Pickering Beck

First whirl with a furl

16/07/2018

Up to Pickering Beck for a quick session. The main object of the exercise was to try, for the first time, a furled leader. I’ve read a lot about these and some class anglers swear by them, so thought I’d better give it a go. I was a little apprehensive on two counts. First whether it would retain its buoyancy, even after a smearing with mucilin, and secondly whether the short length of tippet, only about four feet, wouldn’t spook the fish.

Anyhow, a blessed relief was that there was plenty of cloud cover even though the temperature was still in the mid-20s. When I arrived at the water and parked up I was greeted by this dismal sight:

Yes, some toerag of a rogue tradesman had dumped a large sack of what appeared to be old fragments of roofing felt by the side of the road. Charming. I duly informed the local council and with a bit of luck it’ll be gone before too long. However, on the upside as I stood on the bridge for a few moments to look at the water I spotted a splendid eel of about 2ft snaking its way along the bottom of the beck. A rare sight these days and a welcome one.

I tackled up with the 7 footer, complete with 4ft furled leader and equal length of nylon tippet, and made my way to the start of the beat. The water was unsurprisingly low and clear and with plenty of weed. The banks are also pretty overgrown so the fishing would be tight:

It took a few casts to get used to the leader but after a while I got into my stride and can certainly say that casting is a lot easier when you’re only dealing with an arm’s length of nylon. The furl made short casting and roll casting a lot easier and I definitely felt I was more accurate than usual – or at any rate less inaccurate. And it did indeed keep floating, so that was the first box ticked.

I was spooking loads of fish but that happens anyway so wasn’t yet prepared to put that down to the new set-up. Had a couple of half-hearted rises to the fly after fifteen minutes or so before connecting with a small brown:

The wind wasn’t causing me any problems and by and large I was landing the fly pretty much where I was aiming. I impressed myself by getting it into some perilously narrow bottlenecks between bankside reads:

Picked up another couple of small ones before hitting a nice, presumably stocked, fish of about 14 inches:

Called it a day after about 90 minutes with four fish coming to the hand and maybe seven or eight rising but not connecting. So I’d say the furled leader experiment was largely a success. Am I a convert? Nearly. Another few outings and I’ll decide. It definitely has many advantages and looks very promising.

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