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Ronan's report

Sunday March 18th 2012

In the split second before it happened, I half imagined I saw the water tilt and rock a little. This could just be a touch of hindsight though. With top-water flies I always have an after-the-event feeling that I was aware of the take immediately before it happened. Strange.

However the half-imagined suddenly rocketed into full consciousness as the water ripped apart. The surge peeled the water into a saw-tooth-edged glass wall, water droplets arcing outwards. If I were a yard nearer I'd have got a shower.

In that same split-second the big orange and yellow streamer vanished and the end of the fly line stabbed forwards. A quick strip-strike or two and the pike tumbled into the air right in front of my face, weed fragments cartwheeling around me.

I'm aware that I'm laughing out-loud. Not an under-the-breath giggle but a full on guffaw that, if it wasn't blowing a gale, would be heard across the bay. This seems to be developing into a bit of a habit. Sudden and violent attacks on surface flies make me laugh, and the bigger the fly the louder I laugh.

Yesterday I watched Al (Pyko) fishing a big mouse pattern through a weed bed. Well, I say mouse: This thing was almost a rat it was that big, complete with ears, eyes and whiskers (a key trigger point we felt). On the water it looked like a floating toilet brush.

Just the sight of the rat trundling across the surface made me smile, and when the water erupted around it (three times!) I was in stitches.

Fishing surface flies for predators is mesmerising. Every tweak, twitch or pop of the fly; every inch of retrieve has you expecting a crash take. Once I tie on a popper or a slider I know I'll probably fish it for much longer than I should. It's so much fun just to fish these things that it almost seems to be asking too much for them to actually work.

It's like listening to a great joke. Your smile slowly spreads and the corners of you eyes wrinkle as the story develops. Every diversion and delay only makes your grin wider and the tension higher. When the punch line is finally delivered (even though you knew it was coming) there's a release of tension that has you shouting with laughter and gasping for breath.

Have you heard the one about the dancing frog...?


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