Many casts make a season and only a handful bring that electrifying jolt through the line that signifies success. I have had several hours casting a fly on the river for salmon with no success despite conditions appearing to be perfect. Several salmon have been caught which adds to the frustration and can whittle away at the confidence.
The coast has also proved challenging many casts made with lures without that delightful tug as fish and lure converge. When water clarity is good, the tide is right and light is fading you know feel you should catch.
After repeated failure success when it comes is sweet. I waded out into the calm water casting a surface lure and working it back repeatedly expecting an explosive take at any moment. I then try soft plastics and again no success. I take out a shallow diving IMA 125 and launch it seawards. The confidence is ebbing. Third cast and wallop the lure is seized and an angry bass thrashes the water. After a short but thrilling encounter a silver flanked bass of 6lb 8oz is safely beached. As it’s the first of the year I decide to take it home. Fillets fried in butter and pepper with a sprinkling of lemon.
A couple of days later the conditions are spot on for the river with a slight rise in levels following a spell of soft summer rain. Overcast and warm as I arrive at the waters edge to search for that elusive first salmon of the season. On the second fish down through my favorite pool there comes that exhilarating tug on the line. The rod is raised the water erupts and the battle begins. For the next 15 to 20 minutes I coax the silver salmon to the net relishing each rush and scream of the reel, the flexing of the rod. Throughout there is the constant fear of loss; of the line falling slack. Then the moment of triumph as the fish slides over the rim of the net. The fish is carried to the bank laid on some soft riverside reeds. The hook is carefully removed a quick photo taken before cradling the fish in the river until it recovers and swims away. I fish on optimistically, catching a fine brown trout on a smaller fly intended for sea trout. As I walk back across the fields I reflect on the difference a single cast can make to a session or indeed a season.