Posted on

3 Friends in Norfolk

3 Friends in Norfolk

It was a week ago when I started to plan the trip, my coarse river season now finished, and I tend to look at targeting Trout to cover my addiction to that tug. I messaged my Trout fishing buddy Martin Smith and as soon as I mentioned “East Tuddenham”; it was an oooh yes, I’m in. Along with “oooooooo Baaaabs…. Can you tie for me (list)”, Martin and I have a deal that dates back almost 4 years now. I bought a job lot from him that was two large bin liners FULL of tying materials for next to nothing and that I tie him flies when he needs them. I know Martin has had a great deal of his fish caught on what I have tied for him, and may our deal carry on for another 4 odd years.

With Martins fly order in and my own plans on downsizing a pattern that has done extremely well for me on Pike the last two season, when I spoke to Rodney Wevill who created the Scruffy Tiger earlier in the week; he did mention that Brown trout do seem to love smashing a trout lure sized version of the Tiger. My 1st attempt didn’t turn out that great, I have reverse tying mindset and forget that it’s not always the best way to create a fly; esp trout flies. Round two, size 8 Aberdeen hook and I swapped the Nayat for good ol Marabou and set to tying a smaller version of the Scruffy Tiger. Happy with how it came off the vice, only true test will be in the water and Mr Trout being the judge. Some inside information came to light on adding black/Green to my fly box with some Montana or Viva Dancer patterns.

Scruffy Tiger
Top: Scruffy Tiger Bulk Head. Middle: My version of the Scruffy Tiger. Bottom: Trout version in Marabou

Part of my preparations is to get my Trout reel/spools set up with fresh fly line, I have 3 spools to which I normally have Floating, Intermediate and a big lure type fly line and these give me the scope to cover most conditions I encounter on a Stillwater. I spool of the Mega Gold WF8F, the Blue Intermediate WF8I and the Mega High Speed WF7F (my rod is 6/7# and yes, I upline). I needed to weld new loops on the Intermediate line as they come from the factory with out loops and an easy job for me as I have been welding loops on my lines for years. Check YouTube for vids on how to do this and what you’ll need, just remember one rule to welding loops; it can only be done to braided core fly lines and not to mono core fly lines. As I only use braided core lines in all my fly fishing, I know I am good to weld a loop on any of my lines if/when its needed.
Thursday evening, I get a message from our other fishing buddy Daniel who wants to come with us, I have been trying to get Daniel to fish East Tuddenham for years. It is a bit of a trek for him versus Martin or I, but worth the trip for sure.

New lines spooled, new leaders on and various patterns in the fly box ready. Alarm set for 5.30am as we’d arranged to meet up at the fishery for early this morning and quite often Martin and I are the first to arrive at the lakes giving us a head start. Daniel had only just arrived as Martin was getting in to his first tugs on a peg opposite the booking in hut, I briefly explained the booking in process and went round the bay to join Martin and only a few casts in did Martin net his 1st trout of the day on a Flash Damsel pattern. I had opted for a green/black Viva Dancer and within a few casts I was feeling a knock, still set in my Pike strip set ways and I had pulled the fly out of the trout’s grasp! 2nd cast back in the same area, and I felt the knock again, this time I paused, slowed my retrieve, and felt the take; This time I did both strip strike and lifted rod tip. Fish on! Nope, fish off! Agghh! Not put off I cast back over the same area and hooked up into another trout with the same slower retrieve with pauses (OK some of my Pike tactics coming through there). As I netted my 1st fish, Martin was already into his 2nd and Daniel joined us as well.

I have known Martin and Daniel for about the same amount of time and our banter is always entertaining. Are we competitive? In a friendly way we are but always wanting to help each other out where we can, the lads also know they can rifle through my fly box if they need a fly to use and it got raided good n proper! Today however they had one rule…. No one is to touch the scruffy tiger pattern! I decided to clip that on, and the knocks came hard and fast! Another 2 fish to the net from the bottom lake, at this point we decided to move up to the top lake.

We spread out at first as saw no movement, I opted for mid-dam wall and on my 1st cast I was into another fish and that was all the lads needed to join me on the dam wall stretch. Now some people would get arsey when another angler gets too close, we aren’t like that at all. Often, you’ll see Martin and Myself stood just meters apart casting away almost sharing the same peg. On several occasions we were casting within a couple of feet of each other’s flies and twice all three of us had fish on at the same time! One fish had followed the scruffy Tiger in nibbling the tail, as I went to lift out to re-cast, I saw the fish go for the fly. I just dropped it back in the water and same fish nailed it as it hit the surface! I’d say several fish today took the fly under my rod tip while I was “hanging” or twitching the fly. One thing I teach with Pike on fly is to always hand that fly under the rod tip as very often they will nail it on the hang. I see so many Trout anglers feel the leader touch the top rod eye and they go straight into their next cast, think of how many fish you might have lost out to by doing that?

Brown Trout or not? Martin hooked into a nice fish that fought well, upon netting it he said that it’s an odd-looking Brown trout. Not long after Daniel also landed an odd-looking Brown trout, the markings didn’t have the usual red/orange large spots that a typical Brown has and looked quite Tiger trout like. Knowing that Tigers weren’t usually stocked at these lakes, I sent some photos to the Chairman to check. Photos were then sent on to where the stock come from and later this afternoon confirmed that they were indeed Browns as the breeding fishery doesn’t supply Tigers at all. Certainly, different markings and great fighting fish for them both.

Daniel and I finished our day back where we started, we both had pretty much stuck to the same fly all day and Martin opted to tie on a black snake. Plenty more tugs came, but fish got off. All three of us had lot several fish through the day with Martin at one stage was like: Fish on… fish off.. back on…. Bugger its off…. No wait, back on…. 🤣 Needless to say that Daniel is glad he made the extra drive to these lakes and an excellent day had by all today. As martin and I were heading out we met the fishery manager Roy for a chat. One thing that did surprise me is that he is now using the WF6F High Speed fly line so he can cast in some of the tight areas of the lakes, using the short head of the line to load/shoot line in just one to two casts. I left THAT spool at home today! (Doh!)

For more information on East Tuddenham fishery, please read my Article called Norfolk’s little gem:-

My next bit trip has been planned for four months now and is just 5 weeks away, moggie heaven with an equally nutty bunch of people is all I will say. If you know, YOU KNOW. If you don’t? You’ll just have to wait till I post about it. Meantime, I expect there will be some more trout to keep me sane.