Fishing on your lunch break – sounds brilliant and wouldn’t it be awesome if you could do this every day. Fishtec’s Ceri Thomas simply couldn’t handle missing out on the spring hatches... so he started doing just that.
For a good few years lunch time angling never even crossed my mind, despite the river Usk being just up the road from the Airflo and Fishtec HQ. Evening fishing after work yes - but never at dinner time. I simply couldn’t fit it in – or could I?
The problem was in early season you don’t get an evening rise, just a lunch time rise. And on the Usk, it’s brilliant in early spring, with the legendary march browns and the large dark olive hatches.
As normally happens by the weekend the Welsh rain is back and it’s blown out ... you miss the hatch but it’s frustratingly perfect again by the middle of the week. I was missing out big time; the weekend just wasn’t enough.
The answer was to try and hit the river at lunch break, just in time for the fly emergence and enjoy casting at rising fish, with the challenge of squeezing this into just 30 minutes or so.
I took some inspiration from my fishing pal and fellow team member Tim Hughes. It turns out Tim had been sneaking down to the river to get his fix! So it was entirely possible, I just had to make the jump and give it a try.
Here’s how I do it: rod is pre-rigged with line, leader and fly ready attached. Fly is pre-ginked, leader already degreased. Waders and boots are at the ready in the boot. No vest, just a few essentials in the jacket. With fly choice I go with what I think will work, usually dry. No time to switch methods or for many fly changes. It’s basically a one fly, time limited lunch time challenge.
My chosen beat is literally down the road at Brecon Town – a 2-minute drive. Sling the waders on, boots over the top. Don’t bother with gravel guards. Then literally RUN like crazy down to the river whilst pushing the two rod sections together, beginning false casting on the way. As I move, the fly is unhooked from the keeper ring and bingo you are fishing, all within 5 minutes.
I time my break with the hatch and hope to hit the best time of the day. Keeping tabs on Facebook and online reports really comes in handy for this. Avoiding a blank is the ultimate goal, with just one fish making it a proper result. Even a blank is fine though; simply being on the river watching a dry drifting for 20 minutes is a great break from the office.
My record is 4 fish, I’ve had a few 3’s, ones or two’s are fairly frequent and so are the blanks. Tim recently had 6 (the record!). Lunch time angling has been great for a bit of product testing - waders for example, prototype fly lines and the new Airflo Airlite V2 fly rods have all been baptised on the river in the past month.
It's nice to see the river as a snapshot in that little daily window. Things can change radically from day-to-day; sometimes there is a hatch of fly galore, others times the river remains dead and grey. Hurricane winds, dog walkers and canoes, high water, snow and rain have all played their part. It’s all good.
So to conclude lunch time fishing can be done! It’s simply great to be out trying to catch a fish. Next time you are on your lunch break, gazing out of the window thinking about trout, do some research on where your nearest bit of water is - you might be surprised at what you can fit in.
Day and season permits for the Breconshire River Usk Fishery association are available from the Fishtec tackle shop in Brecon.
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