Catch Fish with
For anyone unfamiliar with the site always check the FRESHWATER, SALTWATER and TACK-TICS pages. The Saltwater page now extends back as a record of over several years of (mostly) sea fishing and may be a useful guide as to when to fish. The Freshwater stuff is also up to date now. I keep adding to both. These pages are effectively my diary and the latest will usually be about fishing in the previous day or two. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. The Tactics pages which are chiefly 'how I do it' plus a bit of science are also updated regularly and (I think) worth a read (the earlier ones are mostly tackle and 'how to do it' stuff).
My pal Paul recently sent me a couple of interesting emails about catches from rivers, which makes a change at this time of the year (my own rivers are in flood again) today. Apart from anything else it shows that the long-standing prejudices about the acceptability of fly fishing/spinning/bait fishing still exist even when everything is legal and above board. Anyway, here's what Paul said:-
No trout piccies this time but next time I'll see what I can do. Don't want to drop phone or camera whilst wading and trying to hold rod/fish etc.! It could end in tears...:)
I definitely intend to catch a salmon or sea trout this year. May 15th for start of spinning isn't it? Instinctively I want to use a wire trace but don't want to be accused of out of season pike fishing. Might check with club secretary? Attached are some pictures of a salmon caught on the River Severn that my friend Alan took.
On the trout front I did enjoy it. Comfortably my most productive session in terms of numbers. I did get chatting to a club member who fished at the same time. There was some inferred criticism of my search nymph fishing approach - dragging the water etc. Apparently casting a dry to a known feeding fish is somehow better. Fail to see how (Me too M.L.). Casting a size 16 hook with a bit of fluff into the full 3 dimensions of the river and to still find fish that you cannot see but suspect to be there because of your reading of the water, spotting takes by the faintest of indications. Yeah, it's really easy! That casting to a located, feeding fish on the surface with the really obvious take - now that takes some doing.....Honest truth is I enjoy both techniques (Me too M.L.) and there is merit in both. Each to their own and to be fair to my club member he did end up by saying that.
Paul's next emails continued the story. His daughter had produced a baby in the intervening period but he managed to find the time to send me a couple of pictures including a nice one of spawning lampreys spotted by his pal Alan. His third email was more fishy and included a response to my comment that I rarely saw fish rising on my local river even when there were massive hatches of flies:-
The only time I have seen trout fish actively rising on the river I fish is during the Mayfly season. The dace and recent arrivals in the form of bleak I do see rising as soon as it gets warm. They are after midges. You can get the trout to rise to a dry fly but only in the shallower water where it's not too much effort to come up and they can also see the fly. On the deeper sections it is a complete waste of time.
Sadly I am restricted to dry fly only as I suspect some of the more modern deep nymph techniques could work very well. Having said that, the coarse fish bye catch would go up. I had an interesting exchange with a club member whilst I was out. He was clearly very new to fly fishing but his main motivation was to catch for the table. I'm no zealot over this sort of thing but I wasn't amused. We have a small but growing trout population and as folk become aware that these fish are a viable target so the angling pressure will grow. I might suggest to the club a rule change giving trout the same protection as coarse fish at the same time as widening the range of fly fishing techniques permitted. I decided not to be as forthcoming as I normally am as he seemed so set on reducing the population of fish I want to catch!
Perhaps the chap Paul met will become less predatory as he gains experience. There's certainly more to fishing than simply eating the fish although, to be fair, it's probably the only real justification for catching them. I always feel that angling is much the best way of catching fish so that you can return unwanted ones in mint condition. Like Paul I keep the odd fish for my family to eat but 99% go back unscathed. In my past life as a fish scientist rod and line certainly proved to be the most effective method for releasing tagged fish.
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Back it goes.