Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby ConorUK » Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:04 pm

4 February 2011
First outing of the year after a busy few weeks on the home front after the birth of a second son on New Year’s Eve. Fished a stretch I had previously caught some excellent grayling in. Deep fast flowing water. However, everything I had to offer was refused. But it was great to be back on the river.

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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby ConorUK » Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:05 pm

25 February 2011
Spring had arrived, and opportunity allowed me a short lunchtime spell back on the river. There was a small hatch of large dark olives. Fishing a single large dark olive pattern I fished upstream through a shallow long run which often gets a rise of grayling and trout. For the first 10 minutes there was nothing rising. But then, tight against the far bank, a fish rose once. I covered the spot for 10 minutes with no luck. I moved on.

However, as I moved upstream I spotted the fish rise again behind me. I allowed the fly to float downstream, holding the rod high and drifting the fly over the area with as little drag as possible. The fish rose! I made contact and it was a tiddler. Wait, no, it made a run upstream and it was bigger than I thought, the rod bent nicely, and kept bending, and I realised how long it had been to have a nice fish on. I caught sight of a grayling of about a pound. He was holding fast in the deep fast flowing water upstream of me. But with no net, I would need to draw him downstream of me to the shallows. Soon I managed to get him there, but he threw the hook before I could get a photo. I didn’t mind, I was just so happy to have got off the mark this year, especially on a dry fly.

I fished a little longer on dry, and then switched to New Zealand style, missing two takes. It was an enjoyable outing, and the opening of my favourite stretch of the river for the trout season was only a week away.

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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby ConorUK » Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:06 pm

3 March
Today was the opening of the trout season, and with that another few miles of the Alyn became available to fish. I had three precious hours from 11.30-2.30 on the river. I wanted to focus on an area that had become a huge natural dam in recent seasons, but that was now cleared by the local council, and was looking like a lovely little stretch to fish. When I arrived the air temperature was zero Celsius and it certainly felt it! The water was slightly coloured and with a fast pace. With great excitement I made my way below the new stretch and started to fish upstream. Having seen no fish moving I fished New Zealand style, with a beaded GRHE under a klinkhammer. The flow was too fast however, and I switched to a single red shrimp pattern fished upstream. I saw a flash of a fish, but I missed the strike. I spent an hour inching through the 50 yards stretch. It was thoroughly enjoyable learning the nuances of the flow and the various snags to avoid. But no fish to show for it.

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I moved upstream to more familiar territory and continued to fish the shrimp. Another hour passed and nothing was taking either the shrimp or a variety of other deep fished alternatives.

I walked back to the car on the look out for rises. There were a few large dark olives on the water. As I got close to the car I decided to try New Zealand style again but had no takes. However, as the last few minutes approached, the klinkhammer plunged under and a small grayling was on! A nice finish to a lovely first day outing. I hope to visit this area often this season.

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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby ConorUK » Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:08 pm

4 March
The conditions were the same as the day before and few fish were to be expected, but I couldn’t resist another try at the new stretch on my lunchtime break. As I walked downstream I spotted a dark shape rise to the surface and take a fly from the surface! It wasn’t a big fish, maybe half a pound, but I marked the spot for my return upstream. I only had 20 minutes fishing time. The time on the new stretch went quickly but enjoyably and I learned a little more about fishing the stretch New Zealand style. As I came out of the river and walked upstream to the car my mind was on that rising fish. I switched to a single large dark olive and slowly stalked up the ‘zone’. I note several LDOs floating along, unmolested. After a few casts I gave up, the fish was no longer interested. I should have tried it earlier when it was rising…!

Here is a photo to show how bad the floods can be – the roots of this tree have been scoured out completely.

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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby papa d » Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:01 pm

I really look forward to your tales,next time dont take so long. ;) It was good to read as thats all i can do. Its been-30 F here(about -40 with wind chill) and about 3 feet of snow on top of the ice on the waters.
I got all choked when you mentioned its spring like weather there.
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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby pedros » Mon Mar 07, 2011 6:09 am

Conor,
Forgot the Tenkara yesterday in my rush to get to the 'Wood', thought it was in my box, so had to make do with the conventional gear :(
The 'new' stretch looks fantastic. However on a productive morning yesterday, that particular piece of river didn't yield anything. Give it a month or two then I'm sure the Grayling will be lining up along there
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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby JDP1292 » Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:30 pm

Awesome to have you back in season again, I love reading your stories and lookin at the photography... keep up the great work!
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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby ConorUK » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:00 pm

Papa D
Spring has really arrived now, we are getting ‘highs’ of 12 celsius of late! Hope your season warms up soon!

Pedros
Yes, I hope so, I am going to get fixated on that pool, but I see from our club reports, that you have managed a trout out of it already!

JDP1292
Thanks for the kind comments!


9 March 2011
A lunchtime visit found me at a pool on the ‘horse field’ that has produced very large grayling and trout in past seasons, albeit, the tail end rather than the start of the season.


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Nonetheless, I wanted to give it a go, and so I approached carefully from the woods and began to fish from a low vantage point, out, across and down, with a heavy nymph. The pool had changed a lot and I was too exposed. It was time to leave.

As I walked downstream to get out of the river I put on a light nymph and let the line cut downstream and across. On the induced take a small grayling connected. Enthused, I decided to fish a little longer where the river ran into a deep long pool with many underwater bolders.

