 minutes to catch up with it self and until then it is like a canal with little or no flow. So when fishing in those conditions i normally strip the fly to give it life and this can sometimes initiate an aggressive take as it did in this instance. As the water had started to gain normal speed i went back in and fished the beat and on the third cast in between the two stones i hooked the salmon that i had lost earlier in the evening. The fish threw a few times and then tried to get back between the stones but i played it upstream and away from what would have been a bad situation if it had got tangled up on any one of the big boulders.
Putting loads of side strain on the salmon i allowed the switch fly rod to absorb all the power from the fish and i kept turning it in circles quickly tiring it out and and bringing it in to shallow water. Beaching the salmon i noticed that it was a very fresh hatchery salmon of about 15 to 16 lbs very broad and thick across the back, as the fish was in great condition i quickly released it back into the river. Just as i was putting the camera away a Buzzard hovered above for a few seconds and i was lucky enough to catch this on camera. It's amazing the amount of wildlife that one can get up close and personal to when fishing.
Monday, 25 May 2015
Knowing that the water was going to be off i decided to try an evening session on the fly at the Dam fishery, starting at beat 1 i noticed that the water clarity was low maybe only two feet or even less and the flow was very slow around the salmon lies. I spent much of my time retrieving line in a slow strip just to add speed to the fly otherwise there would be little or no movement in the fly as it fished through the pool. I was constantly having to bring the shooting head inside the top eye of the rod and this didn't make re-casting easy but the end justifies the means as i hooked into a nice fresh sea liced salmon on that slow strip causing the salmon to take the loop out of my hand and head off down river in a near perfect take allowing me time to lift into the fish as it was heading away from me. After the salmon felt pressure it then headed upstream towards the dam and there i was able to control the fish with ease and beach it in shallow water, i noticed that the fly had been well taken down by the fish and in fact it was completely swallowed, having difficulty retrieving the fly i quickly despatched the fish knowing that it would never have survived being returned back to the river. The salmon was about 10lbs covered in sea lice and a hatchery fish. Seeing another salmon head and tail i noticed that it was lying in shallow water only two feet deep so i changed over to a tapered leader to avoid getting caught up in the bottom and also to allow the fly to fish more freely.
When fishing shallow or slow water i use tapered leaders for better turnover of the fly but there is also another benefit, if you want to stay higher up in the water column use a mono tapered leader but if you need a bit of depth a flurocarbon tapered leader can be used either way both tapered leaders will give more movement to the fly and that's important in slow water. Having a longer tail on a small fly dressed very lightly will always give plenty of movement and this in conjunction with the tapered leader and slow retrieve can induce a take from fresh salmon. The second fish hit hard and fast and threw a number of times before i could gain control of the fish but as has happened a lot recently some anglers bear down on me to either view the fish or get a sneak view of my fly and this moves the salmon out causing me to stop filming and having to tell them to move back away from the fish . I landed the fish in the shallows and after a few minutes of resting up the fish released it back into the river. When i'm fishing i never run up on another angler playing a salmon or even come within casting range of them but for some reason these days a lot of people feel the need to walk right up to where your trying to land a fish and this is bad bank etiquette putting pressure on the angler and fish. I must definitely do a post on proper bank etiquette because this might help young anglers understand proper bank manners but in saying that most of the people encroaching on me recently and getting in the way of me making videos are middle aged and should know better.
Sunday, 24 May 2015
I decided to give the Dam fishery a full day's fishing because i had only been there a few hours over two evening sessions and having lost a couple of fish knew that i had to give it a bit more time. Having slept out i arrived at the fishery late around 10 am and was fishing by 10.30, the water was on full load and moving very fast with visibility down to three feet so i decided to use my Hardy Sirrus 10ft spinning rod and my Shimano Stradic 6000 spinning reel because they are the ideal set up for spinning in high water. The first salmon hit very hard but stayed stationary for a couple of minutes before cartwheeling downstream with the strong current, i put quite a lot of pressure on the fish to bring it back under control and force it back up river. The salmon then decided to wrap itself in among the heavy weed and i had to force it to the surface and play it out high up in the water column not allowing it get back in around the weeds. The first salmon was an extremely fresh sea liced fish of about 12lbs just in off the tide and being a wild fish it was released. Within minutes i was into my second salmon almost identical in size and after playing the fish hard i landed it only to find that the spinner was very deep inside the fish and knowing that it would not survive being released i took the fish.
