This weekend saw me in Scotland for the Glasgow Angling Open weekend, followed by a trip to North Wales on Saturday evening for the Trout Master fish off final at Graiglwyd Springs trout fishery on the Sunday.
Graiglwyd is a hidded gem fishery in North Wales, near Penmaenmawr. Stocked with ample great fighting fish, and numerous doubles too !!
Conditions were pretty good, in comparison to the very recent weather in the area. An overcast start and a 10mph wind, though this did increase throughout the morning. Having very little to go one for my choice of lines, I based my approach on previous visits to the water.
The fish here do tend to be at numerous depths, varying from just a couple of feet, to 12-15' down. With this in mind I set up with 3 different approaches. My choices were, a floating line, enabling me to fish an indicator, a slow glass, to fish just under the surface, and a fast glass to get that little bit deeper.
On approaching the water, there was very little surface activity, so opted for the fast glass first, fished with a white snake. It wasn't too long before I landed my first fish of the day, my third cast in fact ! Other anglers were catching too, however as time passed, things started to slow down - had the fish already seen too much colour - I think so !!
With this in mind, I switched to the indicator, and gave the fish something more natural to look at - buzzers.
Fasna F-310 Barbless hooks.
What a difference ! By the end of the first 3 sessions I had landed 9 fish, and was in a very strong position at the half way stage.
As we had finished lunch, one thing was very different to when we had finished fishing only 45 minutes earlier - the sun was out, in a very bright blue sky.
How things can change. The fishing now had gone full circle in comparison to less than an hour earlier - they had stopped playing !!
Now it really was time to get my thinking cap on. The indicator had stopped producing, so I opted for a Rio midge tip line and 3 heavy buzzers, really believing this would work - it didn't, not even a pull.
My thoughts now turned to the depth of the place. It drops beyond 20' in places, so my next step was to get down there. I changed my fast glass line over to a di-3 (medium fast sinking line), shortened my leader down to 12' to maximise the depth the fly will go, when being pulled down by the fly line. I had read in a previous report someone had caught a big fish on a yellow dancer, so thought this would be as good as anything, a pulsing hackle, movement with a marabou tail, and a nice hot orange bead, what more could they possibly want.
Believing the fish had gone deep, I launched the 40+ line out as far as I could, then began the tedious mega slow figure of 8 retrieve back. With just my 3rd cast, half way back i felt that heart stopping tap followed by another more confident tap. After an increase in the figure of 8 retrieve speed, the line tightened, and the battle had begun.
After 3 or 4 good strong runs the fish started to wallow towards me, revealing its size. The fished weighed an impressive 13lb - what a scrap !
As I was playing my fish, another angler was also playing a double figured fish, which turned out to weigh an even more impressive, 14lb. Phil Burgess also landed a double of 13lb.
My next, and final peg, was a little quiet to say the least. Fishing friend, and travel partner, Phil Burgess, took 3 fish in quick succession on the bung on the opposite side of the lake. This then brought him level with me on fish numbers - ot oh !!
That final fish just wouldn't come, until 10 minutes was left on the clock. Apps worms have been all the rage at Graiglwyd. Having already tried them to no avail earlier in the day, I found it difficult to get my head around how I hadn't caught one on them. This was the last throw of the dice, two red worms was the way to go - surely one would have a go !
I tuned to the angler to my left and said " I cant believe how tough it has gone this last hour, I haven't had a pull". Famous last words, as my line tightened that instant. Brilliant !! The fish was landed, and this put me in top spot in the competition.
Follow the links to buy the two top performing buzzer patterns on Graiglwyd.
I have to say, swapping and changing tactics, with a little bit of thought, got me this win. All my fish were returned and the barbless flies were tied on Fasna barbless hooks.(available at www.flashattackflies.com)
Tip when fishing Graiglwyd - The fish can often be high in the water here, and it is too easy to fish below them.
If you are not getting takes with your chosen method, be prepared to change.