A season in reverse

After Saturdays outing where I caught more fish in a couple of hours in the afternoon, than an entire season up at Pendreich, I was hopeful that I might open my account on the River Carron where things were oddly quiet on my opening day outing. However it looks like I am experiencing a season in reverse on the river this year. Last year on a pretty cold and windy opening weekend there were flies coming off the water throughout the day and indeed a week or so later I found a place where there were an astonishing number of upwings, emerging around me even though it was a grey cold and at times showery day.

With the last couple of days seeing some amazing early Spring sunshine and some nice heat in the air, it didn’t seem too much to ask to expect some fly life.

However I wasn’t counting my chickens and set up two rods, to fish a section that I know pretty well from last year and where I never failed to get a fish whenever I fished there last year. One rod was set up with a couple of bugs, keeping them small and fairly heavy to fish through a nice wee run of deeper  steady paced water using my new Sunray nymph line for the first time. The second rod was set up for a duo approach, a brown Klink on a top dropper with a wee black beaded nymph a couple of feet below, to fish the slightly flatter, slower water, but also in the riffles too.

Hanak Superlight on the river

Weapon of choice for the bugging, Hanak Czech nymph champion rod, Hanak superlight reel, and Sunray Nymph line- didn’t manage to catch me any fish though!

The river was gin clear on approach and noticeably lower than normal round here. I sat and watched in the warm sunshine for a fish to give its position away and with my Polaroids on could see right through the water looking for signs of a fish. Nothing stirred after 10 minutes, and I seen but one solitary midge come off the water.

I decided to fish the deeper nymphy water first and took care to get in position not disturbing anywhere I might fish. I fished it through very thoroughly and changed bugs half way up the section to try something else pattern wise. Nothing. I was amazed as  I would have banked on at least a knock. I got right to the top of the section and the lower water was more evident now than ever as I was able to make my way up a series of rocky ledges easily to fish a couple of pools above, where I have never managed to get to last season as the water was pretty forceful here on those outings.

I decided I would move further up but having left my other rod on the bank I had to return to get it. Back at the rod I stopped to rest my aching feet and to watch the water. Was that a fish rising below me? I watched 4 or 5 minutes and there was another small dimple and receding rings, definitely a fish. The water isn’t so deep there and pretty slow, so I decided to myself that if it rose again I would move down, otherwise I would head upstream as planned.

It rose again so down it was, again I stayed well back from the water, moving about here is so much easier than in summer as the vegetation hasn’t started to grow in any significant fashion. Once in the shallower water I watched again and got a good fix on where the fish had to be. Using the duo rod I entered and crossed the river well down from the lie and began fishing my way up-stream towards it. Once in a position where I could cover where I thought the fish was I cast and watched the Klink come downstream. It bobbed under, I lifted….. nothing. Was it just an obstruction? was it a fish? I never felt it. A few seconds later the fish rose again maybe 3 yards further upstream. I tried again to cover it but got no reaction. I swapped the bug to another pattern but it too got nothing and the activity stopped.

It was getting a little cooler now, up to this point I had fished in shirt sleeve order. I can’t recall the last time I was able to do that even in summer! I grabbed my jacket and decided to move upstream.

River Carron Panorama

A new section for me, with lots of wee gullies through the rocks and eddies, great lies for fish, just none appeared to be here,

Above the small series of rapids I fished earlier, I found a whole series of extremely fishy looking glides, and eddies, and some very deep pools. Surelytheir had to be fish here. Unbelievably despite trying a whole variety of patterns, and methods, including ( dare I say it) fishing a couple of nymphs under a Thingamabobber.

( never done that on a river before but it was the only way I felt I could cover one of the very deep pools I found, comprehensively), and also gave a river streamer a fish in the very deep water of a pool, where I seen lots of fry in the shallows and a Kingfisher lurking.

Fishing on the carron

I tried, really I tried really hard and never seen, heard or felt signs of fish activity, or fly activity for that matter.

Nothing. Never saw a fly hatch off, a fish rise, the flash or the splash of a fish. I KNOW they have to be in there somewhere but they are doing a good job of hiding this season. The lack of fly life seems very odd too, but maybe things will get going if the warmer weather keeps up, as the river is still pretty cold. I was glad for my fleece undersuit and thermal base layer on my lower half I have to say, today.

A lovely day to be out but mahoosively disappointing and a second blank on the Carron this season, never had this last year at all.