Learning to Fly (fish) at Mere Beck

First View of Mere Beck - The Pond Outside the Shop
First View of Mere Beck - The Pond Outside the Shop

With the weather being so fantastic it was time for Wendy’s birthday present
– a bit early but what can you do?

It’s not every girl that wants fly fishing lessons for her birthday and who was I to argue, so after a bit of last minute day off juggling with work we went to Mere Beck Fly Fishery which is just up the road from where we live for a bit of tuition and an afternoon of fly fishing.

On arrival Gordon had already set up one rod then explained what goes where while setting up the other. The kit we would be learning on wasn’t cheap and was in great condition. We had a quick natter about the line, rod and reel rating (which is all to do with the ‘weight’ of the line) and flies then headed down to some water where we would have a go.

I’ll not go into all the details of learning to fly fish but after about an hour or so we changed the dry flies we’d been practicing with (dry flies float and imitate surface bugs – we were using them so we could see what we were doing) to ‘wet’ flies which would sink and imitate swimming fly larvae of all types. It took a while to get used to not seeing the fly in the water but after a bit of practice we could judge approximately where it would land and by the time we stopped for lunch we’d got the hang of it.

Wendy Showing Me How it's Done
Wendy Showing Me How it's Done

After finding a beautiful spot next to one of the lakes at the far end of the fishery we sat for a while and just watched the wildlife do it’s thing in front of us while we had a bit of a break, a bite to eat and a can of pop. And the wildlife at this time of year here in Lancashire is stunning.

We saw a Stoat, numerous Water Voles, Kingfisher, Kestrel and all the usual suspects such as Moorhen, Chaffinch and Canada Geese. And that was just the big stuff – there were hoards of butterflies and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many Common Blue Damselflies.

Fishermans Cabin
Fisherman's Cabin - Great Place for a Brew

Throughout the afternoon we tried many different types of sinking and floating flies, all made to look like specific types of aquatic life but the fish weren’t feeding.

To be honest we knew the chances of catching something on this trip were slim to non-existent as the trout would be tucked away at the bottom of the lakes or under some reeds, waiting for the light to dim and the temperature to drop. It would have been great to catch something but it wasn’t realy the reason we’d gone.

As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post the main reason we wanted to have a go at fly fishing was to see if it was something we could learn as a new method of sea fishing, primarily to target Bass during the summer.

Did it succeed? You bet it did. When I picked up the rod which weighed less that most of the leads I cast into the sea my instant thought was

this will make roaming around the coast a damn sight easier.

All you’d need would be a reel, spare spool, rod and flies – compared to what we normally carry this would be almost weightless! In my head I’ve already got a few marks sorted where I’d like to try for Mackerel, Pollack and of course, Bass.

In fact it’s got us so fired up that we’re thinking as well as getting a set of gear each for salt water we’d get another lighter set for ‘normal’ fly fishing for those days when weather, tide times, bad timing or just plain bad luck mean you can’t fish in the sea no matter how hard you try. I know there are some fly fisheries very close to where we stay on Anglesey.

As for what gear we’re going to get that going to take a bit more looking into – the information is out there, I’ve been looking at the United Kingdom Saltwater Fly Fishing and the Nick Hart Fly Fishing website,  it’s just going to take a while to sort out what we’ll need – rather than what we want…

Time flew and it seemed the afternoon just vanished so we handed back the gear to Gordon and after a chat and a cold can of coke from the fridge in the shop left just as a few people started to arrive, the ‘peak’ time at the moment being fishing into dusk. Until now we’d had the place to ourselves – probably because the fishing was poor during the heat of the day but we didn’t care – learning something new is easier without an audience.

Will we go back even though it’s not sea fishing? Hell yes!

Wendy Getting the Hang of the Roll Cast
Wendy Getting the Hang of the Roll Cast

One Comment

  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first

    comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep

    visiting this blog very often.

    March 17, 2010

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