Having fished on for about half an hour i got another take but that fished missed and fumbled the spinner but it quickly recovered itself and hit it again just feet from the bank and then screamed off downstream using the heavy water and strong current to it's advantage. Using braid i am able to feel every movement of the salmon and this is vital because you can really shorten the fight time when you feel the fish tiring by putting that extra bit of pressure on at the right moment. I like to control and dominate the fish very quickly and run it in circles because this tires it out very fast and allows me to return it in good condition.The third salmon was about 10lbs and a hatchery fish extremely fresh and there were sea lice present so it had also come in off tide earlier that morning. The fish was well rested and released back into the river in good condition. Fishing on i got one more take in low water on the fly but the salmon quickly let go of the fly but i can't complain after having such good sport that morning.
P.S. the following evening i caught 2 salmon again very fresh on the fly in low water on my switch fly rod the video and report will be up this evening on my blog, one fish was about 10lbs and the other 8lbs covered in sea lice.
Sunday, 17 May 2015
The fishing had been quiet lately due to the very high water conditions and the fact that any salmon that had ventured up towards the dam was passing through and not holding up due to the constant water being put over the top sluice. This extra water over the top acts like a magnet for the salmon as they can hear and feel the turbulence and this draws them into the fish pass and off up to the upper catchment. Having had a few short takes on the fly i noticed that the water was moving in towards the near bank and not down the centre channel as normal so i started mending into the near bank and this definitely moved the fly faster through the pool but still no really positive responses just the odd pluck at the fly and really when using such small salmon flies as i do the takes are normally very aggressive as the fish don't even realise that they have been hooked.
I decided to cast above the lie and hold back the fly with the normal outside mend allowing it to sink well into the slower water and then i started to strip the fly with a long and positive stroke which moved the fly out of the lie with some nice pace to it and this proved deadly as the salmon hit the fly very aggressively and almost pulled the line out of my hands, allowing the fish to turn away from me i then put more pressure on the salmon setting the hook with a sharp lift of the rod and then we were off to the races. Sometimes salmon will hit a fast moving fly and come at you so its better to allow them to turn first before lifting otherwise you are just pulling the fly out of their mouths as the fish are facing you when your lifting. I was using a 6ft Rio sink tip ( 2.6 ins per second sink rate ) on a floating line with an 8lb flurocarbon tippet so i had to be very careful not to put too much pressure on the fish and after a few powerful runs i was able to turn the salmon and run it in circles allowing it to tire out quickly and after a few minutes i was able to land the salmon. The fish was chrome bright with sea lice markings fresh from the tide so i decided to take the fish. Having caught and released a few salmon recently i always like to take the odd very fresh salmon for myself. The amazing thing is that i stripped the fly the day before and retied the same pattern back on to the old hook and then resharpened the hook because i had felt that it was after getting a bit dull in colour from over use but i always like to keep flies that have caught salmon because i have more faith in them over brand new flies. Always remember to use a blooded fly( a fly that has taken a fish) first when fishing through a pool as you will have more confidence in it rather than a new fly fresh out of the box. I always tell young anglers to have two fly boxes one for the large selection of salmon flies that you start out with and the second a smaller box just for the productive flies that have caught salmon, there are two reasons for this (1) to get them retied so that you don't lose them and will always have a killer pattern and (2) is that its the the first fly i always start fishing with because again it has proven itself and fishing a pool with confidence in your tackle does work a lot better then pot luck.