New Water Report – 15th April 2013

15.8 PikeIt’s not often I’m rendered speechless after a days fishing but Monday 15th April is on one of those days that will stay with me for a very long time.  I was meeting friend Andy Cheetham for a days fishing on a small reservoir that we have recently gained access to.  It’s a bit of a drive for both of us but we arranged to meet on the waters edge at 6:30am.  It was a lovely mild morning but we still had the strong westerly winds from the previous couple of days.  Not to worry though as we had planned on fishing the shallower water at the sheltered southern end of the reservoir.

It also gave me chance to try out the new Minn Kota electric outboard that I had recently purchased.  We slowly motored our way up to the shallows keeping an eye out for any moving fish.  Immediately on reaching the shallows we spooked a fish, which was a good sign.  The water clarity wasn’t great due to all the rain and snow that we have had over the past few months.  The shallows run approximately 3 feet deep with willow bushes sprouting out of the water making navigation a bit tricky but it is classic Pike territory with lots of ambush cover.  We covered quite a bit of water using both surface flies and flies that fished just under the surface to avoid the snags, before a bow wave appeared behind my fly.  The fish took but it was more of a nip than a “full blown” take and I didn’t manage to connect.  Rather than risk the same thing happening again I scaled down my fly considerably to a 1/0 that I had tied up the previous day more as an experiment.  It consisted of a few leftover bit’s of short white marabou for the tail and the body was made up of scraps of a Chartreuse flash fibre pike brush trimmed down to size.  It wasn’t anything fancy and I hadn’t bothered putting any eyes on it or sprucing it up until I knew whether it was going to swim properly in the water and look edible.  I do like my small flies though and I have absolute confidence when fishing them.

 

After a few casts with my “snot fly” as Andy called it, I had a take from a fish right under the boat.  I really should of done better with it and it managed to shed the hook before I had a chance to strip strike.  Having thoroughly covered this area we moved to a slightly deeper area that was still snaggy.  First cast and “BOOM” a fish took the snot fly right next to the sunken willows.  Desperate to keep it out of the snags the rod buckled over and creaked until I had a wonderful looking fish of 15.8 in the net.  By this time it was early afternoon and the capture of that fish gave us a much needed morale boost.

We continued to cover as much of that area as we could.  We could see the odd fish strike at the fry but more often than not they were amongst areas that were inaccessible due to all the submerged trees.  After admitting defeat in that area we decided to try and have a steady drift along the western bank.  Despite having two anchors, the strong wind kept blowing the boat along with the anchors unable to find a good grip on the silty bottom.  We’d travel at a fair rate of knots for a while before the anchor’s bit down on the bottom before another strong gust would set us on our way again.  It didn’t matter how much rope we let out.  The whole area looked fantastic for pike so it was a surprise when we didn’t see a fish or get a take.  We then came to an area where there was a clearing in the bankside vegetation that looked a great ambush area.  By now I had changed my fly for another that I had tied up the previous day.  A friend of mine had sent me a couple of Pike brushes made up of Arctic Fox and I had made a baitfish pattern bigger than I would normally fish on a 4/0.  As I let the fly hang next to the boat, after a short retrieve, a fish hit the fly quite viciously that I thought was an over-enthusiastic jack.  I was desperately trying to get control of my line without letting it go slack when Andy shouted “It’s a bloody big Trout”.  I couldn’t believe it, as I still hadn’t got a good look at it despite all the commotion on top of the water.  It was only as Andy was ready to net the fish did I get a good look at it.  I couldn’t believe what I was looking at.  I knew it was big but nothing could prepare me for when I lifted the net out of the water to put the fish on the unhooking mat.  It felt as heavy as the Pike that I had caught earlier in the day but I was still in denial and put the fish at around 8lb.  Andy was convinced it was a good double, which he confirmed when the scales settled at 12.8.  To say we were over the moon is an understatement.  I’ve spent 30 years fly fishing for Trout and never caught a Brown Trout anything close to that size and I’m sure if I am lucky enough to spend another 30 years fishing I will never repeat it.  What made the capture even more pleasant is the fact that this wasn’t just some stockie that had been put in the previous week.  The average size of stocked trout on this water is 1lb so it was obviously a fish that had grown on over the years.  It was as solid as a bar of gold and as I released her she gave a big swoosh of her tail sending spray up into the air and she disappeared into the depths to live another day.12.8 Brown

After a celebratory coffee and a scotch egg we fished on for a few more hours before we couldn’t tolerate the wind anymore.  It was early evening now and we had fished a good 10 hours.  We’d covered a lot of water and had fished hard in the strong winds.  Andy and myself parted company and agreed to fish the water again in a couple of week’s time.  Hopefully the Pike will be more co-operative on our next trip, but to be honest it wouldn’t matter if I blanked for the next 10 trips, as the memory of that Trout will live with me forever.

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