Sweating it

I haven’t been out on the Carron for the best part of a month. The hot dry spell has meant I have tended to steer clear as it will be very low. Last night though I fancied a bit of a walk as much as anything, so went a walk up the river with my waders on and 3 weight in hand. It had been a slightly cooler more overcast day than of late and I hoped it might help with the fishing. I was really wanting to have a look at how to get to one particular section I have not fished before though have seen it from a short distance away.

It was after 8pm by the time I was set up with rod and French leader and a couple of very small bugs but had not added in the extension pieces to my rod should the need to swap to the conventional line and leader if dry fly seemed the better option. I fished a few deeper spots, not terribly convincingly I have to say as it seemed to become very warm and humid very quickly as the sun lowered in the sky and made you feel that weary hot way. Probably a combination of the weather but also being in fairly direct sunlight in waders, though I wasn’t wearing anything heavier than a T shirt outside the waders. The sweat was lashing off me.

I encountered one other fly angler fishing some holes below a waterfall and he said he had caught one half pound Brownie and commented on its colours as being really bright. I took my leave after establishing if I could actually get upstream from the location and he confirmed I could…. however it was a bit of an ordeal. There were lots of high weeds and stingy things so I found myself donning my fleece despite the heat, and slowly making my way up a very steep, slippy muddy cutting to get onto another trail. I was glad for having brought a bottle of Pepsi with me as this was hot sticky work.

Rubber soled Wading Boots

One thing I will say at this stage, I bought a pair of Vibram soled wading boots in place of my old felts this year. I have heard a lot of negative things about rubber soled boots but while I did find them very slippy without any metal studs fitted, since the star cleats went on I have to say I have not had much problem at all and on steep muddy embankments ( well any sort of terrain out the water) they are far superior to the felts. The jury is still out as maybe as yet I have not encountered really slimy rocks and deep water but for now I am happy with my purchase but will report more as time progresses. I have lost one cleat though I notice.

The Beach

Downstream view

Below me were fish in very slow water but could I get close enough without disturbing them

Through the trees I spotted a shallow beach of stones and decided to try get there to see what was happening. Again it was a steep slope and I very carefully threaded my way down through more high weeds, and again no way could I have got there in felts. I kept a low profile and the sunlit slow glide in front of me was moving with fish. Undoubtedly a good number of small ones but I was sure there were some better fish here too. I did catch the odd flash of golden flank as fish rose. The problem was, identifying what they were taking. Right at this point in time there seemed to be what to me looked like clouds of sedge dancing over the water, there were very definitely small upwings riding a channel like surfers in front of a wave and of course there were midges. I never actually saw a fish rise and take one of the upwings though I watched several drift all the way by me, over where fish were rising. I still had the French Leader on and yes while you can fish dries with an FL, mines is very much set up for bugs as it has a long built-in indicator. However, I was lazy and impatient. I cut off the dropper and both bugs and replaced the point with a CDC and Deer Hair, maybe general enough or Sedge-like enough to get a reaction. It took me a few casts to get it anywhere near where it needed to be and frankly I think the fish were on to me, despite me still casting from a kneeling position to keep low. I stopped and after a few minutes the fish resumed feeding.

One more go, I changed to a Greenwells CDC spider, a favourite of mine, fished wet or dry. The first cast I managed onto the feeding lane it drifted over the first couple of fish and as it neared the lower end of the drift a fish simply rose and plucked it from the surface! Quite a nice wild Brown of around half a pound, I was very happy with that and managed to get it away from the other fish quickly and into some shallow water to be netted.

While the fish continued to rise as I netted this fish oddly as soon as I returned it (slightly down stream) , it went quiet for a good 10 minutes. Do you think they tell their mates?

I was struggling a bit on the FL though so with a fish “banked” I decided to take the leader off and tie a conventional dry fly leader to the fly line and a fresh fly. I also noticed downstream in much slower water there was a fish rising that I reckoned had to be bigger but I really wasn’t sure I could get anywhere near enough to reach it and try to fish for it. The only option was downstream dry fly as there was no way down the bank to get below it. And wading was only going to send a wake surging down river. I decided though to chance it, slowly, taking “heron” steps to minimise the wave, I got into position stopping now and again to make sure the fish was still rising, It was. I wasn’t sure I was close enough yet and my first cast was both short, and I soon realised though I was standing in the middle of the main feed lane, me being right handed was dragging the fly to the right as it drifted down and it could not have looked natural to any but the most stupid stocky. I hoped I hadn’t spooked it by now but thought maybe I had but one more cast, nothing rose.

But the good thing with the CDC spider is, it fishes back as a wet and as I retrieved it I had a pull then a take of a wee trout. Not as big as the first but still something. The sun had all but vanished and in seconds despite there still being lots of flies, and even more midges, the river just switched off. Not a fish rose above or below me. How odd.

I have on evening fished right into the dark on dries but there wasn’t so much as a movement. I was also acutely aware that I really wasn’t sure how to get back up the bank in the dark so decided to call it a night while there was enough light to see what I was doing.