After last week’s superb day on the river with Ben I was keen to get out again fairly soon. I checked the weather on Tuesday, Wednesday was looking best with reasonably light winds, blowing upstream and relatively stable temperatures. I tied a few flies, decided that I was going fishing and even with the forward planning of a whole day by the time I’d managed to convince my brother to come fishing it was 2030 Wednesday when we arrived at the water!
The first mission was unfinished business with a trout I lost on the last outing, I sat down and waited beside his bush and then waited a bit longer. I sorted out Andrew’s leader for him, stuck a fly on and told him to have a few practice shots at the small fish rising a bit further upstream. They weren’t for complying with the warm up plans but it did get his casting into check. Andrew’s casting is surprisingly good for someone who doesn’t fish very often but I suppose he does have a good teacher! My fish rose. I just saw the sip out the corner of my eye whilst I was watching Andrew so I carefully got myself into position and had a cast. My long fine tippet was exquisitely caught by the wind, curved a perfect 90 degrees and gave me one of the worst drifts I’ve seen in a while. Don’t you just love it when a shot like that is blown? Oh well, with the fish showing no signs of interest we walked on down to where we planned to fish. We passed a couple of guys on the walk but fortunately they were holed up together in a small space leaving us miles of open river to explore.
It was a bit colder and a bit more of a bleak sight than I was expecting as the water was quiet with only the odd fish rising now and again which was surprising given the activity the week prior. I was confident that things would get a bit more interesting when the light faded though. Whilst we were waiting on the larger fish to show I picked up a small fish around 1/2lb on a little CDC emerger but that wasn’t what we came for. It didn’t take long after this before things really kicked off and before we knew it we were standing beside a river flat with thumping rises everywhere. I was first in, covering a rise with a size 16 yellow CDC emerger. This fish was lying near the top of the flat, just off the main current line.
After this success we quickly changed Andrew’s fly to the same one and I put him onto a couple of fish rising just opposite us. One of these fish looked to be a good fish and when after the first or second cast he announced he’d got one I was stoked. I asked if he thought it was a big fish, he said he didn’t know! Unfortunately it wasn’t a big fish but his first from this river and on a dry too which is not to be sniffed at. I’ve said it before but these trout are the hardest to catch of anywhere I’ve fished. Well played Andrew, you hunted out the smallest trout on that flat!
The window of opportunity for this type of fishing was very small as whilst it never got truly dark it did get dark enough that you couldn’t make out riseforms. It was still possible to hear them but without seeing them you stand very little chance of putting a good drift over the fish so off it was with the small dries and on went the big flies. I had intended to fish through the night hard with very large streamers to try and tempt one of the really big trout in the river but before I even got around to tying one on curiosity with the big dries took hold. A large turks tarantula went on for Andrew and a big foam cicada for me. We set about fishing them across stream with a dead drift following into a downstream swing with a lot of action imparted to the fly by twitching the line. Andrew had one fish hit and miss before I heard a rise straight opposite me. I covered where I thought the fish was and just as the fly started to swing I heard the take and lifted into another solid fish at 0210!
I missed one other fish but this was the last fish that we landed for the night. As things slowed down we sat on the bank and had a beer killing time for around 45 minutes. There were fish rising through the entire night but definitely at a greatly slowed pace. In fact the trout kept on rising until the sun broke above the horizon between 0430 and 0500, after that we didn’t see a thing.
It was a very interesting evening as it’s the first time I’ve made a conscious effort to stay out the entire night through to and past sunrise. I thought there might have been some action very early doors after the sun came up but it was completely the opposite. I’m excited by the fishing now as I’m feeling good about experimenting more with unconventional methods. Some very large mouse patterns are going to get a swim soon and the large streamers will get some river time too. Stay tuned!