The weather may be ridiculous for the time of year but the fishing has been superb. The Taff has not really dropped to it's bones at all since spring and is regularly flushed with cool rain water . The extra water has not put off the summer hatches and the fish have plenty of water and are happy feeding in the areas normally too shallow in high summer.
Most of my fishing at this time of year is taking advantage of the late light, short sessions after work for the msot part. I normally aim to get on the river for 6pm, observe the pool until some decent risers are spotted and then methodically work through it quietly and slowly. Normally only fishing a single pool in the 3-4 hours of light, there are just that many fish in some of them! Obviously not telling which those are though ;-0
The results have been spectacular, I have now had 8 brown trout over the magic 2lb mark in August and have beaten my p.b. twice within them, the largest was a lovely 2.15, so nearly toppling my seasons target of a three pounder, but there is still time!
A few of these are truly memorable, and chief amongst them a beautiful 2.05 who had an awesome lie. The river is thick with ranunculus, at parts it is so lush it breaks the surface and fish feed in near impenetrable channels between the weedbeds and hide under it perfectly safe. This fish had chosen a smart lie, tight up (and I mean 3" tight) against a boulder strewn bank, about a foot depth of water, ranunculus beds made the drift a nightmare (impossible) and a bush overhung about 3 foot up from his spot. He sat there feeling smug and safe picking off BWO duns all evening and all my casts with a dry fly caught up on the weeds or in the bush and I could not get a drift, eventually I put him down. The next night I went back and I had been thinking about how to catch him, my 8'6'' 4# was on my back in the pack, my weapon of choice the 10' 3# with a 33ft French leader. He was still sat there perfectly happy rising away and I crept up to within 20 ft of him just the other side of the weed bed. An unweighted nymph was pitched on to the rocks in front of him and the long rod enabled me to hold the whole leader off the water eliminating the problem of the weedbeds. A flick of the wrist and the nymph plopped in to the river and he swirled, I tightened, fish on.
The long light rod may have been perfect for rising this fish it was not for playing him. Luckily as the water was shallow he erupted and splashed on the surface, I used this opportunity to run backwards and drag him over the weed. The rest of the fight was in deeper weed free water and was simply a case of keeping him off balance and using the length and suppleness of the rod to my advantage, soon he was netted.
I have also found myslef a lovely long deep glide which given a decent hatch is splattered with rising fish, most of these are grayling but if you are experienced you can pick out a decent trout rise from the multiple grayling. I have caught some memorable fish from this pool and most have been large, well over the pound mark. The largest of all of these is my new p.b. although the story of his capture is not that interesting, he was rising in the middle of slow deep water moving a lot of water so I knew he was a good fish. I cast, he took, the fight was nothing too special really, he was weighed and released. Even though he was much larger than the previous fish at 2.15 I am personally more proud of the thought and energy that went in to catching his clever smaller brethren.
Sorry for the quality but a self timer alone at night is a tricky thing to do and as the water was warm and slow I didnt want to keep him out for it too long.
Probably the best moment of all though was fishing with my Dad. After a year of constantly talking about how brilliant the fishing is down here he finally made the journey. I was a bit worried as I had phoned him multiple times a week for the past month telling him of big fish lost and landed (including an experience with a really seriously big fish that smashed me to pieces, tippet and soul). Dad is mainly a reservoir fisherman, it took me hours to beat the double haul distance cast out of him over the winter and get him concentrating on accuracy and presentation. I guided him as he fished up a stretch that I know holds a lot of good fish, the goal for the day was simple and probably optimistic "Dad want's his first ever 2lb river trout" I daren't tell him this would be made a lot harder by his strict in the pub by half 8 policy. We worked up these pools catching plenty of fish and my job was simply pointing out the likely lies and suggesting casts to minimise drag, he actually casts really well so this was enjoyable. Suddenly at the head of a pool I see a fish take a fly and bulge the water without splashing, immediately I knew it was a good one, he was not convinced as the rise looked smaller than the energetic small trout around but I was certain, careful rise in the shade in the prime spot, had to be a good fish. He covered it and it took first time and tore off downstream. It dived under ranunculus, jumped multiple times and took some long runs but Dad know's what he is doing, he has been fishing for longer than I have been alive and soon had it ready for the net. I moved down to net it and saw it was about the 18" mark making it close to 2.5 lbs as I stepped towards it his rod bounced back and the dry flew through the air, I stabbed with the net but nothing could be done the fish was lost. He was heart broken and I was left wishing I had been a bit quicker with the net.
Dad fishes up some good water and catches a good two dozen fish up to the pound mark, this photo was taken a few fish before the "one" hence he still has a smile on his face.
I honestly thought we were lucky to get a shot at a decent fish during the day and his chance of the 2lber was gone. However the very next pool up I saw a very welcome site. Most fish were feeding on the right hand bank where the majority of the current was, however a small split of flow was coming down our own bank and above us was the perfect spot. A channel of deep water, perhaps 8 inches wide cut down the bouldery bank (always good fish by a bouldery bank) and left a small gap between this and the weed bed. A stream of duns were hatching from the weeds and finding themselves trapped in this channel and every now and then a nose dimpled the surface and a dun disappeared. I was in two minds with this one; Dad is not used to short casts, I was certain this was a VERY big fish, I was sure it would be a one shot event and perhaps wrongly I wanted to catch it. Instead I did the decent thing, I pointed him out to Dad and talked about the cast that would be required. His line would have to land on the weed, the tippet would need plenty of slack and the fly would have to land on an area the size of a dinner plate. He was hesitant, in his mind a fish barely breaking the surface could not be big. I talked him in to making the cast anyway, he would just have trust his first born on this one. First cast too short, damn, luckily the fish was still rising. Second cast in the weedbed, double damn, more than luck now but still rising. Third cast was the charm, absolutely as I had described it too him and his fly simply disappeared, there was no rise, no splash, his fly simply was not there any more, luckily he struck.
There was not much resistance on the line and he immediately just let the line go slack and said to me "told you it was a tiddler" and he tried to shake it off!! I will never let him live that down, the fish had simply swam back at him and once it went past him slack was no longer his problem and it took off once more. Again he played it well and this time the water was deeper and slower so the fight that much simpler and he was in the net. We had only gone and bloody done it!! 2lbs and 12oz of Taff brownie were his reward for the perfect cast and trusting me, I bet he wont ever try to shake a fish off again!
Mission done and it was off to the pub, gin, beer, whisky and wine were all consumed in celebration and another successful Father, Son fishing trip was concluded.