Big Sea Trout - Attempt No 4 (River Teifi, Llandysul)

I'm back down to West Wales on The River Teifi with my University mate Llyr and in the charge of Steffan Jones, sea trout guide par excellence for two nights Sewin fishing.  Despite poor conditions on recent visits, Steff has always delivered, so whilst the lack of rain for a long time now has resulted in bare bones river conditions in North Wales and Cheshire I'm still confident that we'll catch.  Always have total faith in you Steff if you're reading this!

Anyone who wants to fish for Sewin/Sea Trout at night really should give Steffan Jones a call on 01559 364 999, though on your first night out new guiding customers may want to discuss his slightly unusual previous career as a DJ with him.....

Despite not having ever caught a sea trout when I started the Big Fish Diaries, my sea trout PB is now a fairly respectable 4.5lbs from the River Spey so it's going to take a pretty good fish to set a new personal record.

With usual Welsh blokes going away levels of organisation, there is a panic the day before as we realise that each man has left it to the other to book a hotel.  The Porth Hotel in Llandysul is right at the heart of the action but we favour a lovely place in not too far away in Newcastle Emlyn called the Gwesty'r Emlyn on the high street - great rooms, food etc, which can squeeze us in.  Panic over we make the 3 hour drive down through mid Wales and along the very pretty coastline on Sunday night in plenty of time to stop in Aberystwyth for tea and fantastic cakes at Llyr's folks and a stodgy dinner in the hotel in preparation for a night on the river.

The conditions look great as we go down to the river and after fishing a few runs at dusk, we are into the main event, casting into virtually still pools in total darkness.  I'm getting to grips with this type of fishing now and can feel the rod loading on the back cast and don't need my eyes, which is useful as they are redundant in any case.  A few fish start to move but as quick as the action looks promising the dreaded "Tarth" comes in which is a cold mist that covers the river when the air temperature is colder than that of the water.  It's like a switch has been turned off and the water is deathly silent.  Despite stoically (or foolishly) fishing on till 1am there's no sign of a fish, let alone a take, so hopes move to the second night.

Night two and I've set up two outfits.  The first is a 4wt for fishing small spider flies till dark and my usual heavier Hardy 7wt for after dark, this time matched with a heavier 8wt line provided by Steff to work the rod better with shorter lengths of fly line being aerialised on relatively short casts.  The air temperature feels warmer tonight and there's a lot of brownies rising as we reach the river.  A few Salmon Parr and brownies take the small flies as they go across the faster pre-dark runs and hopes are definitely higher tonight. 

Just on dark, there's a more solid take on the light outfit and after a really lively scrap on the light outfit a 2lb(ish) Sewin is netted to a Black Pennel.  We fish on and after being persuaded to fish some back eddies at my feet, I'm astonished to take a solid take right at the tip of the rod on the heavier outfit.  It comes as a total surprise and is duly missed but I'm more studious with the next cast and the Squirrel & Blue is firmly struck into the scissors of a bigger fish that bores deeper for a while but is eventually netted and is nearer 3lbs.

We fish on till 2am but whilst there are fish moving in most parts of the river and our headlamps pick out some real horses (6-8lbs) when moving through some shallow pool areas, they are frustratingly elusive.

The night is not without further entertainment though, as while sharing ghost and strange night-time animal stories, the aerialised fly suddenly takes on a life of it's own.  While I moan about hooking a leaf, Steff looks much more nervous than would be expected for a man about to pluck a leaf from a fly.  Dropping the line into the water produces a very odd sight in the margins as my fly and leader tries to swim to the waters' edge....! 

It's a couple of seconds before it dawns on me that Count Dracula has been hooked in his bat phase and is making a break for it to get to the bank.  Now I'm always happy to muck in but it really is important not to step on a professional fishing guide's toes, so I felt obliged to let my guide use all his Bill Odie skills to unhook said bat whilst it furiously (I'd probably be a bit annoyed too to have a hook with a bit of squirrel hair on it stuck in my leg) tried to bite him before dropping into the water, swimming to the bank and snarling at us both!

No more fish, but two of 2-3lbs and a bat is more than a good return for tough conditions and as ever a great experience fishing in the total darkness.

Give it a try...

Mr Fish


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