Terry Bromwell ‘introduced’ me to Ron Jones and said “if anyone can help you catch a Rhymney trout, he can”.
Ron doesn’t do technology, but espouses that wonderful practice we have lost. “I prefer to talk”, explaining that then, “no one can complain that, ‘I never received that email'” Wise man!
So our connecting was via mobile phone (so Ron is NOT a complete Luddite!) And a couple of phone conversations found me me to Tony’s Tackle again,
to purchase my second day ticket, but for a different beat, and for the ridiculously cost to my exchequer of just £5.
Ron had chosen the Llanbradach AC beat, one of half a mile or so, and just two miles upstream of Caerphilly.
A cloudy afternoon at the outset but sunny spells too, and with little rising, and with us both dry fly preferees, it was on with Ron’s ‘Orl’ dry, in water which had a hint of colour after weekend rains, until faster waters persuaded us (him) to switch me onto a duo rig, which quickly produced a couple of grayling, for which the Rhymney is better known. And the fish came to his dry!
Wading is easy above the bridge, but becomes a little more challenging, at least on the near bank, further up stream, but not for long. If anything, it is getting into the river which is the most challenging, protected and built up as it is in flood defence by large rock blocks, angled into the water, and overgrown after the years with alder and sundry other tree species and surrounded by ‘nasties’…balsam and bramble (“waders curse”, proclaimed Ron)
I fished two long runs comprising all you would want – faster, slower, deeper (but not by much at this time of year), rock fronted hollows, tempting runs, bankside, and under overhanging trees, where you just knew…but only grayling liked what we presented.
Arriving at a left hand bend, where the waters created a useful pool on our far bank, Ron spotted a couple of rising fish, and I opted to concede the trailing nymph, in the hope that with rising temperatures, warmer air, some hatching might occur. A couple of small rises to the Orl, encouraged, and a splashier one really excited. But no takes.
My turn to switch and choose, and I went for a Gareth Lewis tied, pink posted para Adams, and smaller (#18) than what had been on before.
A grayling take can be, but is rarely aggressive, in my experience.
They pull, seem moderately irritated that their afternoon appears to have been interfered with, shake their heads, employ that amazing dorsal to try to disengage, using the current to their advantage, but usually yield quite quickly. Until in the hand, when muscles tighten and twitch, prolonging the removal of the fly they are now offended by, and more determined protest is obvious.
On the other hand you know you have a trout on, when the pulls are aggressive, the runs determined, the rod bends, the fish move upstream, downstream, using depth and cover to its advantage, and will often shake the hook with true piscatorial cunning and with a survival instinct unknown to Thymallus Thymallus.
And a Caerphilly trout was indeed, on, but for my hope to be realised, I had to use my 5-weight 8’3’’ Greys Missionary to its full potential and pulled him into shallow water so quickly that there was little time for escape, and surrender was inevitable. For trout are outnumbered by grayling to such an extent in the Rhymney, that this might just be my only chance, at least on this day!
Five fish in a couple of hours, and another County, to boot. Some learnings from a lovely man who has fished this river for decades (I will not reveal how many!) and ‘knows his stuff’ and has a catch record to prove it.
I now have caught trout in half of the 22 Welsh Counties…but ‘who’s counting?’
Thanks, Terry, and my huge thanks to Ron, for giving me his time.
I enjoyed his company enormously. Perhaps someone will tell him, for with no computer, he may not read this on my Blog!