THE LURE OF THE FLY by Andy Lush
I’ve been torn between my two favourite styles of fishing over the last month. As the weather has gradually improved I’ve had the urge to go fly fishing again, an itch that just had to be scratched. I’ve visited Arlington, Farmoor 1, Bewl Water and Powdermill recently. I’ve still continued my Perch quest at Weirwood, but managed to squeeze fly trips in between Perch days. I urge all lure anglers to give fly fishing a try, you’ll be surprised how similar it is and what fun it is too. The thought process is the same, searching through layers of water, experimenting with retrieve speeds, changing angles of retrieve, sound familiar?
Arlington has been ‘deep’ buzzer tactics, anchoring the boat targeting the downwind banks. I’ve enjoyed two days afloat with Brian Harris and Mark Bryant. Both days were sociable, sharing stories as well as the fishing. On both occasions the fishing was consistent, once we’d found the right combination of “depth and speed” to retrieve our flies. In my case it was Cormorants, Diawl Bachs and Superglue Buzzers that accounted for my fish. Unfortunately on both days the cold wind kept the fish from rising, so I’ll have to wait for another day to catch some off the top on my dries!
Mark Bryant hooks a lively Arlington Rainbow
Andy Lush’s 3lb 2oz Arlington Rainbow
Farmoor 1 is an amazing find for James Gardner and me, after several visits last year; we couldn’t wait to wet a line there again. On arrival the ranger informed us that plenty of fish had been caught on dries or on the “washing line” method. So maybe I was going to get my fix on the dries? The weather gods had other ideas as the cold north westerly wind kept the fish down a bit but not too far from the surface. I elected to fish a ‘nymph tip’, floating line – 5ft intermediate sinking tip, with a team of flies on the “washing line”. Point fly was a FAB Blob in a washed out pink, middle dropper a black Pseudo Diawl Bach, top dropper a Cormorant. To my surprise 13 of my 17 fish fell to the FAB! I had only selected this fly for its buoyancy; little did I expect it to be so successful.
Andy’s 6lb 1oz Farmoor Rainbow
I consider Bewl as my home venue having fished it for 40 years, yes I’m that old! On my recent visit Gary Collins and I were targeting the Pike with our fly gear. The water was exceptionally clear for the time of year; visibility was at least 8 feet. We focused on two areas that I was confident held Pike. We anchored up and using intermediate or Di3 lines we peppered the water with cast after cast without any success, not even a follow! By mid-afternoon I’d run out of energy and decided to have a few hours “Perching”. Wow! What’s happening, I couldn’t buy a take until eventually we crept out into deep water, 40 feet plus, where we had a few takes and finally Gary and I nicked a few “wasps”.
Gary Collins Pike fly fishing at Bewl Water
Gary’s “wasp” from Bewl Water
Powdermill - Sedlescombe
“Oh my god” how wonderful it was to be back. After the blandness of winter, spring had finally sprung and the countryside was a riot of colour with the trees and bushes in full bloom.
Lubos Smajda with his Rainbow from Powdermill
My boat partner Lubos Smajda was joining me for his first visit to this secluded water. Powdermill is famous for its Mayfly but today was to be the “hottest day of the year”. Cloudless blue skies greeted us so no dry fly action today. We drifted around for a while before anchoring up. We both drank in the atmosphere, it really is a special place, just being here was enough catching fish, a bonus.
“Get in the net” another Powdermill Rainbow falls to the nymph
Enough of this sentimental stuff lets catch so fish, which we did by gently creeping counted for our flies through the shallow margins. The takes were savage when they came, most fish feel to our unweighted Mayfly nymph. The fish literally pounced on our flies before they could escape, by mid-afternoon I’d filled my ticket. Lubos caught his last fish shortly after which meant hours were even, what a great day.
Andy owns The Friendly Fisherman in Tunbridge Wells [TN1 2PS]. His shop, as you would expect, is full of the latest fly fishing and fly tying gear. With over 40 years’ fly fishing experience at home and abroad. Andy is always available to offer personal service and offer valuable advice.