Last night I ventured into the world of Sea Trout fishing. Never done it before although I have night fished in my younger days in pursuit of tench, bream and eels. Back then though is was using a glowing isotope insert for the float, or using a ledger stop. Night course fishing is a static activity, not the mobile fly fisherman and casting a fly line into nothingness.
I’ve done the research, staked out the swims and river so that I had reasonable knowledge of the lie of the land, and knew where the spots would be. Also I invested in a pretty good head torch from Amazon, dressed accordingly (it gets surprisingly cold and damp during the night in a river) and knew where the holes in the river were. But did it really prepare me for the night ahead?
First of all, let’s get the niceties out of the way. Did I catch a Sea Trout? Yes, only a small one but nevertheless it was a success. Did I stay all night? No, as I was pretty bored by 2am. Did I drown? Obviously no as I am writing this. Is it madness? Possibly….
No doubt catching a reasonably large Sea Trout in the dead of night is probably a very exciting experience, but if you suspend that from the equation, it just doesn’t make sense!
Tangles become a law into themselves, and every time the cast ‘feels wrong’ you have no option but to check the leader – otherwise you could be casting all night and not stand a chance. A tangled leader actually offers some light relief as it means that you can sit down and redo the gear, otherwise you go into automaton mode of cast and retrieve.
There’s also something quite strange about casting into pitch black. Amazingly you do get a feel for the cast length and direction, basically from the feel of the fly line thickness, and similarly the same for the retrieve, but it’s completely blind fishing, which is very odd and not a fly fisherman’s cup of tea where normally you are casting to fish.
Then there’s the weather, last night was warm and dry, but to do this in the rain would be madness, I’m sure that the purists would say that it doesn’t matter, well believe me that it does. Wet and cold and more or less blind? No thanks.
Having said all of that, it’s a pretty memorable experience fly fishing in the dead of night and hearing Sea Trout crash out of the water at infrequent intervals, wondering if the next cast is going to be that special fish.
Would I do it again? Possibly….