It's been a while since I last came up to Druidale to fish the Rhenass river. It's one of my favourite wild places to fish. With a reasonable amount of rain in the previous week and more wind than is healthy for Tenkara, Druidale was in fine condition on this sunny, light breeze day.
The water was crystal clear with iron stained rocks on the bottom giving the water the appearance of a fine single malt. There was a slight downstream breeze, but nothing to worry about. Armed with my trusty Strooan rod and a #3 line I was ready to present a single black dry into likely looking spots.
Only the second cast and this little chap came up for the fly. It was a good start. I don't ever expect big fish from such thin water but the Rhenass has some deep sections with undercut banks where surprises might lurk.
Under that bank it was about 2ft deep in this part. There is always an expectation that a fish is going to come darting out from cover to grab at a passing morsel. Several fish did just that. Nothing big, but enough to put a big smile on my face after a few weeks without fishing.
One of the hazards of being on the mountain after a period of rain is midges. In the lulls of the breeze these voracious little beasts swarmed about my head and left their tell tail red dots on my arms, face and neck. It's worse if you brush against a gorse bush while working your way upstream. They come off in a swarm to hunt you down.
Pools and rocks with undercut banks. You only got one chance at the ultra spooky fish. Fly first casts and short drifts between were the order of the day. Keeping low and not presenting yourself over the water or in silhouette . If you missed the take the fish did come back again.
Fortunately there is a healthy head of fish in this stretch of river. Usually I'd fish a little way upstream from where I park to a steep sided corner at which pint I turn around. Fishing back tt the car and then downstream as far as I can. Once I got to the corner...
the deep pool of about 4ft can be a challenge. It's best fished from as far away as possible because the fish in here can see you coming and don't appreciate the company. This time I was fortunate and had 2 fish from the run. the first being a bit of a beauty at 8 inches.
Encouraged by the flow in the river and the good fish I decided to fish much higher than I usually would. There is a deep channel running in to the corner but I was spitting midges at this stage and pushed on quite quickly to avoid the attentions. I only disturbed one fish and missed it. Above the channel the river is back to it's usual modus operandi.
I was also back into the fish. Another nice sized fish came out from under a rock to seize the same black fly. Fortunately the cloud of black midge had granted me temporary respite so I could land the little'un for their photo call and swift release.
I was certainly above where I'd fished before. There seemed to be plenty of water but the fish had stopped taking. I'd worked my way upstream to the falls.
Quite an impressive series of falls over natural rock to join the main river. The bottom now was extremely slippery with very few loose rocks. Very few places for fish to hide and perhaps this was the reason that my catches had dried up. I pressed on through the natural stone gorge for another 10 meters but I didn't raise another fish. A second smaller fall joins the river and after that it is very narrow indeed. There might be fish up there but time was moving on.
My friend David West Beale did a blog on my Tenkara Sling Pack. I noticed in one of his pictures he used the side gear hanging loops to stick his rod in upside down. I quizzed him about it at the time and said I would give it a go. On the walk back I did.
The rod stayed put. It worked rather well. Until I got back to the car and started to pack up. The gear loop I use to keep my line in place over the easy keepers thought the material in the loop was the best thing ever and stuck to it. The friction between them made it very hard to get out. In fact it stripped my line, keepers and gear tidy off the rod leaving a tangled mess and the tip still between the loops.
Of course the midges had found me again. I was being seriously eaten alive while I tried to untangle the mess and save the tip from snapping. I did, but it was a miserable experience with the midges.
To be fair David did say that it only works if you put he line on a spool over the end of the rod and make sure you put the rod cap in the tip to stop it all opening up. I got the rod cap part correct, at least.
In conclusion, you can carry a rod upside down in the loops, with the caveats above. The fish are still living in the Rhenass at Druidale and finally I am still highly attractive midge food.
Must pack the insect repellent and midge hat next time.
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