Andy Lush Fishing

Early Season Trout Fishing

Each year, thousands take to the rivers and lakes to fish. Fishing, as a sport or for leisure,  is an incredible way to  enjoy the great outdoors.  When you are fishing in the early season, it  requires a unique approach. In order to catch as many fish as possible,  there are certain techniques that you can use  to increase your catch.

Where to start?

When fishing in Bewl  (or any other water for that matter)  during  April,  I would suggest you head for the  downwind  banks first. I’ve always found fish to be  very  close to these banks,  feeding on the larvae and nymphs  of the flies that will be hatching during the following months.

Bank Fishing

When  I am  bank fishing,  a tactic I often use is casting directly into the wind. This  can be  an  effective  method to cast a wide net  as this will search a variety of depths,  but I would expect most fish to be  feeding  within a  rod’s  length of the bank most of the time. In fact,  if it’s possible to cast at 45 degrees across the wind without interfering with other anglers,  then I will  generally use  this  method.   Casting my line at this angle is a fantastic way for me to maximise  my  catch,  as my flies will travel through the most productive  fishing  area for longer.

When using this technique allowing your floating line to swing into the margins  is very natural and effective,  remember  slow and low  retrieves  work best  early season. If  the day has very windy conditions,  employing a ‘midge tip’ or ‘sink tip’  which have  a sinking section of between 6ft or 12ft, will slow the “drift speed” of the line and help maintain your  flies  depth. When fishing this early in the season your flies  should be  as  close to the bottom  as possible  while still preventing  any snagging!

Peter   Cockwill   displays a super   Bewl   Rainbow. 

Plan B   

If your flies keep snagging the bottom, or keeps  getting covered in  water weeds  then it’s a good idea to approach the situation from a different  angle.  Now  is the time to get   down & dirty  by fishing  two Boobies on a Di7 with  a short 6ft – 8ft leader.  When you choose to use this method then your   top dropper  fly should be 2ft from the tip of the fly  line;  this will catch any fish that are tight to the bottom,  while the point  fly will grab the attention of any  passing  fish that are patrolling the margins. These buoyant flies will be drawn towards the bottom  when  you retrieve and will  slowly  rise on the pause. The other important factor is you can fish  slowly,  and very effectively using this method.

An   early season ‘grassy’ shoreline hotspot. 

Boat fishing   

Boat fishing is a fantastic  way to try altering your fishing methods for a day. Fishing from a boat  allows you to  cast your line  from a different angle to gain a bigger catch. When boat fishing the  fish will still be  found  in the same places,  but you’ll be approaching them from up-wind.  I find it best to anchor up and cast towards any  grassy   banks  with  the wind blowing onto them!

I prefer to fish the shallow end of  Bewl  at the beginning of  the season,  this  means heading down  ‘Bewl  Straight’ towards the  ‘Rosemary Lane Dam’.  ‘Dunster’s  Bay’,  ‘Goose Creek’  and  ‘Tinkers Marsh’  are traditionally  all  productive  spots  but  are  very  busy  early  season. If you fancy a bit more room then consider trying  ‘The Nose’,  ‘Seven Pound Creek’  or  ‘The Children’s Playground’, these all offer shallow gentile slopes into deeper water.

Early season buzzer muncher. 

Remember to give the bank anglers plenty of room, stay at least 50m   away   from them. It’s far easier to move spots in a boat than when on foot, so please be considerate.


I start by anchoring up,  as this allows me to fish right into the shallow margins effectively. While boat fishing it is best to do everything  at a slow pace, to prevent disturbing the water too much. My  first-choice  of  line will be a  floater,  if at all possible,  but if the wind’s too strong then  I will use either a  6ft  ‘Midge tip’ or the  12ft  ‘Predator sink tip’.  My opening gambit is to fish  a team of three flies, usually a mixture of Buzzers,  Diawl  Bachs  and  Crunchers  in size 10 or 12.

Early season selection –  Blobs,     Diawl   Bachs, Hoppers & Cormorant. 

