It came from the deep!

Gareth Jones switches from dry fly to the com­plete op­po­site to save the day at Llyn Clywedog...

Trout Fisherman (UK) - - Contents -

Gareth Jones switches from dry flies to lures to save the day at Llyn Clywedog

IT’S been a long time since I last vis­ited Cly we­dog, de­spite it only be­ing about 90 min­utes from my home; it’s not been on my rounds for al­most 20 years. Back then, me and Russ Owen fished a lot to­gether and I reg­u­larly found my­self at a venue that was not just a fan­tas­tic wa­ter for dr y f ly f ish­ing, but also of­fered a re­ally friendly at­mos­phere that club-run wa­ters seam to nur­ture. Roll the clock to present day and the club has done an ex­cep­tional job, a new lodge is proudly po­si­tioned on site, a f irst-class jetty with in­creased num­bers of boats and, more im­por­tantly, the ad­di­tion of petrol en­gines has re­ally opened up the whole of the lake for a day’s f ish­ing. Be­ing run by fish­er­men who are on site on a daily ba­sis means that the stock lev­els can be con­trolled to pro­vide year-round con­sis­tent sport and the in­for­ma­tion com­ing from the lodge is bang up to date. So con­sis­tent is the sport that even mid­week sees the ma­jor­ity of the 20 -plus boat f leet out on the wa­ter. Clywedog is ap­prox­i­mately 600 acres, but due to its ver y ir­reg­u­lar shape it seems much larger with a mul­ti­tude of small bays where you can get away from it all on what must be one of the most dra­matic-look­ing f ish­eries in the countr y.

Hot wa­ter

On our trip, I hope to show Peter Gather­cole a great day f ish­ing dr y f ly around the edges with the in­fa­mous coch-y-bonddu beetle that you find here in great num­bers at this time of year. This beetle is a poor f lyer and gets blown on to the wa­ter where the fish gorge on these lumpy snacks right off the top. How­ever, the weather has dif­fer­ent ideas and af­ter the best part of a week of high tem­per­a­tures, the sur­face wa­ter tem­per­a­ture has risen to over 20 de­grees C and, de­spite food be­ing avail­able on the sur­face, the fish don’t want to move through the un­com­fort­able sur­face wa­ter to take the treats.

Deeper tac­tics

First drift I tr y the dries, a mix of foam Coch y Bonddu beetle im­i­ta­tions and Brow n Bits just short lined, drift­ing close to the shore on the north side of the lake. I raise a f ish f irst cast and on the f irst drif t land a cou­ple of six-inch browns – but not the lumpy rain­bows that Cly we­dog is build­ing a rep­u­ta­tion on. I test the sur­face wa­ter with my ther­mome­ter and quickly re­alise that I’d have to go deeper to get a cou­ple of f ish. So off with the dries and out with a fast glass line, Black & Green Tad­pole and a cou­ple of wets. I quickly get into a f ish drift­ing into Carters Bay. How­ever, this poor chap has a cor­morant mark down one side and – de­spite look­ing in great con­di­tion – we’ll have to get a bet­ter­look­ing f ish for the cam­era. Now this was sup­posed to be a leisurely day out on the dries, but the con­di­tions make it ver y tricky and when I do hook

an­other good rain­bow of 3lb-plus, I lose it ver y close to the boat – the look on Peter’s face is a pic­ture. It’s go­ing to be one of those days. Now Cly we­dog is a well-stocked, well-run fisher y but, given the con­di­tions, any chance of sur­face sport has dis­ap­peared and in­stead of try­ing to make it hap­pen high in the wa­ter, I’ll have to go deeper in search of some fish.

Un­der the cages

I know just the place to try. Just out from the lodge the lake nar­rows and this is where the f ish-rear­ing cages are found. So, a quick change of lo­ca­tion, on with a Di-7 40 -plus line and the only Snake I have in my box. We’re ready to go and ex­plore. Just at the end of the f irst drift with the new set up I hook a good f ish, cer­tainly in ex­cess of 5lb and play it al­most to the boat when, you’ve guessed it, the bar­b­less Snake pops out and Peter sinks even fur­ther into the boat. One of the weird things about Cly we­dog is, be­cause of its shape, the wind can get chan­nelled in all di­rec­tions and tr y ing to count the line down to about 20 sec­onds can prove diff icult.

A lost mon­ster

A nother drift closer to the line of buoys around the cage and the wind drops just as we hit prime po­si­tion, the count­down

is easy and con­trolled and with a slow roly-poly re­trieve, the whole lot locks up and I’m into some­thing huge. Cly we­dog has seen a string of large f ish landed up to 20lb and, while this fish may not be a 20 -pounder, it’s cer­tainly well into dou­ble f ig ures. Tr ying to hold the f ish and re­verse the boat away from all the buoys, ever y thing looks good and I’m just start­ing to get ever y thing un­der con­trol when the fish has other ideas – run­ning di­rectly for the ropes and string­ing my line up around them. I’m dis­traught, hav­ing hooked into two great f ish on a tough day, only to lose them!

On with a Hu­mun­gus

The Snake is now gone and the only thing I have left in my box is a Hu­mun­gus. Fish­ing this in the same way, I get into plenty of good rain­bows and blues – mostly in the 2-3lb class and f ight hard. But I can’t help but be a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed think­ing what could have been a fan­tas­tic brace of f ish for the ar ticle. Hav­ing wrapped up the fea­ture and with Peter hav­ing such a long drive home, I sug­gest one last drift be­fore we call it a day. Again the 20 sec­ond count and slow roly-poly pro­duce the take and while the ini­tial pull isn’t too ag­gres­sive, we quickly re­alise that this isn’t a reg ular-sized f ish and I start to play it with a lit­tle more care and at­ten­tion – I can’t pos­si­bly lose an­other large f ish to­day? A fter about f ive min­utes of to and fro, the f ish breaks the sur­face and the ex­pected sil­ver f lank is ac­tu­ally golden brown. Re­al­is­ing what is on the end, I play this f ish like my life de­pends on it and – de­spite its ob­vi­ous power – we get it in the net with a huge sigh of re­lief. At nearly 6lb, this is my best-ever brown from the lake and more than makes up for the lost rain­bows ear­lier in the day. So, the moral of the day is to f ish the meth­ods that the cur­rent con­di­tions dic­tate – you never know what may turn up.

“The moral of the day is to fish the meth­ods that the con­di­tions dic­tate.”

Llyn Clywedog nes­tles amid stun­ning, rugged Mid Wales scenery. A fig­ure-of-eight re­trieve was use­ful but the big brown fell to a roly-poly.

Who wouldn’t be happy with a tro­phy brown like this.

Gareth pre­pares to net a fish that scrapped right to the very end. Clywedog rain­bows are well-formed with full tails. Gareth also caught hard­fight­ing blue trout, a strain of rain­bow.

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