Sea trout / sewin fishing on the River Teifi

The river with the highest declared rod catch of sea trout in 2014 was the Teifi (2,098) followed by the Lune (1,880), Dyfi (1,682) and the Ribble (1,659).

From  Salmonid and Freshwater Fisheries Statistics for England and Wales, 2014

The River Teifi is  the top sea trout river in Britain offering vistors the very best opportunity to catch one of these iconic, hard fighting fish and in the most beautiful environment.

 

Juvenile sea trout generally migrate from the river in May and return as bigger fish after a spell of feeding in the sea, some come back in a few months, the shoal sewin, others remain in the sea for longer and  return as sizeable fish. Unlike salmon sewin can spawn several times and return year after year, these fish become the specimens which reach weights of over ten pounds. The largest concentration of these big fish  return in April and May with some real specimen fish of well over ten pounds regularly appearing. Very few people brave the chilly nights of early season to fish for these superb fish but the coracles are out as they're well aware that this is the time of year when the big fish run. This is a local press report from  April 2016 -

 

Is it a record? Monster sewin landed from Teifi


HUNDREDS of netsmen and anglers on the Teifi are speculating on whether a whopping sewin (sea trout) caught is the biggest recorded on the river.

As a pair of coraclemen trawled downriver of Cilgerran Gorge during the early hours of the morning a large fish hit the net and struggled violently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Down the years there has been a code of silence among netsmen in the lower reaches of the river and it was a case of déjà vu after a huge 18lb 11oz sewin was landed.

One of the coraclemen, who true to form declined to be named, told the Tivy-Side “The fish somehow avoided the net of two fishermen in front of us but hit ours and we managed to pull it out.

An elderly former coracle handler in the village said “I’ve been on the Teifi for the best part of 50 years and seen some very big salmon but I can’t recall a sewin of this size being taken legally.”

When's the best time to fish?

I prepared a graph showing the monthly rod catches from the River Teifi of salmon and sewin month by month for the last five years. 

It's quite clear that the month offering the greatest opportunity for rod anglers  is July with June, September and October following close behind. Remember the figures for October are comparitively low as the season finishes on the 17th.

Coracle and Seine Net Fishing, River Teifi

The Teifi has an ancient tradition of netting salmon and sewin, some of it undertaken legally. Currently 11 coracles and 3 seine nets are employed on the lower river in the tidal water, they  operate from 1st April to 31st August. The nets are off the river between 6am on Saturday and 12 midday on a Monday which allows some of the fish to enter the river without hindrance. Their catch results form a very different picture from those of the rod catches showing high numbers of fish entering the system in May, a time of year when very few anglers venture out - 

 

Catching them

Apart from netting sewin can be caught by fly fishing, spinning and worming, each method having its day depending on the state of the river. Heavily coloured water is the time for worming, spinning and fly fishing is effective in a clearing river but the best sport to my mind begins when the river clears offering the opportunity to pursue the fish with the fly at dusk, dawn and in the dark.

I reccommend reading up on the subject before your holiday as it will give you a better insight into the sport and there's no better book  than that written by the late, great Teifi fisherman Moc Morgan MBE and Dr. Graeme Harris, "Successful Sea Trout Angling", currently available from Amazon for seventeen pounds and twenty three pence.

 

The book's slightly dated, particularly with regard to choice of flies in these days of snakes and tube flies but the core advice is very sound.

 

Be sure to take chest waders, the Teifi's a good wading river, plenty of gravel bed, felt soles aren't as important as they are elsewhere, studded soles are best, particularly for negotiating the river bank when leaving the river. Take a wading staff and take a look at the river in daylight if you intend to fish at night.

 

 

Conservation

Catch and release is becoming the done thing with game fish, give the species a chance by letting them continue on their journeys. Barbless, single hooks work just as well as trebles, speed up releasing fish, do them less damage and avoid frustrating snag ups.  Carry a decent net and try to keep the fish in the water when you unhook it.  

By September the sewin begin to lose their lustre and the fish "colour up ", becoming darker as they approach their spawning season, most people return their fish at this time of the year as they're not palatable, please don't kill fish that aren't fit to eat.  

Tackle

There's no great need to buy specialist tackle for fishing the river,  a lot of reservoir tackle is very well suited to sewin fishing. I use rods from a 9'  6 weight to a 10' 7 weight and find they both do well, the 7 weight being better suited to casting heavier and larger patterns. I use an 8lb leader in the day and a 12 lb leader at night making the cast slightly shorter than the rod with a dropper about 4' up from the point fly.

 

For spinning I use a 9 footer with a fixed spool reel carrying 20lb braid and a 15lb leader. 

 

My bait rod's an old 11' long Porky Pig feeder rod, a little too long perhaps but it's the only one I have and I don't use it a lot. When I do I like using braid with a free running drilled bullet above a swivel with 10lb nylon line as a leader. I don't leger but rather try to cover a lot of ground, I add and subtract weight to allow the bait trip along the river bed, a little like Czech nymphing. 

 

Flies - Black and silver patterns are favourite, Silver Stoat variations for singles and black wing and silver bodies for tubes and snakes, red and orange hackles for some variation. Squirrel Blue and Silver is good for falling floods in daytime and the half light at dawn and dusk.

 

Spinners

I like to remove the trebles from spinners and add a single barbless oook with a split ring. Flying Cs are the most popular spinners just beating Rapalas for popularity. Mepps Aglias are popular too and less so, but very effective fished upstream is the Toby lure..  

 

Use black and yellow flying Cs for a flood, red and gold for clearing water and black and silver for clear water.

 

Rapalas - A  Fire Tiger's very popular in a flood, move to more natural looking lures as the water clears.

 

Mepps - Aglia Long size 4 is a good allrounder, I like the dull gold finish which applies to Tobys too.

 

Worms

Available at "Castaway" in Cardigan

 

A brace of sewin. Two typical school sewin from the mouth of the Cych, caught on an 8' four weight rod, 6lb line and a Peter Ross and Kate Mac Claren combination, my only "double" for sewin,