Once you hit 5 degrees West on the map the finger of land between North and South coast starts to narrow and with it the streams . This is the end of the road for Trout Fishing in the UK. Its amazing once you start to research and try to unlock the secrets of river fly fishing in West Cornwall from the comfort of your I pad just how little information there is out there , its bloody amazing in this day and age. . No grace and favour or credit cards needed down here , no season or day tickets required , just the willingness to go out there and root around on your own , make a few mistakes , drive down the wrong tracks , get moaned at by grumpy old spinsters that smell of wet dogs like I did the other day.
Every spring the cabin fever gets the better of me and I start to look for ways to entertain and stimulate myself prior to the arrival of decent numbers of Bass. I may fly fish for Pike on Porth and Argl Resevior,( Theres something wrong with West Cornish Pike they have the aggression and fight of a wet tea cloth ??) I may travel up to Chew and go Pike Fly fishing (Now they fight !! ) , go to Waterville Ireland and fish for Bass , last year it was Gilthead Bream in the Helford river . The reality is that just around the time I start to get everything sorted out and make discoveries ,the weather changes , the diary starts to fill with Bass fishing charters and everything goes on hold again. This year feels different. I don’t just feel that I am killing time I feel something very strong within. My obsessive gene has really found a new focal point. Fly fishing fast flowing water for Brown Trout , its all happening very fast , all I can do is go with the flow and see where this takes me. All I know is I am lost in it right now , Its like realising you have been ignoring birdsong for years Its currently deafening to my ears, likewise the simple sound of water flowing fast over stones has me completely hypnotised. Suddenly I get it after all these years .
My trips to the River Cober have been very productive so far, Its all upstream nymph fishing this early in the season , Fly fishing narrow streams under the canopy of trees can be quite tough going. Casting needs to be pretty tidy at times. Bow and Arrow casts are quite useful and very quick to learn. I always lose 4 or 5 flies over the day and also have to extract myself from the bushes and trees constantly. This often involves wading through the sweet water and killing the fishing and moving on to undisturbed water and starting over again. Small home grown czech nymph pheasant tails and GRHE with a dash of pink thrown in are doing the trick so far .The drifts are short and fast so I need to get the fly down fast . Im fishing Duo or controller in the fast tumbling waters . Today I hooked and lost a better fish on a Klinkhammer , thats the first ” Dry hit of the year and my first dry fly trout for quite a few years , unless you want to call a gurgler or popper a dry fly ?
Today I fished the Hayle from Goldsithney down to St Erth, this takes ”narrow water ”to a new level for me. I thought the Cober was skinny ! The river Hayle must be 5 feet wide in places .You have long featureless glides with reeds on both banks. The sweetspots are actually quite easy to find but the gaps between interesting looking spots are quite large . A slight bend or widening , a deeper section and slow down of current are worth a look. As the river gets closer to St Erth it widens slightly and the current slows down. It was a cold breezy day with Sea fog , not much in the way of hatches going on . I may be wrong but I imagine the St Erth streches could be great for dry fly fishing on a summers evening . The river comes very close to a commercial stillwater course fishery. I could not help but feel slightly smug as I glanced across at the guys sitting on seat boxes on man made pontoons fishing for man made fish .Tackle wise I think I may go for a longer rod on the Hayle River. I reckon a 9- 10 foot rod would be lethal for covering the river with ” modern ” nymphing techniques and clearing the high rushes on the bank.
The challenge now is to find England’s most Southerly and Westerly Brown trout and catch it with the fly . Google Earth makes those challenges so much easier these days . There are tumbling streams on Lizard Peninsular and also West of Penzance . The fish will not be monsters . The clocks ticking. Will I be able to indulge in this obsession for much longer or will those Bass bulldoze these little gems out of my conciousness for another year ?
One day someone hunting for information on Fly fishing in the West Cornwall may stumble upon this article , as the information available is sparse at best .I hope it gives them the encouragement to have a go at digging for Gems . I wont spoil the fun by saying exactly where they are to be found !