It was my father who first taught me to fish the fly with a split-cane fly rod. (This was the 1980s and a split-cane rod was even then considered a museum piece.) He hadn’t fished for trout much at all since, so I thought we’d get together on Father’s Day for a fly-fishing trip to relive the experience. Eschewing the stocked stillwaters, I planned to fish Llyn Bugeilyn. Its large population of small hungry wild brown trout should have guaranteed success. Life isn’t like that. The previous evening’s sunshine-induced blank prompted a re-think. A large river with shading trees seemed a better bet. We packed up and drove down the wonderfully scenic A470 to the River Usk, further south in Powys.
Our selected beat – Penpont – offers approximately 1½ miles of mostly double bank fishing, situated a few miles above Brecon. It promised some excellent river Usk wild brown trout fishing.
The weather was still unseasonably warm. Walking in waders was going to be tough, so we first carried out a reconnaissance of the beat without equipment. The river was gin clear but very low. No fish to be seen in the flat water in the upper portion of the beat above the impressive Penpont House. Nothing rising either. Tricky conditions. The beat supported a number of herons, which suggests a plentiful fish population. Any fish present would be deep in the pools. We continued our research downstream.
At first I thought it was a salmon. A large fish was holding position in a pool between two boulders. I hurriedly retrieved the rods from the car and tied on a leader and dry-fly with greater care than I’d ever done before. Getting into position required a scramble down a bank and between some rocks. I could only put a fly in the cone of the fish’s vision by putting the line over the pool. I don’t know if this spooked the fish, or it had moved on but no luck here. It would have been at least two pounds I estimate.
The sun continued to beat down from a cloudless sky. The cold water against my waders was refreshing at least. I frequently had to dip my cap into the river water to keep my head cool.
The fish still weren’t taking insects from the surface; I put away the Parachute Adams, and tied on a tungsten-beaded Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear. In a deep run I finally connected. The spirited fish jumped a couple of times before coming to the net. A nice ten-inch or so fish. It swam away strongly on release.
I wanted my father to get his fish more than anything else. We had fished a few hours before it finally happened. In a slight back eddy he hooked into a strong fighting brown trout. I helped with netting the fish. A great looking fish of just over twelve inches.
A great result in very difficult trout fishing conditions.
- 1 Brown Trout (Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear (Tungsten Bead))