One of the most intriguing of all of our game fish, the sea trout has been likened to both salmon and to brown trout – but it is different to both and very much a creature apart! What is for certain is that it is one of the most challenging of fish to catch but now, during the short, balmy summer nights, is THE prime time to head out and Chris Hayward offers his top ten tips and tackle choices to help you connect with a stunning silver sewin.
1. Don’t forget your head torch
You do have the occasional chance of a sea trout during daylight, especially in high water, but all of the serious fishing takes place after dark when the fish are more confident moving up what may be a very low summer river. A torch is essential kit, preferably with a red beam, which is not so much to avoid spooking the fish but to prevent your night vision from becoming compromised. Carry spare batteries too.
2. Daytime reconnaissance
It’s important make sure you walk the beat in the daylight, especially if it’s new to you, and familiarise yourself with the bank and the river – where are the pools with the deeper water and the shallow glides where the current picks up pace? Confidence breeds success and familiarisation creates confidence.
3. Don’t be scared to wade
The closer you can get to your quarry the easier the cast becomes, but be SAFE and always have a wading stick and wear a lifejacket – preferably fish with a friend.
4. Don’t be overly worried about stealth
We are one of the only countries that fish for sea trout in the dark! Be stealthy they are wild animals but don’t let it ruin your fishing. I’ve seen plenty of fish caught after lights have been on the water and even branches falling in after a bad cast into the trees!
5. It’s behind you…
Remember when playing a fish in the dark it can be behind you…the flow of the river will always drag your line downstream and you can feel this weight even if the fish has run past you and upstream.
6. Take plenty of warm gear
Even in the summer months temperatures can fall to single figures, if you have warm gear and don’t wear it that’s better than being cold and not having anything to put on.
7. Don’t be scared of tiny flies
Small micro trebles and micro tubes will take plenty of sea trout on their day (or night!)
8. Cold comfort
It can be cold early season but there is every chance of a bigger fish so don’t ignore the earlier months. There may be less fish in your particular system but the chances are that they will be bigger than average.
9. Manage your casting length
Learn to cast your line pulled off the reel completely, so it hits the reel and tightens, it helps the leader to turn over and your casting length stays the same, this way you can count back the pulls prior to the next cast, building consistency and timing in your stroke.
10. Don’t cast too quickly
In the dark your casting will naturally speed up as you can’t see and this can lead to slack line in the stroke so lighten the grip and try to feel the rod tip being pulled by the line as it extends – this is your signal to commence the opposite stroke.
Now join me!
If you want to learn more about sea trout fishing then come and join me this August as the Farlows Group has teamed up with the famous Abercothi beats on the River Towy for the second year. The 2014 courses were a great success, with a cracking 9lb fish the best of 14 caught.
Sea trout fishing is often seen as a mysterious and difficult pastime, however, with the help of two highly accomplished local guides as well as myself we hope to provide some breathtaking sport. Abercothi is famous for big sea trout which hold up under the overhanging tree lines along the banks of the Towy, this makes catching them a challenge! You need nerves of steel – and a little luck – to get one to take but when you do, you better be holding on tight!
You will be staying in the Abercothi farm house, specifically styled to suit the sea trout fisher, being right on the banks of the river; this is a beautiful place to be and with fantastic home cooked food you are really looked after!
You will learn
• Day time reconnaissance and river craft
• Tactics for night fishing, including the use of surface lures and wet flies
• Correct selection of tackle
• Night fishing know how
• Daytime tactics for high water including spinning
A sea trout rod will, at times, be called upon to cast large flies and deal with hard-fighting, large fish. My ideal tool is a 9ft 6in or 10ft #7 – the shorter model ideal for smaller rivers.
The Hardy Jet Fly Rod is ideal and enjoys all the advantages of 3M Sintrix® Nano technology giving unrivalled strength and performance.
A large arbor model is essential and the great value-for-money Sage 2200 series featuring the Sealed Carbon drag System (SCS) drag is a good choice.
Having a choice of line densities at your disposal is essential with a floating line useful for early in the night, in warmer conditions and shallow water and a sinking option to get to the fish when they may have dropped into deeper water later in the night in cooler conditions.
My choice of floating line is RIO Gold, which weights the rod perfectly and gives great precision and control.
Today’s breathable chest waders offer comfort and the best performance for the modern fly fisher. Most anglers prefer the stockingfoot style with separate lightweight wading boots, shop the extensive collection HERE
Rivers can be hazardous environments, even in summer, and a life jacket really is essential kit. Modern lifejackets such as the Englands are armed with CO2 cylinders and are light and comfortable to wear.
A wading staff is an essential safety pole, it allows you to find rocks and drop-offs and is your ‘third leg’ when crossing fast currents. The Sharpes Spey model is strong, heavy, reliable and perfect for summer use.
Finally, don’t forget to pop into your local DIY store and grab a pair of Perspex safety specs for wearing after dark too.
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