Friday, 4 June 2010
News flash! The weather has briefly broke and we were treated to a bit of long overdue rain. Well it rained for the day and the rivers rose and inch or two before falling for tea-time. Even that small amount of fresh water had the fish coming alive. Looking up stream as I passed over through the park, the pools were alive with rising fish. It has been a busy week. Fishing has taken main priority again (as it always should do), and with trips to the coast, moorland fishing and a visit from my brother and good mate roz, meant it has been a hectic week.
It was good to meet up for a morning session with local fly-fisher David Wright who was looking to get into a few Okement trout. He is a lifelong fly-fisher and also a magician. So I was hoping he would teach me a few tricks and pull a few fish out of his hat. The weather was another bright, sunny and warm morning. The afternoon was going to be a lazy day at the coast chasing mullet, and it looked like it was going to be another hot un. I met up with David by the castle and we decided to head up-stream and look in a few of the pools that we haven't had chance to fish since last season. There were plenty of midge and stonefly milling around and it didn't take David long to get the fish going. Fly choice was a simple 'F' fly. Simple to tie and a pattern that is always worth keeping in your box. He was catching fish from upstream, across, down and from all sorts of weird angles and drifts. The fish didn't seem bothered what the fly was doing. I think he had four or five fish in as many casts.
Mr Magic lifting off for another cast!
I had to leave David causing trouble amongst the trout, and as he headed further upstream I climbed out of the river and drove over to the North coast to meet up with Derrick for a crack at the mullet. He had done well at the same mark a few days prior, so I was looking forward to seeing if they were still around and getting into a few of them. Low tide was at 1:30pm and it was a bit of a rush to get over there in time, but taking a few shortcuts off from the main roads it wasn't too long before we were making our way down to the estuary. As we walked over the rocks and kelp to the edge of the water you could clearly see the tell take shapes of some big mullet cruising and rolling in the weed. With big silver flashes in front of us it was time to get a fly wet and see what was going on. Water depth at the time was about two to three feet and the fish were still spooky. It didn't take Dek long to have a couple of quick takes though, but true to form they didn't stick. I worked an area that seemed to be stuffed with fish. Again, quick takes and they were off in the opposite direction. Eventually as the tide turned, the fish switched on and they were all over the flies. We tried a variety of patterns including small clousers, nymphs and shrimps. It was interesting watching how they reacted to each type of fly that cast towards them. Some were hit straight off, some they wanted to inspect first. But as long as they were taking we were happy.
A bit of afternoon mullet action!
The session was another good one with us both managing a few fish between us. Once the tide flooded in the sport became harder as the fish pushed out of casting range and our cut off point was starting to fill behind us. I knew I had to rush back to meet my brother back in town, so I made my way over the dunes, said my goodbyes to Dek and started the drive back. So far that day, I had managed to fish from the source to the sea. Not bad for a day's work, and with my brother and friend down there was a bit more on the cards. For anyone fly fishing for bass and mullet, one fly line that is brilliant for the job is Rio's Clouser line. Designed with a similar profile to the stripper bass and pike lines, it is designed for casting flies into a wind and will defiantly help in tough blowy conditions.
The following morning we had planned on having bit of a leisurely stroll along one of the coastal paths that runs from Looe to Polperro over in Cornwall. I don't know what it is about going to Looe, but I love it. We have been going there for the past twenty years and I never tire of the place and there is some excellent fishing to be had there. Whether you want to hire a charter and go out for the sharks or congers, go on a little 2 hr mackerel trip or take to the rocks and fly fish for a variety of species! It has it all. Apart from reminding you of the old Jaws movies it also has some of the best scenery anywhere in the world. After the short drive, the first stop was to grab a brew and a cream-tea before setting off down the path. Or should I say up the path! The idea was to walk along the coastal path, and where possible clamber down to the sea and try fishing the bays and inlets to see what was around. Basically it was bit of a recce for my own fly fishing and doubled up the day with a bit of sight seeing for my brother and Roz.
The start of it all, looking down the river Looe.
The start of the walk is a nice easy wander through the old town of Looe and after a steep walk up to top of the hill, you begining to see the coastal path in the distance as it climbs and twists around the headland.
Looe Island, one of the famous landmarks.
In general, the route is easy. Overall distance is about five miles of up and down walking, but nothing too much. The beauty of it is, once the walk to the other end is reached you have various ways of getting back. You can either walk, catch a bus, taxi or boat. We weren't sure which we were going to do until getting there. If we got there too late, then we could be walking back! It didn't take long to find likely looking fishing areas. During most of the walk, the tide was still out so this gave us the perfect opportunity to get down and have a good look around.
The kind of places we were looking for! When full, these areas would hopefully be stuffed with fish.
Once you were down in the bays and coves, you could of been anywhere in the world. Well, anywhere that was stunning, hot and near to the sea. It became apparent that there would be some good cove and rock fishing to be had. There were plenty of routes down to the shore, either by path, scramble or climb. Better still would be to come in by kayak, which would give you access to all of the area. A nice gentle paddle along the shoreline and hop in for a fish and a BBQ, what more do you need!
Paddling in by kayak would be the easiest way to reach all the areas.
The further we walked, the more rock fishing we spotted!
By mid afternoon the temperature was in the mid eighties and we were sweating like pigs! So taking a break we had some lunch and I went to investigate if there was anything willing to grab hold of a fly. After bit of a scramble down a small cliff, we reached a breathtaking bay. Again the tide was still out a bit further than we wanted, but there wasn't any complaining. We chilled in the sun, grabbed a bite and had a fish.
As tempting as it was, we didn't have a dip- (Apart from some Dorito's and a chili dip).
Trying not to loose my balance on the knife edge rocks.
After a full day of hiking, scrambling, casting, fishing and eating we finally reached our destination in one piece. Again, Polperro is a stunning traditional Cornish fishing village. Most famous for it's smuggling history, you can see why it was a good drop off point for the rum and tobacco runners of old.
Nearly there! Looking down into Polperro harbour.
Once in Polperro we thought it would be best to check what time we would have to leave, otherwise it meant we could have to make the same route back on foot! It wouldn't of been a problem, but Baz and Roz fancied a BBQ sometime that day, so we had to get that sorted. We had a couple of hours to kill, so we fished and chilled for the remainder of the time before setting back. The preferred choice of travel was by boat. Within five minuets of getting into the boat back to Looe, the weather changed and a sea mist began to cover everything around us! So much for the nice day!
Leaving Polperro in a cloud of crappy weather!
After the rocky boat trip back into Looe harbour we walked down to see if there were any fish moving with the turning tide. Were there any fish? The answer was yes! One of the biggest mullet shoals that I have ever seen there were crashing all over the place. Judging fish size from afar can be a guessing game, but I'm certain there were some fish over 8lb cruising around. If only I could of gotten down to them!!! True to form when we got back into Okehampton, Baz and Roz went off to fetch the BBQ supplies and we headed off in search of a midge free area. We chose a little spot next to the river where we had a quick flick and pulled out a few small browns whilst the pig bits on sticks were burning away!
Not a bad end to a perfect day! Baz on the BBQ.