Sunday, 6th January 2019
We arrived at Llandegla Fishery at around 10 am this morning to find owner, Simon, having a rare day off and the cafe shut. Thankfully, it was open for fishing and he even offered to cook us our usual breakfast which was very kind. We had the whole place to ourselves so got started on the lower of the two trout pools. We'd both opted for a floating line on one rod and an intermediate on the other, but the first half hour suggested it might be a tricky day, with nothing more than one bite to show for dozens of casts.
Eventually, we figured out what they wanted. Unlike previous trips, anything static was being ignored, as were most flies that were moving slowly. However, if you could fish a bit deeper and get the flies moving a bit quicker then the odd pull would follow. We'd really have been better off with Di3 or Di5 lines today, but cleverly left these at home, so had to struggle on with the intermediate and a much longer countdown.
The fishing remained pretty tough going all morning, with each of us averaging a fish an hour. George was doing better than me when it came to pulls, despite both of us using identical flies and the same methods.
However, he was struggling to hook every single one, while I had fewer bites and a higher hook-up rate! Nonetheless, the fish were fighting extremely hard and - despite the chilly weather - it was a glorious day to be outside. We ended on three fish each, which felt successful given the tricky conditions.
Sunday 13th January, 2019
We headed over to Loynton Hall Fishery in Shropshire for today's trip. We've not been there since pretty much this time last year but should go back more often as it's a beautiful place. The weather was a bit on the windy side, with gusts of 30-40 mph making casting (and walking) a bit challenging at times.
On the advice of the estate manager we started off on Oak Lake. George had gone for an olive nomad on his Barrio SLXi intermediate, while I was fishing a white and gold humungus. We tried a few spots on the windiest bank before moving somewhere less dangerous. That did the trick as George almost instantly hooked into a nice rainbow on just his second cast. Unfortunately, it got away, but we did at least figure out that the fish were feeding quite deep down.
Further around the back of Oak Lake we managed to find a sheltered spot where the wind was lower due to some tall trees behind. This gave little or no room for backcasting, but you could flick out a roll cast if you aimed carefully. I managed to catch a nice 'bow here, after it took my hare's ear nymph as it was twiddled along the margin. It was quite a scrapper for a fish of a pound and a half!
Shortly afterwards, George was also in on the action, with his nomad again tempting another trout. This one did manage to stay connected though, and George scooped the net under her after a spirited fight. After stopping for a great breakfast in Loynton's cafe, we tried one of the upper lakes where we could cast with the wind on our right shoulders. Both of us were chucking full lines, helped by the tail wind, which was good fun!
The fishing remained pretty tough all morning, with neither of us getting lots of bites. George seemed to be getting lots more interest that me, but I managed to hook every fish that took my fly, which was a pleasant change. Another fish on Oak Lake was followed up by one from the very deep water on Black Dog Lake. We ended up with four fish between us but retreated as the gale strengthened. We must go back again when the weather is a little less extreme!
Sunday January 20th, 2019
We arrived at Westlow Mere around 10am today to find the lake fairly busy due to a competition. Westlow has recently installed aerators and we'd heard that they'd improved the fishing quite a bit and it had apparently been a fish a chuck before we arrived. However, it had turned quiet and was flat calm, so you had to find the fish and work hard to get a bite.
George was putting his new Costa sunglasses to good use and had spotted a big shoal of trout near the bank outside the lodge. The chap next to us managed to hook two at once from this spot, so George ran over to assist with netting to help him land both of them. When he got back to the fishing, he too was into the fish.
I was testing out a new Sunray El Guapo streamer line today, not that I got to use it much, as George decided it was quite fun to use. After a few casts he was chucking the full line, and eventually rubbed salt into my wounds by casting the entire thing with a single back-cast. Check out the review to see what we thought.Fly and Lure / YouTube.
We tried various spots in the shallows and saw a few fish moving in the very clear water, but despite the odd follow, we had virtually no interest in our flies. A move to the deep end of Westlow revealed a few more fish moving, but they were right out in the middle where the aerators were positioned and were far outside our casting range.
Some of the anglers were managing to get to them and were picking off quite a few fish, but we really struggled. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful day to be outside, so wasn't all bad.
Sunday January 27th, 2019
We'd planned to go to Graiglwyd Springs in North Wales today but with 50mph winds forecast we thought it safer to go to Ellerdine Lakes instead. Not that it was much less windy there. We had to drive around fallen branches en route and when we arrived there were waves lapping the shores of the lakes and it was a struggle to stand, let alone cast.
Just getting the line behind you to back cast was a bit of a struggle, though once you did the wind would propel it to the opposite side of the lake with a single flick. We tried a range of methods on Lakemoor and Meadow, but the wind was ridiculous and we didn't get a bite, so headed over to the little lake. After initially trying the floating line, George switched to the intermediate and was in straight away. The fish were a couple of feet down and wanted a moderately fast retrieve.
A few nice trout fell to a brown minkie on the intermediate, before we headed in for breakfast and a warm by the fire. With the wind picking up even more, most people were heading home, so we thought we'd give it another half hour and then follow suit. It was tough going but George did manage another fish - a stunning perch from the bottom of Meadow Lake, which also took a liking to the minkie.