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Monday: Paul Arden
Tuesday: Harps
Wednesday: Bernd Ziesche
Thursday: Mr T.
Friday: Ray
Saturday: Viking Lars
Sunday: Bruce Richards

Ronan's report

Sunday November 25th, 2012

Out in bright sun and walking through tussock grass. I keep feeling the lightest touch of spiders web on the back of my hands. It is only when I stop, unshoulder my pack and turn around to face the sun that all is revealed. The landscape is one big web. It is as if I've wandered into the lair of a giant spider. Somewhere off in the distance the tip of a leg the width of a tree-trunk was delicately resting on a silver thread, feeling the vibrations from my walk through the tussock. Gulp!

If I hadn't turned around to face the sun I'd have been completely unaware of the uber web. A change of perspective can transform everything and your own perspective is almost never the only one worth having.

I loved Bernd's pike page on Wednesday. Another perspective from someone who really knows what he's doing. Gold dust.

Bernd mentioned pressured pike in clear water. Yep, they can be real buggers. These fish can be fascinating, as well as deeply irritating in their reaction to the fly. I have had pike swim up behind a fly and cruise along side it, keeping the fly three inches from its eyeball. You can almost hear the fish trying to work out what this is. It's as if there's no aggression there, just curiosity.

On one occasion I had a fish gently nip the fly and sit there holding it just by the tail, making no attempt to swallow it. The fly (and hook) just hung down uselessly by the side of its mouth. Eventually I lost patience and tweaked the line. The pike bolted!

The most often quoted advice for converting follows and pulls into takes is to speed up the retrieve and this can work. But I think I've had just as much success by stopping the fly for a few seconds and then giving it a fast twitch. Just like teasing a cat with a ball of wool.

On this week's trip the only take of the day came to a fly that had been given two strips and then stopped. The fish exploded on the static fly.

If I'm getting lots of follows and pulls, I'll often rest the fish for half an hour or so and come back with a different fly. If I was using a bright fly, I'll change to a dark one. If it was an unweighted fly I'll try a dumbbell weighted one. If it was slim, I'll try a deer hair or sculpin wool job. Contrast is the thing.

The other thing to do, if possible, is to change the angle of retrieve. A fly coming in from a new direction can often trigger a better response. This could be to do with the angle of the sun. Maybe the fish gets a better view of the fly and can time its ambush to perfection.

From this new angle I can see the web, and maybe the uber spider can see me. I might vary the speed of my walk back to the car, but I won't be stopping.


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