Mag and Waging the margins

I’ve recently rediscovered the joy of fishing a little rod with a little float in the margins, its a very different cup of tea to launching out a pva bag with a big old broomstick of a rod. Watching a float bob under is perhaps one of fishing’s biggest clichés but it really is jolly good fun.

I recently fished a session at Trinant Fishery which is usually quiet and the fishing is usually excellent, the tactics were simple mag and wag and I enjoyed a really nice mixed bag throughout the day. The bites were instant throughout the morning with a few good roach bagged. I slowly upped the baitsize and with it the stamp of fish increased. See results below: as usual a top day fishing at Trinant.

Garnffwyd Fly Fishery

Fly fishing could be described as sometimes elegant, often enjoyable but nearly always frustrating. So many subtle movements combine to make the perfect cast, a sharp tug on the line, a quick burst of arm sometimes combined with deft flick of the wrist. A mismatch of these elements can cause airborne tangles or piles of line to plummet into the water or perhaps a tree line peppered with lost flies, which have been lovingly crafted on the vice at home.

I would probably describe myself as an intermittently brilliant fly fisher. When running in normal mode I would say that most casts are terrible and the trout remain comfortably safe in their watery home,  however, there are flashes of genius.  Periods when flies are turning over beautifully, presentation is perfect and the trout are in trouble. Unfortunately, these moments are rare, especially, when a stiff breeze and a rustiness gathered after a long closed season are thrown into the mix; this was exactly the case on my latest trip with Jamie to fish at Garnffywd Fly Fishery.

It must be said that on Friday at the fishery, bar the wind, conditions were perfect. Absolutely perfect, in fact, when me and Jamie were tackling up at the waters edge, we both acknowledged that if we didn’t catch the weather could not be held at fault. It was the first time we had fished this water and it blew us both away, the water is crystal clear and it is surrounded by lovely Welsh countryside. Sometimes, when I have fished small still waters in the past I felt that I am just going through the motions fan casting out in a featureless pond. This isn’t the case at Garnffwyd, the water is riddled with little nooks and crannies and absolutely packed full of chunky little trout.

Throughout the day we switched up flies and to be honest we both had little interest on a range of naturals. It wasn’t until a few hours had past that I finally hooked into a hard fighting rainbow. I was fishing a black buzzer almost static just retrieving line fast enough to stay in touch with the fly when the line locked up and a quick fight ensued which ended with a trout of around a pound and a quarter being scooped over the rim of my net. What made this especially satisfying was that it was the first fish that had been duped into taking a fly which I myself had tied. After dispatching the trout, I took a quick break mainly to gloat to Jamie and then to proclaim that I was the “pro of Garnffwyd”. Fully recharged, I returned to my fishing peg and starting working the margins with the same small buzzer when a beautiful brown trout took my fly. Once landed, it was clear this little pound and a half’er was my new PB brown trout, I was well chuffed. So after another quick comfort break/ gloating session I gave Jamie one of the black buzzers I had tied. He was soon into a beautiful little brown trout which had the most vivid patterning I had ever seen. After this fish, he soon hooked into a rainbow which we decided to kill for the pan as well. This was significant as it was, as far as I can recall, the first time we had caught our limit of fish.

I will remember this trip for a long time firstly because of the beautiful brown trout and secondly because we caught these fish on flies which I had tied myself. FYI – I tied these buzzers using the following TAFishing Video, not the first time Graeme Pullen and his son have helped me catch fish and probably not the last.

Cold Weather Coarse Fishing

These days if I’m lucky enough to get a fishing session authorised by the other half, I really want to have the best chance of catching. This means I need to find somewhere that is fishable and I have confidence tht at least some kind of fish are present. This normally means a few hours of scouring through forums and the Enviroment Agencys website checking river levels, which are inevitably unfishable every time I have a session planned. If anybody out there is a domesticated father, like myself, with responsibilities limiting your fishing time follow this strategy.

With flashbacks of nearly drowning fresh in my mind during my recent outings on the River Taff. The descision to avoid running water was easily made because of reports of high water levels at all my local fishing spots. The low water temperatures also crossed a lot of still waters off the list of proposed hunting grounds. Eventually, me and my fishing companion for the day Jack, decided to fish Cefn Mably Lakes close to Cardiff. I have fished the complex once before on Horsehoe Pond and somewhat uncharacteristically I really bagged up as well.

I really wanted to fish the float during this trip, I was even armed with a couple of pints of maggots, but the wind and low temperature lead to a really so start so I copped out a set up a simple method rig, as modelled by Jack below. As usual the key is to hit the same spot time and time again, although when it is cold you do not need to recast any near as frequently as a warm summers day. On the day though, I was chucking bombs all over the place, it seems that the media stereotype is true and now that I have a child, I have become the spasticated dad that can’t complete menial tasks like casting a method bomb at least within a few feet of where it has just been retreived from. Despite my casting inaccuracies I did manage to bag up a few nice bream but all the carp where had by Jack who had built his swim much more effectively throughout the day and really cashed in as the sun set.

Canada Lake Lodge

I have always said that instead of getting married I would rather spend my 15 thousand pound wedding savings, on a nice shiny BMW. I honestly think this is a sentiment shared by most red blooded exectuive men. However, I recently visited somewhere that rocked my staunch anti wedding beliefs. The place in question is Canada Lodge Lake, a seriously picturesque fly fishery tucked away in the valleys a few miles North of Cardiff.

The fishery also functions as a wedding venue, I can see why. It really is a lovely setting, almost of out of place, tucked between farms in typical welsh countryside. My old fishing buddy Ben came along for the day, his second ever fly fishing outing for rainbow trout. As we sat on the love swing overlooking the lake we held gently held hands and discussed tactics. We were only interupted by the showing fish from all corners of the lake and the wedding party which was in full swing next to us.

The weather on the day was warm but it was overcast. I decided to try and stalk some fish out of the margins due to the waters clarity and lack of sun. I fished one fly, just a small black buzzer. After creeping around the bushes for a few minutes I managed to hook into a 2lbish trout hiding under some overhanging branches. The fight was short but sweet and the trout was quickly skating towards my awaiting net. Not many pictures from the day but there will be more from this fishery in the future.


Tri-Nant Fishery

Unknown to most the Royal Mint where all coins are crafted nestles in the South Wales Valleys, a stark juxapose between the rich and the poor. Perhaps, the Royal Mint was set in the Welsh hillside to create jobs and industry after the decline of the pits. Perhaps it was a good ol’ fashioned “Fuck You!” from England to Wales, both of these options appeal to me as a well natured southerner.

The untold wealth of the English and the miserable existence of the Welsh was not the only set of opposites in the valleys last week for there was also a show down between perhaps the finest coarse fisherman and the worst. Jack v Ben round II.

We fished at Tri-Nant Fishery just north of llantrisant, a small complex which was empty on the day. We fished the carp only lake, both opting for different methods. As any true sportmans will tell you the nature of the pursuit amounts to much more than the weight of the bag. Hence, I loaded my rod with a subtly balanced float rig, the thinking mans approach.

Of course, Ben opted for the all together less rounded, knuckle dragging method feeder. The easy way out, if anything. Below are the results, Ben had biggest bag and biggest fish….. but he basically cheated.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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