Warren and I find ourselves out on the Itchen again for a spot of grayling fishing, I say fishing but its an opportunity for me (us) to test run some indicators I’d been playing around with a few days prior. We could see the levels had dropped further since our last visit, a common theme all too familiar in these South Western parts of late.
The same two lazy swans stand mid-river giving a good insight as to how low the levels are in places
Setting up 4 x 10ft #2 rods with a variety of indicators we set to in a pool that had been markedly productive during our last visit… actually we named it Richard’s pool because we couldn’t get him out of it last time we were here.
A 10 footer with reel loaded with a DT #000 weight fly line… light nymph and dry fly heaven
First to wet was the ‘D’ indicator… named so for no other reason than its shape demanded it… UFO?
Bisecting our 10ft leader it stayed on for all of at least 30 seconds before we realised just how un-sensitive it was, you’d see the whole thing move to the take, the idea was for the ‘D’ to collapse… I’d restricted its suppleness somehow during construction but could perhaps see it working if Czech nymphing in deep holes with heavily weighted flies, I’ll need to try that… it just wasn’t subtle enough for what we were looking for.
Next up was the Tdi… I couldn’t wait to get this out on the water (This was version 6). Using the #000 fly line, we attached the Tdi (point ring) to the end of a 6ft tapered leader, then attached a further 4ft of 6X tippet to the curve ring, then on to one of Warrens beaded nymphs.
Above ‘au naturel’ and below ‘what you waiting for? – strike!’
Warren’s been fishing for all of about 3 minutes in the pool – here’s some fun footage… I’m using the video capabilities of a compact and not a video cam so forgive any noise or imperfection.
The indicator worked a dream, cast beautifully and was visible to takes, oh yes! and Warrens a darn good fisherman so he made it work… un-intentional but dare I say, it even acted like a shock absorber… I looked forward to trying it downstream a bit later and see how it performed in deeper water where I thought it could come into its own.
Next up were the inline furled leader indicators. I’ve been making these on and off for over a decade and decided to revive some old designs and patterns to add to my nymphing armoury.
Given the grey day the colour that jumped out at us when flicking through my wallet of leaders was the Orange and black barred indicator.
This time we applied it to a tapered French Leader nymphing set up with a view to holding it just in or above the water having greased it up with mucilin.
Fishing this indicator again quite close to the surface (Sometimes touching) the takes were obvious, even the most subtle could be identified with good rod control in terms of drift tracking.
Warren pulls into a fish, still fishing the same pool using the furled indicator
The higher the indicator was suspended from the water the less obvious the takes, that’s because we were losing sight of a reference point and the ability to see our indicator move opposed to it.
“Keep it really simple and position an indicator ‘just so’ to make any movement obvious… make it either move towards, away from, into, up at or down from a reference point to help you see the take easily – there’s probably no better reference than that of the waters surface”
I get to have a fish with the furled indicator having prised it out of Warrens grip… on go a few familiar favourites, the Red Neck and a Pink Head Mary
Not to be out done, the catching trend continues…
The grey day remains pretty constant so we feel no need to change the colour of indicator… armed with hi-vis green, yellow and a mixture of sorts, it’ll take a number of varying conditions to use them all and ascertain which work best and in what light… the most visible today was orange, I feel there’s an excuse somewhere for more fishing testing!
We’re limited to particular riffles and pockets as ever shallowing glides remain almost baron of holding fish, later in the afternoon we venture further downstream to deeper, perhaps less likely looking grayling water to give the Tdi another outing… we prospect as we go with the hi-vis furled indicator and are interrupted by a variety of grayling and trout as we do so.
Finally reaching the deeper lower stretch I remove my indicator and replace it with the Tdi, keeping the same fly set up I do some prospecting in the more tinged water. This video was almost comical, excitement and expletives going off the scale, I couldn’t even edit it properly so as not to embarrass us… so here’s just a little bit
Worthy of a mention is the #000 fly line, I’ve used it all day whilst focusing on other indicators but in its own right all be it almost subliminally it’s taken note of a few fish. The line has been stripped back to the core at the tip and the coating replaced by tubing that in no way hinders the performance of the line, this is what I call my secondary sighter if the inline furled leader sinks through a drift…
To conclude: we’ve had a blast, we managed to test more than I anticipated given the conditions and thankfully the fish obliged. Thanks for the help Warren… it wouldn’t have been as good without ya!, they’ll get a further but more punishing test on the Wye & Usk next week for a few days in hopefully bigger water.
Back to the drawing board… more inspiration & tweaks to follow, can I put bells and an alarm on one?
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