27th August 2015
After my grayling hunting it was to be an interesting fishing session with no polaroids. Someone somewhere will hopefully find them and put them to good use, but what do i do about fishing? With some rain fall this week i expected cloudy water and probably slight increase in water level. Not worth risking life and limb when you can't see the bottom. The bright sun wouldn't help as i couldn't cancel glare out. So i decided to head off to the furthest reaches of the Irwell and fish a small brook.
It was slightly murky but the shallowness allowed me to see the bottom, the hidden dangers of silt and by crikey the small pools were very deep considering the running river level was inches. I spent an hour or two scouting the river, cutting through 5 feet high himalayan balsam and nettles (boy did i get nettled) which was quite easy being 6ft 8 but the bees weren't too keen. After scaring off a couple of trout 1 around 3lb which was quite a disheartening surprise. I did manage to sneak up on one, with my klinkhammer and a long nymph below i cast ahead of it. Spooked it instantly. The shallow water wasn't as easy as it may appear.
I worked my way back along the path i had created casting where i could when i could and all of a sudden there was a tug on the line. I was fishing half blind as i didn't want to disturb the river side growth as i worried about spooking more fish. With the short line i had out it rattled the end of the rod, i lifted it out and into my hands came a roach! I have had roach on the fly before but not in the river.
Several casts in that spot resulted in nothing, i headed upstream further still to see flashes of silver near a tree. It was quite a productive tree, resulting in another 4 roach, i lost a few due to the bardless hooks and lifting them out as i was on the bank as not to spook the fish. It was quite surreal watching them dart in and out from this tree cover which had sticks built up against it from heavy rainfall. They weren't feeding on the bottom like i thought they would be, but roaming more and there was some big roach down there but they seemed the cleverest unfortunately.
The roach bites stopped and then i started hitting minnows. But these minnows were massive compared to what i'd caught miles downstream. It then became kind of a 'world record hunt' for minnows. Which i didn't know till i got home was only half an ounce! Well i'm pretty sure i beat that today as these were long and god almighty fat. Somewhere long and lean but the fat ones. Christ it was actually fun catching huge minnows!
(there is still more story after the countless minnows)
They were impossible to see, unlike the roach, with their dark backs so it got a little frustrating when i was getting bites and when i struck nothing. On around the 50th strike i knew why. Stickleback had moved in! Never dreamt of catching a stickleback again in my lifetime never mind on the fly and i ended up with 4.
Now i'm not sure what the trout eat in this river as i hadn't seen any fry but not long after the stickleback had stopped biting i got a huge hit. Straight into the tree and off. Perch? One of the big roach? I cast again and got a small roach. Again a whopper of a minnow and then again BAM. Into the tree again but i was aware of it now pulled left and low i pulled the fish out, drawing it back and up i saw it was a trout!
After all the commotion i didn't get another nibble for 10 minutes so decided to call it a day. It had been a fun day and possibly a world record minnow that has been released back into the wild. With some cracking river roach and a nice trout to end the day.