I'm not going to lie, enthusiasm was starting to wane. June turned in to July and still only the magician Mr Ellis had produced the silver tourists; 3's, 3.5's 4lbers...
With this being my first full season on the river, it was hard knowing where to find the fish and where to cast a fly to, even more so at night. Going back to basics a bit, I set about learning a couple of beats in greater detail by fishing each day whatever the weather. Depending on the water clarity I took spinners or the fly rod but I just wanted to get out and learn where all the snags are, where the seams and deeper pockets of water were, and hopefully land a fish or two along the way.
The weeks passed. Brownies were good fun on the spinners and plugs, and a few of the bigger ones came out to play after dark too with one in particular being around 2lb falling to a Silver Stoat tube fly. Very pleasing, albeit not my intended quarry.
And then, finally, it happened! On a night session with Shaun at Wern Ddu on the River Clwyd, ironically on a stretch I'd cleared of balsam earlier in the year, my first ever seatrout on the river! And on the fly at night too!
A nice fish around 1.5lb that took a Ghillies Tip aluminium tube cast tightly against the far bank and retrieved slowly across the current.
Another spell of wet weather saw the river levels rise again, so my gritty fly lines were cleaned and conditioned, and new flies chosen ready for when the water cleared... But after catching my first, I couldn't wait to get out again!
A quick 2hrs on the river after work produced four Seatrout around the pound mark, all on a Blue Fox Vibrax. Worth noting that each of these fish took when my cast had landed tight on the far bank, literally within inches, and the bites were instant on the lure landing. Looked good for fly fishing for the rest of the week!
And then true to form, just as the water was getting perfect to take a fly again and I planned an evening raid on the Elwy, the heavens opened! Well either I stayed in and missed the chance at fishing perfect conditions, or I got wet... So...
I got soaked! Bringing my sanity in to question again, I fished down some shallow runs with slightly deeper holes and took one fish near the surface on an orange Deerhair Snatcher on the dropper, and then as darkness fell another snaffled an Opal Stoat tube fly.
The river levels rose once again, and started to subside just in time for Foxon's half day closing on a Wednesday. Now I don't quite know what happened but there must have been one heck of a shoal passing through that afternoon... In four hours and in bright sunshine, on a variety of Mepps, Vibrax, Rapalas and Ryuki Spearheads I enjoyed landing an incredible 15 fish!
We had some great water on the Elwy for the next 3-4 weeks yet for some reason the phone lines remained quiet for the bookable beats, in fact I only recall seeing 4 other anglers all Summer although granted I hadn't been fishing many of the more popular beats or holding pools. The fishing was consistantly good, most evenings (or mornings) it was possible to pick up a steady stream of fish in the pound bracket with the occasional bigger one thrown in for good measure.
And one night I got hit by this lovely 3lb+ fish that absolutely smashed my Deerhair Snatcher on the dropper, spraying water everywhere in the darkness and running up and down the pool.
So all in all, nothing huge, but a pretty decent season to start my river fishing with; 18 Seatrout on the fly and 43 in total.