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Cast Again?


Text, photos and art by Mike Pratt


I think this tale illustrates that trout can be pretty dumb when it comes to avoiding getting caught. It was a regular day for me on the river Test. There was a cloudless blue sky and the temperature was a warm 25įC and the wind was a very light south-westerly. All in all, a pretty good day to be out and about. However - the day stands out in my mind as the one on which I made catching a trout a difficult and protracted affair.

I had started the day as is my usual wont at the downstream end of the island by the pool under the large Chestnut trees. I had managed, largely by good luck and some pretty poor casting, to take a one and a half pound trout from under the far bank on a Blue Dun when my attention was drawn to a very splashy rise in the middle of the river 50 yards up-stream level with the Alder trees. As I watched for a minute or two, the rise was repeated with the same splashy exuberance. I quietly moved up to get a better view but when I got into position I could see nothing, and the rise was not repeated. Whatever it was it had gone.

As I sat there, under the Alders thinking dark thoughts about trout who quietly swim away when you wish to catch them, on the far side of the river I saw a very nice looking fish quietly taking something from just on the surface. I don't think this was the same fish that was splashing about earlier. In fact I'm certain it wasn't. Watching for some time I still couldn't make out what it was that he was taking but I thought that if I used a sparsely tied size 18 black fly I might provoke an interest. (If in doubt go black and small).

The main problem as I saw it was not what pattern of fly to use, but how to get it out to this fish when having to cast between the two groups of Alders whose branches nearly touched overhead. The number of flies hanging in these upper branches was testimony enough to those who had tried and failed. My solution - which I've used several times since - was to move near the downstream group and cast my line horizontally. As long as one remembers to keep power on the back cast there are not too many problems. He said). The angle of cast required to put the fly on the water ahead of this chap seemed to indicate that I had a slot of about 1 foot wide between my rod tip and the upstream group of trees.

Having never been terribly good at believing things are as difficult as they look, I decided to have a go and cast to the trout in question. With considerable skill and a high degree of talent, I like to think, but reluctantly I suspect backed up by an even larger slice of good luck, I managed to put my fly on the water about three feet in front of the feeding trout.

He ignored it.

It was about ten casts later (Ten casts one could write a book about!) that I again managed to put the fly in front of him only to see him ignore it once more. I was convinced at this stage that this chap would really like the fly that I was offering if only he would buck his ideas up and realise it.

I cast once more and the fly fell two feet behind him. He turned and took it. - I shall never understand trout.

My rejoicing was short lived however, almost before I had started to play him the line went slack and he was off. To make matters worse he went straight back to his station and started feeding again. As he was now clearly throwing down the gauntlet the challenge was accepted. Several casts later he took my offering once more. This time I did manage to get him to the middle of the river before he came off and swam back to his station.

This was obviously going to develop into a tactical battle. A pause for some refreshment and to consider strategy was what was required at this time.

Half an hour later, suitably refreshed, I once more found myself with this fish on the end of my line, but this time racing off up-stream like one possessed. This meant that I could not see where he was because of the branches of the Alders almost touching the river surface. The cunning of the beast had to be admired, having allowed me to hook him he was now demonstrating that this was only the opening gambit. By keeping my rod tip down also almost upon the water I was able to avoid the line being caught in the low branches and put pressure on at the same time.

Suddenly the line went slack and to my surprise this fish swam very quickly down-stream just in front of me. I swear he smiled at me as he passed.

Just as suddenly the line went tight again, he was still on. He was now down-stream and under the Alder trees behind me. After what seemed an eternity of gentle coaxing and the careful use of epithets - probably only a couple of minutes - I finally managed to bring him to the net.

A very nice two pound cock fish which required catching three times on the same fly before calling it a day.

This incident is interesting in that here was a fish which was well hooked on three occasions yet on the first two when it came off it returned to its station and continued to feed. It shows that it is always worth putting another cast to a fish even if you do prick it. They don't always go away and sulk. Some of them are pretty dumb. ~ Mike Pratt

More Fly Fishing in Europe:
Zulu's - By Alan the Highlander
Teal Blue Variant - By Alan the Highlander
Green Highlander - By Alan the Highlander
North Donegal, Ireland - By Arthur Greenwood
Marble Trout in Slovenia - By Tomaz Modic
Red and Cinnamon Sedge - By Alan Goodwin
Rogan of Donegal - By Arthur Greenwood
Bug Tank Benefits - By Peter Lapsley
River Piddle, U.K. - By Paul Slaney
A Day on the River Test By Mike Pratt
Ladyís Fish Finder Fly By Mike Pratt
Cast Again? - By Mike Pratt
Just Good to be There - By Mike Pratt
Why Fish? - By Mike Pratt
The pleasure of anticipation . . . - By Mike Pratt
A Pleasant and Surprising Day - By Mike Pratt
Donít duck the issue! - By Mike Pratt
To Russia with Love - By Ron Gras
Just Simple Pleasure - By Mike Pratt
Rich - Beyond the Dreams of Avarice - By Mike Pratt
The Good Place (Ireland) - By Jim Clarke
The Elusive Lake - By Jim Clarke
The Big Rod - By Jim Clarke
The Bank Manager's Fish - By Jim Clarke
Catch and Release . . .or not - By Jim Clarke
Fish On Half a Rod - By Jim Clarke
Sockeye the Easy Way - By Jim Clarke
The Odd Couple - By Jim Clarke
Fly Fishing Scotland - By Franz Grimley
The Artist - By Jim Clarke
One to Remember - By Jim Clarke
The Italian Secret - By Ralph Shuey
Opening Day on an English Chalk Stream - By Roger Ellis
Kolpakova River, Western Russia - By Rob Merrill
Fishing in the Czech Republic - By Tim Baldwin
2004 Fishing Season in the Czech Republic - By Tim Baldwin

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