We'd had a bit of a drizzle the previous day so I thought it would be a good idea to head out and see if there was any water in the river. Nope. It's been so dry recently that all the rain that has fallen has been absorbed into the ground with very little run off.
The upper section of the Silverburn river in Casletown was my place of choice. Early in the season I'd had great success lower down but today I started at the foot bridge after parking in Ronaldsway Estate opposite the airport.
Very spooky fish in clear water. It wasn't going to be easy. this little chap came to hand after creeping some distance up bank side trying not to shuffle. The "Ninja" walk is a tricky technique for minimum disturbance. Picking your feet up and placing them, side first, trough the surface and slowly transferring the weight. It looks weird. I'm no Bruce Lee or Jet Lee, that's for certain.
Shuffling in these clear waters is guaranteed to scatter the fish. The little ones darting upstream to disturb the bigger ones. Telling them of the danger coming, if you like.
When the river is this beautiful. It's hard not to enjoy the surroundings even when the fishing is hard. The high banks on the Silverburn mean you have to cast carefully up and down the river. My intention this trip was to try out a development in my Titanium line with indicator beads on the line itself.
It was far too clear and the shelter from the trees and bank negating the need for titanium. There's not much delicacy with the titanium. The review and testing will have to wait for another day.
These glides are highly productive when there is more of a flow. The deep water is still holding the fish but I can see every spot on their flanks and they can see me. Silverburn trout can be hyper selective when it comes to the food they are taking. They get very fixated on a particular size and colour. Sometimes it's black, sometimes it's a pale olive. Sometimes you need a size 12 other times an 18 or smaller. If it floats they have it one day and only have it sub surface the next. It's a frustrating river that way.
One day I'll crack the code and work out the conditions that dictate which it is to be on that day.
There are some fine specimens in this river. Much harder to catch when it's low. However, they are still there. My best advice is to fish the necks of pools where there is a bit of flow into deep water. If possible with a bit of undercut bank. The riffle water hides you and the undercut bank feels like a safe hole for the larger trout to hide in. A careful approach with accurate casting and out comes a big'un, if you're lucky.
Beyond this point it starts getting tighter. I'd taken the Strooan down to it's shortest but to be comfortable I'd prefer to have my dinky little zoom rod. I'd left it in the car. In my defence I was only really going to fish the open areas with the titanium on test. I had no intention of heading into the tighter section of this river. That'll teach me. It's not like my new bag couldn't have carried the rod with no problem at all.
It's all good though. I pressed on through the limestone slabs where the branches of trees are very low, but many fish lurk. The Silverburn is the biggest river on the Island to cut through the limestone area in the south. It's the nearest thing we have to a chalk stream. There are a couple of other limestone bedded rivers but they are very small and the best section is unfortunately private fishing with the Isle of Man Game Fishers. Fortunately there is very little private water on the Island so the odd private section isn't a bother.
Time was pushing on. I was hot and my "ninja walk" had definitely turned back into a shuffle. Still I managed to tempt another little fella from a run. The black thorax dry fly was the only one doing it for me. I haven't seen many Hawthorns about this year. However, there must have been some because the fish certainly remembered them.
Where to fish next? That's the question. A better question is; When will it rain?
The answer to the second question seems to be, the day after you go fishing. Typical.
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