It has been at least two years since I last went fishing at Bushyleaze, my favourite of the local trout fly fisheries. Indeed the last couple of years have been marked by the distinct absence of fishing - odd since it remains an activity that I really enjoy doing.
The last week or two have been incredibly hot and sunny in the UK - the hottest Easter since records began . . . With Linda and Emma away in Spain for the week, I have a chance to do a few different things, but Jerome's child-related timings are not great and so I was somewhat restricted in which days I could go this week. So with the change of weather to overcast and cloudy, I figured this might be the best chance to get out.
There were about 20 other fisherman who had the same idea as me. Though the lady in the ticket office said it had been fishing ok in the sunny weather, fisherman numbers were sharply up with the cloud cover. But at the lake itself, things were mixed. On the one hand, people were generally catching a few fish each, but on the other, there was virtually no surface activity. One angler suggested the cool northly wind was keeping fly activity down. As I had intended to fish near the surface, this was a bit disappointing.
So I settled initially in the big bay at the southern tip of the lake, fishing two nymphs - a dawl bach and a buzzer. One problem immediately was that the fly line was rather grubby and was neither casting well nor floating clearly - time for a new one I think. Changing to a different line had the problem that the line-leader attachment had given way and the leader had to be attached via a standard know, which then kept snagging when I cast. I really should have checked the kit better before deciding on the trip!
Nonetheless, I was encouraged by the two fish caught in quick succession by the guy next to me (fishing suspended buzzer) and after about 45 minutes fishing a fish showed on the surface near me, I covered it well and two seconds later had hooked it - a nice opener of about 3lbs.
Things go a bit quiet and I moved round to the west side of the bay where one or two fish are showing. In response, I have switched to a red hopper on the top dropper just in case I can persuade a fish to rise to a dry. But instead the second fish comes to the Dawl Bach on the point, a very nice take which is indicated by the hopper disappearing quickly.
A break for drinks and some chocolate and then a concentrated attempt at the three or four fish that seem to be regularly showing near me (with breaks for tackle untangling which I gradually find more and more annoying - and which I find that my deteriorating eye sight doesn't help either!).
Perhaps around 5:30 (I have no watch with me) I get my third fish, a much better fish of around 4lbs which also takes the nymph. So three fish and still the chance of an evening rise. However this doesn't happen, indeed the little fish activity there had been dies away and though I fished on till 8:00, no other fish are caught.
I could perhaps have gone fishing again this Friday, but the tackle repairs I need to make might stop this. I will have to root through all the old tackle and see if I can find a line-leader attachment, or maybe I have some high breaking strain line and could do a needle knot (like we used to do in the 70s). Either way, I do need to be prepared better for next time.
I have also become better at gutting fish - taking just 10 mins to do all three tonight and get them in the freezer. Not a bad size for cooking either.