Owing to the diminutive size of the river and the restricted casting space along the majority of PADAC’s water, courtesy of the verdant bank-side foliage, the general approach can be summarised thus:
Short rod, fish upstream!
There are very few places where a ‘down and across’ presentation can be made, and it would cover little ground even where it is possible. The river banks are generally well covered with tall vegetation and trees, so the only practical approach is to enter the river at the access points provided (where the styles cross the bank-side fencing) and to gradually work upstream.
The only exceptions to upstream wading are during the winter months, when wading is prohibited to protect the spawning grounds. In the winter, you may enter the water at the styles and access points, but you must not wade up or down-stream. Fish from where you are and exit the water the same way you entered.
Tight, close quarters fishing!
Chest-waders are an absolute must; the water can be deceptively deep in places. Obviously, fishing in the water requires a very stealthy approach. A stumble on an unseen boulder, or noisy entry, will do your prospects of locating wary trout little good, so move slowly and keep low. At times, if the river and bank allow it, stay out of the water as much as possible, and be prepared to fish on your knees! A pair of knee-pads will help preserve the integrity of your waders where spiteful brambles may otherwise leave annoying pin-prick holes!
On a small river in a confined space, you will find yourself fishing at close proximity, often only a few rod lengths away at the furthest. And rod-length on the Ewenny is a lot less than it might be on most larger rivers! The tight space for casting means that, on 90% of the river, a standard 9ft rod will have you mourning the loss of many, many flies, and spending most of your precious fishing time re-tying your cast. For the Ewenny, a 6ft 6”-7ft 6” 3wt rod is the perfect tool. It will allow you to fish small to medium sized nymphs and any of your dries into virtually all the river’s fish-holding nooks and crannies.
A floating line to match your rod weight (4wt at the most) terminating in a 6-9ft leader with 2-3lb tippet would generally put you in the right frame for catching on the Ewenny. Reels need not be expensive and certainly don’t need clutches – keep it light and delicate.
There is a case for fishing longer rods during the winter, especially on the Fords section of the river, which is wider and more open, but it can be fished almost just as well with the short outfit.
Rob gets down on one knee to propose to a Grayling...that it should take his fly of course!
PADAC encourages fishing a single-fly only. However, as of the start of the 2021 trout season, the rules have been extended to being able to fish a dry/nymph combo of two flies (known as 'klink & dink'). Fishing two nymphs is still prohibited. It is also important that all flies are barbless, either tied on barbless hooks, or have the barb crushed by pliers before use.
Polaroids are, as always, a must, but try and get some with pale, yellow/amber lenses; during the summer, the heavy tree cover and high banks can make the light levels quite low, and normal sunglasses are simply too dark. The light enhancing qualities of amber or yellow lenses really help, whilst the polaroid properties continue to minimise reflections so you can spot that lightning-quick take!
Finally, in terms of general requirements, don’t forget your net – a scoop-net is fine for any section where you are wading. If you connect with one of the Ewenny’s bigger residents, you’ll be glad you bought it! If you're fishing from the bank on the Ford's section, a longer handled net is very useful.
So, that’s the basics covered, now let’s look at a few aspects in a little more detail....click below...