Thursday, 15 November 2012

It's Not All About Catching Fish You Know!

As a fisherman, one of the most infuriating questions I'm asked is:
What's the point in fishing if you don't catch any fish?

What follows is a cartoon style cut scene where I remove said offenders tongue and use it as dead bait before snapping back to reality and have to handle the matter in an adult way. It usually involves me getting up and making a cup of tea!

I digress. This blasphemy has got me thinking, or maybe reflecting is the appropriate term, on my fishing exploits.  This past Saturday was a prime example.

Before I start, I must say that I think Twitter is cursed.  All week we have fine weather, which leads my fellow Twitterati to start talking about how and where to fish over the weekend.  Only for it to pour down on Friday and ruin the rivers for the following day.  Lots of color, high, fast flowing water – known to non fishermen and my wife as excuses!

As was the case this past week.  I was chatting via Twitter to Daniel Popp (his blog is Small Stream Addicts and its very good) who had kindly tied me some excellent looking flies.  Said flies were to be my ammunition for fishing the River Wye on Saturday.  With Friday came the rain and within the first 2 hours the Wye had risen by 22cm and continued to do so.

Grayling Bugs, Fly Tying, Fly Fishing
Grayling Bugs tied by Dan

I woke early on Saturday morning, fed the kids and turned my attentions to the fishing.  Having checked the river levels I could see the Wye was up!  As this would be the only opportunity I would get over the weekend I decided to go anyway.
River Wye, Builth Wells. Looking downstream inbetween Builth Bridge and Llanelwydd Church
River Wye, Builth Wells

As I had envisaged the fishing being slow given the conditions, I thought I’d try a stretch of river I had not really fished before – The stretch from Builth Bridge, downstream to Church Pool.  I was greeted with a cool crisp morning, the mist was down and the sun was breaking through.  I started with a pool at the top of the run.  This pool starts just above Builth Bridge and a place I caught lots of fish on the dry fly over the summer.

River Wye Builth Wells Fly Fishing

River Wye, Builth Wells, Fly Fishing

Road Bridge, Builth Wells, Fly Fishing
Pool under Builth Bridge
I fished the tail of the pool just under the bridge with a team of nymphs.  No sooner had the flies hit the water were they back along side the bank or caught up in leave (so many leaves!!!).  Despite all my efforts to control the flies the current was just too strong.

I remember thinking as I made my way down the river how nice it was to finally get on the river after weeks of rain.  It occurred to me that I didn’t care I hadn’t caught and didn’t care the conditions were not great I was just happy to be out.  The scenery was gorgeous and my head was clear.

River Wye, Builth Wells, Fly Fishing
River Wye, Builth Wells

I spent the rest of the morning taking pictures of the scenery and anything that just looked nice.  I strolled down the river, fishing any likely looking spots and exploring the sections of the river I knew little about.  If nothing else, I have found some lovely spots and pools for my next outing.  
Llanelwydd Church, Builth Wells, Scenery, Fly Fishing
Llanelwydd Church
Woodland Walk, Llanelwydd, Builth Wells, Church Pool, Fly Fishing
Woodland Walk along side River Wye

I made my way through the woodland path to the final pool I was going to fish, where I eventually managed 3 gorgeous Grayling.  No PB's and no serious rod benders but that didn't matter one bit.
Grayling caught on Church Pool.  River Wye, Builth Wells
Best of the Grayling
Too often do I go out fishing and immediately head to a place on the river that I know ell and where I’ll catch fish.  If nothing else, this past Saturday has taught me to explore the water and try new things.  It has definitely given me a fresh approach to fishing my home water.  Next time you go out, try somewhere new – what have you got to lose?

To me it’s not just about catching fish but the whole fishing experience.  Maybe if you haven’t fished you won’t understand! This outlook reminded me of a video I recently watched.  Two brothers from Montana (Zack and Travis Broughton - Montana Wild) who take the fishing experience to a new level.  They venture out into the wilds (proper wilds) to camp and fish.  To them it’s not about catching a fish but about the journey they are on, exploring new places in search of some elusive wild trout.  Their videos are certainly worth a watch, this one in particular.

7 Miles Back - Montana Wild

Oh and to answer the question 'what is the point in fishing if you don’t catch fish' - Does it matter?  Not to me, besides, if you caught fish every time it would be called catching and not fishing!

Until next time…


  1. great Post Craig, Glad you liked the flies as they have worked really well for me lately on the Taff and im sure they will work on the Wye too when the river levels get to normal :)

    no matter how big or small a fish is a fish ;)

    1. Cheers Dan
      Yeah a fish is a fish mate, your quite right. Nice to get a big un once in a while though!

  2. catch-me-if-u-can-fishing
    I'm getting really interested in transferring my love of cycling into this relaxed approach of cyclling.. and your blog has been a big help in doing so... catch-me-if-u-can-fishing

  3. I really like the idea that it is not all about catching fish but the whole experience does it really matter. One thing why I'd love to go to pond to fish because aside that I enjoy fishing, I absolutely love seeing the beauty of nature, breath some fresh air and other beautiful scenery.

    tennessee fishing


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