(Note, the map above and all future maps on The Compleat Angler are clickable and interactive. This is because I’ve finally figured out how to do it).
What an absolute diamond Llandegla Fishery is! With two coarse and two trout lakes and a cafe with ridiculously amazing and reasonably priced food all set in the lovely North Wales countryside it’s a venue which will see multiple visits from Yours Truly in the coming weeks and months.If you’re into both coarse and sports fly fishing Llandegla represents amazing value for money. For a Tenner I was able to get three hours of sport fly fishing for trout and an afternoon session on the lower coarse lake. I split the two sessions with a slap-up lunch of a huge bowl of chili with fresh bread, a side of chips (as in fries) and a big cup of tea. Lunch came to less than £8.00 and I have to say that the order of the side of chips was just me being a greedy git and was definitely surplus to requirements. Portions are generous at Llandegla.
As you know I’m a Compleat Beginner when it comes to fly fishing and so I dutifully did my best to cast various flies into the clear lower trout lake with varying degrees of luck. I must have a Cretin Out Of Control Arm because some casts turn out OK while others just fall apart and end up with rolls of fly line curled up in the water in front of me. This went on for a couple of hours. I had a couple of soft takes in mid-water and then POW! there was a big hit on a good cast just as the fly hit the water’s surface. After 10 minutes of fun and games I landed a nice Rainbow of close to 4lbs. He was almost as tired as me after the fight and I had to revive him and then released him before he glided off into the deep, ready to grab another angler’s fly because trout simply refuse to learn their lesson until they’ve been cooked and eaten. I took a snapshot first…Below is the first photo I’ve ever taken of “Trout Next To Rod and Reel For Purposes Of Scale”. Speaking of “scales” it’s time for me to get some digital scales especially if I’m going to beat my Coarse PB’s this year per my New Years Resolution. If you’ll recall I have to try and beat my Roach, Rudd, Bream, Carp, Tench, Chub, Perch and Barbel Personal Bests in 2016. It goes without saying that this trout is the biggest game fish I’ve eve landed but I’ll say it anyway: This Trout Is The Biggest Game Fish I’ve Ever Landed.
As it happened it was the last Fly Caught Trout of the morning. It was close to 1pm, time for lunch which, as mentioned earlier, was brilliant. By the time I moved to the lower coarse lake and got set up it was just after 2pm. There were some likely looking bulrushes and so I started to fish close to them. Loose fed maggots and a single red on an 18 hook were the simple tactics used. I had a loaded waggler, well shotted down….the plan was to go much further out into the lake if the close-in tactics didn’t work. It was flat calm with just a tiny bit of drift on top of the water. After 20 minutes I started to catapult 7 – 10 maggots at a time about 70 feet out as the close in bulrush swim wasn’t giving me anything except the odd tiny roach. The lower coarse lake at Llandegla isn’t very deep and I set the float to about 3 feet.After 20 minutes of missing some very tentative bites in the long range swim the float also went “POW!” similar to the fly earlier on and I brought in a small rainbow trout. Two more casts and a very nice rainbow of 2 – 3 lbs obliged. On 2lb line with a size 18 hook this was quite an even battle. Luckily for me trout don’t seem to have the brains to swim for the snags when they’re hooked and although my swim was “Bulrush Central” close in the trout stayed in open water and I eventually got him into the net.As you can see it was getting late with perhaps just 30 minutes of rapidly failing daylight left. A few more tiny roach followed close in. I kept feeding far out. I re-cast to the far swim and a nice roach took the bait. This is why I need scales. My PB roach is only 1lb and this one would have run close:Mind you, I have 359 days to get a roach over 1lb and I think, even given my pathetic fishing abilities, that’s a 2016 resolution I can keep. Now it was just about dark…time to pack it in and squelch my way back to the car. Like everywhere else in the U.K. the ground at Llandegla Fishery is waterlogged which of course explains the trout in the coarse lake. Simon, the owner of Llandegla Fishery, says there have been days when the lakes have almost blended into each another during the recent heavy rains and so some of the trout have gone walkies from one lake to another.
Next time I go to Llandegla I’ll try the Upper Coarse Lake where the water is deeper. It’s stocked with bream, roach, barbel and chub. I feel a PB roach or chub just around the corner….
A change of subject and a quick word about the loaded waggler float I used. It was one of the Redwood Tackle wagglers which came as a set of 20 for £6 on Amazon. I can report that the quality is variable. The first one I put on the line was a loaded 2BB but there wasn’t any leeway for even one Number 10 shot. In other words it was already overloaded. I switched to a 3BB and it was just perfect. I was able to put 2 number 6 and a number 8 on the line and bite sensitivity was excellent. At times I blasted it out over 100 feet from the bank and it cast perfectly. It never leaked so I never had the problem of having to remove shot during the session. I’ve had some crystal wagglers in the past which have taken water on while I’ve been fishing.
I tested all of the floats in a bucket of water today and I found 17 of them were correctly pre-loaded with enough leeway to add some small dropper shot. The other 3 were all overloaded with barely the tip showing above the water surface. These three dud floats were all of a small size.
Essentially what it means is that for £6 or so you get 17 good floats and 3 duds. Still, not a bad deal but it’s also not an order I will repeat. It’s not good practice to be playing “Trial and Error” when tackling up. It took me 5 minutes to change floats from the dud to the one that worked…that’s 5 minutes lost instead of (CAUTION: Far Fetched Statement Warning) fishing those 5 minutes and catching a British Record roach.
Now, what kind of person puts 20 floats into a bucket and films it? Well, me. What kind of person reads this far? You, the Much Valued Readers of The Compleat Angler Blog. Tight Lines!