Sea-Trout Fishing Method: Fishing a Pool at Night
Let us suppose that we are fishing a pool holding a fair head of sea-trout, some of them fresh-run, others not quite so fresh. The pool is a hundred yards long and lies over rock and gravel. On the near side it shallows gently to a few centimetres of water. On the far side a steep bank flanks water deepening from a few centimetres just above the neck to as much as 1.8 m (6 ft) in the middle. A moderate current flows down the pool against the opposite bank.
We start off by greasing our line to within a yard of the tip and mount a rather mangled Invicta on point. This fly has caught several fish and will catch more, given luck. Top-dropper is a big silver-ribbed Coch-y-bondhu. The leader is degreased with a pad soaked in detergent and water.
Sometimes fish feed towards the neck of this pool on sedges brought down from the river above. Sometimes they are found only in the wide, shallow tail. If it is an inactive evening the sea-trout may remain doggedly in the deepest water, brooding or perhaps dreaming on the bottom. Each of these situations calls for a slight change in tactics.
It is now a quarter to eleven, so we start at the neck in water no more than 15 cm (6 ins) deep. The point-fly is dropped at the edge of the down-flowing current. It is necessary to cast systematically so as to cover every metre or yard of likely water. Big sea-trout can be lazy takers and they like to have their supper served, so to speak, in bed.
Nothing results from twenty minutes of this work, so we wade out quietly and prowl along the meadow until we reach the pool-tail. A huge swirl in mid-stream indicates that a fish or two are moving. This water is no more than 60 cm (2 ft) deep, but luckily the night is dark, so our nylon leader must be quite invisible. We wade for 1.8 m (2 yds) with snail-like slowness and start to cast.
A fish takes the fly at first offer. The line held in our left hand trembles; we tighten instantly by the twin motions of pulling the line and lifting the rod point. The rod curves and there is the solid feel of good fish. The sea-trout chases for cover like an alarmed hare and it is a few minutes before we have him lying on his side in thin water, spent. After resting the pool-tail for a few minutes we try again but receive no further offers.
Since it is now 11.30 we decide to fish the deeps under the far bank. A certain amount of summer algae has got on to the line, tending to sink it, so this saves us the trouble of using the degreasing-pad. The Invicta is taken off the point and a size 8 Magpie Scad is substituted. The fat green wing and herl body give a big silhouette, which is what it needed for deep-water fishing.
We walk back to the neck of the pool, wade down 27 m (30 yds), then start to fish as slowly and deeply as possible. By mending line upstream twice every cast we are making the fly come round almost on the stones at the bottom. After a few minutes a curious nibbling sensation is transmitted down the rod. We strike by pulling line and by moving the rod a trifle. There is a sudden lurch as a fish turns away and kicks the leader with its tail. The rod doubles and we are fast into him.
For a few minutes this fish is the boss. We feed slack line through the rings until the fish is on the reel. The rod point dips until the reel trills in alarm and gives line to relieve the strain. The sea-trout churns in a half circle 45 m (50 yds) away and leaps thrice.
In this pool it is best to play a good fish from the bank, behind. Holding the rod high, all pressure removed, we use our free hand to scramble up the turf. The fish has now bolted to the tail and we hurry down, winding up as we go. We now get to work, pumping him in but letting him run when he must. Even so, it is nearly ten minutes before he lies beached and quiet.