I haven't seen my nemesis since September, even on the occasional visit during the winter for grayling and coarse fish, I still didn't see it. Today was no different, I fear the fish has been removed leaving me only with the memory of hooking and loosing it and the exasperation of pulling a fly out of its mouth, but I can only hope I am wrong.
The last time I visited the urban stretch I took Steve for a tour, I told of a large fish that I'm certain went for Steve's fly even though we were sure it was spooked. Today I found that same fish, very dark from the top it was tucked under the concrete edging upstream of a bridge. Now most people would agree that a trout laying motionless on the bottom isn't a fish that will likely take your fly.
A waiting game needed to be played, I had time, it was early and the rest of the day lay ahead. Sitting on the grassy bank below the bread I took my time setting up. A Hends Canou leader was already attached to the reel which was convenient as a fly line landing on the water tends to put the fish down immediately. The river here is slow, the surface smooth, I needed a fly that ticked all the suggestive boxes and didn't sink like a stone. Andrew Ellis of Scruffy Dubbing fame had sent me some cream rabbit dubbing to go with the caddis green dubbing I already had. I use these two specific colours for JP pupa, cream being my all time favourite. A size 12 cream bodied with a 2,8mm copper coloured brass bead providing a minimal amount of weight.
|JP Pupa tied with cream rabbit dubing|
Still hopeful I crept back downstream and to my surprise the large fish had taken up station two thirds across the river, barely fifteen feet away the fish seemed either unaware or unconcerned by my presence. I stood just down from parallel with it and threw a couple of ambitious casts towards the fish. One cast that landed just to the side saw the fish drift across to intercept the fly, last minute the fly dragged across the river putting it off but it moved to the fly - my confidence soared. Another couple of casts and the fly landed inch perfect, as the fly traveled down the flow, a blink of white brought an immediate reaction as I lifted in to the fish.
The fight was long and almost one-sided, there were no bonefish like runs, just pure dogged power. My Daiwa Lexa was bent doubled as every lunge and head shake was absorbed; the three weight was a bit under-gunned but coped nevertheless. I had a chap with his young daughter watching from above, as the fight wore on he agreed to take some pictures if I landed the trout.
|Bit of a squeeze|
As it turns out this fish and I have already met, after checking some pictures I caught this fish last year on the 6th August, it weighed 5lb 6oz, proof that good handling, and of course releasing, works.
|Caught last year at 5lb 6oz|