I am rather partial to a cockamamie idea now and again. Sure I like a safe bet as much as the next man, but every now and again I formulate a plan that to most would seem implausible. Take for example the Coventry brown trout! It's most likely anyone would instantly think I was talking about a turd floating in some heavily polluted body of water and conclude the term is a slang reference, but that is not the case. Right now if you're still reading I am willing to bet you're thinking that I have gone mad and that trout only exist in lovely southern chalk streams, Scottish tarns or stony Welsh rivers. Well, that's true but there is a rare and small population of trout existing in the diminutive and practically forgotten river Sowe in Coventry, and the cockamamie idea I concocted was to target these special little wild browns on the fly.
Technically, I am a bit late starting this seemingly implausible endeavor. I had hoped to be doing this prior to the start of the coarse season adding that illicit "I shouldn't be on the river before the 16th but I can legally if I am after trout" thing to the mix, but what with getting ill and getting fixed I never managed it. Back to the point, I recently obtained a 4wt fly rod, found out a small fly reel I've had for years and purchased what is probably a wholly inappropriate motley crew of flies and readied myself for an outing. However every time I've wanted to go, the river had a flush of water which has put me off until now. Having scoped out a few areas I thought looked good for it, I have just been waiting for the opportunity.
The time finally came and I packed up my spanking new fly outfit ready to go. Early morning I made the short journey by car. When I saw the river though my heart sank. The weed had come up so much that nearly the entire surface of the stretch I wanted to fish was covered. I don't think even the most experienced fly fisherman, never mind a novice such as myself, would have managed to cast a fly amongst all the weed. My session looked to be a wash-out on the face of it. After a little wander I managed to find a deeper area which was clear of weed, the only problem being that there was no space to make any casts. So to save me wasting time, I opted to go back to the car and swop my fly outfit for a light lure outfit I had stashed in the car boot and try and see if any small pike or perch might have been hiding in the deeper pool.
Even though the pool looked to be quite deep I initially opted to cast a small Snapper shallow bug around avoid any unseen snags. After nearly ten casts I would have expected any pike to show themselves but the lure failed to raise any attacks. As a matter of course I carried on casting it though to cover the whole pool just in case. I watched the lure wobbling back through the clear water when a fish suddenly rose up steadily from the depths and causally sucked it in. The moment it opened it's mouth and I saw a flash of white I knew it was a chub that had taken it. I've never actually seen a chub take a plug and it was interesting to see it very calmly taken, like it was a injured fish. The fight wasn't anything to write home about, but it was nice to finally hook a chub on a plug and it certainly saved the session for me.
I would have left the pool alone if I wasn't sure that somewhere in the unseen depths there was probably a shoal of perch. So I dug out a small cannibal shad and a five gram Sakura 5gram weedless jig head to help prevent getting snagged up. The combination worked well together in the flow of the river and I could feel the jig donking on hard gravel bottom as it crossed the main flow. The only weed in the swim was a raft of floating weed that had drifted down and caught on an overhanging branch at the head of the pool. When my lure went in just behind it I really thought that was where I would get hit. The lure though caught the flow and as I jigged it up of the bottom a couple of times, something ripped into it.
No sooner had I struck into the fish than it came flying out of the water looking quite angry. At this point I was sure it hit a highly strung summer pike, and casually played it on the light rod. Then it jumped again and I wasn't so sure of its identity. When it did a third jump and kart-wheel across the river I thought it wasn't looking that much like a pike at all. Now though it went deep, banging around against the bent double rod and for a moment I thought it was another chub, that was until it rolled close in and it clicked that it was a trout, and a huge one at that. I couldn't see the lure at all so I was confident it was well hooked. Several savage runs from the net later and I managed to turn its head into my waiting net to lift my prize from the water.
When I originally came up with the idea of catching a trout from the Sowe I kind of thought I would be lucky to catch something that would fit in the palm of my hand, but the reality of this amazing fish was mind blowing. Nearly two feet long and weighing over six pounds, this was the yeti of Sowe trout. This could well be the mother of them all and probably had never encountered an angler before.
It truly was an honour to catch a fish that I would have never thought existed in a Coventry river in even my wildest dreams. I know some people might have been tempted to knock it on the head and take it home for a feast, not me though. I held that fish out in the flow in my net head for close on ten minutes and treated it with all the respect afforded to a British record barbel, it was that special, and why shouldn't I as this fish itself could well be a Coventry record brown trout or at least a Sowe record.