Ventured on to Malham Tarn with Matt Eastham yesterday. The prospect of a day on the tarn, a great forecast, and the all too infrequent company of one of my best pals meant that I hardly slept a wink on Friday. Sad, but true. I don't get many sleepless nights prior to fishing these days, but when I do, the tarn is usually involved..
The forecast was mouthwatering for wet fly action - my favourite, and usually the most productive line of attack on Malham - 13/14 mph SW, 17°, and good, thick cloud cover all day. On arrival, the forecast held good, so wets were deployed on intemediate lines - Kelly Green for Matt, and Snowbee neutral on an 11' wand for me. If only it were that simple.. one needs a good dollop of luck on the tarn too.. I got mine, and I think I got Matt's share too..
20 mins into the first drift, and a couple of pulls after my team of dabblers hit the water there was a huge swirl, followed by the lift of the rod, and that heart-stopping split-second as you wait for the rod to bend and everything to go tight. six or seven minutes later, and one of Malham's finest was safely in the net and taking a well-earned breather before Matt very kindly did the honours with a couple of quick shots..
5.00 lb exactly. Took a 'wine' holographic dabbler, on the tail...
Next drift, and my luck was in again.. a good fish of around 3lb nailed another dabbler, took me straight down into the salad.. thick, strong salad, that was now dressed with a three-fly cast and wild brownie. I got Matt to hand-line it up until something gave.. and something did.. the cast eventually gave way below the top dropper knot, and the fish was now free, with the top dropper (hare's ear) still in it's mouth!
Next drift and Matt was in. An immediate leap and another cracking fish showed itself and gave him the runaround.. before making for the salad. Not so lucky this time, and after trying to hand-line the fish out, it broe free.
Mid afternoon and Matt was in again, this time we were clear of the salad, and although it was far from a formality with the Malham fish in such fine scrapping form, a lovely three and half pounder was eventually in the bottom of Matt's net..
The afternoon sunshine slowed the action down a little, but a drift on the Di3 the tail produced a 2lb fish for me, last cast as we hit the east bank. No pic of the fish, as Matt was fetching the drogue in, but here's the fly - The Mink-Hog. I think you get the idea as to what it's supposed to imitate..
No? How about this...
Anyway, things went a little slow late afternoon, as they so often do on the tarn. The light was bad, the wind was cool and still blowing 15+, and with no drop-off in the wind forecast - which may have facillitated an evening rise - we called it a day at about 7:00 pm. Six good fish to the boat with a very healthy average of 3lb.
A typical tarn day, and a typical fishing day - good luck, bad luck, ifs, buts, if only, what if?