CAERPHILLY

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,

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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.

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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!

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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.

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I enjoyed his company enormously. Perhaps someone will tell him, for with no computer, he may not read this on my Blog!

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Caerphilly

I am sure that there is a trout with my name on it in the Ebbw near Risca, but that eliminates the Ebbw as far as the county of Caerphilly is concerned because already, it has featured in my ‘Quest’ as my Newport ‘win’ and I try to find new rivers in all of my searches as I seek to add to my counties’ list.

So the Rhymney it was most likely to be.

But this tale is not about trout..!

It started with a visit to Tony’s Tackle Shop in Caerphilly, a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of a place, but mainly for coarse fishers. His shop is within a well struck four iron of the Castle, which on a sunny day as it was when I visited, is just a splendid monument and with many a tale to tell, no doubt. Tony issued me a day ticket after enquiring delicately whether I was entitled, a senior, you know! But where to fish? He suggested the Caerphilly & District AA water below the Industrial Estate at Pant Glas, but I was none the wiser. The local postie was delivering and he enquired, “would the post code help?”…what a Star, and what a lovely attitude.

The beat is pretty.

It was a blissfully hot and bright day, and looking down onto the stream there were many enticing places. “Fish the runs below the weirs”, Tony advised, and for good reason. For whilst sheltered from the bright light by overhanging trees, the fish would be disturbed by the many late morning walkers and dog exercisers, and would be less likely to be feeding, if at all, in the silky glides.

And there were so many perambulators, two and four legged, on the Rhymney Riverside Walk,

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I thought…it’s nearly lunchtime, so why not wait until hunger pains and noon plus traditions kick in, and they all go home, or to the pub! And they did, and at 1pm I was alone.

It was not the best of fishing conditions but I had driven from London and was on a mission, was eager, so did.

And on my third cast, fishing a duo of an Adams and a #22PTN, I felt the tiniest pull at the end of the swing, and this was the culprit!

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I didn’t know what this was and Terry Bromwell (of which much more – see Rhondda Cynon Taff) suggested an FB enquiry, which via the WTT, Merthyr Tydfil AA, and Gwent AS (to all of which I subscribe), produced a series of suggestions, and to all who did, my thanks. Because I was baffled, and whilst I thought on magnification, there were signs of an adipose…the general consensus was that I had caught ‘phoxinus phoxinus’…a minnow! But what a specimen!

“That’s a proper minnow” said Paul Dale

“That’s a massive minnow” said Oliver Harrison

“Tony did you weigh it? The British rod and line caught record is less than 1oz Your one looks like a contender it must be more than 3 inches in length” asked my chum, Paul Jennings!

James P Hutton was far more practical. “Great bait for a predatory trout” he suggested.

But blimey! I may, unwittingly, have broken the British record!!

In any case this is for me a ‘PB’, and, a ‘first’

Ho! Hum!

Anyway, no trout, but half a dozen grayling later, I retreated, and began to reconsider how to ‘net’ the Caerphilly trout I seek.