Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Grilse on the fly in low water.


Having fished the Inniscarra Salmon fishery for many years now i must admit i have never seen it so low and even worse with little or no flow through most of the beats. One can cross the river in almost every beat and not see a fish, even dropping down to tapered leaders doesn't improve the action or movement of the fly. I was using my 7/8 wt switch fly rod,  floating line, a short 6 ft Rio intermediate tip and 6 ft of 10 lb flurocarbon tippet with a size 15 double Ally's silver / orange shrimp fly. Hitting the edge of the seam i was only getting a few seconds of movement on the fly and then i had to retrieve and recast, even a slow long pull or figure of eight retrieve was not getting any  reaction from the salmon.
The salmon have either pulled back to the deeper water in beat 4 or gone right up under the dam where some can be seen pitching into the water coming over the sill. Moving down through the beat i was shallow casting, basically covering the only moving water in a short arc thus keeping the fly out in front of the tip and line. I see a lot of anglers fly fishing and allowing the fly line or tip to move ahead of the fly and especially in low clear water conditions that is a no no. If you are not turning over the fly line you are going to get a situation that allows the fly to fall back behind the sink tip or even the fly line and you might as well not be fishing as the salmon will see the line well before the fly. Just as i was about to retrieve the line at the end of the arc i got a short pull and immediately lifted into the fish, straight away i knew it was a grilse due to the lack of weight on the line and decided to play the fish hard and fast but there is one thing about grilse they have great heart and fight hard well above their weight. Even though i brought the fish into shallow water it was still powering out and giving me a good fight, landing the fish i could see it was chrome bright and just up from the early tide. Removing the fly i quickly released the fish and fished down through the rest of the pool, noticing a small gravel bar in mid stream i then realized why the fish were lying in such an unusual location. When the water gets so low and clear we can see much more of the structures that were well covered in high water and this gives the angler more information on where and why the salmon were lying in these areas. I fished through the beat and just as it got dark a cold breeze started up and i was about to call it a day when the line was taken from my hand and another small grilse of about 4 lbs was on. Quickly landing and removing the fly i noticed it was covered in sea lice and as soon as i released it's tail the fish shot off like a bullet. Hopefully there will be some rain soon as i have heard that there are some big fish in the harbour waiting for fresh water.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Salmon on the fly.

Walking through the beats i noticed that there were a few fresh salmon moving up river and ever so often they could be seen cleaning themselves on the bottom, they do this to rid themselves of sea lice which can be very annoying probably the same as a human having fleas. The salmon were moving slowly from pool to pool so i decided to set up shop at beat 1 and wait for them to arrive a gamble that paid off but sometimes they will just sit further back down in the deeper water, wait till darkness and then run very quickly to the dam wall where they rest up for the night.
I was fishing a floating line with a 3.9 ips sink tip on my 7/8 wt switch fly rod and an Ally's size 15 double shrimp fly in bright yellow because there was still a slight tinge to the water, the yellow colour stood out better and with the longer tail had much more movement in the slow water. Slowly stripping the fly line to give life to the fly it suddenly tightened up and with a strong pull it was off down the pool but on feeling the tension the salmon ran up river against me and straight away it started rolling on itself and then running in between the rocks in an attempt to break the line. Having watched the fish pass me i had seen it was a big broad salmon so i knew it was going to be a hard and dirty fight and unfortunately the 7/8 switch fly rod was for once completely under gunned for this fight. When the fish wanted to run i had to let him and normally i can bully them upstream but this salmon hadn't read the rule book yet and kept turning back downstream in strong bursts that were impossible to stop. I can honestly say that i was taken to the cleaners for the first time in my fishing life, this fish thought me a few tricks that i hadn't seen and doubt haven't been written in any of the angling books yet. The fight was just a long surge of powerful runs followed by rolling and then diving in and around every rock in the river to shake the small size 15 fly but the trick is to give them just enough line to run and them shorten each run by decreasing the size of the circle and it worked. The salmon finally gave up and i was able to beach it 90 yards down river from where i first hooked the fish, the salmon was hooked under the tongue and on removing the hook it started to bleed out so i took the fish knowing it wouldn't survive the release. Even in very low water conditions it was amazing such a big fish had traveled so far in such a short time, it had sea lice and the scales were falling off so i reckon it had just come in on the early morning tide. The salmon weighed just over 18 lbs, my biggest so far on a switch fly rod using only 10 lb flurocarbon.