Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Prospecting in May

Charles returning a good Brown
May has been an interesting month with river levels the lowest we have seen them for some time, even lower than the last dry spell we had in October 2015, a total reversal of the Cumbria we experienced not so long ago. That said, we have still been catching some good trout in these low water conditions, but we have had to go prospecting for them for this to pay dividends, this was because the usual hot spots where we would expect to be catching trout at this time of year, have not been producing the amount of fish to make it viable for us to be staying in the same place for too long.

An underwater shot
The air temperatures did improve throughout May, (mainly towards the latter half of the month) but by no means were they consistent, and with persistent east winds in attendance at times, and water temperatures struggling to rise, we were forced to search for taking fish. Our main weapons during these periods were weighted nymphs, as any activity tended to be sub surface with little or no insect life around during these colder spells. However when the wind was in the South, or the West, the insect life and the fishing definitely improved, affording us several very enjoyable sessions on the dry fly, with several people, including David (pictured below) benefiting from this turn around.

David landing a fish on the Dry
The insect life did continue to improve as the Month went on, (as expected) but in the main hatches have remained relatively sparse and brief, although, on the beats we have been fishing, we have encountered some good hatches of Iron Blues which often triggered a good rise of fish, (albeit for short periods) and once again we were very successful on the dry fly at these times.

Eden Iron Blue
Iron blues have continued to draw some good trout to the surface right to the end of the month and there has also been some reasonable hatches of Grannom sedges in places too, but nothing like the amount we often encounter at this time of year, that said, even when they have been in attendance, the trout have not been that interested in them, (either above or below the surface) although the nymph has been the better option on these occasions. This has also been the case when there has been concentrated groups of Large Brook spinners in attendance, during which times the Pheasant Tailed Nymph (PTN) has saved the day.

Eden Large Brook Spinner
Despite the low water conditions there has been a good number of salmon caught this month, on a variety of beats up and down the river, and given that the majority of the sessions we have been doing have mainly covered casting tuition and trout fishing, the small number of people I have had out with me for salmon have been seeing fish rolling in the pools in front of them, (not always obliging I might add) however, this is always encouraging, and in the few salmon sessions we did do, one fish was lost and one caught, both on small flies. Jeff Jones (pictured below).had a very nice fresh little fish quite high up the river on low clear water, and it certainly gave a good account of itself.

Jeff Jones with a fresh little salmon
Towards the end of the Month we held two junior days under the Borderlines banner. Day one for a local youth station, (coarse fishing) to give the youngsters an insight into a different aspect of angling, which I must admit they got to grips with quite quickly as they proceeded to catch around one hundred fish throughout the session.

A young prize winner
Day two was a youth fly fishing day organised by Penrith Angling Association and run by Borderlines. The day included a range of activities such as: Safety, Fish Biology, Entomology, Knots, Casting, Fishing and a quiz at the end of the day to determine how much the youngsters had learned. The objective of this particular day was to give the youngsters a brief taste of the many things attached to going fishing, including environmental issues, conservation and the fact that its not just all about catching fish. At the end of the day all the youngsters received certificates of attendance, fishing magazines and local angling information in the form of handouts.

The Coarse fishing event
30 youngsters in all attended the two days and a great time was had by everyone involved. There are more days in the planning for Borderlines in 2016 as the Borderlines team continue in their to attempt to introduce as many youngsters to the benefits of angling as possible. The young man in the picture (below left) celebrated the day with his first ever fish.

15 Switch Rods on Test
We rounded up the Month with another rod test for the Trout & Salmon magazine, this time we tested the merits of 15 switch rods, and given the quality of many of the rods on test it certainly turned out to be a very difficult, but interesting and enjoyable test, held on the lower Eden, the results of which can be seen in the August edition of the magazine. If you get the chance to read it, I hope you all find it interesting and informative.