Matching the hatch

Tim did my fly fishing course, which consists of casting tuition on grass followed by rainbow trout fishing at a later date (together with a casting refresher). This approach allows time for the student to absorb the casting lesson, and get a bit of practice in, before trying to catch a trout.

The first session went well, and we finished off by practising how to land a trout once it is hooked. A key point here, as with casting, is to maintain line tension. After the lesson, I sent Tim some video clips of his casting, together with suggestions for practice.

A few days later we were back at Rib Valley. Tim had indeed been practising his casting, and I am sure this is why his progress this time was rapid. After 45 mins he was putting out a decent length of line, so we moved down to the lake:

Afternoon fly fishing

Earlier on, fish had been rising to buzzers, but now in the late afternoon with the sun high, not much was moving. We got to work anyway with a black lure, while working on new skills such as getting line and fly cleanly onto the water to start with, and roll casting.

As a cloud passed in front of the sun, fish started rising in front of us, then stopped as soon as the sun came out again. This prompted a change of fly to black buzzer. Not long after that, Tim was into a fish:

Playing a trout

This trout put up a serious scrap, surging away with considerable elan several times:

Trout takes line

I remember at one point seeing the line cutting into the water in one direction while the trout went airborne yards away on a completely different heading. We were both glad to see this one on the bank:

Tim with a trout

After despatching it, we checked the stomach contents. It contained several still-alive buzzer pupae. We seemed to have matched the hatch quite closely:

Buzzers - real and artificial

A family fishing day

TJ and son Gideon fished with me in the autumn when they caught roach and perch. The rest of the family wanted a go, so now they were back with TJ’s wife Narisa and other son Daniel.

The fishing was a little slow in cool conditions before the session, but the few roach I did get were a good size – around 6oz or so. Well worth catching. This pattern continued as the lesson got underway and we had to wait for the bites. The fish seemed to be avoiding Daniel at first, but his patience was rewarded with a nice roach:

His first fish

We looked at how to use the disgorger to unhook a fish when the hook is inside its mouth. It can be tricky to get the hang of, so when Narisa and Gideon managed it for the first time, they were pleased:

Success with the disgorger

We chucked out a method swimfeeder for TJ and Gideon to use while I helped Daniel and Narisa learn to cast. Soon excited shouts told me they had hooked a fish – a bream:

TJ's family with a bream

Gideon was soon reeling in another:

Gideon's bream
Family fishing

It was good to see TJ and his family enjoying their time by the water.

Feeding frenzy

Another coarse fishing lesson got underway with a run of roach on the whips:

Roach on the whip

We did the usual rod and reel exercises, followed by a spell of waggler fishing. This brought the catch rate down compared to the whips, but gave my customers plenty of opportunity to practice casting, retrieving and general tackle control.

They had booked in for a six hour session, so we had time to break for lunch, during which I rigged up a method swimfeeder:

Method feeder

Lunch over and it was time to fish. It took about five minutes to get the first catch on the feeder, a beautiful tench:


After that, there was a bit of a feeding frenzy. Every cast brought either a fish or a bite:

Playing a fish

We had six bream, like this one:

Bream caught during a fishing lesson

Also a chunky carp. The larger fish were all coming to the method feeder, but the waggler rig continued to find roach. Taking turns meant that both anglers had a busy and varied afternoon.

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