Last weekend saw us head to Llyn Brenig for the Lexus team qualifier – The Welsh final to get through to the grande final at Rutland water.
The previous weekend the Airflo Anglian Water north Wales qualifier was held on Brenig and the reports was that it fished well, but tough in areas. Much the same on most lakes recently, if you’re not over them your’e simply not going to get them.
A few of the nymphos took the Friday off work so we could have an extra days practice, knowing most teams would travel Saturday morning to practice the extra day would give us more of an insight of fish location and feeding habits, all which is dependant on the weather of course.
As we turned up on the Friday the wind was relatively low blowing easterly across the lake into the lodge, visibility was low due to that horrible sort of wet rain (I know all rain is wet!) the fine stuff which falls and drenches anything it lands on.
My partner for the day was Anthony, we’d been allocated the Dam and right hand side of the lake for the morning so we set about tackling up and heading across the wall. Anthony opted for one of the new Airflo Supple Impact Mini Tips, a 6ft slow intermediate tip on a floater, just to bed his flies in beneath the surface and eliminate the chance of a full slow intermediate dragging his flies too deep… Check out the image below –
Not to copy and fish the same sort of depth as Anthony, I chose to fish the Sixth Sense Di 5 sweep, this would allow me to fish relatively close to the surface and drop the flies through the layers, it’s such a great searching line, ideal for practice sessions.
The first few drifts saw a couple of fish netted with the Di 5 sweep out fishing the mini tip, even though each take came from the surface after the first pull or so! You’d expect keeping your flies close to the surface would take more fish, but the popping of the catswhisker booby was just irresistible. The temperature was still low, only about 13degrees C, which shows why the fish were quite unresponsive early on.
As the day progressed we only took a few more fish, out total to the boat was 8.
The second day practice was very much the same, me and Allen fished together and boated 8 fish again, a couple on the 6ft slow mini tip, a few on dries and also a few on the di 5. I couldn’t really get anything going, picking a line and a method to fish competition day was a lottery as everything was catching in all different parts of the lake, if you were using what they wanted when they wanted it, you’d get them.
Competition day was the best fishing day of the lot, highish cloud with a light southerly wind which was forecast to considerably pick up throughout the day. I always tackle my kit up on the boat, I find carrying a mounted rod to the boat hassle as its an extra piece of kit on top of our already mountainous pile. As I thread the rod, I opted for a di5, I spotted a few fish rising in the far corner of the dam, I chatted to the team and as no one was going there I took a gamble, changed methods and started just the right hand side of the jetty. Me and my partner Marco both took one and lost one each on the fist drift, both on dries, and covered at least three or four more. Two hours of fishing and I’d taken three and Marco, one. It was tough fishing as the wind was picking up which caused it to swirl lake side of the dam, we’d decided to move as it wasn’t comfortable drifting with the boat swinging every cast or so.
As we worked our way around the lake it was obvious fishing was tough, we spotted a few of our team members and they all had below three fish. Hitting the usual marks on Brenig always produces fish, but with it being tough, everyone had the same idea. After moving around for an hour or so we both agreed to go back and sit it out on the fish we found previously.
Setting the boat up on the bankside the wind had picked up but became more steady, finally a nice drift along the shoreline. The cloud had burnt off and the sun shining bright, I dropped the the Di5 sweep, an olive booby with two diawl bachs on the droppers. First cast as the line ‘sweped’ from the bottom it locked up and a fish was quickly netted and released. We continued further down the drift and I managed to take another three on the nymphs, and Marco, after changing took another for his bag. I ended with 8 and Marco 4.
The Nymphomaniacs team had a total of 25 fish, the most on the day and we qualified in first position to the Grande Final at Rutland Water, along with team Margam who narrowly beat the Welsh Wizards by one place point.
Last night Gareth and Allen mentioned they were heading up the pond and as I had nothing planned I purchased a ticket and joined them. As I pulled up Allen pulled in behind me and he talked over his past few days fishing, he mentioned last week wasn’t so easy up there with the low temperatures putting the fish off. Last night however was 15 degrees with light winds which was promising.
We walked around and chatted to a few locals who said it was slow, the egg layers hadn’t started to fall back as it was still early in the evening. The top far corner, also top of the wind was where we were heading and it was lucky that we were as the fish started to rise just as we got there.
I was a member of the Islywn and District angling club for a few year whilst I was a teen, but the last few years with so many other commitments I let it go. So, not having fished the lake for a few years I took Allens advice and setup a cast of 8lb fluorocarbon with two droppers. A black diawl on the middle dropper and a hot orange headed diawl on the top. Allen usually likes to fish a dry fly on the point to keep everything up but I opted for a popper hopper as I had a few in my fly patch from Brenig, and I fancied the angle it sits at represented the egg layers well.
A made a few short casts around the edges before taking a step into the water, this is great as the water is shallow and silty, the fish usually like to cruise the edges and some are pushed out by overeager anglers wanting to wade up to their armpits…
By the time Allen setup I’d had a fish on the bank, a rainbow about two pounds on the popper hopper… The next few casts resulted in a missed take and a lost fish, both to the diawls. It was odd as the fish which hit the diawls all came off, I must have lost/missed over 6 fish before landing one which eventually took the hopper again.
As the night progressed and darkness started to fall more and more fish started to pop their head up. I swapped the fluorocarbon for Co-polymer as it doesn’t drag the flies down so much and is easier for quick pick ups to cast at rising fish. Trying to tie a leader let alone a fly onto the cast when it’s dark can be a nightmare.
As the wind started to drop you could see the better older fish feeding, perfect angled tails sticking up into the air, looked more like bonefish and permit mudding than trout taking from the surface! I had a few refusals from these in the quiet water so worked down into the ripple. Still, they were tough here, the fish seemed like they didn’t know where to turn next, many of times I cast in front of a fish which was tracking perfectly upwind only for it to turn and go back down!
After plenty of covered fish and even more patience I landed three before it got too dark to see the rises… In all I ended with 6 fish, all which were fully finned and in perfect condition, I don’t think I’ve caught fish of that quality anywhere this year, perfection.