Saturday, 13 October 2012

Fly Fishing – The Rebirth

I'm happily married to a great wife and Dad to three great girls and a fully fledged Fly Fishing addict!

Over the summer of 2011, my wife had arranged a night out with her friend Nic, who were both steadily getting drunk at our place.  As I chatted with Nic, we spoke about her husband Lee, a friend of mine and a current Welsh International angler.  She spoke how Lee was trying to put a syndicate together for a private tenancy on a lake near Builth Wells.  After encouragement from Gem (my wife) and Nic, I rang Lee to find out what his plans were….the road to Fly Fishing addiction began.

After I had begged and borrowed a rod, reel, line and some flies from friends and family the next step was to fish.  A week or so after putting my name forward for the syndicate and to get back into the swing of things, Lee took me for an evenings fishing on the river Ithon, Llandrindod Wells.  After some simple tuition it all came flooding back to me, I was casting like I’d never been away.  The reward for fishing a size 16 Adams dry fly just above a small set of rapids were small Brownies (so small that a couple would skip along the surface of the water as soon as you struck into the rise!).  Their small size was no issue especially when compared to their immense beauty and those small fish made me yearn for more – a Fly Fishing addiction was setting in.

The remainder of the year consisted of buying new kit, fishing the river (although at the time I had no real clue of what I was doing).  We also spent time developing the lake we had acquired the tenancy on.  We were very lucky because although the lake had not been stocked or fished for nearly 20 years there were still Brownies present, one of around 3lb was caught soon after we started to fish.  With the landlords permission we removed some of the trees to ensure we could cast and erected pontoons in places we felt the trees were best served where they were.  Last job was to stock with Rainbows and we were set.

My Lake
My Lake

Following me re-introduction into Fly Fishing the first trip I took on my own was to our lake, soon after stocking.  Having checked out the water, there were few fish rising and no sign of a decent hatch.  With my limited fly box at the time I decided to go with the first thing that caught my eye, a red Wooly Bugger.  I cast out off the first pontoon and fished a fairly fast retrieve.  Feeling a few bites I carried on, before too long I had hooked up.  Once again I was almost over-come with excitement; it took me back to my very first fish caught on the boat with Uncle Ray 16 years or so earlier.  A Rainbow of nearly 2lb plus was the prize, which I safely returned to be caught once again.

My first rainbow trout at my private lake
RB from the lake - ignore the line!

The Fly Fishing rebirth was truly among us and to this day I’m sure I recall that fish was bigger than it was!

In 12 months I've come a long way.  From not knowing how to fish the various waters and weather conditions to pretty much know what I’m doing, be it still water or rivers, wind rain or shine – being a native to Mid Wales, knowing how to fish I the rain is very important!  I’m confident fishing dry flies, wet flies, buzzers and lures; fishing droppers and correct choice of rod, line and tippet.  But lets not get started on fly tying, a skill I have recently attempted to learn but yet to master!

From fishing with a worm and rod/reel set that came to less than a tenner up until my reintroduction and development into and accomplished (I hope) Fly Fisherman, my journey into fishing has been a long and drawn out one.  I have no regrets, if I had carried on fishing during my teens, who is to say that I would still be fishing now?

I urge everyone to try their hand at fishing no matter what type it is; my preference is simply with the fly.  I still get excited every time I hook a fish, although now with a little more restrain, a feeling I hope never goes away and one that people should feel before dismissing this as a pastime.  There is so much you can learn with Fly Fishing but at the same time you don’t need to know everything to be successful.

Until next time…

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