It’s been nearly a year since I joined the local angling club. It’s had it’s ups and downs, it’s good times and bad. When I joined I thought it would be ideal: a local water 20 mins up the road for quick trips after work, a small intimate interesting lake, stretches of river and the promise of much more fishing. In reality it’s been a little disappointing. It’s had its good moments but they all seemed to be in the early part of the season. In the summer (and I know it was particularly bad in the South East last year) it was unfishable and for a lot of winter its been inaccessible. Not quite the all year fishing I’d hoped for.
So, this coming year I’ve joined a new club. Still quiet close but properly managed and stocked, fishable all year, a lot more water and some big fish. Once I’ve paid I can fish whenever I want for how long I want whereas the old club you had to pay extra for the trout pool in half day slots so a quick 2 hours after work would still cost the same as a full half day session. Anyway, last week I got the chance to go and have a look at the new lake and got to fish for a few hours on a clear but windy Saturday morning.
The lake is around 6 acres, was crystal clear on the day I went, is a rough squarish shape and has a deep channel, shallow end, deep sided end with reed beds, trees and lots of places to fish all around. So far, it looked very promising. Checking the returns book for the week it was full of counts of 3s, 4s, 6s and even 10s. Seeing lots of 10s on the returns was a bit of a surprise. I’m only used to seeing 3s and 4s at the most!
With a little local knowledge it seemed like pulling lures was the order of the day and at this time of year it seemed like the sensible option. So in my infinite wisdom I stuck on a floating line and some nymphs! It didn’t seem right going for the obvious fly that the others were using but after seeing one guy pull out 3 fish in the first 45 mins I decided I’d give lures a try. I swapped to a midge tip line as I didn’t have a slow sinker with me and stuck on a blue damsel. In the next 30 mins I had nothing and the other guy had pulled out another 2. I changed to a few different lures (pink and yellow are supposed to be good there) without much luck. I tried weighted flies to get them down but nothing seemed to work. And still the other guy was pulling them out! No matter where he was on the bank he’s latch onto a fish.
What I did have with me was a fast sinker so as I was on the deeper side I stuck that one with the blue damsel, let it sink right down and pulled in. Still nothing. As a final last try I thought I’d see if the fish had come up in the water a bit more now that things had warmed up so I cast out and pulled back as soon as the line had gone down a foot or so and bang! a trout took off bow waving across the water with the line fizzing as torpedoed away. It was a cracking fight and a cracking fish of 3/4 lb. Not bad for a few hours (but not as good as the 6 or so one of the regulars had caught) and a good taster of things to come I hope. Roll on April 1st!
So, this go me thinking about the sinking line. I think the reason the midge tip wasn’t working was because it was pulling the lures up rather than on a level plane and the fish didn’t like it. As soon as I had the sinker on and found the right level I was into fish. An intermediate would have been idea and I do have one somewhere but it’s old and I have no idea what the sink rate is to be able to count it down through the water level. I think on a small deep lake like this that a good intermediate would help search through the water column to find the right depth and allow lures and damsel type patterns to be fished in the correct way. After a bit of research it seems like the Airflo Sixth Sense Intermediate lines are very well liked so one is now winging it’s way to me. I’ve never tried an Airflo line before and they are supposed to be very good so I’ll be interested to see what its like. I’ll also be fishing a lot more simple wet flies this year so it should be perfect for that as well. Review will be coming soon!