With water levels on the River Nore quite high and a colour that resembled strong tea, it was a trip to my local rainbow trout fishery that was on the cards. Southern County fishing resort is nestled at the base of Mount Leinster in a small place called Garryhill, Co. Carlow. After a call to fishery Manager Chris, I was on my way to start what was going to make for an exciting day.
I brought with me the Cadence Ian Gordon Micro Spey in 11ft 3” #5/6 paired with a Cadence CF20 7/8 reel loaded with one of the IG Micro Spey lines. The fish seemed to be feeding quite well around 55 to 60ft from the bank just below the bridge. Making my way down, I had a fly that Chris had recommended to me over the phone and kindly left it in the clubhouse for me.
One tip I like to give people even on the river is to have some practice casts or “warm up casts” before approaching feeding fish. Avoid going in all guns blazing right on their heads, ease your way to them after a few “warm up casts” some distance away from them. This is particularly useful when starting with an unfamiliar rod, as I am today.
After familiarising myself with the new set-up, I approached the fish with caution, watching them and edging my fly slightly closer with each cast. A 55 to 60ft cast with this rod is effortless. I find this great as I could be fishing for 6 to 7 hours, which can become tiring at times with a single-handed rod when double hauling. There was a bit of a breeze too, which usually, if using single-handed rods, would push me up a rod size, thus giving me less tippet protection on larger fish as the rod is stiffer in the top usually. When casting the Micro Spey, I could feel the mid-section working to punch the line into the breeze, keeping good loop shape and accuracy while doing so. If looking for distance, I would increase my stroke, which allowed me to tap into the butt section, giving me good distance with little effort.
Watching the trout sipping flies sunk me into “the zone” and before I knew it, I found myself lifting into what seemed like a good fish. The usual antics of a southern county rainbow followed with long hard runs and some magnificent acrobatics. The fish took a lot of line, which was smoothly given by the reel. As the fish approached the danger zone (within a rod length of the net) it made the dreaded last lunge for freedom. I was anticipating the rod bouncing back up and waving goodbye to the fish, but the rod dampened the lunge, resulting in me netting the first fish of the day.
As the day went on, I tried some different methods and had some wonderful sport on the lake. I definitely found that approaching the area I wanted to fish with caution helped me today. Using the Micro Spey cut out the false casting, which was an enormous help to me for a couple of reasons. Spooking fewer fish, and I wasn’t tired from trying to hit 60 to 75ft with a single-handed rod.
As the weather was warm and the water temperature high, we must spend plenty of time reviving the fish and little time with the fish out of the water. Making sure the fish is ready and recovered to go back safely.