Monday, 1 February 2010

(Technique) + (Confidence) = (Fish) @ Milldale

I've been an angler since I was a little lad. I've tried ledgering for Chub and Tench, trotting a float for Roach and Dace, and smoking a pack of 20 L&B whilst stillwater float fishing for shy, bank hugging carp in the late summer evenings. All of this I've enjoyed, once that is, I have grown my confidence sufficiently in each technique that I start to catch one or two fish.

I started Fly Fishing about 18 months ago, purely because I was in the Hebrides working quite a bit, and if I wanted to fish with my mates, it would have to be with a fly rod, some Peter Ross, Butcher, and one or two wee Katie MacLarens.

I asked other fishermen, which rod to buy. I would only need one because I wouldn't be fishing that often, I explained, and any more than that would be ridiculous, I'm not like all those other fishermen, I said, no, I'm a one rod man me.

Well where will you be fishing with it, they said, what techniques will you be using, will it be lochs or stillwaters, big rivers, small rivers, deep rivers, shallow rivers, streams, dry fly, wet fly, teams of up to 5 wet fly, duo, New Zealand, Old Uncle Tom Cobleigh and All?

Yes, I said. Old Uncle Tom Cobleigh and All. And so, it was to be, one rod to suit all waters and conditions, one 9Ft 6" 7Wt Orvis that would have to cope with everything from huge Salmon on Jura to tiny wee troots from the Dove...oh how Pointon mocked the "Pike Rod" and how it didn't bend even the tiniest of a fraction when I had a fish momentarily on before the lack of give made it prang off.

But I'd get my revenge. The moment I saw Glen's Hardy 7Ft 3Wt Demon, I mocked him for it's 'weak handshake', ridiculously soft action, and pathetic length. It didn't matter to me that he was catching 3 fish to every 1 of mine.

And so, apparently, having said all that, I appear to have become a bit of a 'Tackle Tart'. Last year, I bought a Streamflex 6Ft 6" 3wt and it changed my fishing completely. I started to catch fish. Then something else happened, Fly Forum's Fishcake showed me the 'duo' technique, and I started to catch more fish.

There's a bit of a chain reaction here because, if you start to get to grips with a technique, you grow confident. If you're comfortable with your rod, so to speak, you grow more confidence. If you start to catch fish, you grow even more confident and so on. You can be casting to a peice of water that is absolutely chocka with fish, but if you're not confident with your technique, tangling in trees, swearing, getting blood pressure, swearing some more, you're not going to catch many fish, and I found out the hard way at the beginning of last season.

Pointon is the perfect example of this. Yesterday, he fished at Milldale and he caught 24 Grayling having decided to use the Czech Nymphing technique that he has become super confident with. I too am a great fan of Czech Nymphing at this time of year and, like Glen, was lucky enough to get some great tuition from John Tyzack whilst fishing the Teviot a couple of weeks ago.

But today, I was determined to fish with a short rod, because at Milldale in particular, I find I can fish more water, avoid tangles, spend more time in the water, and therefore, I catch more fish.

I met Brian at The Yew Tree Inn at 10.30am and he'd join me as a guest on the Dove. It was a beautiful morning but pretty chilly. I thought it looked great for the fishing.

I managed a few small fish from the first few pools and we made our way slowly down towards Ilam Rock. The fishing was tougher down that end and I looked forward to trying my luck in a couple of pools on the way back.

Yesterday, Glen had quite a few fish from his newly named "Deliverance" Pool. Don't ask. He'd told me the exact run where he was taking them and had painstakingly described every detail about the pool over the phone so that I understood where he meant. I had a few casts. Nothing. I had a few more casts. Nothing. So I started to cast an inch or two further towards midstream each time and eventually, when the Klinkhammer and Pheasant Tail Nymph had landed near enough dead on midstream, there was a flash of silver and the Klink had gone.

Fish on.

Tyzack had shown me how to land a Grayling when we were on the Teviot, so again, I was confident and I was always going to land that fish, no matter what.

I cast again. The same spot. A silver flash and a quickly disappearing pink Klink and another Grayling was on.

I cast again. The same spot. Another silver flash and another disappearing pink Klink.

Another great day's fishing and it was great to have a catch up with Brian. I'd caught 7 lovely Grayling, all quite small, but great fun on light tackle.

So I've gone over to the dark side. I've joined "Pointon's Light Brigade", I'm armed to the teeth with short rods and boxes upon boxes of dry flys of all manner of shape size and description, ready for the nearing Trout season and I tell you what...this angler cannot wait.

Oh. The battle cry of Pointon's Light Brigade......"Dry Fly Only".