This season like last has left me wondering why the hell I do not carry a net when I fish the Kelvin. To be honest up until last year I have always been happy with brining my fish to hand to release them even if I have had to take a photo of them however now that the trout are getting bigger I just cannot get away with that any longer. Last spring I found myself cursing regularly as I tried to photo another fat trout and when I went out on Sunday evening I encountered the final straw when a lovely trout well over the pound felt my hand around its meaty girth and with a flex of its muscle was gone into the depths leaving me with a camera in one hand a fly stuck in my other.
Here is the story….
The day was overcast all day with good temps. I knew that if I had fished during the day it would have been good however I was still packing up my stuff. I managed to obtain a fishing pass and drove top speed to my local stretch only to find it totally dead. Things were not looking good. I walked down river and finally found a few rising trout. As the evening was warm there was a lot of folk walking around and people would stop and watch me cast. Some of the joys of urban fishing is the amount of folk you get chatting too it is also one of the curses – I just went with the flow and appreciated the applause when I caught an 8 incher. Some young guys who I think were Muslims due to their beards cheered when I caught a fish and asked if I only fished for pleasure as I returned it – I nodded and they thanked me for letting them watch.
It started to get a bit darker and the park started to clear of fish. It was around this time that I started to notice a trout that had been rising in some slack water below some trees. I had cast to it a couple of times and the fly drifted without being taken due to drag however I felt it was time to really concentrate on it. The tricky thing about casting to a trout in this kind of position is that your fly must drift naturally long enough for the trout to take however for a short enough time that the drag from the faster current is not going to affect it. I usually get by this by constantly recasting until either the trout is spooked or stops rising or my brain finally works out how to cast and position the fly so that the trout takes.
The trout was not spooked and it took my fly. It went bananas, tearing across the pool and jumped out the water. It was totally pissed off. It tore back to its spot and then took a tour around the pool taking line and almost wrenching my rod out my hands. I took a quick look behind me and was glad to see nobody watching, when you catch a trout this fine you want no bugger to actually know where it is. I did not campaign for catch and release for years for some idiot to chap the nice fish now that we have them. After a minute or so the trout was settled and I brought it towards me, the trout’s head was out the water and it was then I realised just how big it actually was, its mouth yawned open and I could see down its throat past its gills, my tiny fly was stuck in its lip. At this point I should have netted it, got my camera out and took its photo before slipping it back in the water. However what actually happened was I reached into my pocket and turned my camera on and then with my other hand reached out and gripped the trout round its middle, as I lifted the trout it flexed its body and as I did not want to squeeze the beast it fell out my hands and then sat in the water looking at me for a second with a look on its face that said “Fucking Mug” and then bolted off.
It was round about that point I decided that this was the last time I would not carry my net. There is no reason to be disappointed, I had fooled the trout, played the trout and landed the trout and it was released without harm apart from to its dignity.
I am still going to take a net next time.