Fishtec team member Ceri Thomas recently took off on a family spring Easter holiday break to West Wales. Luckily he managed to sneak in the fly fishing tackle, and took advantage of some glorious spring weather to wet a line on the magnificent river Teifi, one of the best rivers in the UK for game fish. Read on to see how he does on ”the queen of Welsh rivers”.
It had been a fantastic week weather wise, which was perfect for exploring the beautiful rugged Ceredigion coast with the family. Unfortunately being on holiday meant I could only hit the river from lunch time onwards, but with the lighter evenings now with us this would give me more than ample time to have a few hours fishing the river Teifi, just a 20 minute drive from where I was staying. I had been in touch with a good friend and top fly fishing guide Steffan Jones, who runs angling world wide – a company based in West Wales. Steff put me straight on to were to get the tickets from, and advised I call in to have a chat before I headed off to the river for a few pointers, him being based just a stones throw away from where the fishing tickets are issued.
First stop was the Porth Hotel in Llandysul. Full credit towww.fishing-in-wales.com, I was given lots of informative literature and beat maps along with my day ticket, which at £25 or £75 a week is a bargain given the quality of the fishing on hand, especially for the sewin and salmon later in the season. Any hotel with fishing flies in frames is also going to impress!
Just down the street I knocked on the door of Cambrian house. Now Steffan works from home, and I must say he has some discipline putting in a full 9 to 5.30 shift with a river as stunning as this flowing right past his back garden! Cant fault it really, what a cracking view out of his ”office”! Steff explained there were not many migratory fish about at the moment, and advised I try for trout on a beat called hendy just a few miles upstream and gave me some directions on where to park and access the river. This was a great help, as there were over 30 miles of prime river to choose from on the ticket!
The Teifi is not so well known as a trout fishery nowadays – in it’s heyday it was a ”must fish” early season Welsh river especially for the infamous grannom fly hatch, championed by angling legends such as Pat O’Reilly, Jon Beer, Brian Clarke, Charles Jardine and the late Oliver Kite in the 1960’s, who described it as the Welsh river Test. Steff mentioned that the water quality had not been so good for insect life in recent years, therefore limiting hatches and subsequently food available for trout. But since the banning of cypermethrin sheep dip in 2010, and improvements in farming practices the insect life was starting to make a strong comeback. We spotted a few grannom flitting above the surface of the river, but being 1.30 pm I had missed the bulk of the hatch which normally happens fairly early in the day. Steffan had some work to do, but was going to rig up his trout fishing tackle for the first time on the Teifi this season, and meet me on the bank later in the day.
I reached the stretch 20 minutes later, and first encountered some delicious looking runs and glides just below a big deep salmon pool. The sun was still high in the sky, glaringly bright without a cloud in sight and 20 degrees- perfect weather for sunbathing, not fishing! I rigged up a french leader on my Airflo Streamtec nano 10′ 3/4 and two flies – an olive bodied jig nymph with a 3mm bead head and a size 16 copper john on the dropper. The french leader gives great results in conditions like this, where stealth is required.
I prospected upstream covering some very fishy looking water without so much as a touch for about two hours – wondering whether there were any fish in the river at all! Whether the sun had changed angle or I had hit a more productive part of the beat I was uncertain, but all of a sudden I came across plenty of fish and some sporadic rises, some of which looked like they belonged to grayling. My suspicions were confirmed as 3 out of season river Teifi grayling graced the net, a very rare catch in this river – where only a few very localized pockets are to be found.
The trout had also started to feed, and casting around ranaculus beds, pool tails and delightful little steam channels between islands, I landed around a dozen hard fighting and pretty wild browns, mainly in the 10 – 14 inch size size range, as well as numerous salmon and sea trout parr- which were all safely returned on barbless hooks. A good sign for the future of this river indeed!
Steffan turned up and we fished into the fading light – surrounded by incredibly dense swarms of grannom, returning to the water to lay their eggs. Sadly no fish took an interest but it was quite a spectacle to see. A few more nice browns took the nymphs before the light went and we called it a day at around 7.30pm – the first evening session of the year done!
To be honest it was a great little session, with a fine host on a magnificent wild river – what more could you want? I left the river a happy man with a summer sea-trout in mind!