I headed out for something a little different today with my mate Martin, a bit of piking and, for the first time ever for me a bit of fly fishing. Martin had originally planned a days fly fishing for trout on the upper River Dearne and offered me the chance to borrow some of his gear and hopefully teach me how to fly fish. However with the bits of rain we have had over the last couple of weeks the river is running around normal winter level and holding some colour so an alternative had to be found as it would be just too much like hard work for a total novice like my self. So Martin suggested a few hours pike fishing on a large local reservoir before moving onto a tiny pond he knew of to try and tempt some rudd on dry flies. As I have only done odd bits of pike fishing before I used Martins bait casting rod and multiplier reel and had the use of his lure collection and himself opting to fly fish for them. I must say the large flies he ties himself for pike look just like bits of fluff to me but once underwater look more realistic than the lures I was using, some of which he also makes him self
So we slipped our waders on and proceeded to work our way along the shallow margins chucking wood and flinging fluff for the pike. The first spot we came to had a long wooden jetty poking out through the dense reed beds into a large bay, I had a few trial casts to get used to the short rod and upside down reel before working the lure along the edge of the reed beds. It wasn't long before a jack took a liking to the lure and promptly had it yanked from its grasp by my over enthusiasm, I had another follow before we decided to move on. We worked our way along with no further interest to flies or lures until we got near the dam wall and re-joined the bank. It was now time for me to attempt fluff chucking, or should I say budgie chucking! Now over the years I have been able to quickly turn my hand to most things fishing but this was bloody hard work and soon had me beat, although Martin did say it would be far far easier to learn with light dry flies and lighter rods. So after hooking the floor behind me twice (and I mean hooking not snagging!) nearly taking both our heads off and looking like I lost a silly string fight at a party I handed the fly rod over and we worked our way back towards the car. Martin decided to stay in the water and work a fly along the reeds again and I opted to stay on the bank and head to the spot we started in and try to catch a pike whilst waiting for the fluff chucker to arrive. I had had a few casts by the time he arrived and he suggested we made a move to the small pond just as a small jack followed the lure in and missed it again, one more go I announced and dropped the lure back in the same spot. This time I let the fish have it and in the clear water I could see the fish chase the lure before grabbing hold and giving it a shake, I wound down and set the hooks home.
And here it is, my first ever lure caught pike................................... yer yer yer lets have it, that's proper pike bait!
We decided it was time to move on and jumped in the car. We arrived at the pond not long after and its very nice looking although rather small but seems to be teaming with rudd, there were obviously lots of fish around as we could plenty of movement on the surface. It also contains a few carp so we put some dog mixers out in the hope we could try and get them up and try a large fly for one, the rudd took a liking to them right away and made finding the fish easy although they seemed to be a bit far out for my limited fly casting skills. Now kitted out with a much lighter outfit and tiny dry fly I started to get the hang of it and was actually managing to get the fly in the water on just about every attempt, but not long after arriving it started to rain and the felt much cooler than it had in the morning and this seemed to push the fish down in the water. I honed my skills for an hour or so and just like this morning with the pike, managed to pull the fly right from the fishes mouth on a couple of occasions. Martin was catching the odd tiny rudd, and I mean tiny! although he was rather happy when he caught a small but very nice true golden rudd taking his tally to 9 different species caught on the fly which I find excellent. The rain was getting heavier by the minuet now and Martin suggested I try fishing a tiny nymph lower in the water, he quickly tied me one on and I was back fishing or should I say poaching as I seemed to have stolen his spot. However with the slightly heavier nymph and my ever increasing skills I was able to get the bait out and along the reed bed the rudd were hiding around and soon felt a small tug on the end of the line, missed it but next cast I hook one and was chuffed to bits with my first ever fly caught fish. If you thought the pike was small then take a look at this rudd.
All in all I had an enjoyable day even if it did result in two of the smallest fish your ever likely to see species wise. Should the offer come again, which I'm sure it will to do a spot of fluff chucking I'll jump at the chance although I think I'll stick to dry flies and nymph's for now but I don't think I'll be trading the rods in for a fly outfit any time soon. On the other hand I think I will be looking for a lure rod and reel though.