Last weeks rain had given the Sea Trout an opportunity to find their way up to Coultershaw Bridge and this weeks hot sunny days had petered out. The river level was perfect and the weather forecast for a cool, overcast evening was encouraging. I arrived just after 5:00pm and went straight to the weir pool, it looked good. The water was cool and well oxygenated, as I crept around the edge of the pool a Trout splashed in the main flow. The air was sultry and the high, hazy cloud was some protection from the sun.
Before I set up my rod, I explored the fish ladder and the bend immediately above the weir. Everywhere looked promising. I started at the weir lashing and explored every inch of the white water with a weighted GRHE nymph. Then I repeated the process with a black spider. At about 6:00pm I had a tentative pluck but didn’t connect with the fish. A few pale yellow Olives were hatching and occasionally a small Trout splashed under the far bank as it took a fly. I was tempted to change to a dry fly but this was not part of the plan. I would concentrate on catching a Sea Trout.
At about 7:00pm the sun started to disappear behind a bank of clouds and the gentle breeze dropped. A big fish rolled slowly on the surface just behind an overhanging branch. The cast was difficult, the fly line stretched across the main flow and washed round in a belly, the classic ‘down and across’ approach. There was a good thump on the rod and my immediate reaction was ‘Sea Trout’. It wasn’t. The fish fought very hard in the current and swum off strongly when released.
I moved half way down the pool and put the fly over a fish near the far bank. The Trout took the fly but after wrenching the rod, the hook pulled out. It felt like a good fish.
I walked up to the Corner Pool and searched the pool from the top down to the junction of the side stream. There was no sign of life. I returned to the weir and fished across the current behind the overhanging branch where I caught the fish earlier. After twenty minutes I had another savage take and caught a fish that looked remarkably like the first one. I checked it’s mouth for hook marks but it was clean. The Trout seem to gather under the overhanging Alder branch, just on the edge of the current. My arm and wrist were painful from the constant casting so I packed up and walked across the field to the Land Rover. I met Andrew, the Keeper, on the way and he said the Environment Agency had just electro-fished the stretch of river below the pub and that he would let me know the results. It would be encouraging to hear that they found a few big Sea Trout. Last year they caught ten Sea Trout weighing up to 10lbs.
It had been hard work searching the fast, deep water for a Sea Trout. Next time I might try the big pool at Ladymead, the remains of the old sluice interrupts the upstream journey of the fish and the pool is said to be over ten feet deep.