So i had taken my daughter fishing the week prior and had helped her land her first fish, the problem with fly fishing is presentation so the rule was i'd 'hook' the fish then i would hand the rod over to Emily and assist her. Compared to her canal fishing which was simply lifting the rod out to land the fish she impressed me with her reeling skills, but still lacks in supporting the whole length of a 10 foot rod with a fish on. Regardless at 27 months she had caught a fish 2 years earlier than i had and thus i opted to take her out again today, she had a bit of a cold so she could do with the fresh air, but pardon any pics if her nose is a little runny. Below was he first trout last week.
The 40 minute walk carrying your gear and your daughter who often prefers me to carry her, the lazy sod, was a long one and upon reaching the river we was rewarded by fish rising. The PB trout (big barry) i had caught earlier in the season looked like it was rising, the telltale rise of a small mouth followed by a tip of dorsal or tail fin as it descended. Another was rising 30 feet downstream so i opted for that first. After setting up with Emily on fish watch duty, i was quickly set up and hit into the trout first cast. It was a nice average trout but Emily refused to reel it in for some unbeknown reason, bloody women! She did bring my net and we landed it, she refused to touch it and off it went.
Now Emily had fallen asleep on me as we walked down to the river, carrying dead weight is horrible, but her grumpiness was kicking in which usually happens after a nap and she insisted on having a mood, so i sat down next to her and told her to sit and wait for the fish. Then there he was, well it looked like him any way with his golden brown underbelly. Big Barry had torpedoed clean out of the water, only around half a foot in the air but probably 4 foot in length. I suspected he had turned to chasing the minnows that were in the shallows but after reassuring Emily we would try to catch it while we waited for a rise, it began to rise again.
Now when you have a 2 year old in tow you have 2 options. Hold her and fish one handed or fish from the bank, now i could of fished one handed with a short line on the dry but with the quality of the fish i was dealing with i didn't want to miss the strike so i opted to fish from the bank which caused drifting issues. After 5 minutes of rising around my fly and 2 different dries it went quiet so i packed up the dry rod and set up the nymphing rod.
I opted to fish one handed to get good presentation and then retreat to a dry spot for Emily to fight the fish from. A small run of water got us a hit but it was a misstrike but it took it on the next run through. Emily struggled getting her reeling in sync and it pulled us down onto the bottom and the dropped snagged on something, it came up twice before it shook the hook and i retrieved the flies after a quick wade in. We fished another pool and only got a hit near the head of the pool and it began stripping line, i allowed it thus not to ping it off as i walked upstream of it to a dry rock for Emily to fight it from. It was a tough old fight for Emily but with her reeling now in rhythm and me holding the rod it eventually tired after it's long run. Emilys confidence with the fish had grown and she gave it a stroke on it's back, and cried as i had to let it go. I remember when i first let my first fish go, a small jack pike, i cried too but because i thought it was going to turn round and bite me, i told her we would get another and we soon did. A minnow.
Not long after that we caught another decent trout (mummy fish), very similar in size to the trout prior and again it was a tough fight, so much so Emilys welly fell off. This time Emily was all up for holding it, pointing out it's tail and popping both hands on it excitedly. She wasn't too happy again to see it go but she didn't cry this time, only a slight whinge, they will be there for her to catch next time.
There was enough time to lose another fish on a snag but Emily rounded off the day with another small trout, because of it's size i let her hold the rod fully and helped her reel, the rod spent most of it's time flat on the water but she managed to bring it in and i went and netted it for her. I asked if she wanted to release it and she told me to pop it on the rock next to her, i told her i couldn't as it needed water and i passed it her, one small flick of it's tailed and she threw it into the water, not the most graceful of releases but away safely none the less.