Funky Fly Tying’s Scott Aitken, sings the praises of winter boat fishing using his favoured method, the Bung!
Over the winter months after the ‘fishing season proper’ ends, it can be a long painstaking time for the fly angler, it’s a hard slog, many pack their gear away awaiting better weather, me personally, I cannot just stop fishing in winter, I need my fishing fix!
One of my favourite days out in the winter is a trip over to Stenhouse Trout Fishery in Fife. What I like about this venue is not only the warm welcome and top class trout, but the fact that you can get out in a boat, who doesn’t like the comfort of a boat?! My preferred method at this time of the year is a ‘Sliding Bung’ with a choice of bung flies underneath. Eggs, Bugs and Worm variations being good flies to start with, although often pretty much anything will work!
It pays to know the depths that you are fishing when fishing in this manner, so I normally set up with 10 feet of fluorocarbon and a single fly attached to the end of the leader, my sliding bung above. This allows me to adjust the depth quickly depending on where I am fishing on the lake and the depth of water that I’m over.
There are two ways I like to fish this method, 1st being from a free drifting boat. This can often be invaluable in locating fish.
In this case I would normally cast out a relatively short line directly in front of the boat 20 to 30ft only and then look to keep in touch with the line anticipating any movement or dip in the Bung!
If it moves, I’ll ‘hit it’ right away basically a quick lift of the rod – and more often than not there will be weight there and a trout hooked in the top lip, you’ll notice it’s rare to lose a fish that you’ve hooked using a Bung, unlike with pulling methods.
The 2nd method of fishing the bung from a boat is to anchor up. Either in a likely looking spot or somewhere where you have located trout whilst drifting.
I like to use two anchors as it holds the boat nice and square and helps stop the boat swinging back and forth in the wind, this is terrible when you’re Bung fishing, keep everything nice and even paced! With a double anchor hold you can cast straight out in front, a shortish line is best, and just wait for the take, very, very relaxing but exciting too! Other times, you should cast out off either the bow or the stern of the boat at a 45-90 degree angle and let everything swing round watching for any sign of movement, this is best done in a slight wind, not too fast as your fly doesn’t get down properly.
Don’t think that the Bung is a method for fresh stockies either. it can often get you in amongst the venue’s better, resident trout, they love a static fly, probably as they are so used to seeing lures being pulled past their faces, it’s something different and piques their curiosity!
Without getting into the whole, is it really fly fishing debate, I’d say this. The Bung fished form the boat is a seriously effective method for catching fish. One which I will happily use over the winter months rather than spend my time, standing feezing to death on muddy banks or worse being dragged kicking and screaming around Ikea!!
At the end of the day, it’s all about enjoying your fishing, go out do your thing and enjoy it!
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