After a special Tuesday, when feeling lucky after netting in Bridgend, I returned to the Ebbw and to a good afternoon hatch, and netted in Newport. Wednesday was special too, after a great day with Dave Smith in the Monnow catchment, courtesy of a ‘win’ in this year’s Monnow River Association auction.

And I was still feeling ‘lucky’ on Thursday morning when I arrived for my third attempt at netting a Torfaen trout on the Afon Lwyd, an WUF ‘wild water’, at Llantarnam Abbey.

An early cast mid beat in quick water below a fallen tree, produced a rise from a small trout which was encouraging, then a few casts later, I hooked but quickly lost a second. My excitement that today was to be ‘the’ day increased, but patience was required. Time to let that run ‘rest’, so I moved upstream still using a duo rig. Another fish showed interest, but nothing was taken. The day has started promisingly but weather which started well, became cloudy and the temperature dropped a bit. Fly life was scarce and I guess that the odd emerger was all that excited what rose, and I stuck with the ‘duo’. The spot along a grassy meadow was where I saw fish rise on my last visit and was where I hoped for something but there was no activity.


So I returned to where I started to see if I could entice what I sought, but that first run delivered nothing. Above it is a flat pool of some fifty yards, and where I knew that a landing line would spook anything, but there were three fish coming up to what, I knew not, for there was nothing on air. Switching to a pink parachute Adams failed to attract what I imagine were small fish did not work, so on with a larger version of the same to try the faster waters at the head of the pool and the runs above, for the second time.

Still nothing, and feelings of anxiety increased, and I began to wonder if my luck had run out, and yet another visit would be required!

Onwards and upstream I cast until I reached the same meadow side glide I fancied.

It was brighter and warmer now, and…

Was that a swirl, I just saw? It must have been for there was another close by, and I wondered whether there was a fish moving sidewards to pick off emergers. I tied on a #18 orange parachute Adams and had a take with my third cast. It pulled and fought hard and felt like a good fish and it was.




On netting it, I glowed, satisfied, and marvelled at this fish with few, but large black spots, on pale creamy flanks. It is easy to over estimate the weight of ones catch, so I guess this chunky fellow was less than 2lbs, but more than 1 1/2lbs, but to say I was thrilled is an understatement, for all the reports on the WUF webpages suggest fish are few and far between (to which I attest) and most that are there are small.

Torfaen…my 7th Welsh county!

nb…Gareth Lewis flies work!!

nbb…this beat is just downstream of Theo Pike’s description of the Afon Lwyd in his iconic, ‘Trout in Dirty Places’.

6 thoughts on “TORFAEN

  1. I’ve enjoyed your blog, best wishes on your journey. I was brought up in Cwmbran and caught my first trout on a worm in the Afon Lwyd when I was about 10 years old. I’ve now been back in Monmouthshire for ten years and have become obsessed with fly fishing for river trout. I’m working my way through many of the WUF beats (with more enthusiasm than skill) and I think I’ll pay a visit to Lantarnam to see if your friend has put on a few ounces!


  2. Tony, thank you – I will let you know.
    I’ve not had an opportunity to fish the Garway water, but I have had a couple of excellent days on the WUF beat at Skenfrith. The Monnow is such a beautiful river and so far, luck has followed me there. Best.


  3. Tony, I hacked my way to the waters edge at Llantarnam Abbey and was rewarded with a 16″ beauty taken on a black weighted nymph fished under an elk hair caddis. Far better than I had hoped from this once dead river. ‘The Grey River’ is not the most picturesque of trout streams, but taking and returning this fish was a personal milestone.
    Best wishes….


  4. Tony, hacked my way to the waters edge at Llantarnam Abbey and was rewarded with a 16″ brownie taken on a black weighted nymph under a deer elk caddis. Great to take and return such a fish from a river that was once dead.
    Best wishes….


    • A convert…like me!
      S Wales is full of wonderful (serious) rivers like the Usk (obviously), Taff (known about by too few) and of course the wonderful, Monnow
      But there are miles of small stream fishing to be had – Sirhowy, Taf Fechan, and Lwyd.


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