Saturday, 29 April 2017
Expecting high water I brought the big 13 ft double hander fly rod to deal with the strong flow and deep water but I was surprised to see very low water conditions with little or no flow when I arrived at beat 4. I had even left the lighter sink tips at home so I had to make do with the 2.6 ins per second sink tip which was slowing the fly down even more and taking any life out of the movement of the shrimp fly. Long casting in a shallow angle and using a slow figure of eight retrieve gave a small bit of life to the fly plus putting on the longest tail I had in the size 15 salar double improved the movement even more. Having fished down the beat I got a beautiful draw on the line which came out of my hand as I was slowly retrieving and suddenly I was into a nice fish. The fish went down river on the first run but then changed direction and came up against me very fast, I had to walk back up the gravel bar to keep in touch with the salmon and then it changed tactics and started rolling around the line which can be very nerve racking as you can feel every bump as the line rubs off it's body. I turned the salmon upstream and got it into a good fighting position and played it hard with plenty of side strain, after a few minutes I was able to beach the fish safely. It was a nice fresh sea liced salmon of about 12 lbs just up from the tide and after removing the fly and allowing it to rest up I released it back into the river.
Fishing back down the beat I was getting the odd pluck on the long tailed shrimp fly but I couldn't get the fish to stick and after a few attempts the fish stopped engaging with the fly so I decided to try a new approach and go downstream and cover it with the spinning rod. I wanted to see if I changed direction and speed by bringing a spinner down river at speed against the fish would it take first time because it was definitely up for the fly but the lack of movement wasn't working. On the third cast I felt a bump and then a second bump and then the water exploded as can be seen on the video and the second fish was on. The fight was fast and furious and it even tried to wrap itself up on a fallen branch so I allowed it back out into the river to tire itself out so I could handle it with ease. Normally I play fish very fast on the spinning rod as I have more control with the braided line and it is really good because it doesn't tire them out too much but this fish was still a little green so I let it have some air on the surface and then brought it in. It was another fresh sea liced salmon just smaller than the first fish and about 11 lbs but a beautifully shaped salmon and as it was still very fresh it went back very strong. Moving upstream I fished the end of beat 2 as it was getting dark where I hooked and landed another smaller fish of about 9 lbs again fresh but no sea lice. It was too dark to film so I just took a photo and released the fish, it was again on a long tailed shrimp pattern and it was only gently hooked in the mouth. There seems to be a few coming through and with the fresh rain forecast we should get a good push of salmon soon with the coloured high water.
Thursday, 20 April 2017
When I arrived the water was at full load and just as I was putting up the spinning rod I could see that the water was losing speed and starting to slow down. I quickly changed and put up my switch fly rod and rather than using my normal 3.9 ins per second sink tip I put up the 2.6 instead because when the water drops off it normally takes the best part of an hour to pick up speed again and if you have the heavier tip on all that's going to happen is that you will spend a lot of time stuck on the bottom. Moving down the beat I was just using a slow figure of eight retrieve to keep the fly moving and straight away I hit the first fish, it was a nice fish of about eleven pound's and had definitely been in the system for awhile as it was slightly dark. The fish ran down river on the first run but quickly changed its mind and then came up against me and straight in around the big rock that's now in mid river. It wedged itself firmly in behind the rock and got stuck, I had to move down river and get a straight line on it and then I was able to get a small bit of control but only for a few seconds because as soon as the fish felt some slack it went back in around the rock again. This continued for about 10 minutes until I was able to wade out and tail the fish in mid stream, holding my rod around my neck and the fish in my left hand I tried to wade back to the bank but the fly line was still around the rock so I decided to release the fish mid stream to stop it from breaking the rod , line or even possibly me as it was really trashing about. There are now too many rocks in beat 1 and to add to that there are three croy's in a line less that 20 meters between the three. There are two big rocks in mid water where the salmon got stuck and in low water they are sticking out of the water like an island, there is going to be some fun when anglers try playing out fish there as it's now like a mine field.
The water started to pick up pace so I changed back to the heavier sink tip and just as I was about to start fishing I saw a couple of salmon head and tail further down beat 1. I quickly covered the lie and as I was moving into the zone the rod was practically pulled out of my hand so violent was the take. The salmon first headed down stream but again like the first fish it turned and headed straight for the big rock in mid water, this time I moved down stream and got a good angle on the fish and brought it back down river. I played the fish on my side and even then with the new croy's and rocks it was just a nightmare trying to land the fish. Finally I was able to move the fish in circles and then land it on the bank, it was a beautiful sea liced fresh salmon of about 13 lbs and this one was going home. To be honest I had set myself up for a long evening of hard spinning and as soon as the water dropped off I was really delighted to be fly fishing even if I hadn't caught any salmon just the fact that your fly fishing makes it more worthwhile.