After the last few successful trips to the Grand Western Canal near Tiverton, where I’ve succeeded in catching a few small pike on the fly rod, I set out this week to prepare for my next trip by tying a few flies purpose made for the venue one evening after work.
Of course as soon as I’d sat down to start tying the first flies, the inevitable call of “what are you doing dad?” rang out as I was joined at the table by my curious 8 & 9 year olds. Colourful feathers, fibres and thread must of looked like a perfect kids craft session to my daughters! To save myself the hassle of arguing I let them help. They both picked the materials as well as did some of the tying itself on two flies apiece. By gently steering and suggesting ideas to the two terrors, we amazingly ended up with some flies that looked like they might just work! The proof is in the pudding as they say – so Sunday afternoon after a stressful morning at the indoor climbing wall with the little darlings, I found my way to the canal with a couple of hours of daylight left. There’s nothing like an hour or two of fishing to calm the nerves….
Tackle was the same as had seen me through the last couple of trips – #5 rod, #8 floating line, a short fast sinking tapered leader and a wire trace. I started off fishing the Greenway section of the canal near Halberton. The water was pretty clear despite the recent rain and the temperature had dropped dramatically to leave me facing what must be the first proper cold day of autumn. I’d forgotten what it is like to fish with numb fingers!
I tried out both girls flies as I worked my way along the canal. Using one of Rhianna’s flies I had a little jack pike nip at the tail before long. The following cast it raced out of the nearside weed and properly hit the fly with serious aggression and snapped me off! not sure quite what happened but suffice to say I was now down a fly. Seeing as the girls had both tied up two of their respective flies I at least had a backup, so carried on with what seemed to be the successful colour today.
A little later & a bit further along the canal I got chatting to a fellow fly fisherman who was out for a walk. We compared local waters and swapped yarns before saying our goodbyes. The following cast a feisty little pike hammered the fly pretty much as soon as it hit the water and gratifyingly I landed him with the help of the fellow fly fisherman. Always useful to have someone on hand to play cameraman!
After that I did have a few more casts, but with dusk fast approaching and the temperature dropping even more I called it quits. I got home to recount the tale of my fishing prowess to the family and how it’s gratifying to catch a fish on a fly I tied myself, when a little voice piped up and said, “but I tied that one daddy!”….