Dropped in on the lower Alyn at Ithell's Bridge, expecting it to be relatively quiet. So I slid down the flood defense banks into a narrow run below the island. The Alyn in its lowest reaches is actually narrower that further upstream. The canalised sections limit the width to around 10-12' across.
A few olives and caddis were coming off, and one particular fishy fellow was rising regularly above me.
The Tenkara was set up with a #16 olive parachute on a short dropper, and a 16 olive hares ear on the point 3' below. Casting directly upstream I covered the area where the rises were seen and was instantly rewarded with this little fellow taking the dry.
Great start, and another followed in the pacy water coming around the island. I therefore clipped the nymph off the point and trasferred the parachute to the point. On moving to the next small pool another fish could be seen rising. Covered with the olive but no interest. Changed to a #16 Cul d Canon and first cover bang. A 20cm Grayling obliged. Things were looking promising as I slowly made my way upstream adjacent to the sheep pen, but from this point on I hardly saw another rise. On rounding the slight bend at the end of the sheep run I encountered another angler sitting on the bank setting up. Ah well, pity. I'll just have to climb out and move upstream to the S bend, knowing full well that these pools had already been fished. It was now that I thought I would have to go a tad smaller. The bright conditions and the fishing pressure that may have been put on the remaining pools over the last hour, passed another angler walking downstream on the opposite bank, rightly or wrongly told me to.
As strategically mentioned, the river can be quite narrow around here and with 12' of Iwana in my hand, most of my casting was directly upstream. To my disillusionment the cast make up was turning over perfectly. Perfect being a straight line. I would get maybe six inches to a foot of drift of my #20 olive before it was dragged. I just couldn't seem to get things to collapse to my satisfaction. If I was using my conventional brook rod, a little more line could have been put out and some mends/wiggles put in. Unfortunatley, with the Tenkara, you don't have this extra line to manipulate. This issue just 'got in my head'. Then to cap it off, as I was quicky working my through some smaller pools, I noticed another angler 'hogging' the next best pool upstream. Hogging was spending about 10 minutes with hardly moving his feet. Maybe there was a fish there he was trying to entice, but if he knows this part of the river like I do he should cover-catch-move on. Especially when there are other anglers on the water.
So what started out as a promising day, seemed to become quite frustrating. Fantastic day to be out nonetheless, and even got a bit of a tan.
So, what did I learn today:
Well, if I am going back on the lower Alyn again I think the Tenkara will be in reserve. Whilst the Tenkara appeared to handle the larger dries used today, when attempting to hold the leader off the water it was all too easy to drag a small dry. The larger fly seemed to grip the surface, and unnatural induced movement was minimised.
We are still learning the Tenkara art, but this lesson seems to strengthen my feeling that leader choice on the day is very important. Conditions were very still today[Sunday], so perhaps I should have used a shorter furled leader and a longer tippet. Anyway, always good to take something home to think about. It improves us don't you think?
Simon put me on to this http://www.geocaching.com/ as a suggestion for things to do with the family. Its essentially outdoor treasure hunting. Great way to get out and reccy new water.
Therefore I took Mandy and Jack out around Llangollen on Saturday to try it out. Great family fun, and what with the ability to fit the Tenkara and small box of flies in the backpack, you may never miss an opportunity to whet the appetite.
Anyway, if any of you have iPhones or portable sat nav's check out the website. You'll probably find some cache locations very close to where you live or fish.
I think there could be potential here for some Fly swap caches adjecent ot some of our waters. I'll get Simon's opinion on this
Here's Jack and myself uncovering one of the caches of the day.
and Mandy's favorite wild primroses were everywhere