Friday, 18 October 2013

Nature Through a Lens

So fishing on the river is finished again until next year , but its always good to keep an eye on how its ticking over through the autumn and winter months. I rarely go down to the river these days without my camera and with all the wild life around its great to get a few snaps.

At the start of the month we witnessed a good rise in water levels which was enough to encourage good runs of fish upriver. The first day saw the river extremely dirty, as was expected after such a long dry spell, but from then on salmon and trout migrated in numbers.

Throughout the spring and summer a dearth of sea trout was evident. Towards the end of the season runs were gradually building and last week I witnessed the best shoal all season, with at least 50 plus fresh run sea trout taking a brief rest in a pool. These silver tourists ranged in size from a quarter of a pound up to two pounds.

Before colder temperatures eventually grasp the country by the scruff of the neck I hope to get out and do some more bass fishing. 2 weeks into October and I thought I would have been out by now but I've just been too busy. One visit to the sea shore in September at an estuary mark resulted in no success on the bass front but I did manage a fiercely hard fighting 4lb pollack and a surprise turbot which just couldn't resist my Fiiish Black Minnow!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Like a Red Rag to a Salmon

What a dry end to the salmon fishing season that was! September departed the same way it arrived, with low water and not a single fresh drop. As the month progressed fishing became very tough on the Bandon. As well as the low water there was a profuse growth of algae to contend with. With these various elements combined, fly fishing was made extremely difficult in quite a few stretches, as there is only so much time you can spend taking the weed off of your fly!! However, approaching the end of the 1st week of September the river experienced a reduction in water temperature. This, mixed with the time of year, made resident salmon much more aggressive and willing to take.

Using my light spinning outfit I had great sport up until the final whistle. Try as I might with the fly, from size 15 shrimp flies to 3 inch sunray shadows, efforts proved fruitless. The only spinner that worked for me was a red and silver flying c, preferably in size 2 and 3. Red is a great late season colour, as can be seen from the flies we use; green/yellow dominates spring flies, yellow/orange for summer flies and orange/red/claret for autumn. Fish coming only to the red and silver combination underlines the importance of choosing the correct colour combination when spinning, rather than being content with just any colour.

Most days out saw salmon chasing the lure, nipping the end of it or boiling at the surface and completely missing it. Of course fish were lost also, one being around the 11 or 12lb mark which came off when she was half ways in the net only for the other 2 hooks to impale the mesh! No worries, as the fish would have been returned anyway! Up until the last day of the season I could see her in the same lie that she had been occupying for the last month.

Fresh salmon continued to run the river throughout the month but numbers were very low due to the low water. Unfortunately I only made contact with 2 of these, both grilse and they both shook the hook. However, fresh sea trout did make more of an appearance and although they weren't present in numbers there was enough to make night time fishing for them worthwhile when conditions suited.

At least these spirited little fighters gave some sport on the fly rod! As is usual for this time of year, most sea trout were small with only the odd larger specimen present. I used a floating line the whole time as the sink tip kept snagging the bottom and even a small aluminium tube fished off a full floater resulted in jagging the stones so small flies were the order of the night. The usual patterns worked, but the Bibio and Alexandra JC were the most successful patterns. 

At the time of typing this, October 1st, the season is now closed and we have had the first appreciable rise since the second week of August... typical! The river gauge yesterday read -0.21m and is now +0.62m and rising. This rise is a relief to the river and will now let the salmon loose from their shackles; free to swim closer to the spawning grounds.