Fish were often found sipping away at the gnats on the flats, with many in quite shallow water in the edges and catching them was frustratingly hard at times. With so many naturals on the water, the fish were quite picky when it came to the artificial and some successful patterns of the past were flatly refused and the fish often displayed zero tolerance for the wrong fly, poor presentation or delivering the artificial from the wrong angle. Get it wrong and your target was put down, often taking other fish in the vicinity with it.
That was the pattern on most outings, up until last Saturday. Heavy rain on Friday had brought the Eden up and it was unfishable, but other rivers in the area were fine, a touch coloured, but well fishable.
The Black Para
The Black Gnat also worked during recent falls
Last Monday saw me back on the Eden, the river was still up and carrying some colour but it was back to a fishable level.
With no sign of flies or fish, I set up with my 'old faithful' - the spider rig. I'd sort of drifted away from the spiders in favour of dries and nymphs but I've found myself fishing them more and more over the last couple of seasons. A team of spiders can be a great way of searching a big river like the Eden when there's not much surface activity and you expect the fish to be looking up. The often difficult to target and tempt 'oncers' can often be easier to cover with a team of spiders swung through the vicinity of their rise.
So, I decided, that based on the fact that we'd had large falls of Black Gnat and the fish have been hard on them, that anything will do - as long as it's black, and opted for black spiders on the droppers and a small black nymph on the point. This team produced the goods, with a steady trickle of Trout and Grayling caught, missed and dropped throughout the session.