Sunday 5th January 2020
Spending time off work over Christmas does strange things to your body clock. We set off for our trip to Wales far later than we normally would, so didn't get started at Llandegla until about 10.30 am. The weather, as usual in Wales, was cold, dull and windy and we were casting into a stiff headwind most of the day as our late start meant the less windy spots had already been taken by the earlier risers.
It only took ten minutes before I'd hooked my first fish. After counting down my intermediate line to 10, then starting a slow retrieve with my pink humungous fly, it was slammed by what felt a good fish. A few long runs and surface boils gave us a quick glimpse, but then it went airborne several times, revealing itself as a decent-sized brown trout with a spectacular jaguar-like pattern.
The rest of the session proved a bit tougher. The fish were down a few feet and were biting very gently, so hooking them wasn't easy. A rainbow followed my brown to the same method, but then the spot went dead and we decided to go and have some breakfast and give it a rest before returning. The break worked: George hooked and lost a nice rainbow, and then eventually landed one himself.
Sunday, 19th January 2020
We woke to a proper winter morning, with subzero temperatures, lots of ice and freezing fog, making Ellerdine Lakes the perfect choice. As usual, I was using two #6 weight rods - one with a floating line and one with an intermediate, with George doing the same. By the time we got going the sun had come out and the lakes were flat calm, so conditions were not easy.
A 20-second countdown with the intermediate, followed by a slow figure eight retrieve led to my first fish, a rainbow of about three pounds from Cranymoor. George also had a few bites here, but then it went a bit quiet so we headed over to Meadow.
I hooked and lost a fish on a tan apache shortly after starting, but then couldn't get a touch so switched over to buzzers and a blob. George was doing the same under the bung and soon had a couple of nice little rainbows in the net.
After breakfast, we tried the little lake for a while and found it was pretty much a fish a chuck! George even landed two at once. He was having so much fun that we decided to stay there a little longer and by the time we'd left he'd hit 20. Great fun.