Sunday, May 1st, 2022
We headed over to the Chain Pool beat on the River Dee this morning to see if we could find any wild brown trout to kick off the river trout season. We'd had a couple of sessions on other Dee beats recently but struggled to get through the plentiful grayling, so figured a change of beat might help.
We've generally caught trout at Chain Pool before and have often seen jumping salmon moving up and down the beat. However, today we struggled to get a bite. The cold downstream wind made conditions difficult and the fish just weren't interested. Nonetheless, we managed to get out and enjoy ourselves in some beautiful surroundings.
Monday, May 2nd, 2022
We had another early start today for our first session of the year at Llyn Brenig in North Wales. As usual at Brenig, it was very cold but there was barely any wind when we arrived, so we didn't need to use the drogue.
George found the fish around the cage buoys quite early in the session and managed to land one of the three fish he hooked from dozens of pulls. He was obviously doing something different to me, as I couldn't get a bite, even when copying his fly and tactics.
At lunchtime, we headed over to the quarry area and saw fish frequently rising, perhaps feeding on hatching flies. We lined the boat up to the shore and cast our flies at the bank and started pulling them in. I hooked up halfway through my first cast on an orange snake fished on an intermediate, while George had some interest to the same pattern he was fishing.
Despite seeing the first hatching flies of the season, we couldn't get any fish to rise to a dry, nor take a lure, so we headed back to the cages, where the wind had picked up and the skies darkened. We lined the boat up with the most upwind buoys and drifted down, fishing large pink eggstasy worms and other lures.
As soon as we hit the halfway point, I hooked into a very strong fish. It bent the #7 double and was intent on going under the boat, turning it around or wrapping itself around the motor - the fight was incredible. Not unsurprisingly, it turned out to be a good-sized fish of around the 5lb mark.
On consecutive drifts, we caught several fish all of the same size, all of which fought like hell. It was tremendous fun and the fish were in prime condition. We're not sure if we hit a shoal, as generally only one of us would get a bite per drift, but the action was still very exciting and it was good to find the fish eventually.
Sunday, May 8th, 2022
We were over at Llandegla Fishery today for the first Corwen and District Angling Club junior fly fishing coaching session of 2022. Following Paul Ainsworth's retirement, I've now taken over as lead coach and am running the sessions with the talented Gary Hedges - an England international - with George helping out too.
We had our full quota of eight children on the session today, including a couple who'd never fished before. After showing them how to set up their rods, we did some basic roll casting lessons and then got down to the fishing. Unfortunately, the conditions weren't on our side, so the fish proved somewhat elusive, however, they did manage to catch a few.
It was great to see them all having fun and progressing in ability during the session. Some of them really picked up overhead casting today, thanks to the excellent Triangle Method of coaching. Many of them stayed around to continue fishing after the session officially ended, which must be a good sign that they'd enjoyed themselves. Can't wait for the next one.
Sunday, May 16th, 2022
George met up with England Youth Fly Fishing teammate James Penwright at Blithfield Reservoir to fish the Scierra Pairs competition. The idea was that this would give them a bit of extra competition practice prior to the Youth Internationals coming up in July.
The Scierra Pairs is a timed competition in which you compete against other pairs and fish with your teammate to get back to the dock fastest with 10 fish. Extra points (or weight) is awarded for getting back quicker, so every second matters.
George got off to a good start, hooking four or five fish and landing two within the first 10 minutes or so on FABs and buzzers. Then James took off, using a roly-poly retrieve he caught a number of fish and was quickly at his limit.
George was getting a bit of action, but was clearly not pulling quickly enough so switched his line over. A few more hookups came, but none were landed. Thankfully, James caught several more and the pair were done by 1pm. They finished a few up from the bottom, but there was not much in it and just a 30 minute gap would have seen them in the top, so they did very well for their age.