Mag and wag, pellets and paste

Sunday was coarse fishing day, two pints of maggots and a couple of pellets please. The destination was the surprisingly beautiful Morgan’s Pond fishery owned by Newport Angling Association. This cracking little fishery is nestled on the western side of the city of Newport. In leafy surroundings, its a cracking little venue. The fishery consists of three lakes, the main lake, Morgan’s which is split at its narrowest point into School Pond (tiddler bashing) and Morgan’s (specimen bashing). As well as this there is a match style fishery at the front of the site called Woodstock, which I will hopefully be fishing soon.

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I’ve been doing a lot of fly fishing recently and I really fancied catching an array of species on light tackle, so I spooled up my old Drennan match reel with 4lb breaking, locked and loaded on a John Wilson Avon style quiver. Tackle in my hands I headed for School Pond. Upon arrival, I fished the margins not more than a rod length out. Classic maggot and waggler tactics, slowly building the swim until the fish were taking on the drop.

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It’s not hard fishing but its really enjoyable catching all these little beauty’s and as they say its a get scrap on light tackle. I’m no expert but this is all about slowly trickling in bait and probably the only thing which is vital to success is to ensure that you have plumbed the depth of your swim so you know your bait is just on the bottom.

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As the clock ticked by I was putting together a nice bag and it was really nice to be constantly busy; catching these little gems and setting them free. I even had a few roach, a species which I haven’t caught for ages.

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Biggest fish of the day was a bream of around the 2lb mark, probably slightly under but even this was a good little scrapper on the light stuff. It was covered in spawning nodules but still a pretty little fish.

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Whilst I didn’t manage to hook into any of the slightly larger fish I had a really great time at Morgan’s and I will definitely be returning soon to have a crack at School Pond. Being in Newport, this is of course providing that it doesn’t get nicked in my absence.

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Simple Trout Recipe

Here’s a simple trout recipe that relies on the freshness of the ingredients rather than being bombarded with rich flavours.

Admittedly I think a smoked fish would lend itself better to a simple dish such as this.

Ingredients

  • Freshly caught trout preferably in the 1/2 lb to 1 & 1/2 lb range
  • Parsley
  • Butter
  • Lemon
  • Freshly Baked Bread

Method

Cooking a trout in this fashion takes probably 3 mins to prepare. First clean the fish by cutting along from the trout’s anus up to the v on its gill plates underneath its head. Reach inside the cavity and pull out the entrails in one piece. The quicker this is done after killing the fish the better as the guts will spoil a fish. Then use the back of the knife to scale the fish rubbing against the grain until all the shiny scales are gone.

Whilst the grill is warming up stuff the cavity with butter, parsley and lemon. I tend to cook the trout under a medium high heat on the grill. Be sure to give the outside of the trout a good smothering with butter so it colours up nicely.

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Once the grill is hot whack the trout underneath and give it about 5 or 6 minutes on each size depending on the effectiveness of your grill and the size of the trout. I am far from being king of trout cooking but this is just a rough guide to how I do a simple meal with the catch from my day out.

Please ping back links to any trout recipes that you have.

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Fishing in the Black Mountains

There is an absolute plethora of coarse and game fishing in Wales. Fishing in the Brecon Beacons has to be some of the best in the country with mighty rivers and their tributaries both flowing through its borders including of course the mighty River Usk, the Taff and the Towy, as well as some of the finest reservoirs around; for the game and the coarse angler a like. With premier waters like Llangorse Lake for big pike or the 240 acre Usk ressie for big wild brownies to the tiny secret streams tickling down through the peaks it can truly be regarded as one of the top areas of the country for fishing.

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I’ve had one of these beautiful wild reservoirs set firmly in my sights for a few months now. Its the beautiful Grwyne Fawr Reservoir set in the harsh landscapes of the Black Mountains. Click below for a brief history of the dam itself and some beautiful vintage photos for sale from Andrew Dally.

Gwryne Fawr Dam History

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The reservoir itself is extremely secluded, with more than an hours walk from the nearest road, the visiting fly fisherman will have little more than his thoughts and the odd fish for company (or in my case a pregnant girlfriend). As you would expect this is a wild brown trout water untouched, certainly not supplemented with immigrant rainbow trout. Unlike a few high altitude reservoirs I’ve frequented this water looks as though it really lends itself to supporting a healthy population of fish, with vegetation lined banks full of trout goodies. Surprisingly for a high lake wind exposed lake there was plenty of fly life around with clouds of little black midges coming off the water.

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I didn’t really fancy my chances on the typical lures and boobies that I chuck around so I decided to stick to the subtle side of the fly box. I had a few casts about with the pheasant tail nymph job above but I didn’t really feel confident in the fly selection because of the clarity of the water I really wanted to go for something subtle that would imitate a terrestrial blown into the water. I selected a green spider kindly tied and sent in to me by Stephen Blood. Infinitely better presented and successful fly fisherman’s blog here.

