Fishing for Schools fly fishing expert Bob Goble leads us through his tips for good fishing at the tail end of the year
Well we have certainly had a flush through, with deluges of rain in the past month! Most of the rivers are in flood and all the still waters have been renewed. The Medway in Kent has had its fair share but luckily for us anglers there is an advantage to all this rain. It has filled up my local reservoir, Bewl Water.
When not fishing at Bewl I like to go for walks around the lake. This is especially interesting when it is quite low during the summer months. It gives you an idea of the lay of the land and where the shallows and holes that might be of interest to fish are. Apart from enjoying the walk there are also some quite lovely vistas to take in.
One place I can recommend when the lake is filling up is Goose Creek, where the pumps come into the lake. The pipeline comes all the way from Yalding into this creek, and when it’s releasing all that water it’s a site to behold. I believe it releases 250 million litres a day!
Whether the pumps are on depends on the rain but it’s worth traveling down to see this spectacle. You can park your car at a small dam by Rosemary Lane. You will see some cottages on the right side of the lake, go past these through a gate and carry on up the lane and you will eventually arrive at Goose Creek.
Apart from seeing this spectacle you will hear the roar of the water unleashing into the lake. It’s well worth the effort, but best to find out if they are pumping.
At the main dam you will see the tower and beside it the draw off tower. This regulates the amount of water. The excess spills over, down a spill way and back out into the river Bewl. This is the other side of the dam wall as you look.
I have fished Bewl since its inception, so have seen its many moods and fished in all weathers that it could throw at me. I have had some spectacular days fishing, some not so, and of course blank days as well. It can be a frustrating place at times but that’s why we call it fishing and not catching!
I love the mysticism and magic of the lake and its surroundings, especially away from the crowds. It holds a special place in my heart.
So getting round to fishing this month. You can fly fish from the bank and of course now spin and bait fish but only from the boats.
Bank fishing should be good at this time of year, trout will be eager to feed and fatten up to carry them over the winter period. They will be feeding heavily on fry (small fish) so the usual flies will work – cat’s whiskers, blobs, boobys, minkies, zonkers, in fact anything that could mimic a small bait fish.
Sometimes it’s not that obvious what trout are feeding on. If you are seeing fry skittering over and around it’s a sign that predatory fish are around and that includes perch. These may even be chasing them up the bank, stunning them with their tails and coming back to mop them up.
It may be that the fish will not take your fly and you ask yourself if the pattern is too large or small or is it the colour? All these questions will be going through your head when suddenly out of the blue there is a rod-wrenching take and a rainbow trout is disappearing to the horizon. By slowly gaining control and eventually landing that fish, a smile comes back to your face. This trout is a prize to behold. Its beautiful silvery flanks with a magenta line running through its lateral line mean it was all worth it in the end.
If it has been a difficult day I will take my prize home and it will make a splendid meal.
There is a gadget you can use to find out what is in the stomach of your fish, called a marrow spoon.
After (and only after please) you have dispatched your fish, insert the spoon into the trout’s mouth and push it carefully down the throat. Turn the handle all the way around and retrieve. There you will find (in most cases) its last meal closest to the handle and further to the end what it ate some time back.
Have a small shallow container filled with a little water handy. Empty the part near the handle into the container and you may see all manner of insects as well as fry.
This will give you a clue and take the guess work out of the equation for future fishing.
As Christmas fast approaches we may have snow but one thing is for sure, it will be cold. Don’t be put off. Wrap up warmly, enjoy the short daylight hours and the fresh air and the trout will be there for the taking.
Have a great Christmas and hopefully new rods and reels etc, etc.
Have fun, be warm but be safe. Bob G.