Doomed in the Glen!
There is a Glen in the Isle of Man called Dhoon Glen. It has some stunning waterfalls but also hellishly steep paths down to the beach at the bottom. It has been a while since I got out for a walk with my partner and the dogs and she suggested we take the dogs to the bottom of the Glen. I had a sweat on just thinking about it.
She agreed to let me pack my little Tenkara zoom rod into my new little sling bag along with plenty to drink. The sling bag is under development at the moment, so no details as yet I'm afraid.
There was a notice at the top saying that the main way down to the bottom, past the waterfalls, was closed because the bridges were not in safe condition. A bit of a blow, but there is an alternative walk down and my target was the pools below the main waterfall. From the beach I headed upstream, ignoring the last waterfall to the beach that had several kids playing in it. The last bridge was indeed in very poor condition and I wasn't about to trust it. However, I'm fishing and we don't need no bridges!
It was a hot day and in amongst the foliage it was hot and humid. Not the easiest of Tenkara water, but definitely possible with a small rod. Previous trips to the bottom of Dhoon Glen I had looked at the water and cursed not having a rod with me. While my partner and the dogs played on the beach it was time for me to go exploring. I had seen fish before so I knew they were here.
The mission was to catch at least one fish and get back to the beach.
I got a pull from a feisty trout in the first deep pocket. Missed it. It didn't come again. I did get a chance to see the fish disappear beneath a large rock. It was at least 7 inches. Most interesting.
Creeping up to the next, bigger, pool I was confident of taking a fish because this is where I had spied some fine specimens previously. I saw three shadows disappear into the dark water beneath the sheltered rock face while I was contemplating the best way to get a line in. The water was gin clear and I could make out every pebble in the 4 feet of water. I wasn't feeling so confident any more. Once a pool is spooked, on the Island, that's generally the end of it.
I got a pull from the nearside bank when I sent the fly round the corner and was, effectively, fishing blind. I tried wets, dries, nymphs, even down to a tiny 22. Nothing was tempting those fish after the first pull. I spent far too long trying to decode that pool without success.
There is a mine in Dhoon Glen and this is the opening to a small test adit, lower down the valley, that was cut into the side of the steep gorge I was now fishing in. A black hole. A little like my confidence. These fish were proving to be a struggle. Onto the next pool after flicking a fly into the occasional pot. I could have fished much better than I was doing but I was hunting for the most likely places to hold a fish to concentrate on. Time was pressing as I didn't want to be away from the beach too long. Our two dogs can be a handful!
Success! At last, a waterfall joins the river into a deep pool. I was certain it must have a fish in there. I got a follow the first cast but it didn't take. I then saw a rise, from the chap, to take something on the surface. I swapped to a dry before casting again. Into the turbulence of the waterfall. No reaction. Into the riffle of the main stream entering the pool. Fish on! I was really close to jumping in to hug the fish to my chest. I restrained, netted it and got the picture I needed to prove there are fish below the Dhoon Glen main waterfall.
This was the little pool that fine, fat little brownie came out of. Mission accomplished. Fish on Tenkara below the main waterfall. It was time to head back to the beach. I hadn't got near to the big waterfall so you'll have to wait for a picture. I think waders, or at least waist waders, on a day when it's not so hot would be a good bet for crawling into some of the tighter spots to catch the fish that live in this river.
In places the water is a little thin, but the quality of fish is there. I didn't think I'd want to come back down this glen of doom again but I think I'm going to have to. There is water above and below the big falls that is enticing. Perhaps on a cooler day I'll get out and give it a go.
The walk back out of the Glen did live up to expectations. Thank goodness for the little shop at the top selling ice cream and drinks. The friendly lady in the shop was even good enough to get a bowl of water for the two dogs. If you do go and fish the Glen please stop at the shop and give her a few coins to help keep her open.
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