My good friend and fellow South African Gerald Penkler is starting to find his feet in the UK where he recently accepted a good job opportunity. Gerald has been sending me catch reports of his fishing excursions and the last one was something that certainly raised some jealousy. Here it is in his words:
“In the UK, the month of May is truly a beautiful and rewarding time to fish with pleasant weather, plenty of greenery, blossoms and the inevitable insect hatches. Always looking to find new streams, we explored yet another small stream in North Wales that Google had revealed. It was flowing at a good level, fairly clear with a slight grey-green tinge. The effects of the recent flooding and heavy rains were apparent with plenty of debris, trees and sticks scattered on the banks and river bed itself.
The fishing picked up after a slow start, and on almost every occasion the sun came out from behind the clouds there was the odd rise in response to sparse insect hatches, including a few Olives. With few fish rising, the shallow nature of the stream and the dense bank-side foliage, I opted for short range nymphing tactics fishing with a single #12 – 14 Zak nymph tied with a copper tungsten bead on a jig hook. For me, the South African Zak pattern with its buggy appearance and plenty of movement provides a great suggestive mayfly nymph imitation and has picked up many a fussy trout. The jig version somewhat negated the stream bed debris and I have had good success with a subtle copper colour.
On the day, exploring paid off in a special way where every single little riffle, pool or run produced a brown or six. A particular surprise was the sheer number of fish in ankle to shin deep water which engulfed the fly time and time again. On another day, exploration resulted in a blank, but every once in a while, there is a day to remember.”