Fishing For Trout

There is great variation in the appearance of trout. The back is sometimes often brown, sides golden almost luminous, belly yellowy and in some cases pinkish. The sides have beautiful rainbow coloured speckles splashed on gold, the head is dually dark and speckled, the eyes round and blue or brown, The fins can only be described as outstandingly beautiful and are tipped with red.

The weight and size vary considerably also, the British record being 17lb. 12oz. Of the various types of trout - Speckled, Rainbow, brown, Sea and brook, I am better acquainted with Rainbow and Brook Trout.

Trout are still to be found in the River Thames but their numbers are decreasing day by day because of river pollution. By far the best places for trout fishing are in North Wales and in Scotland where the water is pure and clean and the districts practically uninhabited. Trout thrive in water which is well churned up by stones and rocks which allow plenty of oxygen to be infused into the water. I spent my Summer holiday camping by the side of the River Edew, which is a tributary or the Wye which, as you know, flows through South Wales into the Severn. The Edew at our camping site was only about twelve feet across, in some pools six feet deep and less than six inches in the rapids. The river bottom is mostly slabs of slate and small pebbles and it was free from weeds and crystal clear. After heavy rain however, the water becomes muddy brown in colour and in catching trout the technique consists in variations according to the colour of the water.

When the water was muddy I found the worm was the most attractive bait, and fresh worms are easily obtainable from under stones and from the earth in the river banks. The best way to present the worm to the fish is with a six root fibre glass rod with a fixed spool reel; a five pound line is adequate for the job and a size four hook is my recommendation. Trout are extremely shy fish and will dart away at the first movement or shadow on the water, but after rain movement on the side of the bank is less noticeable. The worm should be cast upstream and allowed to drift down with the current. If you have been cautious in your approach and the water has not been disturbed, you should be rewarded with a couple of trout before you move on to the next spot. Why only two? The thrashing of the captured trout soon disturbs the other fish and so two is the maximum from any one spot.

I do not wish to dwell too long on worms because when the water is clear and really sparkling, the drop minnow is my favourite way or trout fishing. The minnow is the favourite food of any big trout, but cannot be found in the mountain streams - one has to go to a lowland river where they are found in abundance.

A minnow trap is necessary and this is easily manufactured. All one needs is a corked wine bottle with a hole in the bottom and some soaked bread inside to act as bait; the bottle is then held by a length of string from the river bank, and in a matter of minutes enough minnows can be caught for a day's Fishing. At least that was my experience on the River Wye. The minnow is killed by piercing the tiny head with a needle, the line is then threaded through the fish with a weight inside and also a hook with only the bared point showing.

Very cautiously the minnow is cast into the river with about a foot of line to spare and then gently pulled up and down near the bank to give the poor trout the idea that the minnow is living and soon you will get a bite. When you do get a bite let the spare line go and wait about fifteen seconds and then strike! Pull in the fish with as little noise as possible so as not to disturb the remaining fish. (If you have been fishing before breakfast, gut the fish you have just caught, fry it in butter and taste that goodness!)

On a hot Summer's day it is almost impossible to catch fish from the river bank in deep pools, as the fish prefer the shaded rapids. On days such as this I had some very good catches by wading upstream and casting the minnows before me as I went. As there were many overhanging branches of trees it seemed at times that I would catch more birds than fish with the minnows which insisted in getting into the trees rather than into the rapids! But, practice makes perfect as in many other skills.

Finally a word about hazards to the less enlightened. You can never be a trout fisherman unless you have at times fallen headlong into the water, been stung by wasps, chased by a swarm of bees (as my brother was), or bitten by red ants (as I was). Nevertheless there is lots of fun and I would recommend trout fishing to any friend of mine.

Peter Bell 1.G

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