I was due to teach Luke today but as I have not met him before and he is 11 I agreed with his dad, Simon, that we would play the weather by ear as we were both keen that Luke didn’t get cold. I got to SFFS Mission Control early as I had a load of emails to sift through but the signs were ominous. Driving down the A30 I had seen cars coming up covered in about an inch of snow. I was getting the rods ready to strap to the truck and the phone went. Simon had rightly decided to postpone til midweek. The snow was falling heavily and it was cold so it was the right thing to do. Mark was up at our Yak Shack at Roadford so I decided to pop in and see him have a cuppa. The watersports guys were having a snowball fight and you could barely see the water from the Shack. The snow was starting to settle but the showers were not long enough for it to get a hold. I hung with Mark for a bit and decided to head home. Now as any Trout Bum will tell you what do you do when you suddenly find you have a day off? Thats right, head for the river!
I had to pop in to pick up waders and said hi to the girls. Emma said she has seen swallows…perhaps they have been a little previous?!
I headed for my beloved Taw. I belong to a couple of clubs that have fishing there and headed for one of my favourite stretches. It was a little chilly but I rigged up my 2wt with the ever present black klinkie that had worked so well for Jim on Friday and I also tied on a green tungsten bead head nymph NZ style about 3 ft from the dry. I am sure heavy stuff hi sticked through the deeper pools might have been an option but the upper reaches of the Taw are pretty small and confined and bar a few holes the water is pretty shallow. Hi sticking is great in a lot of circumstances but when I have a day off I like to cast my flies rather than lob them!
I know it was cold when I started as I lost feeling in my left hand pretty quickly but carried on. I had a few small fish and decided to carry on up the river. There is a really nice bend that for some reason I don’t have the sort of success that such a fishy looking hole should offer but I threw my rig in there and missed a fish, cursed and then stepped up again. Early season is great as the over hanging branches are thin and not as heavy as summer time so its perfect for those tight in, right up against the bank casts. Well, I guess I was lucky this time and my dry dipped under and I felt a nice fish on. It was a good fish, my rod has measuring marks on it (to keep me honest!) and a quick check showed 12 inches. I was really pleased.
I carried on up and had a few more fish, I had been fishing an hour and a half and the thought of a cup of tea became appealing. I went back to my truck and still in my waders hopped in a headed out the back way. A few minutes later I came out by Taw bridge which has a parking spot for the other club I belong to. I couldn’t see the parking space but decided if it were clear and no one else was fishing there it was a sign and I should have a fish.
It was empty so I parked up and decided to go upstream of the bridge with the same set up (I hadn’t broken my rod down) I started at a pool that is reasonably deep but nice and slow and I have had some nice fish from in the past. Third cast and a plucky little 7 incher took the nymph. I carried on around the corner and up to the next corner. The weather had got worse and the temperature had dropped a little. The snow had got pretty heavy and I was thinking of what it must be like being a steelhead fisherman. These guys are often out in horrific conditions chasing sea run rainbows. It is often said steelheading is more of a religion than a pastime. It sort of reminds me of sea trout fishing and some of the guys who live nocturnal lives when the fishing is hot.
So, I’m standing there casting and thinking about the weather and something really nice has a go at my dry. I’m not sure who jumped the most but I missed it.I think I was just surprised something came for the dry in such awful conditions. Why is it that as fishermen, I see this a lot when guiding, that when we miss or lose a fish that we straight away fire a cast to the area where we just lost the fish. I did just the same, perhaps it is a vain hope that the escaping fish will give us another chance to catch him?!
The snow eased and although the fishing didn’t improve for a bit things warmed up. There were some small trickle hatches, I saw one LDO and some really small stuff and on the last bend it was a treat to see a few rising fish. I managed one of them and it spooked the other so I cut my flies off and headed home.