Just before Christmas I was present at one of the most badly organised competitions I have ever seen (I wont go into any more details, unless I get a very good bribe). Since then I have been going crazy not getting the chance to fish. With Christmas being such a busy time and every time I stepped foot outside, I immediately became wetter than an Otters pocket due to the constant torrential rain I haven't even been able to get on the river.
Having spoken to a friend who was arranging a trip to Garnffrwd, initially I was unable to go, leaving me in a very sour mood. Thursday arrived, things changed and I had the time to go. A quick phone around and the trip was set. Myself and a good group of lads:
Lee, who got me back into fishing who along with Dan are the 2 people I constantly hassle for advice. Also on the trip was Tom and Mark. A good trip can usually be improved just with your company.
We agreed to meet early, 6:15 and I travelled down with Dan and Lee with the aim to be at the fishery by first light as the predicted weather conditions indicated it could get busy bankside.
Having arrived by about 7:30, there was already a couple of anglers there. We made our way down to the lake and tackled up - very difficult to do this in the dark! As the morning broke and the skies lightened, it got a little easier. I tackled up 2 rods. My 6wt Flextec rod was tackled up with matching Airflo Super-dri line and a Bloodworm suspended underneath a strike indicator. This setup had been working well recently. On my 6wt Greys GRXi+ i set up my Cortland floating line and one of my own Damsel patterns with a Kingfisher blue hackle, this would be my stripping rod for the day.
We met with Jamie (the fishery owner) and after a quick chat, purchased our tickets we went fishing.
Already by this time the lake was getting busy but I managed to find a decent spot (peg 10) where i had caught fish before. I always start by fishing a lure, I cast out my Damsel and searched the margins first. Without any takes I started fan casting and covering the occasional fish that was turning in the surface. After a half hour or so, I started to get some tail nips directly out in front of me. The location was in the slightly shallower water near the far bank, which was beneath some good bankside trees and vegetation. I carried on targeting this spot, changing my retrieve until I finally got a take on a very slow steady retrieve. A feisty little Rainbow of 1 1/2lb graced the net after some acrobatics and a very spirited fight.
The sun by now was high in the sky and penetrating the clear water, I can only assume this is why I had no more action on my lure in the top few feet of the water. Having changed a couple of time to a Cats Whisker and a Black Zonker (to name just two) I decided to cast out my bloodworm. For quite a while I didn't have anything hit my fly with any seriousness. A couple of times my indicator twitched but my strike met with nothing. In the clearer water I could see the fish nosing the indicator itself. The order of the day was very shy fish, not wiling to take anything readily.
Casting over a relatively shallow section of the lake, near a bridge my indicator twitched then shot under. Initially, I was able to pull in plenty of line thinking the fish was small then it decided to turn and run and managed to take back all the line I had just taken. The fish didn't jump or run constantly I just seemed to resist ever time I tried to bring in. I finally got its head up and landed a lovely fat Rainbow estimated around the 3lb mark.
It was whilst fishing this spot that I noticed a big Rainbow just cruising the margins - unfortunately I could catch it!
The wind was cold and we were hungry, so we headed up to Christine's Cafe for a fantastic full breakfast about 10:30. Looking back out on the lake we could clearly see how popular this lake is as practically every peg was occupied. Luckily there were other anglers in need of sustenance and as they settled down to eat we all managed to slip into some good spots to carry on fishing - a few anglers left their kit on the pegs when they went for food. Something which really riles me. However, on discussion with Jamie before we left he clearly feels the same and said next time to move it out of the way and continue to fish. Anyone with an issue on this can be directed back to him. Always nice when there is an approachable owner, who has the same views as you do (obviously these views don't run true for all anglers but I think in this case we are right).
I was quite keen to try some stalking for the afternoon. I stripped down my Flextec setup and tying on some 4lb G3 fluorocarbon and with various size 14/16 flies, spent a lot of time sight fishing off a small walkway. I missed a few takes as the glare from the sun was making visibility difficult. However, some welcome tips from Lee means next time I will be more prepared to catch - he obviously had to show me up by landing one of the fish I couldn't!
With a couple of hours fishing left I decided to have a walk about the fishery. Having changed to an intermediate line on my GRXi+, I fished deep and slow hoping to tempted one of the bigger Brownies skulking on the bottom. Casting out and counting down 10/15/20 seconds, I had almost constant follows on a Gold Head Damsel but I just couldn't get a fish to take. On a couple of occasions the fish actually followed my braided loop in! I changed fly to an unweighted Damsel and first cast I hit a small Rainbow, which turned out to be the last of the day for me.
It was on this last platform that I heard what can only be described as 'hoopin and a hollerin' from across the lake. It was Dan, with a big Brownie. Having not caught for most of the afternoon session he put on an experimental bright pink lure and managed this 7/8lb Brownie off the Dam! Think I must be Dan's lucky charm as last time we fished here together, he took an 8lb Brownie from the Inlet.
And here is the fly - shocking isn't it! We tried to tell him the fish didn't count as any self respecting angler wouldn't even tie in on their cast. He didn't listen.....and I'll be sure to have a couple in my box for next time!
Chatting with Jamie as we tackled down, we learnt quite how busy the day was. 31 anglers fishing with another 25 or so turned away! This is even more incredible given that I only heard of 2 anglers who blanked. Considering the amount of flies that the fish would have seen, its testament to the fishery that so many people could carry on catching quality fish throughout the day.
If you haven't been, you must - www.garnffrwdflyfishing.co.uk, we will be heading back very soon.
On the day, Lee managed 8 fish, Dan 5, Tom and myself 3 a piece. Unfortunately Mark didn't catch, but he wants to go back so i think that speaks volumes.
In all, it was a great day at a great fishery and in great company. Can you ask for more? Wonder if Christine will delivery the breakfast to the pegs???
Until next time...