Stephen Bloods Spider

As the first fly touched down on the surface I reached into my pocket to have a little toot on my e cigarette and I felt a not so gentle tug on my arm. Lifting into the fish, I felt the always reassuring pull back. I was employing my trusty ol’ Airflo 10 foot #7/#8 weight rod this dulled the fishes ferocious fight; a #4 weight would have been a far finer battle. After a gallant fight against such stout tackle, the fish succumbed. My far more attractive than usual ghillie (sorry Jamjam) slipped the net purposefully under, perhaps, the prettiest trout I have ever seen. My first wild brown trout caught on the fly. A fish I had pursued for months was finally enveloped within the folds of my net.

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As the day turned to night us weary travellers made way to the nights humble accommodation, Gwryne Fawr Bothy, maintained by the Mountain bothy Association. Whilst certainly not the most luxurious accommodation I have ever stayed in certainly the most welcome after hiking up into the mountains. Best of all trout was on the menu.

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Walking in Wales – Grwyne Fawr Reservoir

The Grwyne Fawr Reservoir is tucked away high up in the Black Mountains, cast in the shadow of  Waun Fach.  The landscape is rugged and unspoilt. This area makes for some of the best hiking in South Wales and the Brecon Beacons National Park. The best access from the South of Wales is up the Old Hereford Road from Abergavenny. Turn off left just after the Crown in Pantyjelli (stop for obligatory pint), follow this road up through Bettws, stay on this road until you reach the five way junction just after the Forest Coal Pit, at this point you take the northern road up to the reservoir. It is signposted from here. Parking is best half a mile after you pass Nant y Bedd farm. 

There are three main routes up to the reservoir from the car park. Two of the main routes are along the right hand side of the river. One is the high rugged path up to the top end of the dam wall, this is the easiest route up the water. The second walk up the right hand side of the river is along the tarmacked road up to the bottom of the dam wall, this route follows the river meandering down from its source past some old farm houses foundations and eventually past the pump houses at the bottom of the dam wall. This route culminates in a short climb up a spiralling track with beautiful views of dam wall and the valley below.

The third route for the adventurous is along the western side of the river and climbs up the route to Waun Fach. This adds considerable effort but rewards the dedicated with breathtaking views and tired legs.

Here’s a photo trail of my walk. We took the hard road cos we’re ‘arrrd bastards. Fishing report to follow.

 

 

 

 

 

The Road to Nowhere – Loch Lomond

For us simple minded anglers, nothing quite gets the blood flowing like the thought of a good ol’ road trip. Loading up the wagon; hearts full of an excited optimism. The anticipation builds throughout the hum drum week; thoughts drifting lazily towards our piscatorial passion. Of course these dreams rarely fulfil expectations but thats what fishing is all about, well thats what I think.

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This trip was extra special, Loch Lomond the destination; Esox Lucius the target. Loch Lomond is the largest body of freshwater in the UK dwarfing even the mightiest of waters and its packed full of fucking pike; allegedly. As ever NCA associate Jamie Ward was riding shotgun.

For a change, I had conducted some initial research before this trip. Information was sparse but a few choice locations kept cropping up. The first was a spot passed on to me by an ex colleague, who was the inspiration for this trip. I was told of monster catches from this area. This spot was a small beach tucked away on the western shores of the loch barely big enough for a bivvy. Having conducted a thorough wader and stick depth check. I discerned that the depth of the loch very slowly tapered off and that it was still fairly shallow at 40 yards out, no less than 4 feet deep. However, the loch did seem low during our visit.

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The bait for the weekend would be the wallet hugging recession pike pack from Online Baits UK. Found here. The service was brilliant with delivery instructions followed to a tee. The pack contained a vast array of dead baits that only a fool would fail to catch on. I even injected the fish with heroin so they blended in and looked even more natural in this Scottish setting.

We spent the first frozen night (this trip took place in January) near Luss without a bite, We decided to move early the second day to the far side of the Loch to a location near Balmaha. Up[on arrival this spot felt much pikier, it shelved off straight away to around 20 foot at 10 yards out. Also rather than the gravel bottom there was a tackle munching, feature packed rocky bottom in it’s place.

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We spent another night cuddling around a fire place, shooting the shit but the floats remained resolutely un-submerged. Despite a valiant attempt to sink them by a Scottish yacht lout, who motored past us at about 300 yards out going flat out. Standing on the top deck of the boat was a man presumably Scottish, arms raised, shouting SCCOOOTTTLLLAAANND!!!. Whilst this is was a beautiful sight in itself, it was even more hilarious to see (first hand) the devastation that can be caused by a large boat travelling at speed. A couple of minutes after he passed, a tidal wave of gigantic proportions washed ashore and split both of our cups of tea and splashed us both a little bit in the face.

In summary, no fish were caught over the weekend trip but I could not recommend a trip up to Loch Lomond highly enough. Despite the freezing cold temperatures and teas being spilt by rampaging Scotsmen it is without doubt one of the most beautiful areas of our mossy little rock. I will be back probably with Jamjam.

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Fishing Britain – Silver Salmon and Manky Perch

Excellent video as usual from Fishing Britain, produced by the Field Sports Britain Boys, this channel is easily the best on youtube. This episode shows Ant Glascoe Jr. visiting some urban spots that I myself have visited.

Salford Quays with Paul

The difference of course is fish do actually end up on the bank.

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