Sea Trout fishing has always held a special place in my heart since I caught my first one some 35 years ago now, it’s infectious and once its in your system you can never get enough of that feeling of pitting your wits against this cunning fish in the pitch black of night. Night fishing isn’t for everyone but if you haven’t tried it before give it a go, its amazing how your other senses take over when you can’t see a thing in the black of the night and for night time Sea trout……the darker the better!!
For this years expedition I booked a riverside lodge for a week week on the river Fowey at the Wainsford Fishery. In past years I have spent a lot of time Sea Trouting in Devon rivers and also had a few trips to Wales but I had heard good reports about the Fowey so thought it was about time to tackle some Cornish Sea Trout.
As with any fishing for migratory species, good water levels are important for the fish to run up the river systems, and to my dismay on arrival, although not totally unexpected, the river level was very very low. Apart from the obvious problem of no fish running this proved to be a real problem when it came to scouting the river in daylight, a very important part of night time fishing on a water you are not familiar with, as the water was so low and clear and I would have spooked every fish in the pools and so ruined the night time fishing. Trying to avoid this I spent a lot of time on my hands and knees on the bank peaking around and through bushes, for anyone watching this must have all looked a bit odd!!
As we had not had any significant rain for a while any fish that were in the river would have been in there a while and with Wainsford being a fishing estate and fished fairly heavily, these fish would have seen all manner of offerings under their nose and would have become hard to catch but I was up for the challenge and just happy to be on the water.
Day times were spent visiting the local sites mixed in with messing around on the river Warleggan, a tributary to the Fowey on which our lodge was located on the banks, catching some very pretty wild Brownies.
At night I would go out about 10.45 p.m. armed with two rods, one set up with a Rio Gold floating line and the other with a Rio midge Tip, in my opinion two of the very best lines on the market today. Because these lines are so good i fish with more confidence which means I fish better ultimately leading to more fish……its a mind thing but true! Casting single and double speys in the dark takes some practice but if you have a good line it makes things just a bit easier.
Wainsford fishery is split into four beats, fished on rotation throughout the week and each beat is different so keeping things interesting. There are plenty of holding pools so given the right water I could see this being a first class fishery.
The first three nights i spent without a fish although i did hear a few fish in the dark of the night and tried everything in the box from deep lures right through to surface wake lures, although fishless i was happy that I had tried everything to try and tempt any fish in front of me. Nothing worse than getting back and thinking ” what if I had tried?” I only spent one to two hours on the water each night as with just stale fish resident i did not think it would be worth flogging a pool for too long.
The fourth night arrived, i set up as usual, waded into the first pool on my beat and after twenty minutes had an arm wrenching pull on the line then all hell let loose as a powerful fish charged up and down in front of me and at one point behind me!! These fish really fight hard when hooked, you only have to look at the tail on a Sea Trout to see where the power comes from. After a 5 minute battle the fish was safely on the bank. I flicked on the head torch and was astounded to see in front of me a fish of around 3lb…..but fresh run!! The next day may have shed a little light on this.
The next morning while eating a good fry up and drinking coffee i flicked on the t.v. and watched the local news. A report came on saying that 36 hours previous there had been a tidal surge across a lot of the coast line from Plymouth down into Cornwall caused by movement in the sea bed, then followed some footage of a tidal bore making its way up one of the estuaries. Reported as a “mini tsunami”, is this what had pushed a few fresh fish up the river? I don’t know for sure but I could not think of any other reason and two more fresh fish were caught the following night so there’s every possibility this was the cause of fresh fish entering the river system.
The last couple of nights I had no more fish, I had a few pulls and a fish on for a few seconds on the last night but all in all I really enjoyed the trip and I will be back for more and hopefully some decent water in the river.