The conditions weren't ideal for trout fishing today seeing the wind was gusting up to 30kph, the good thing was it was sunny so I decided to head off to have another go at catching trout in tannin waters. I knew once I was in the water I would have some shelter from the wind, though there would be times when I won't as well.
The water level was much lower than my last trip back August, it still had a reasonable flow and was a nice light tannin colour, plus the water temp was seven degrees, much better than the two/three degrees that it's been. I started off using a small #00 Aglia gold, and yes it was a well used spinner which I prefer to use as often as possible.
I hate breaking in new lures for some reason, even though I know they'll do the same job, I just like the old used ones. Seeing as this tannin water has only given up one trout for the season I wasn't feeling all that confident of catching all that many trout this trip.
To make matters worse was the fact the first two long stretches of water didn't show any signs of having trout in them. Those two long runs have always given up three or four trout over the past few seasons, I would have been happy with just having a follow at this stage. At the top end of the following stretch of water a log lay across it, next to the log was a deep hole, another area that always held at least one trout. It was on the first cast and retrieve into it when I had a solid hit but missed hooking the fish, even though I missed hooking the trout it was good to have a hit.
I moved ahead to where the log lay across the stream, a short cast to the right river bank resulted in another hit and miss, that hit was from a very small trout. The next cast was straight up the middle of the stream, three turns of the reel handle the gold Aglia was taken hard and fast, finally it was fish on.
This trout was just a small/medium (260gm) brown that did everything it could to toss the lure, thankfully it was well hooked & the first trout landed. I felt it had taken around forty minutes to catch the first trout, on checking my watch it was only twenty minutes. It's funny when one's in a river chasing trout and the fishing's slow or the trout aren't around, then you finally hook and land one, it always seems like it's been a lot longer than it was. Then again, I have been in a river for two or more hours several times before I've caught my first trout, there's been other times I have never had a hit from a trout too.
Trout fishing is all about being patient and not getting frustrated, if you can't do that, then I suggest you don't go trout fishing. I've had my days (55 years ago) when I felt like throwing the trout rod in the river, then I just said to myself “Cool it, this is trout fishing.” Anyway, after the release of that fish the very next cast into the following stretch of water resulted in an instant hook up, another small brown was soon in hand. Two trout caught and released in two casts, was this the start of it being a good day in tannin waters or was that the end of it. The good thing is that they've all been aggressive hits, something that's been lacking in most of the small streams I've fished this season.
It was quiet over the following couple of shallow flowing runs before I had to get out and bypass a deep pool before hopping back into the stream. From here on I will be copping a lot wind seeing as it's more open than where I've just been fishing. It has been thirty minutes since I caught the last trout so I'm hoping for better things to happen from here on as I moved into a waist deep piece of water that had some dead wood in the river the my right. It was on the second cast and retrieve there that I had a solid hit but missed it, that lifted my spirits, I was feeling confident I would soon have another trout in hand.
A long cast into a shallow shaded stretch of water ahead of me resulted in an instant hook up, trout number three was on and soon landed. The old gold Aglia was doing it's job today, with the lure being well used the sheen on the blade isn't reflecting the sunlight like a new lure would do. With new lures the blades are always smooth and shiny, trout are very light sensitive so a shiny blade in light tannin or clear water will keep the trout away from the lure. Had it been a dull overcast day and the water a darker tannin colour it wouldn't matter if the lure was new. Most times when I put a new shiny blade spinner on I will run my sharpening stone across the blade to roughen up the blade surface, doing this takes the gloss of the blade.
A little further up the stream I did a backhand cast into a shaded area to my right, it was here another trout snapped up the gold Aglia. I had my fourth trout of the day on, this was more than I was expecting that's for sure. Then it happened, the trout made three leaps from the river and the fish parted ways, it was gone. I thought it had tossed the spinner, then as I retrieved the line I couldn't feel any drag from the lure, I thought the line had snapped. It hadn't, there was nothing wrong with the Platypus Stealth 6lb leader line, somehow the size 14 snap swivel had opened and the spinner had slipped off the small swivel.
So I had lost both the fish and the ever reliable little gold Aglia spinner, a favourite spinner that was doing a great job on the trout today was gone. Not having my normal fishing vest on today I didn't have my usual variety of small #00 Mepps spinners with me, all I had in the lure box was a couple each of the #00 copper Aglia's, gold Black Furys, black Aglia Mouche Noires, StoneFly, March Brown & White Miller Bug spinners. I went for a copper Aglia for starters and had a follow from a small non aggressive brown. Then I remembered this time last year the trout took a liking to the White Miller Bug spinner so it was off with the Aglia and on with the White Miller.
After fishing a couple of shallow narrow runs I had to climb up the side of the river bank and that/s where I found something of interest laying in the grass. What I found was a Mepps #1 Aglia Fluo Tiger inline blade spinner, attached to it was a small red and white bob float, certainly a set up I had never seen before. The thing is I knew who it belonged to, it belonged to one of two young lads who live on a property nearby, I met them one day while fishing here last season and I gave them a few Mepps lures and some advice on trout fishing.
The advice I gave them didn't include the set up I found either. It wasn't until I came to a small pocket of water that had quite a lot of foliage over it that created a half shaded area near the opposite side of the stream. It only required a lob cast into it, on the retrieve I spotted a brown coming out of the shaded area, I lifted the rod tip a few inches then lowered it to make the White Miller blade flutter and watched the trout take the lure, I had caught my fourth trout of the day.
Four trout caught so far today has equalled my best catch of this trout season so far which is nothing to shout about, it's been one of my poorest starts of any season by far. Don't get me wrong, I'm feeling quite happy with catching four trout so far, but I want a few more to really feel satisfied. I continued to slowly fish my way upstream in waist deep water without any signs of a fish, it wasn't until the water shallowed off near the head water when I flicked the White Miller into a shaded piece of water to my left. A couple of turns of the Okuma Helios reel handle was all it took when the lure was taken hard and fast, I knew right away this was a decent size trout by the way it took off.
It ran around me in a complete circle and fought all the way to the net, it was a nice 455 gram brown that was in top condition, this fish made today's trip all the more worthwhile. That was the fifth trout of the session, I went on to catch another two small browns over the following twenty five minutes then called it a day. I was pretty stoked the way the spin session went with seven trout caught and released from nine hookups, even better was to see the trout were starting to show up in this tannin water again. I'm still well down on last season's catch for the same time of the season, weather permitting hopefully I'll get to pick a few more up over the coming weeks.
Adrian Webb (meppstas)
A well hooked wild brown trout
First of the day
First trout caught here
The Aglia Fluo and float I found on the river bank
Trout of the day 455 grams