Our tactics change with the weather

Bob Smith's angling column (www.bobsmithflyfishing.co.uk)
Bob Smith's angling column (www.bobsmithflyfishing.co.uk)

We have had some glorious weather over the last week, but there has been some sudden changes with a cool easterly wind and some heavy, sharp showers, writes Bob Smith.

All these changes in our weather means we anglers have to be able to change tactics if we want to be successful.

I spent a day casting a line with a friend at Whinney Loch. The whole site looks stunning with the gorse in full bloom at the moment. The weather was lovely, sunny and hot.

There were trout rising all over the water but I could not see what flies they were taking. I tried several different patterns but only got one take on a small beetle and that did not stay on for long.

A couple of the seven rods had a fish before lunch but that was all, it was proving to be difficult.

After lunch, I changed tactics and replaced my dry-flies with a small beaded buzzer. This fly would sink, but very slowly.

The cool breeze picked up and I allowed it to blow my buzzer around. The takes started to develop and I was bringing trout to the net regularly.

I kept trying other flies, but the fish only wanted those small, beaded buzzers. I ended the afternoon session, which was just over two hours, with 11 trout. I was pleased with the way things worked out and, indeed, the way I was able to solve the puzzle to catch the fish.

Fly-fishing is always a challenge, trying to work out what fly or flies the fish want. Some days, or part of a day they seem to only want one particular fly, while at other times it does not seem to matter what fly you present them with, wham, they want it.

Sometimes they only want one type of buzzer, or pheasant tail, or wet fly, or lure or nymph. On other days, trout only want one type of fly, buzzers or nymphs whatever, and at times, the fish will take anything.

Some days, it is the colour of the fly that succeeds, while on other days, it is the size of fly that counts.

Fly-fishing is great and absorbs the angler so that they are completely switched off and time passes so quickly. No worries about anything, just having fun trying to solve the puzzle.

Not catching a fish does not matter, it is a bonus if you do, but sometimes we learn more when we don’t catch than when we do.

There are some friendly competitions being held to raise funds for charity, so check the fishery websites for Chatton and Thrunton Long Crag for details.

South Linden Fishery has been stocked and is fishing well. Best bag this week was 15 trout and there has been some super evening rises. Trout have been taking black buzzers and yellow lures.

Thrunton Long Crag is starting a new once-a-month ticket called Sharp Start Saturdays when anglers will be able to start fishing at 6am until 6pm. These tickets will only be available on May 16, June 13 and July 11.

The new lake at Thrunton continues to creep nearer its capacity and will be open when the water level increases by another nine inches.

Thrunton Juniors start again on Thursday, May 7, from 5.30-7.30pm.

On the better days at Thrunton this week, some anglers have had up to 11 trout on dry flies. During the cooler days, buzzers have produced bags of up to 16 fish.

The Ladykirk and Norham Club held a four-fish competition and that was won with a weight of 17lb 9oz.

Their heaviest trout was 7lb 10oz. Successful flies here have been various cdc and F flies, buzzers and spider patterns.

Chatton Fishery has had a busy week with lots of rods fishing. The trout, like elsewhere, have been up and down depending on the temperatures.

The Troutmasters Fish-Off competition was won by Jim Tuck, who will represent the fishery in the national final in the summer. Good luck to Jim for that prestigious competition where competitors fish half the day from a boat, and half the day from the bank.

An outstanding 11½lb brown trout was caught and landed, before being returned to Chatton Lake.

Popular patterns at this fishery have been small and black, buzzers, cdcs, black pennell and bibio.

I had one day away from fishing last week and went to see the World Championship Snooker finals at Sheffield. I don’t play much myself but appreciate the skill required to build up good breaks. Just watching ‘rocket’ Ronnie inspires me, but when can I find the time for fishing?