Sunday, April 30, 2006

Of city streams and big trout

I gave in to temptation yesterday evening and took the fishing rod for a walk down by the river. I fished a team of nymphs as there was no sign of fly life. The river is very low, and I found it difficult to keep the nymphs up of the bottom. I fished a few faster stretches, the dodder is a small spate river with streamy areas and long pools, and had some sucess there. I seemed to bump, or not quite hook a lot of smaller fish all evening but I did manage one wild fish of about a pound/13 inches. I managed to hook and lose a bigger fish somewhere between 1.5 and 2 pounds weight, I was watching it turn in the flow below me and knew it was going to come off well before it did....that feeling of knowing a fish is badly hooked is a sickener when it is a big You can always tell poorly hooked fish by the way they react, they will either splash on the surface, spin around or...that dreaded HEADSHAKE!...why is the headshake dreaded...because only BIG fish do it...they sit there shaking thier head to throw the hook, and you know it's only lightly in the front of the upper lip so as soon as he/she decides to go he/she is gone.....the other splashing on the surface is a tactic for thesame hookhold, but done by fish of any size...the roll or turn tactic is used by better fish when the poor hook hold is in the side of the mouth...they are using the current to pull the hook out while adjusting the angle of the hook.....they don't turn and run like a well hooked fish...they know if they do that they would pull the hook in instead of out....
I am not too dissapointed though, I'll go back later in the week and catch him. I love river fish, you always know where to find them...back at the same's a difficult cast into a little pothole in a run that is unlikely to be fished by the average angler...that is where watercraft comes in it looks too small of a pool at first glance, but 10 yards down stream is an area with a concrete over hang giving cover to two or three good fish most years. The concrete is part of a foundation for a high wall (about 20 feet) along the far bank of a bend, it is flood protection and support for the bordering road, the Dodder is a city river and has many concrete bank areas here and there, but it also has lots of trees and bushes etc. as it is a linear park all the way through the city. It is a spate river though so it can rise very quickly, hence the need for bank protection and support. It is full of wild brown trout though..suplemented every spring with a stocking by the angling club, mainly so that there are plenty of takeable fish for the huge numbers of kids that fish it for the first couple of days of the opens on St. Patricks keep them keen, after a few weeks the remaining fish are quite difficult to catch and fishing tails off until summer holidays start. It is a great benefit though, it encourages the kids, and it helps protect the wild stocks...there are always masses of fish in the 4-10 inch bracket in the river, and a good smattering of bigger fish 10 inches to 14 inches if you look carefully....and then there are a few bigger ones....rarely seen and even rarer to catch hidden away in deeper darker pools....I've seen fish over 5lb...I have only caught them to 4 though...but I don't spend as much time chasing big fish these days...they take a lot of planning and perseverance, long evening walks, leaving the rod behind, just searching for big fish..plotting thier feeding areas..working out the best approach to them...invariably difficult! and then constantly watching out for that opportunity, that one time when the fish is in the right place feeding well and no-one around to disturb it..not very common on a river bank that is used by thousands of walkers and hundreds of dog-swimmers....and I always put them back anyway...LOL..I'd rather just pop down to a stretch thats convenient, spend an hour or two catching a few halfway decent sized fish and just take the opportunity of a big one if it comes along....specimen anglers usually makethier own luck work work...the harder you work the luckier you get..

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