Just when you thought there were couldn't be any more rivers on the Isle of Man there are! The River Neb is one of the larger rivers and flows into Peel. I have a few hours on Sunday to fish the Raggatt section.
I've been a bit leery about fishing this one because although it was a favourite with my standard gear my recollection was that it was quite overgrown with low trees. Certainly in the lower section it is. I decided to start on a very still glide downstream of the first bridge over the river. This has always been a tough pool even with a very long line fished across and down with spiders. How would the Tenkara gear stand up to the challenge?
Better than I expected. The water was gin clear and I could see the fish and they could see me. I'd put the hi-vis orange line on because I was casting into the sun a bit and I wanted to see if it made a difference. It certainly did. I still couldn't see the line very well but the fish could see it clearly. Each fish I covered spooked. Back to the BMS with the clear section to the tippet ring. I'm using 7x fluorocarbon. Ridiculously fine to my way of fishing usually but the rod I know can handle it provided I'm not too wild.
That's better! One large fish with fins bristling glides sideways to look at my fly and ignores it. It's back on station. I'm side casting here to avoid the low branches. One gentle step and a cast a little further upstream and nearer the bank. Damn, nothing as the fly passes the fish.The fish flipped round and lunged at the fly behind it and missed. I say it missed, but in shock I think I might of pulled it out of it's mouth. The fish returns to it's station again. Taking a moment to gather myself I put the fly back to the same spot. You've got to love these Tenkara rods for their accuracy. This time the trout doesn't wait, it's up and engulfed the fly. I lean into the fish and it takes off up the pool. I can't raise my rod but do my best to keep side pressure on. Is this a trout or a bone fish? It's absolutely racing away upstream. The rod has maximum pressure on and I take two steps towards the fish to reduce that pressure. Ping! I've done an Alex! The tippet snapped. No curly tail on the line so perhaps there was a nick in the line from rattling the leaves and branches now and again. The fish is gone and I can't see another fish in the glide to cast at. The hazards of 7x.
Above this glide is some deep riffly water. I say deep. In the current flow it's about two and a half feet at the far bank. I gink up my dry fly and start methodically casting into the riffles. Amazing how well you can see a black fly when the sun makes the water look like quicksilver.
A swirl just a yard in front of me at the fly but I'm already at full stretch and I can't effectively strike it. Fish two, me nil. Two more casts and another take. It's on and a lovely trout comes to the hand and flips itself off the hook while I hold it in the water at my side. Damn camera! Okay so I should of netted it while I got the camera out, but it was only a little one and it seemed happy just sitting in the current. I'm claiming that one though. One, two.
Couple more casts and it's fish on again! The camera is ready at the top of my chest pack. This time it's not getting away. Only a little fella but welcome. Size 20 dry fly with extended black micro chenille body firmly in the scissors.
Two all. I continue up the riffles but don't move any more fish. The next pool you can see in the background of the previous picture where the posts are. I've had large number of fish out of this pool in the past so I'm hopefully.
The other side of the posts it's about five foot deep and a great holding pool for sea trout. This side it's only 2 foot with a slightly deeper channel where the water is restricted. Casting over the tail brings nothing. Into the main body of water I miss a big swirl. Two, three the fish go ahead. Slightly further over and the line goes tight. Fish on! and it's taken the partridge and orange I have on the dropper. Three, all. I miss two more swirls and land another feisty trout on the third attack on the fly. Four, Five the fish are still ahead!
Nothing comes from the deep pool the other side. I probably should of attacked it with deeper nymphs. There are a couple of runs at the bridge but it is horribly overhanging and so I give it only a couple of bow and arrow casts.
Under the bridge and we're into the start of the Raggatt properly. There has been some extensive work done on the old weirs. I'm just about to cast into the first one and there is a big splash followed by and even bigger one! Salmon? Sea trout? .... No. Canine Annoyintensitus chasing a tennis ball. So much for fish in that spot. There is a deep channel above the first weir but again I think the dog has disturbed it until I see a rise under a tree. Out go the flies and and immediate response. Five all.
No more fish out of this channel but I'm sure there are more there. I'm pushing on quite quickly because time is getting short and I want to get to the new water created by the river improvement.
The old broken weir has been demolished and instead a cascade of pocket water has been created with a couple of deep pools at the bottom. I really want to fish these.
Looking at my watch the pocket water will have to wait. I really should be at the car now. To heck with it! I'll putting flies through the the pools at the bottom first. I swap to a weighted nymph on the point and cast into the flow. Hooked up on a submerged twig. I don't have time to retie a leader and it's high in the pool. I retrieve the fly and remove the offending branch. The next cast it drifts through much better and a small trout grabs the partridge and orange. Six, five to me!
Quickly released because I see a better rise under a tree just downstream. I cast to it but nothing. Swapping from the heavy nymph on the point I replace it with a red tag. The red tag is really small compared to the usual dressing and the hackle is sparse with a thinner body. Into the water it goes again. A pluck at the line and I miss it. It was definitely a fish. Six all.
Check the watch, out of time...but there's a fish! Got to cast again. No take in the place of the last pluck but as the flies come round into the slack water in front of a rock there's a swirl but no connection. Benefit of the doubt, Seven, six to the fish.
I can hear my wife tutting from here while she's at home preparing dinner. Last cast. Has to be the last cast. (How many last casts do we get?) Round come the flies and I'm in! A solid take and it's probably the best fish of the day, if I exclude the one that got away earlier. In it comes for it's photo call.
You can see the red tag in the lower jaw. I'll have to come back to fish up through the Raggatt another day. There are more pools and runs to explore. The Tenkara rod and tactics have been more effective than the standard fly rod and tactics I've employed previously. Final score.... Seven all.
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