Author: Alex Hall – 11/10/2021
After a journey slowed by some pretty low-hanging and thick morning fog, I finally arrived at Felix just after 08:00. At least I think I did…………It was pretty hard to tell amid all of that fog where I was! The lake was covered by much the same mist I’d traveled through, so seeing its fringes from the jetty-side was difficult, but one thing that was clear was that the fish were awake, with several enticing rises and leaps visible in several spots across the water. Like any fly-fisher, this got my blood up to temperature very quickly, and I was impatient to get out there.
After a quick chat with the bailiff, I opted to tackle-up with a floating line and a small yellow/orange Dog Nobbler on a size 12 hook and a relatively long leader of 12 foot. I had bought a new rod, reel and line setup by Airflo a couple of days before, so I was excited to put it through its paces and see how it would perform. Reading the catch results board outside the lodge appeared to suggest that my fly choice was a worthy option, based upon previous days’ results, alongside black and olive patterns, also. Having chosen a boat, it was off to sail to the first swim, just round the semi-submerged fence (a remnant fixture from the days before a lake existed here) and to the first set of buoys just beyond it.
At this point, it became clear that the fish were active, with rises and boils frequent and within range. I chose to target the busier zone of activity about 25 feet away from me and actually aim for rising or moving fish. What I encountered were fish keen to make chase, but shy to take. I tried various retrieves – slow, fast, jerky, you name it – but none was willing to take a chomp. It was exciting to see the pursuits, as clarity was pretty good and fish were high in the water, but I wasn’t getting anywhere.
After about 15 casts with this Nobbler, I began to think that something dark and a little more natural needed to be presented, so switched to what I am calling a Black Worm fly. I have included an image below of this fly for those that may not know to what fly I’m referring, but I know the fish at Felix to like their taste of black imitations, so felt it worthy of a shot. I’d toyed with dark buzzers being my next choice, as these are very successful on this water, but just thought I’d go for something a little out of the norm for me. The fly was a size 10 and fished sub-surface after de-greasing the leader. Once I’d stripped in some line and place the fly into what I believed to be the area of most fish activity, I began with slow, foot-long retrieves with a short, 2 second wait in between each, and soon found my fly being knocked and abused, but only tentatively.
After a few missed strikes, I varied things up with the same retrieve, coupled with the occasional strip and jerk and pause. Soon enough and on the fifth or sixth cast, a fish hit with force and I was into the first fight of the day. The very sleek-looking 2lb rainbow put up a good jostle, despite a lethargic start and was soon in the net. Contiunuing on, I stuck with this approach and took another, which, again, put up a very worthy fight that belied its 1.5lb weight. 2 fish in the first 40 minutes of my arrival was a sweet feeling!
As the mist was burnt away by the day’s strong sun around mid-morning, I could sense less surface activity from the fish, and takes and interest in this apparent foolproof method soon waned into obscurity. It was time to drop down the water column and find fish at lower levels. I also moved from my original position and over to the north western corner of the lake, nearer to the bank and trees on that side. Switching spools to a slow sinking line, I changed fly, also, to a Black Cats Whisker Booby (I think that’s what it’s called!). I cast into the deeper pockets of water and allowed my line 60 seconds to descend before retrieving slow, 3 foot lengths of line and pausing for varying times of one to three seconds before continuing. Within a pair of casts, my fly saw frequent attack and I must have missed five fish in as many casts. From this point, I decided to shorten the length of the line I was retrieving, as well as the interval between each pull. This approach met with some very aggressive takes that went on to land me a further two 2 and 3lb rainbows, as well as a brown that shook the fly loose at the net, and meant my bag limit had been reached.
And there I was planning a whole day at Felix, only to have overdone it in the first three hours! I have absolutely no complaint though, as, like every visit, I had enjoyed every aspect – the challenge, the thrill, the environment. I rowed back to the jetty fulfilled and keen to get the drone up to snap a few shots around the lake, now that all signs of mist and damp had made way for blazing sun and great light conditions. I have included a video of the day’s second fish being caught below.
As I type, I’m now itching to get back onto the water and relive the moment in any way I can. Hopefully, there’s something within my blurb that inspires you to get to Felix, too, or helps in some way with your approach and method to hook some of the great fish the lake plays host too. Also, the Airflo rod and reel were exceptional tools for the money, so I can recommend the Super Stik II rod and Switch Back reel readily!
Please like and leave a comment below, but most importantly: Tight lines, all!