View RSS Feed

Av Y'ad Owt?

'Bows on the Bow

Rate this Entry

I can only take so much carp fishing. I think I maxed out on it in the 70s and early 80s and now it doesn't take many trips to get my mind drifting on to other fish. My usual tench water has been dyed a rich, deep aquamarine blue (thanks Leeds and District, maybe a steady stream of pink dye into Asenby will make it look nice) so I was at a bit of a loss until Adam Perkin invited me to have an afternoon on his trout syndicate water.

Methley sort of looks like it sounds: an area of marshy flood plain in the armpit of the confluence of the rivers Aire and Calder. Locally they are called ings, which I suppose gives them a slightly olde worlde image of water meadows sprinkled with rare orchids and wild flowers (if you ignore the open cast mining that is). Like all flood plains it is rich in gravel and so, inevitabley, it is now rich in gravel pits.

They might not look like much but like all gravel pits they are rich in flora and fauna, and gin clear.

The air felt heavy as we climbed out of the cars. As we tackled up in the bright sunshine another angler trudged back from the lake. Not good news - he'd fished all day without a take. It's funny how fishing with someone else makes you decide to fish methods that sound good rather than methods you should be fishing. The lake was like a mirror but I still decided to fish 2 skinny buzzers on a floating line. This wasn't really a good idea as the heavy air and the mirror smooth surface of the water increased the surface tension to a treacle-like consistencey. No matter how slow I kept the retreive the fly line still left a wake and the fluorocarbon leader struggled to penetrate the surface.

After half an hour of fruitless struggle I gave it best and tied on an olive green Concrete Bowl which made an audible plop as it landed. I inched the fly along the bottom of the lake for another hour with only one quick pull for my pains. Time for the bung! Off came the lure and on went a skinny buzzer with an anorexic Diawl Bach on the point. A Fish-Pimp bung was attached 10ft above the point fly and out it went. The heavy air and the added resistance of the bung made casting difficult and I had to reduce the force of my haul and open out the loop slightly by flexing my wrist. there was just enough surface drift to keep the flies moving slowly from right to left and I supplemented this with a glacially slow figure of eight retrieve.

As always when bung fishing my mind began to wander and it was a sharp tug on the line rather than the bung disappearing that indicated a fish. It fought hard and I didn't need to retreive to get the loose line back on to the reel. Once the fish was on the drag I worried less about the barbless hook working free and by keeping the rod tip low I kept the aerial acrobatics to a minimum. The fish was in superb condition, marred only bay a scar from a cormorant attack.

As I returned the fish a cool zephyr carressed my cheek. The weight of the air lifted slightly and a gentle ripple ruffled the surface. Over the next half hour the breeze built steadily and veered round on to my right hand side. As a right hander this gave me a few problems so I decide to take the long hike round to the opposite shore. Here the breeze was almost perfect and I removed the bung and tied another Diawl Bach on to the dropper.

Now was the time to fish the bow. This is possibly the most effective nymphing method on still water. I learned it from the writings of Arthur Cove and perfected it on the big midlands reservoirs like Grafham and Rutland. It works just as well up North. The secret is to cast across the breeze and let the line pull round in a bow. The trick is to get the depth and speed of the flies exactly right. This requires you to play with the speed of retreive, the weight of the flies and, as a last resort, the sinking speed of the fly line. When you get it right you can almost feel a magic tension in the line drawing the trout on to your flies. Today the skinny Diawl Bachs coupled with a slow slow figure of eight retrieve was just right. On my second cast the line tightened gently and I was playing another lively rainbow.

I worked my way back towards the car and by the time Adam joined me in the corner closest to the cars I'd had another two fish. Adam had blanked leaving me as the only angler to catch on a difficult day: a testament to the power of the bow.

A skinny Diawl Bach

Updated 14-05-2010 at 21:45 by Sean Meeghan (Added tags)

General Fishing


  1. Skoda's Avatar
    Nice technical account Sean; you showed 'em! I'm not a fluff chucker myself. The last time I fly-fished was on a small, posh private reservoir as a guest of a mate. We fished all day with a solitary trout apiece (my roll cast from the boat was becoming quite good!). About six-thirty, a few more anglers arrived and one chap about thirty yards away had a two pounder first cast in.

    "You jammy ******!" I whispered to myself. Unfortunately the acoustics were such that it echoed around the whole lake.

    My mate was called in by the committee to explain himself. I wasn't asked again!

  2. Sean Meeghan's Avatar
    Snotty nosed so and sos. I wouldn't have gone back on principle and I'd have written a strongly worded letter of protest to the secretary in my bestest handwriting!