Saturday, 12 September 2015

Final Roll of the Dice

As I write this post, the Bandon is experiencing a raging flood. A brown avalanche of water, filled with debris and autumn leaves, is hurtling its way down to sea. The season's end is fast approaching and once this deluge subsides, anglers will be afforded another crack of the whip before packing their tackle away for 2015. It has been a testing time for many, with anglers feeling a mix of emotions. Much like a car on its last legs, the run of salmon took a while to get going. Slowly picking up speed, it glided along for what felt like a short time on reflection and now it is stuttering to a halt. The last couple of weeks have been challenging, with resident salmon lying motionless, stuck to the river bed like a dog to its bone. Fresh salmon are relatively scarce, with just a few dribbling in on the tides. This flood will bring new hope and hopefully more sport as we make the most of the final few weeks.

Before August slipped into September, I enjoyed catching a few more salmon before the river dropped to a low summer level. A couple of good sized, fresh grilse came to the worm when the water dropped between floods while a better stamp of fish snatched slowly swung flies when a good flow was present.

Salmon seemed to be quite fussy and weren't as forthcoming as usual. Sometimes this can happen at this time of year, especially after yo-yo-ing water levels. Adapting to a continuously high river, the "take" seems to elude fish as fresh water no longer triggers a response. With no rain falling for two weeks, this flood may well shock the fish back into life.

This week, I was lucky enough to have a go for sea trout before the rain washed any hopes away. As good as conditions have been for salmon, sea trout fishing is much better in low, settled water. To say this season was a challenge is an understatement and there may not be another night time escapade for these wondrous creatures, on the Bandon at least. Even though fishing was tough, it didn't reflect the numbers of sea trout by any stretch of the imagination and this year saw improved runs once again. As I've written before, there is still a long way to go, but it is certainly going in the right direction. Most sea trout I caught were small, fresh schoolies but a few better fish were forthcoming. One such trout was a beauty of around three and a half pounds. Some of the better fish we catch are disappointing with how they fight but this fish went absolutely berserk, leaping into the air on several occasions followed by heart stopping runs when you hope your line doesn't get snagged on some unsuspecting hindrance. Pouncing on a small, lightly dressed tube, she slipped back into the dark river none the worse for wear.

Finally, I have attached a video which I made for an article in the latest installment of "Off The Scale", called "Summer Grilse on the Fly". This is the sixth issue of the magazine and well done to all involved in such a magnificent production.