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This is where the Ayu rod came into its own. Fishing downstream I was able to fish the nymph slowly and with slight ‘darts’ of movement over likely lies around the boulders. From my vantage point that was impossible with my traditional 8 foot fly rod and reel. After several sweeps there were no hits, but it was quite enjoyable just to feel my way around the water downstream of me.

As the nymph worked around the nearest bolder the rod flexed with the unmistakeable thump of a good fish. Problem. There was a good flow of water midstream so there was no way to get this fish to where I stood. No problem. I would just clamber along the bank keeping in touch with the fish. The fish had other ideas, it started to come upstream of me. Any more and I would have to back off, the line would drop and the fish would be lost. Then he went deep and downstream. The rod bent over. Oh yes, this was a great fish. Probably a grayling, with quick runs and then a stationary unwielding stance in the flow.

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No net, upstream of the fish and with dense overhead foliage. Whilst the Ayu rod was perfect for hooking this fish, it was a major disadvantage to landing it. I slowly moved along the bank, the water too deep to wade in, holding onto tree trunks and trying to keep the rod out into the river maintaining contact with the fish. If I could just make it to the shallow water at the end of the pool I would be alright. But midway I would lose momentary contact with the fish. It was an impossible task…

The fish came to the surface. It was a lovely big grayling. Sensing my approach he passed me, upstream. Oh dear, this was going to end in disaster. But I had to do it. With gritted teeth I moved further downstream. I dropped the rod further to keep clear of branches and I was nearly there! But the grayling moved downstream at the very moment I dropped the rod and contact was lost….quick….quick… I stumbled forward, and the fish was still on! No, it wasn’t, I was snagged. And that terrible moment we all feel at times washed over me. A battle well fought, but the fish won. Bitter disappointment and recriminations in my mind for what I should have done better.
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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby ConorUK » Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:31 pm

10 March
I needed another visit to the river and luck was on my side and the time became available to do so. This time I went further upstream than yesterday to the start of the woods. It was as lovely as ever. Dappled sunlight coming through the trees and with the odd light shower of rain and gusts of wind as I crossed the river to wade upstream through a shallow run.

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Not so shallow! A deep run had formed on the other side and with an inch to spare I crossed it with care noting that the next time I would be better fishing that run than trying to wade through it! Further upstream I arrived at the long run I wanted to fish.

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It looked the same as last season, and with memories of good fish caught and lost in the area, I started fishing dry. After 10 minutes I switched to New Zealand style for the remainder of the run, having seen no rises and having rose no fish. With no luck, as I neared the top of the run I changed to a single heavy nymph to fish deeper, On the second cast upstream as I kept contact with the nymph, holding my Ayu rod high, there was bump where a change of current indicated a likely lie, I struck, and a fish was on! It was a small but welcome grayling.

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I tried the same again a few times but that was it. On the way back I fished the nymph downstream through the deep run I had waded through and the one below that with no takes.
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Re: Fishing tales on Tenkara in Wales, United Kingdom

Postby ConorUK » Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:07 pm

18 March
It was a warm bright spring afternoon, the warmest yet, almost too warm for a jacket. I drove to the works area and just after I parked I was joined by longstanding club member Billy Hough. We had a natter, Billy was heading upstream, so I headed downstream. I had a particular stretch in mind.

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It was a long stretch of quiet water but at the top a deep run. I had never caught a fish in it, having always fished it downstream due to the difficulty of access. But that spooked the fish. Today it would be different. But it involved a long slow difficult wade upstream. I fished the shallow water on dry. A fish was rising and I covered it several times but I must have put it down as it stopped rising after the fly first went over it. I switched to New Zealand style for the next few metres. No luck. There were lots of fly coming off the water now. They were a bit larger than large dark olives, upwinged flies with three tails and the wings were quite far down the body. There was also the odd massive upwinged fly, which I assumed were brook duns.

Ahead, in a really awkward spot, with snags all around, was a rising fish. I switched to dry only. The water was getting too deep to wade so I climbed onto the tree roots on the steep bank and slowly inched along, one hand on various tree trunks, the other on the rod casting as I moved along. I covered the fish several times and that fish too stopped rising. It was going to be one of those days!

Then, further upstream, at the very top of the run was another rising fish. This was a confident fish, rising often. Eventually after nearly losing my grip a few times I got back into shallow water and could re-enter the river. I fished a variety of dry flies over the rising fish, but to no avail. My time was running out and I decided on something random - a traditional Welsh pattern, the Coch-y-bonddu that is meant to represent a floating beetle, but could just as easily be taken for a half drowned fly.

On the first pass, no rise…but on the second…a greedy take and the fish was on! Then in milliseconds a trout was jumping all over the place. It was a nice fish, silver in hue and it fought hard, heading for the other side, then twisting and turning. But I held the rod high and trusted it to tire the fish a little, so that I could land it without a net. I waited. I didn’t want to lose my first trout of the season by acting in haste. The trout tired and he came close. It was an nice fish. But then…disaster…as he came to hand, he slipped away and started thrashing about, I was sure to lose him. But with the rod dropped and with two hands I scooped him in, an above average trout for the river, of around 11 or 12 inches.

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And that was when I heard a muffled laugh and I looked up, and there was our club president, Paul Leng, trying his best to stifle his mirth at my laboured efforts! I took a quick photo of the trout and we had a chat before I headed back to work in the mild weather with a glow in my heart having been rewarded with a good trout in a Welsh stream on a Welsh pattern after a long stalk along that stretch of river. It doesn’t get much better than that!
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