Ragged in the Raggatt
It had been a very busy few days and nowhere near enough fishing was done. This report is a combination of two trips to The Raggatt just outside Peel in the Isle of Man. The first trip I only had a a couple of hours before I was due elsewhere but as I was a little stir-crazy I took the opportunity to get to this delightful place.
Parking at the start of The Raggatt you walk into the parkland and have a choice of heading upstream to various falls and pools or go downstream where there are quiet runs and glides. I went down stream on the basis that I could drop in at a quiet spot, I knew well, and work my way back to the car.
I could see the fish in the clear water under the branches on the far bank. They ignored my dry flies but they did seem to get a bit excited when the same fly I had used previously to good effect, was put on. The dry with the deer hair back and clipped hackle? I tried something smaller. No reaction. I put on my hybrid nymph and immediately got a hit. In my over exuberance I missed it by striking to hard and too soon.
The water at this end is very slow moving but it is excellent sight fishing. Just below the roots of the tree I could see at least 6 fish. One of them was a bit of a specimen. The hybrid nymph was ignored. The larger fish moved off station under the bank when walkers came by but very soon came back out to take station. Small back dries ignored so on when the one that had stirred them up a bit. First cast and the second the fly hit the water is was engulfed.
Thank goodness! All those fish and none of them showing much interest. I turned a rock or two and the same nymphs I found in the private glen were clinging on. There had distinct bright green edges to there segmentation. I had nothing in my boxes to match them. It was very frustrating fishing, more so because I had intended to tie something impressionistic of them after the last trip. I was certainly feeling a little ragged at this stage in the game. Fishing on up to the bridge didn't raise a single fish or any more interest. A check of my watch and I'd hardly covered any river but it was time to depart.
I was coming back! The following day, again without too much time, I returned to the same stretch of the Neb. However, this time I was prepared.
I'd tied a few of these green nymphs on my size 16 Esoteric Jig Hooks. The grey partridge hackles were clipped from the gape and short on top. Remember, jig hooks fish upside down. My thinking was the clipped hackle would give an impression of legs without being realistic. The body colour looked about right tied with an artificial quill and a coating of UV glue. We'll see what the fish make of them!
They like them very much. I had left my camera at home so had to resort to using my phone camera. That always makes me nervous on the river. No one wants to drop their phone in the water. This salmon smolt came out of the previous days starting pool and ws most welcome. There were plenty of follows to the nymph and no interest in the dry that I had had interest in before. I couldn't temp a fish out from beneath the branch I caught at the previous day. They were there, bristling their fins and laughing at my feeble attempts to tempt them. I was hopeful for the run higher up. It hadn't produced, but I was sure it should have.
When there is more water on this is a fabulous fish taking area. This low, slow and clear the fish are extremely spooky and wary. I sent my new little nymph round the corner of the bush and into the deep water. Using the bank side vegetation for cover while is vital. Equally important was stepping very carefully and slowly up stream. My efforts were rewarded.
A fine fish from the Neb. It's certainly paying to have something on the end of my line which has the right colour and shape. I've other patterns that had the shape but not the colour. I didn't find another fish in this section so moved on up closer to the bridge.
This pool is a cracking deep hole no matter what the water levels. Just downstream a tributary comes in and adds to the fish holding status. Salmon and sea trout are known to hold in this spot when they are running. Incidentally I was at B&Q last night talking to a fishing buddy who fishes the sea a lot. He tells me there are a lot of sea trout in the bays and round the rocks at the moment. He said he wouldn't be surprised if there was a run when we get some rain. I think I agree with him. Back on the Neb. with the odd fish rising in this large pool I went back to the dry fly but couldn't get any interest. In the end it was gold head pheasant tail that took the fish.
Not the best picture in the world. I'd managed to hook the line up in the tree. The rod was doing nothing while I hand lined the fish in while it was being played by the overhead branch. I had to let the rod swim in the slow current while I got the picture and released the fish. You can see the small tributary, I mentioned, in the background. Taking off the fly I pulled the line back through the foliage. It's often easier to do that than try and thread a hook through unwrapping the twigs and leaves.
Time was up again and I still hadn't made it passed the bridge. It will have to wait for another day. I was much happier this second visit because I felt that the fly I had created for the job had done it's job. I'm sure it would have been effective at the private glen I previously reported on. Now I need a dry fly version with the same coloured body and some rain. Rain would be good. The rivers are looking very thin and the grass is losing it's green. Friday is forecast rain and back to sun on Saturday. We'll have to see how much.
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