It is a   big mistake to fish with light leaders   at this point in the year.  Do not use anything less than 3X diameter, depending on  the  brand  of Fluorocarbon  this can vary in strength from as little as 6lb up to  as much as  9.5lb  [Seaguar  Grand Max]. If you intend  on  fishing with droppers  then  I recommend 2X diameter,  12.5lb in  Seaguar  Grand Max.  I know this sounds brutal but  ‘double ups’  are common  when fishing for trout  at this time of year.

At the beginning of the  day,  it  is  a good idea to fish a team of flies with a sacrificial point fly. Having a weighted  point fly creates  a steep angle in your leader  which will see  each fly searching a different depth.  Ensure you keep track of which  fly position  is producing the most fish. This  will  in turn  tell you what depth band to focus on. Depending in which fly position is most successful you will know  what flies or fly line you should  change  to. Changing fly lines like this will help you  to  catch  more  fish  quickly. Although I prefer not to use weighted flies for my boat fishing,  lightly weighted Montana, Cats Whisker or Damsel Nymphs are ideal for this tactic.

Early season selection – Heavy Buzzers,   Diawl   Bachs   & Leader Rings for droppers.


The fish are very lethargic at this time of year  so it  is easy to miss a take if the fish do not pull on the line,  so fish slowly and watch your fly line for any signs of a take.  If it’s not too windy, angle your casts across the wind and let it swing with the current. If you do not locate fish on your first spot,  move no more than 100yds along the bank. Move every hour until you find fish, do not move too far each time as the fish  are likely to be shoaled up in tight  spots  and you could easily bypass them.

Be sure to remember  that location   is more important than fly choice. After that,  it’s the  depth and speed  of retrieve. It  is important to remember  to count your flies down  after each cast,  before you start your retrieve. In this way you can search the water  column  for fish from top to bottom. Once you’ve caught your first fish,  it’s just  a matter of repeating the same  countdown   and retrieve. Another  very  important  tip for this method  is to  hang   your flies  for a few seconds  at the end of each retrieve before  lifting off to start your next cast. Takes on the hang can be very subtle and are  very rarely  felt. Watch the tip of your fly line and then the leader as you gradually  lift  the rod from the surface to the 10 o’clock position. Now pause, the colder the weather the longer the pause,  or hang. Takes  are  indicted in several ways, often the line looks too  tight or the angle is too steep,  if in doubt STRIKE!

You will catch a lot of  extra  fish  using this technique wherever  you’re fishing, whether  in a  boat or  off the  bank,  fishing  in reservoirs or lakes.

Tight lines

Andy  Lush   

Andy   Lush with an early season   Bewl   Rainbow.

About Andy Lush  

Andy Lush is a very experienced fly fisherman and predator angler. Living in the south east of England, Andy regards Bewl Water as his home water, having spent almost a lifetime fishing there for Trout on the fly and Pike and Perch on artificial lures. 

  Andy is very well known locally, having spent over forty years selling fishing tackle from his shop ‘The Friendly Fisherman’ in Tunbridge Wells. In fact, to many anglers Andy is known as “The Friendly Fisherman”. 

Having spent over forty years fly fishing many stillwaters and reservoirs in England for Trout, Andy has pioneered “dry fly” fishing for Iberian Barbel on several huge reservoirs in Spain over the past fifteen years. Andy’s enthusiasm for fly fishing knows no bounds, as many ‘Fly Dressers’ guilds can testify after attending one of his informative talks. 

  Andy is also a very experienced predator angler, fishing for Pike, Perch, Catfish and more recently Zander in the U.K. Having achieved success fishing a variety of waters, Andy is best known for his exploits while boat fishing on Trout reservoirs in Southern England. 

  Andy has fished in Canada, North America, Ireland, Scotland, France, Holland and Spain catching Pike, Perch, Walleye, Zander, Lake Trout, Salmon, Sturgeon, Small Mouth & Large Mouth Bass, Alligator Garfish, Channel & Wels Catfish, Musky, Comizo Barbel, Aspe, Ide, Tarpon, Bonefish and Barracuda. 

Andy   Lush   offers a guiding service for those who want to learn more about “Lure Fishing” & “Fly Fishing”.   To book   a day   email   with your contact phone number and Andy will   call you back and discuss details.