Fresh back from our hols and eager to get fishing again, I accompanied Dad to our local fishery, Barnsfold Reservoir where we spent a frustrating evening trying to tempt rainbows which weren’t really showing any signs of feeding at all.
When we arrived at the fishery we found most unusual conditions. Barnsfold is perched high on the flanks of Beacon Fell and as such, receives the full brunt of our prevailing south-westerlies. Tonight however was a different story altogether – a gentle to non-existent easterly was barely stroking the water’s surface and heavy grey clouds hung low over the fell side.
Although nothing was rising, we felt confident that later on the fading light would trigger a bit of surface action. As it turned out, we were right – although the culprits turned out to be dozens of tiny spent caenis which, as always, proved difficult to imitate.
The earlier part of the evening was spent searching the water column with a team of nymphs of varying weights. Surprisingly this only produced one fish (to a red diawl bach), even though I was pretty confident I had covered most of the depth in front of me. Sure enough as the evening progressed, a few caenis duns began to alight on my jacket to cast their shucks and become fully adult spinners, and a short while later they began to appear on the water, prostrate in the surface film close to the bank.A few trout were quartering back and forth, sipping the flies down with leisurely ease, so I tied on an appropriate imitation – a tiny white spinner job on a size 22 hook – and set to the task in hand. However things didn’t go according to plan. Caenis are notoriously awkward to imitate by virtue of their diminutive size and the fact that they are usually present in large numbers. Asking a trout to pick out an imitation – one which is likely to be too big – from a cast of thousands often results in frustration. So it proved tonight.
Maybe if I’d had a lighter rod with me – say a 4 weight – and some very fine tippet, maybe then I might have fooled an odd fish or two. But trying to imitate a tiny, delicate insect using a 7 weight rod and 4lb fluorocarbon, was always going to end in tears!