Don't let it sink!

5/3/2016 | Comments: 1 | Categories:

I've had a bit of a sort out and filled a box with some more traditional wet and dry flies. The thinking was that the Japanese Kebari, with the forward hackles, have a long history. What about some of our traditional flies? Would the Tenkara treatment bring some life into them?

I was especially intrigued by the winged wets being manipulated in the same way as a Tenkara fly. Would they produce the same results? Can a take be induced? Time to return to the Silverburn river and start where I finished in the last report. That very fine pool that produced so many fish. On went a back dry, out it went and "sploosh" fish on! "Good enough!" I thought. The fish were about and eager so I started putting on the winged wets. I had follows. I had plucks. I had all sorts of interest but nothing to show. It could be my manipulation technique of course. There was a very strong upstream wind making casting easy but manipulation tricky.

On went a grey duster with a red head. "Sploosh!" missed it. Next cast, fish on! An instant response to the dry fly. Okay, the duster was drowned now. How about sub surface? Nothing. Manipulation just sub surface brought the same interest and follows but nothing taking. I sped up the pulses, slowed them down, made them longer and shorter. Some manipulations brought more interest than others. A steady 3 inch movement of the fly with a brief free drift after each pulse was the best but still not good enough. As soon as I dried the duster out and re-floated it, fish on! If the dry sank just a little it was ignored. It had to be sat high and proud.

Okay so I did catch a good fish on the green winged wet fly above. I'm not counting it though. The reason was that it had only just touched the water on it's fist cast when a 7 inch fish engulfed it. It might as well have been a dry fly.

There are several pools before the falls. In each it was the same story. If it sank it was ignored. There were occasional cream coloured mayflies dipping the surface and occasionally a trout would leave the water to grab one from the air. I think today was one of those days when the trout were pretty much fixated on what they wanted. As long as it sat high and was pale coloured they were going to have it.

That's not to say I didn't have success with other dry flies. I did rather well with a pheasant tail variety and a gold ribbed hairs ear dry fly. They weren't taken quite as violently as the grey duster though.

I've not given up on the idea that a winged wet might be an option. I'm not convinced today was a fair day for testing them. At one point a rain shower came over with very strong blustery winds. So strong that the line kept picking the fly off the water and dropping it back on. Dapping style! The fish loved it. I had three take the fly in mid air! Fabulous sport for the 15 minutes it took for the squall to pass over.

You can't quite get to the weir because there is a new barbed wire fence installed stopping any further progress upstream. It is possible to get out just before the wire and rejoin the river above the weir. Hand on heart I have to say that this section of river from above the weird to the foot bridge has been a very tough section for me over the years. Generally I've only ever fished it down stream. Today I was going upstream hopeful that it might make a difference.

The pools look fabulous.

They've never given up their trout gold to me on a regular basis. I started this time with an attitude that I was going to catch fish because I was doing something different and had managed good responses lower down. I think this little chap was as surprised to be caught as I was to catch him! He was not the only one to fall to the dry.

I did catch a lot of fish this time. All of them quality browns up to 10 inches with an average nearer to 8 inches in this section. For our rivers these are very descent fish. It wasn't quite as hectic as earlier but the temperature had dropped a few degrees and there wasn't the fly life buzzing about. I was, however, catching fish in my nemesis section of the river.

For the afternoon I must have been pushing a catch of 40 fish. I lost count after about the 20 mark. Sizes went from 4 inches up to 10 inches with most at the 7 inch mark but notably quite a few larger. Not so many small fish on this trip. Perhaps the size of the dry was a challenge for them to wrap their mouths around.

I was only a third of the way up this final section when the skies went black, the temperature plummeted and the hailstones started to batter down. Definitely time to head for home. I waited on a rock under a tree until the worst of it passed thinking about the success of the day.

Anyone fishing the Silverburn can't help but notice the railway runs parallel with the river for some distance. When the trains are running it gets loud. However, the smell of the coal smoke and the venting of steam I can put up with any day. How about you?


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