Making a Start

The kick off to the 2018 season has been something of a wet squib. Actually not so much wet as cold, and snowy. So with the first reasonably sunny day that didn’t feel like I was a few degrees latitude short of the North Pole, and not having work in the way, it seemed a good idea to go wet a line on the river yesterday. I quite deliberately held off going out until early afternoon as I figured if there was to be any hope of fly activity ( and that hope was slim anyway) it needed to see a rise in temperatures that might trigger something off and it would take most of the day if the wind kept in abeyance, for it to warm up.

There was a bit of a cold wind at times and for this reason, I thought the river was the better bet than one of the lochs I can access, and to be honest, the season doesn’t feel properly started until I have cast a line for a trout on moving water. I wasn’t sure where to try and my expectations weren’t high as the Carron never shows much sign of fly life really until late April, early May, so I decided to stay up the top end of the river and try a few spots that were easy to access with a mix of slower holes and deeper pockets.

Also, I fancied a change of tactics too, and while recognising that unless I encountered some odd fish that was looking up (unlikely), it might not be the best method on the day, I couldn’t be bothered lobbing heavy nymphs at the river like I have been doing most of the winter, and decided to tie on a trio of spiders and simply fish them on the swing. Casting a couple of rod lengths at the most, slightly upstream of me, and letting them dead drift past me and swing at the end, I felt at least I could cover a lot more water with less need to wade into the sometimes fairly turbulent water. It’s is a pleasant way to fish and makes a nice change, for a relaxing outing on moving water. The river was higher than I had seen certainly last season but was reasonably clear. It was though VERY cold water.

I started fishing at a slow corner with plenty depth and while I covered the head and tail of the pool fairly well, the deep middle section was really quite hard to fish thoroughly without tying on some large calibre munition’s under a bobber, and I wasn’t in the mood, so fished it as I could and moved on. The wind at times was quite stiff, and blowing downstream so at least the method I was using was reasonably easy to control in the conditions. The straight glides had quite a volume of water rushing through and while they might have been wadeable it was probably no more than 2 feet deep maximum, I thought it would have to be a Trout with a slow metabolism that would want to sit in such high pace water so by passed most of this, spending 15 minutes or so chewing the fat with an old gent who stopped for a blether along the way, then fishing the tail of the glide in a few more spots I thought might hold the odd fish, but never had any response.

Paying attention

it might not have been especially warm but it was bright enough to warrant polaroids to have any chance of seeing your leader

Moving on further downstream I sought out a few more holes I know, and before I started here stopped for a wee while to have a coffee in the sun. Out the breeze, it was actually very pleasant and I caught a glimpse of a very few small flies coming off,  in near the edge of the slower water. They were small light coloured ( I couldn’t really discern a true colour in the bright sunlight) upwings and might be some form of “Pale Watery’s”. Certainly not LDO’s or March Browns anyway. It was pretty quiet apart from the sound of the running water and if you spend any time at all on rivers, you will understand me when I say that each section of the river has a regular rhythm and sound that if you sit quietly you become quite attuned to, and anything that changes that catches your notice. I thought as I sat I heard the sound of a fish rise, but I could not see any sign of it, but the sound appeared to come from some faster water. There was a nice seam just downstream of me, and I wondered if it might be in there somewhere. After waiting a good 5 minutes nothing else had changed the regular music of the water, and I made to enter to fish. Just as I did, I heard it again coming from the same area but again I could not see any sign in the fast water of where it might be, all I could really do was fish it through and hope it might take a fly.

I covered the area in question and a good bit beyond before my beaded point spider ( yeas I know, purists will be mortified) nicked an overhanging tree branch and wouldn’t pull free. When it did finally give, I lost my entire team of three flies, which was annoying. I could see them all hanging from the bough but the water was too deep and fast to dare to try to recover them. As the sun was starting to fall in the sky by now and I didn’t think I would be fishing much longer, in any case, I retrieved a short nymphing leader I had from my pocket, tied it on my line and attached a couple of heavy bugs to fish the deep water above me. This area was never going to be easily fished with my wets in any case, so I wasn’t too bothered by this adjustment to my set up and fished a good section of river exploring all the wee holes I am aware of upstream until I could reach a shallow bar and get across the river and out, it became deep enough that I needed to add a third heavier bug to my twosome, to become a threesome. This was where I had encountered my very last fish of the season on the river last year and hoped maybe my first might come from here too. Who knows maybe it waited for me to return! I did have a few heart-stopping pulls and tugs but to be honest most were either bits of tree branch or other obstructions my bugs were encountering as they scoured the bottom, and I ended the day fishless but felt I had given it a good effort, and it was a nice day to be out in any  case. We just need the weather to settle down and warm up a bit now.