After a few dismal competition performances I decided to really get bet to basics in my fishing, I was totally over complicating things chopping and changing every five minutes and I was spending more time faffing out of the water than I was actually fishing.
With this in my mind I decided to venture out to a few small Stillwater fisheries situated around the North West. One of the venues I visited was a stunning fishery called Chirk Trout Fishery nestled in the heart of the north wales valleys close to Llangollen and the Welsh Dee. The fishery itself consists of two fly fishing lakes, a bait pool and also fishing rights on the river Ceiriog that runs through the fishery. One of the reasons I chose this venue was the vast variety of trout the fishery stocked. In both lakes there are Rainbow, Brown, Golden, Blue, Tiger and American brook trout all reared on site. Not a bad variety hey? The lakes are around an acre and a half in size, gin clear, with a maximum depth of 12ft. The fishery is renowned for its prolific dry fly sport, and on my arrival it didn’t fail to disappoint with fish rising everywhere. The weather was perfect with a light breeze and clear skies, so back to basics I went and dry fly fishing was the tactic for the day.
I was adamant to not over complicate things so I went for a one rod set up. I chose the 10’ Sage XP 7# a fantastic rod and great for dry fly fishing. I was also trying out the new Airflo Switch Black Cassette Reel, this reel is fantastic and truly stunning to look at. It accommodates all my lines perfectly and is very light when casting, it’s a fantastic addition to any competition angler, as the unique cassette spool is extremely easy to change lines, and save a lot of time in doing so. Now it was time for my line choice. One thing I was noticing was that a lot of the fish were rising right in the centre of the lake, and for a lot of people they would be out of casting range I had a secret weapon, the new 40+ Expert floating line now with super dri technology. This would be the difference of me catching or blanking. Not only does this line fly out but the presentation and ability to hook up at long range would inevitably help me have a fantastic days sport.
After tackling up and a short walk I started fishing on the left hand side of the main fly lake, casting straight into the wind. I had the beautiful river Ceiriog running behind me and plenty of fish rising in front of me. After just watching the water I was able to pick out a few fish that were rising confidently.
I was fishing 9ft of 6lb Airflo Sightfree G3 to my first dropper then 6ft to the point fly, on my dropper I had a big rubber legged Daddy long legs and on the point I was using a JC Diawl Bach. I would be using the daddy as a sight indicator throughout the day, but was confident that it would take fish too and I wasn’t disappointed. I cast out straight into the wind which was effortless with the 40+ line and let everything settle. After ten seconds I began to slow figure of eight, barely moving the line just staying in touch letting the wind push the line and flies towards me. There was a swirl at the daddy but no take, then the daddy shot under the water and I struck. Fish on!! The first fish of the day was a stunning 1lb rainbow trout and after an acrobatic fight the fish slid over the net with the JC Diawl Back firmly set in its top lip. I carried on fishing this method and took 6 fish within 20 minutes.
It then went quiet so I decided to change the point fly to a small immature damsel. The daddy was still acting as a sight indicator and was still attracting a lot of fish. If the fish didn’t take the daddy or got spooked it wasn’t long before the daddy shot under, as the trout had homed in on the point fly. After an hour of fishing I was on 15 stunning fully finned rainbow trout. The fishing was on fire, with trout hammering the daddy and the damsel. After 3 hours of unbelievable fishing I called it a day. The light was beginning to fade and I was overwhelmed with what can only be described as a red letter day. A short late afternoon dry fly session was exactly what I needed to restore my confidence and understand that complicating things is not necessary. I kept the same tactic throughout the day only changing the point fly when it went quiet and it worked unbelievably well, with me finishing on 28 trout returned. The fish weren’t massive but they were fantastic fighters and stunning to look at. A huge advantage was without doubt the 40+ line as a couple of anglers blanked as the fish were out of casting distance but for me casting this line was effortless and the presentation was perfect.
It was an incredible short fishing session at a truly picturesque fishery. Keeping my fly fishing tackle to a minimum paid off, and persistence and patience helped land a lot of fish. The main reason I was catching was that I was constantly fishing. It sounds so silly but not spending time on the bank out of the water chopping and changing helped me land a hell of a lot of fish. Something so simple but extremely effective helped contribute to a real red letter days fishing the dries and nymphs.