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0202 Leader The Same As Rod Length

B y wading up to his thighs and casting parallel to the bank, Paul can fish his lures through the shallow water.

Thread your line up through the rod. Tie your leader, still attached to the spool, to your braided loop.

With the leader spool down at the rod butt, when the braided loop hits the tip ring that’s a rod length.

shoreline, try to extend what you see on and into the water. If you see a very steep bank then the odds are that the water in front of it is going to be deep. That’s great in the summer months when the water temperature is high, but just now, forget it.

Nearby islands that are reachable, are great targets, because it’s very likely that there is shallow water that runs between them. This is a prime area when it comes to holding trout.

They also like drop-offs; areas where the lake bed drops away into deeper water. With the water temperature so cold they will sit on these drop-offs because they give them the best of both worlds. They will happily feed in the relatively shallow water, knowing that they can head into the deeper water if there’s any kind of threat to their safety.

Other things to look out for are old weed beds. These are host to many aquatic insects and trout will often patrol them, picking off all manner of goodies. Weed tends to be more prolific in shallow areas; find it and you’re covering the right water. It’s not difficult to find; cast out a weighted pattern, let it get right down to the bottom, retrieve it and see what’s on the hook. If you’ve managed to get dark, rotted weed then you’re in the zone.

Finding The Fish It’s cold, really cold, and I’m not looking forward to wading, so I’m not going to. I’m pretty confident that by casting into the relatively shallow water around the reservoir’s edge I will catch fish.

Talking with Thornton Fishery manager Ifor Jones, he assures me that if I just head over to the bank opposite the lodge, the Thornton Bank, and get a decent length of line out and stick at it, I’ll be rewarded for my efforts.

The fish are tight to the margins so bank space, as you can see, is at a premium!

I’m pretty confident that by casting into the relatively shallow water around the reservoir’s edge I will catch fish.

I head over and get set up. I’m using a 10ft 7-wt and a floating line to start off. Attached to this is a leader that’s about the same length as my rod and a bright, some would say shocking,

Pink Nomad. I’m using this because I know that the fishery has been open for a week and I’d imagine that all the usual suspects – Blobs, Cat’s Whiskers, Black and Green Tadpoles and, of course,

TOTAL FLYFISHER 08 Retrieves To Suit The Trout’s Mood


A steady figure-of-eight will allow the fly to travel back on a level plane.

Quick, 2in pulls with the retrieving hand cause the fly to flutter through the water.

Long and steady 1ft pulls will cause the fly to move up and down in the water column.

A 4lb rainbow – the biggest fish of the day – is gently unhooked in the water.

Damsels – have been seen by the trout. I like to give them something different.

I position myself between two other anglers, who themselves are positioned between other anglers. It’s a pretty busy morning given that it’s a Tuesday – the fishing must be good!

As with all good plans, though, sometimes you get a spanner thrown in the works! Nothing was happening; I was having no success, not a touch. I was also aware that the other anglers who were on this bank before me had slowly been moving on. I stopped one chap and asked if he’d been getting interest.

“Nope, not a touch. If you were on this bank at the weekend, all you needed to do was get your flies in the water,” he told me. This was not what I wanted to hear.

I decided to head back to the car, get the waders on and then make my way around the water; I had to find them somewhere.

After my quick hike to the car and back I stopped off at a point just past several trees. There were branches trailing in the water, giving me hope that there may well be fish nearby. Away to my left I could see several anglers up to their middles in the water, and one of them happened to be playing a trout!

I had switched to a slowsinking intermediate line; there was a breeze blowing into my face and casting with a floater would have been a pain, to say the least. I still had a lengthy leader on and that trusty Pink Nomad. Wading out a little way I cast short towards the trees and let the fly and line sink for five seconds before I began my stop-start retrieve. As I was sweeping the fly up at the end of the retrieve I had a knock. No doubt about it, something hit the fly.

Several casts later, it happened again. I checked my fly and, sure enough, the long tail had managed to get wrapped around the hook; something had inhaled it! I gave the fly a dab on my fleece to remove the water and halved the length of the marabou tail with my fingers.

Trout ‘tail-nipping’ early in the season is a sure sign that they have seen a bit of angling pressure and that they are wary of long-tailed offerings, hence the nip at the tail rather than engulfing the fly. Often, by trimming the tail you’ll get positive hook-ups!

There were fish in front of me; I’d had two positive pulls. I just had to get everything