7th May 2017It had been a month since i had last fished with my good friend Mike France and with a date set we could only hope we hadn't jinxed anything. We've had gale force winds on the Dee and the winter floods of 2015 to deal with after setting a date and with no rain for a long time we was hoping we didn't get a large dumping of rain that'd kill off the river. The rivers need rain to be fair as we knew the river would be on it's knees. The 2 days before our outing a strong wind had built up and was set to make fishing tricky too, I'd rather it rained than be windy in fairness. But on the day it was calm and settled, warm in the sun with patches of cloud that looked like they could bring some rain in.
With the knowledge of knowing the river would be low we set out a concrete plan en-route. We knew where the deeper runs where and would target them, there's a lot of wading on our usual stretch but would it be worth fishing it all when the lies wouldn't be as strong as they usually would. So we decided not to bother. Firstly, however, we wanted to check a new swim but after having a good look and it looking fishy (and a bit ratty too) we couldn't find anywhere to park so off we went to our usual spots with the plan to scout parking locations in the future.
Earlier that morning after a couple of hours of sleep, four in fact, i sensed a needed a couple of flies tying, something different just incase, so i tied some polish nymphs with a hot collar and some flies wrapped in yarn with a bead and a dab of squirrel. (Now known as Bendle's Bug) I opted for the Bendle's Bug to try first, it was a simple fly that wouldn't sink too quick which was key as once you hit the bottom you start getting the greenish weed on the hook. To also prevent the fly from sinking to the bottom i limited the length of the tippet by using a klinkhammer, i would still get the length in the cast but i was restricting the maximum depth the fly could go. I was opting for a slow sink and to be just off the bottom in the deeper runs.
Our first run was a good test on the tactics and what to expect, we ran into some kids fishing and they had a little chat with us before we left that run, i had only hit one grayling and lost another fish. Now the river we was fishing did have grayling, but it also had plenty of trout but this river has a very healthy amount of fish due to the huge amount of food available. There were flies i hadn't seen the Irwell before, but despite this huge amount of fly activity above the water there wasn't much rising.
|These young trout have so much potential in becoming beautiful beasts|
|The monstrosity i pulled from a branch i'd snagged onto|
|The umber colored tops make these trout invisible in the peaty water|
|The Bendle's Bug at work again|
|The fish of the day, with a run that gave Usain Bolt a run for his money, it's definitely in for a chance of reel scream of the year|
We worked our way up to the next small pool and was quite disappointed in it until the very end, the lane closest to the far wall ended up producing a lump of a grayling 48cm on the net tape, around about my PB for a grayling and also from this same river. 2 more casts into the far pool produced 2 trout until it went quite after a miss. From then on it was pack up and go home. It had been a productive day of 12 trout and 20 grayling of all sizes for myself all on one fly. The trees hadn't stole any which shows my awareness is improving and the lack of touching the bottom meant i wasn't snagging up anywhere near as much as i usually would. Mike wasn't too happy with his performance, he lost his biggest fish but he was braver than me pulling the dry flies out. In hindsight it was a good idea, but the lack of rises and consistency in them meant his opportunities were limited.
|The lump of a grayling going back home to sulk for a bit|
|Bendle's Bug in all it's glory, Top: The one that got me 32 fish, Botton: A fresh one ready to take it's place|