A Nod to a Beautiful Fish

Well it’s a couple of days since my last trip out. I was fishing another Scottish river I’ve not been on before. Things looked promising with last weeks good weather building up to a glorious spring day on Saturday. I had my permit by 8 o’clock and was riverside before half past. At this time of year it’s actually not really worth fishing until nearer lunchtime, but I love being on a river almost anytime, especially on such a bright sunny day. I opted to start fising some upstream spiders through a couple of nice riffles, and noticed a little stab on the leader after about two casts. Turned out to be one of the smallest parr I’ve ever caught at about 3-4 inches. It’s always good to see a river with plenty of small fish like this as it bodes well for the future. I fished on for a while, before eventually moving to another run. Here I turned around and fished the spiders across and down just slightly slower than dead drift, and it wasn’t long before a pretty little half pounder came to hand.
It was soon midday, and at last some flies began to hatch. Great big march browns they were too, always a good bet to bring the better fish to the surface at this time of year. It wasn’t long before fish started moving to the hatching flies and I could fish a dry fly with confidence. On the leader was the deer hair emerger I mentioned before. It’s really a cracking fly, well worth trying.

Of course when actually fishing the barb will be crushed as I fish catch and release on the rivers around here. Here’s one of the pretty wee trout that were avidly munching on the marchs’.

Things were pretty sporadic after that as a few more waves of duns came off, occasionally sparking a little frenzy.
Later on I was back fishing spiders down through riffles and pools. In one particularly good looking pool I felt a slight ‘draw’ in the line as a fish turned on the point fly, and I was immediatley fighting a much better fish. He went absolutely crackers and lept about 2 feet out the water before heading for the sea. I followed him downstream and after a (too long a) while brought him to the net. A beautiful fish of 1 3/4 lb, and a lovely way to finish things up.

Fishing spiders has a long history, perhaps as old as fly fishing in this country. I find it is still a really good technique, although it can be very frustrating if not done correctly. I am by no means an expert, but I have just about got hold of the idea, and it’s starting to be pretty useful. I fish the spiders upstream dead drift, across and down and just about any way I think will be useful. The most important thing is to lead the flies through the current in a controlled manner, either dead drifting them, or letting them drop downstream just slightly slower than the current. I have a feeling this last point is particularly useful, because the water speed under the surface is generally progressively slower with increasing depth. So what looks like dead drift on the surface is perhaps not so 6 or 10 inches down. Thus by controlling the drift of the flies just a tiny bit slower than the current, I think you might get both a really good presentation, and immediate contact with any taking fish. Certainly worth a bit of perseverence.
Finally, here’s a shot I took after the last fish was released. Spot the trutta!