The Neath & Dulais Angling Club website suggested that day tickets could be bought from a local pub, but it is an old website, and they cannot, but a further search advised that ‘Bait & Tackle’, the Neath angling shop would, and a call to them confirmed that this was possible via a season ticket, which for someone experienced, like me (I prefer the word, ‘experienced’, to the acronym, OAP), there would be a small discount.
The proprietor of said tackle shop, Ron Stevens, is a local legend, and could not have been more helpful. And it seems to me, that to secure a season ticket to fish for salmon, sea trout and brown trout on established game waters for £50 only, is quite remarkable.
The Dulais rises below the slopes of Mynydd y Drum and flows south-west passing the settlements of Seven Sisters and Crynant before cascading over the Aberdulais Falls below which it joins the Neath close to the tidal reaches of the river.
On a hot and sunny afternoon, last Saturday, and with temperatures around the mid 20’s celsius, I set off to seek out the beats I might fish, and with sunset and dusk in mind, when I might do so. But the Dulais sits in a valley well below grazing pasture-land; it is tree lined, giving shade and shelter, and an afternoon flick or two, seemed likely. The water ran clear below the winding lanes I drove, tumbling over rocky ledges, and between, rock and small boulders, which were revealed by a stream, rather bereft of water after a very dry period.
Members of NADAC will recognise where I started, which was into this pool which is just below what I took to be a quarry on the (true) right bank, maybe a mile or more, upstream from the Aberdulais Falls, A ‘duo’, comprising a #16 parachute Adams and a #22 PTN would do the business, I hoped!
But the fish may have been distracted by some teens, who chose that spot for some sunbathing. Heh! Its public space, and the outdoors is more fun and better for them than the gadgetry to which most are addicted. At least they were not dog-walkers, or canoeists…
Nothing in that pool, but I was encouraged by a ‘pull’ close to the tree roots just downstream, and realised that in this low water, I just had to wander further and deploy upstream casting to have any chance of a fish.
The banks are four or five feet above the water, and covered in moss, lichen and ferns, not to mention bramble and other sundry plants. Exiting the water gets one into a wild jungle, so no Hampshiresque and manicured footpaths here. Just a slippery, prickly stumble through years of dried climber shoots and the journey of a couple of hundred yards to reach the end of a series of really fishy runs, pools and riffles, took at least twenty minutes, or so it seemed. And I was alone…
I used the same rig. But not for long, because the overhanging branches and clinging overgrowth was over magnetic for my enthusiastic casting. And in such a confined space and shallow stream, I tend to fish with the finest leader I can, so trying to release what is caught, bank side, has a fair chance of producing a snapped cast, and did, several times.
And slippery! Much of the stream which I was enjoying was over bedrock, of which I have
fallen foul on the Usk and the Irfon before. Wade slowly, I repeated to myself.
When my line tightened for only the first time after a couple of hours, I pulled in this little critter, quickly and netted him for security.
The tiny nymph on the point attracted him – my Neath trout! A beautiful little wild Dulais trout. I was sated!
I saw surprisingly little fly life. The odd olive, but nothing else.
The Dulais is a fun stream, and I wondered when is a productive time to fish it? Spring would be my bet, when all comes to life.
For good measure, I searched out access to the River Neath, after that, and waited until 730pm before setting out on this bigger stream, in the hope that there might be an evening rise.
I fished just upstream of the village of Tonna, and it was only at 915pm, on an attractive and long pool that I saw my first rising fish of the day. A few pale wateries, and a sedge hatch might have brought them on, but it was a short hatch. A few more fish rose, but too few to excite me, and my dries failed to excite them either!
I am a season ticket holder, now, and I might return, for I am intrigued to see what I could eke out of the Neath!
And I have also discovered that the NADAC Facebook page may be the favoured means for communication between its members. Its address is here