They say that if you ever want to really succeed at something then all other distractions need to be put aside and that one ambition completely focused on. Well I think it is fair to say that as of late this has been completely true of my pursuit for Sea Trout…countless hours have been tallied up in the quest to feel my line go tight, experiencing an electric bolt of lightning as an aerialist Sea Trout cartwheels out of the water above the inky black darkness of a river at night.
The process to get to this point was long, it required me to put in hours of running through trial and error, deciphering a multitude of advice, articles and chapters of books. I had to not only learn what to present to the Sea Trout when the opportunity finally came that I was in front of one but how to do so – the nitty-gritty details of presentation, where I would find them and what fly would they be most likely to take? It then posed to question of what conditions would different areas suit, and how would they react to my offerings under these conditions.
Luckily, I had a burning desire to catch these infamous Sewin and the willingness to put in the hours, begining my lifelong learning process about these incredible Welsh fish.
Having begun my pursuit at the end of May and since then has seen no fluctuation in river levels, just a consistent fall, during what I believe has been our driest summer since 1976 (long before my time!). It was finally in the second week of July that saw my fortunes change and at long last my ambition achieved!
It was cool summers night with a subtle hazy cloud cover, the new moon meaning the bright glowing night light that sea trout fishers regard with bitter distaste was not an issue. I had arrived at the chosen pool with plenty of time to prepare and carry out a brief reccy of a few areas that I wanted to re-familiarise myself with ahead of the night’s quest!
Myself and my companion Sam had arrived at the pool ahead of three other anglers who had the same idea. Having arrived first we had first pass, however we felt pressured to start too early and another angler had suggested we started long before I felt it was properly dark…so we let him pass through ahead, fishing in the twilight with the green of the leafs and grass of the far bank still distinguishable, “too early” I whispered to Sam, “let’s just hope he doesn’t disturb them” until after 20 minutes I followed behind making my first few casts with eager anticipation!
I had quietly fished down through the pool and was just reaching the point where it begins to shallow ahead of the tail. When suddenly my line stopped and went tight between my fingers, as my rod bent over into what I straight away knew from the reckless thumping of its tail, and surface thrashing fight was the silverfish I had waited so long to catch. A truly wild Welsh Sewin!
Sam slid the fish into the net before we had a quick photo prior to releasing it, continuing its journey from sea to its birthplace in the hills to spawn!
It was for sure not the biggest Sea Trout I ever hope to catch nor will it turn many heads. Despite this, it was my first and caught at night on the fly, exactly as I had set out to achieve! A true reminder and lesson that hard work and commitment pays off.
Still riding on ecstasy from my success I spent a further two nights on the river to no avail, hindered by the increasingly larger moon that was illuminating the valley below – two tough nights to say the least!
Determined to repeat the success, this time alone, I headed for a run I had only fished once before despite hearing good things of its potential! I turned two fish to a surface lure as they ferociously slashed at the fly, cunningly avoiding the hook! Feeling the fish were about but not quite switched on here I upped stakes and moved to a pool further upstream, where I felt confident there should be a few fish.
I arrived at the pool to find someone else there fishing through the tail already, so quietly I made my way to just below the head where the fast water settled out into a fast glide with lovely overhanging trees and bushes…perfect for a shoal of sea trout to laze under, taking security from the branches that dipped into the water eerily like ghostly fingers testing the water.
I made a cast upstream to gauge the amount of line I had out, before landing my fly under the overhanging branches. As my fly landed I shot a bit of slack line to allow the current to take the surface lure right under the tree before the line came tight and I could feel the lure swinging round giving off an enticing wake as it did. Then suddenly, as if a stick of dynamite had been detonated behind my fly I was into a bright silver 2lber as it thrashed on the surface before being slid ashore.
This was followed on my second pass by slightly larger fish at 3lb that took again tight to an overhanging bush. This was the true sea trout I had been waiting for, it came pirouetting out the water as I felt a nice bend in my rod watching the acrobatic performance unfold, left to right it kited in the current before making a quick bolt back towards the overhanging tree. Luckily being only a small fish as far as Welsh Sea Trout go, I was able to overpower it and bring it in with ease prior to letting it swim away strong.
I’m now looking forward to continuing my pursuits for Bass, Trout and Salmon over the next few weeks and have a few more stories to share from recent adventures that will follow soon!