The intention was to go and fish the Len Trench in the north of the Island. I'd been told there are trout in it of a good size. I got to the bridge over the Len and I looked at the drainage ditch 6 foot wide and a foot deep. I could see the undercut banks and the pebbles on the bottom. I could also see it running dead straight with an even flow off into the distance. Not inspiring. I stood and watched the water surface for 10 minutes. Not a ripple or a rise. Had I seen a rise I might have felt more like having a go, but truly, it's not picturesque in any way.
Back to Sulby Claddagh, the Sulby is one of our largest rivers. It's not one I fish often because the building of Sulby reservoir wreaked havoc on the upper stretches. Further down river at the Claddagh I've caught fish before so I was confident of finding them again.
This tree lined water has only a few places where you can get in. I chose to start just above the bridge at the top of the camp site. The waters through the campsite do hold fish but it was busy and I wanted to get away from "people". There were some heavy rain showers about, bu the water remained peaty but clear.
I was still using the box of Japanese traditional patterns from my last trip. They were working, with manipulations of the fly so why change? I think some people change patterns far too often. The fly will never catch a fish if it's not being fished with. Too many changes just wastes time.
Having said that I did change from my original pattern selection to something with a ginger hackle when I saw a pair of ginger coloured up-wings flittering about. The reaction to the change was instant.
No sooner that the pattern touched down when this fine fish swirled and was hooked. It gave a good account of itself before it came to the net. I had fish after fish hurling themselves at the fly as I skittered it over the surface of the pool. they wouldn't connect. You can see the pink,green, orange and black indicator sections of the BMS Azakaya line quite well in this picture. They did shine out well and help with spotting subtle takes sub surface.
I could see the fly beneath the surface on some drifts and the trout lunging at each other in an attempt to get to the fly first. Ultimately neither of them made a grab. The next cast another large trout came from under the bush turned on the fly beneath the surface. A flash of white mouth, a flare of the gills and the fly was gone. I struck into the fish and held it for a minute or so before the hook parted company.
Heart stopping moments. Above is that first fish again. I carried on fishing up through the waist deep pool. It was a tentative moment when the crotch first went under. I'd done a repair on the seam. Would it hold? Yes it did. My confidence in wading was restored. Storm Sure with Storm Tape for the win!
I fished up as far as the weir. I took a few small fish on the way and totally failed to catch in the weir falls. Still, that's not unusual for me. I do better in the runs and pockets than the plunge pools. Time was pushing on. This was only a short session having spent most of the day on the "Show Ground" supporting my partner as she won a few more rosettes with her horse. While she packed up and headed home. I went fishing.
On the way back I decided to change flies to a traditional black Sakasa Kebari, very similar to the one Dr Ishigaki gave me when we fished together all those years back. My plan was to fish back down the pools using the pause and release technique. The skating fly had worked really well on the way up. Time to switch it up on the way back.
The basic idea is that cast across the stream and set a dead drift. Pause the rod so the fly rises to the surface under tension, pause a second then release the tension so the fly sinks back and drifts with the current.
The salmon parr couldn't get enough of it. Difference between salmon and trout parr? Note the pronounced "V" of the tail, the red spots following the lateral line and the single black spot in front of the gill cover.
Looking back at the pool I just fished through for 6 fish. On the way up I only managed 2. The drive back to Douglas took me up through Tholt-y-Will. The road follows the Sulby river all the way. I'm thinking I might fish this river some more quite soon. Starting above the treatment works and working my way upstream. The Sulby has a lot more to share and my dedication to fishing the various Tenkara techniques may just run hand in hand for the next session or two. Next weekend I'll be heading towards the Dee in Wales. Look out for the write up on my Esoteric Tackle Blog.
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