This is a very effective solid, dependable, traditional salmon and sea trout pattern. This fly derived its name from the fact that it was first winged with the black tip of a stoats tail.
SALTWATER, SALMON & STEELHEAD TUBE FLY
$US each. Price does not include hooks.
Whilst salmon fishing on the east coast of Scotland I decided to walk up a small tributary river that ran into the river Alness. It was in spate following a recent summer thunderstorm in the mountains, but running gin clear. I fished down through a pool, as my black stoat’s tail fly swung round near the tail I saw a bulge in the water as a fish investigated my fly. It then disappeared back into the depths. On my next cast I changed tactics.
When my fly reached the same location I dibbled the fly on the surface to produce a wake. I held it static so that it would cause a disturbance in the flow of the water. This did the trick. I saw the salmon shoot up from the depths and engulf the whole of my Stoat’s Tail fly. After a five minute fight I landed a 6lb fresh run salmon which I returned back to the depths to fight another day.
Sea Trout fishing with a Stoats tail Tube fly
Yes you can catch sea trout (see run brown trout) in daylight using a variety of different methods but I find the most enjoyable and productive way to catch these elusive fish is with a fly at night.
Night time is when sea trout are the most active. To those day-light-only fly fishermen this is a time when you put on the TV and later go to bed. Until you come to terms with fishing at night you will miss a great deal of valuable insight and catch far fewer sea-trout.
It is an environment where every bush and tree branch is hell bent on grabbing your fly. Strange unexplained noises, hoots and rustles can make a nervous and apprehensive fly fisherman leave the river and head home, missing out on some of the most exhilarating experiences our sport can provide.
If you decide to give night time sea trout hunting a go then there are a few skills you need to acquire like wadding at night, accurate casting with different styles and learning to trust all your senses and not just rely on your sight.
First do some research and find a river that has a good run of sea trout. Then select a small stretch of perhaps a half a mile that contains around two pools, some fast water and a glide. Fish this stretch of water in the daylight, in all conditions; early season high water to low water conditions of summer. Learn all the fish holding features and obstructions. You will then become comfortable fishing the same stretch of river at night during the seatrout season.
This migratory river's fish holding elements will also hold sea trout at some time through the season. If you catch river trout and other fish in these locations you will also find them being used by sea trout when they return from the sea. You need to study and test the different physical features of your chosen stretch of river. Become an expert.
Answer the following questions. Why do some pools hold more fish than others? Why do fish lie in certain areas time after time and shun the remaining areas? Observation is the key to answering these questions. Knowledge is the strength to your arm. Know your stretch of river and you will catch fish. This is how fishing guides seem to the novice to be fishing gods. They know by experience where fish can normally be found. It is a skill you can acquire.
Observation and reconnaissance can take many forms. It can be as simple as a flash of a fish, as you are walking past a pool, to actually watching an angler cast and hook a fish from a pool you have chosen to fish. Remember to talk to other anglers about their experiences on that fishing beat.
Walk the river bank from both sides and spot fish. If there are large trees near the river bank put on your polarised sunglasses and climb as high as you can to help you spot fish holding locations. Bridges are great observation posts. Make a mental note of where they like to lie. Worn banks indicate popular fishing spots. Why was this spot chosen? Is there a pool nearby where fish are caught on a regular basis?
Try to identify obstacles or bottlenecks. In the early part of the season when the water is high or after a summer thunderstorm, a stone weir or rock ledge may no longer be a fish blocking feature it was in low water conditions. If you have spotted fish holding downstream of this obstacle in low water conditions when you last walked the river bank in daylight do not expect to find fish holding there at night if the water levels have risen. Sea trout will lie in different locations depending on the height of the water. Adjust your fishing tactics to the fishing conditions you find when you go night fishing.
Sea-trout and salmon entre our rivers for one reason and one reason alone: to breed. They have been feeding in the sea and putting on weight. They do not come into fresh water to feed on tiny insects. They have already put on enough weight to make them strong enough to fight their way upstream without having to worry about where their next meal is coming from. Many do not feed but they will attack anything that gets too close: it is a reflex action.
Some sea trout enter the river systems as early as February. These are normally the bigger sized fish. Some start their journey back up the river as late as November. The average size of the returning fish diminishes as the year progresses. It is not until the water has cooled sufficiently that you will see fish on the redds laying their eggs. Sea trout that enter the rivers prior to this time need to conserve energy. It is these fish that are waiting for the water temperature to cool that you can target.
If you take a typical pool it normally consists of a fast run in, referred to as the head of the pool, main body of the pool that consists of deeper and slower moving water and the tail where the there is a smooth run out of water before tumbling into the next pool or main river channel.
Because of the broken water at the head of the pool it will be difficult to locate fish during the day. However come dusk and the first hours of darkness, providing conditions are right, fish will congregate here and ready themselves to run the fast water eager to get to the next upstream pool and closer to the spawning beds. Darkness provides cover from predators.
This is not the only time fish will congregate in this location. In times of low water levels the oxygen content in the water is reduced. Broken water sections of the river is the fish equivalent to a breath of fresh air or standing is a draft. The tumbling action of water saturates the river with oxygen.
A good fly fisherman can ambush newly arrived sea trout into the tail section of a pool. They have just swum or jumped upstream against the flow of the current. Some will be exhausted because of the effort they have expended. The depth of the water near a tail is normally lower that the middle of a pool. Fresh fish rest in the tail of a pool before entering the main body and continuing on to the next stage of their upstream journey.
Both the head and tail of a pool are fish catching locations but mid-season I have caught my biggest Sea trout deep in the main body of the pool. For those fish that are resting, this is where they find the most comfortable lies. The water is cooler and slower moving. There seems to be a pecking order amongst sea trout. The larger fish lie further into the pool and as you get nearer the head and tail of a pool the size of the fish decreases.
This situation does not remain static. If a larger fish suddenly runs into a pool it often upsets the resident shoal which then has to jockey for position Some leap into the air and crash back down as they jostle for the next best position. This is when I have caught the most fish.
At night I like to use a fly with flash or tinsel. They reflect any moon light and attract the attention of nearby fish. On moonless nights a dark fly with a good fish silhouette like the Stoat's tail tube fly works well. Remember sea trout are not looking to feed. You have to get your fly in front of their face to provoke them to snap at it.
I was fishing for trout on the river Usk. It was near dusk. The river was low. I knew there may be a chance of some sea-trout so I tied on a small Stoats Tail. I felt a solid draw on my line and after a 15 minute fight landed a 12 lb salmon. I later caught three Brown trout around the 1 lb mark and a larger chub. What a fly! Hugh Montgomery