Small stillwater fishing

A chilly couple of hours in the boat

06/03/2018

The rivers were just about receding to fishable levels when the snow came and so that put an end to that. With no fishing for several weeks I was getting cabin fever so decided, without huge enthusiasm, to have a go on one of the club’s ponds. I’m not a massive fan of fishing on small stillwaters – did enough of that in put-and-take venues when I first took up fly fishing. Would much rather be waist-deep in running water. But needs must, so I headed up to the small water just this side of the Dalby Forest. The sky was grey, the thermometer refusing to budge above 6C, and a light but decidedly nippy breeze was coming in from the south-west. I wasn’t expecting much.

Tackled up with the 9ft 4wt, 14 foot leader and a size 16 goldhead hare’s ear with a little orange tag:

We’ve got a dinky, if somewhat weather-beaten, little boat house that contains two small flat-bottomed skiffs (if that’s the right term):

So it was into the boat and we’re off:

The breeze came and went and came again, putting a bit of a riffle on the top. But nothing was rising – hardly surprising in these conditions – so it was a question of heading to the likely spots and trying my luck. This section of tree-lined bank often holds fish in the warmer months, but I wasn’t sure if anything would be there today:

Apparently not, or at least nothing that was interested in my offering. I plugged away here and there for an hour to no avail. I headed towards the top end of the pond where there is some deeper water and where the fish tend to shoal up. They can be reticent: I think a lot of people head straight for this hotspot and as a consequence the fish are somewhat educated. Well, that’s been my experience in any event.

After another 15 minutes I felt a couple of plucks and thought I’d simply hit weed. But the line tightened and I pulled in a rather sorry looking little brown who, judging by the scars on his flank, had had a run-in with a predator:

I persisted for another half hour and was rewarded by two better fish who disobligingly shook the hook before I could net them. Called it a day. Well, I’d scratched the itch so that was something. As I say, I don’t fish the ponds that often but something I found in the boat made me think that perhaps I was doing it wrong:

I’m referring to the fly, not the 20p bit (that’s just for scale). An odd fly. Clearly a blue damsel, of which you do get a lot on the water in the warmer months. Thing is, it had two lead-shot eyes so clearly would not be fished as a dry. Not really my bag – think I’ll stick to the size 16s.

 

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