Tuesday, 20 March 2012

There's Gold in them thar Hills!

My fishing buddy Laszlo sent me this photo of an incredible trout he happened to catch in Mid Wales when fishing for grayling in the winter. The trout was caught out of season, so after a quick photo it was released with little fuss and swam away strongly. The river’s identity shall remain a secret, but the photo just goes to show the size trout can reach in the rivers of Wales. This fish would be a good catch in New Zealand, never mind Wales! Well done Laszlo.

Any guesses as to its weight?

Sunday, 18 March 2012

A Return to the Usk

Another early season fishing trip, and another blank. Fishing in March isn’t proving to be easy. The venue was the Cefn Rhosan Fawr beat of the upper River Usk where, for now, the trout remain in a slumber. Nothing Laszlo and I did could tempt them from their lethargy. To compound it all, the weather was mostly foul. It was a day for the rain coat although there were a few welcome spells of bright sunshine between showers. The air and water temperatures were cold, the water crystal clear and apparently devoid of fish. Do the fish melt into the deepest pools and the crevices of the bedrock in these conditions? Whilst there was a fair hatch of Large Dark Olives pretty much throughout the day, the trout were mostly indifferent to their presence. I did at least see two fish rising to LDOs but my attempts at presenting an imitation put both fish down. Early season lack of practice. I’m sure Laszlo won’t mind me saying he had an even worse day than me. He took a tumble whilst wading and not only soaked himself through, he managed to snap the tip section of his rod in the process.  

Spring officially starts in two days time on the equinox. In Wales the very earliest signs of spring are starting to appear, most notably the appearance of newborn lambs. I hope it is not too long before the bank side trees sprout their leaves and the wild flowers emerge so that the serious business of trout catching can commence! 

Below are just a few of the photos I took of the river. Even without any success I can at least console myself by having spent a day out in the beautiful Welsh countryside.  


View Larger Map

Sunday, 4 March 2012

The Pinsley Brook, Herefordshire

After an interminably long wait the trout season finally opened in Wales yesterday. I can’t ever recall anticipating a new season quite as much as I have this year but I suspect that has a great deal to do with having three or four grayling trips cancelled in the winter on account of the weather. So I promised myself to make a trip to a river no matter the state of the weather on opening day. No surprise then that the conditions were poor for fly fishing!

I chose the little Pinsley Brook on the outskirts of Leominster given that it’s one of the few roving voucher beats accessible by train. Visually it is one of the prettiest streams of the Welsh Marches that I have visited and it’s easy to see why it is described as being the closest we have in the region to a chalkstream. Being in the lowlands of Herefordshire the surrounding land is flat and the river is at the mercy of the wind which, unfortunately, was very strong with relentless gusts blowing from my left to right all day. Casting was an extreme challenge.

The clarity of the water was astonishing, as limpid as any chalkstream I have seen. In hindsight it was probably not the wisest choice for a visit so early in the season. I felt rusty and, on such a small stream, about as conspicuous as a bull in a china shop. I saw a few fish but only after they had seen me. No more than a handful Large Dark Olives hatched briefly at the day’s zenith but there was no interest from the trout. I observed the river for great lengths, willing the trout to show some interest, but I saw no sign of a rise all day. The cold water seemed as lifeless as the dry, brown grass and the bare, thorny branches of the ubiquitous bank side bramble, still gripped by winter.

I am curious to find out more about the little trout which exist in this pretty stream and promised myself to return a little later in the season once the better weather arrives. It was a bittersweet start to the season – great to be out fishing again but frustrating to start the season with a blank. 


View Larger Map