Big chub on the dry fly compensates for small trout

June 24, 2014 at 12:32 pm

With the mayfly hatch long gone, I was not expecting much from a brief visit to my syndicate trout river, allowing a couple of late afternoon hours to keep the fishing urge at bay. Parking at the bridge, the river was still slightly coloured from a tributary half a mile upstream, that has been discharging run-off water all season.

No rain for over a week had dropped the level to a point, where I felt safe to enter the water downstream of the bridge, the winter floods having scoured out a deep run along my bank. Nothing was rising, but I’d seen trout mopping up mayfly here a fortnight before and knew it was worth trying a few casts with the bodied Mayfly still attached to my line from last time out. False casting to get the line out, the fly dropped close to the bank under the trees, where a back eddy meets the faster water and was consumed in a boiling rise immediately, catching me unawares, but making contact.

These wild brownies fight to the last and with my landing net out of reach, planted handle down in the bankside mud, I waited until the trout drifted back to my hand, to be released once unhooked. The mayfly was now sodden and I tied on a deer hair Sedge to search out the faster runs, making contact with, but losing seconds later, another small brown. It was time to climb back out of the river and and make my way across the uncut meadow to the downstream S bend.

From the high bank I could see fish rising all over the pool and circled round to avoid spooking them, getting into the river at the fast flowing tail and wading across to the inside of the bend, where the slower flow allows better presentation of a dry fly. Close to the outer bank a good fish was rising steadily to anything that drifted past, even a bumble bee and with the Sedge still attached, I measured my cast, planting the fly just upstream to drift into a solid take. The very silver fish jumped vertically clear of the water like a Polaris missile, it’s whole body quivering with energy, before plunging upstream into the deep pool and taking line against the ratchet. Picking up my landing net, I waded out into the pool in an effort to head it off, should the tumbling trout try to get downstream into the fast water. The pressure soon told and the shiny specimen was in the net.

Moving up, I targeted another regular riser in mid stream, but missed the take, as it made a grab for the skating fly. This put him down with no more rises. Further up a fish was dimpling along the side of the reeds, a small trout I thought, but the instant the fly was sucked in, the surface erupted from the response of a very large fish, that bent my rod to the butt, as it dived deep into the pool. This was a seriously large fish, that stayed down as it searched for an escape route, continually pulling back against retrieved line. At last it began to come back to me , only to run again, this time to the outside of the pool, where it turned and headed downstream. A massive chub. Staying in contact, with my long handled landing net wedged under my left armpit, I waded down and across in an effort to head it off, before it reached the rapid water at the tail of the pool. At this point it turned again and began to swim upstream, being able to bring it over and down into my waiting net.

This was my biggest chub ever, let alone on a flyrod, measuring 22 inches from nose to fork and helped return my respect for a fish that I have often regarded as “one run wonders”, this chub keeping me occupied for at least five minutes, with no certainty of being netted. Returned facing upstream in the net, it gathered it’s thoughts for a minute, then bolted back to the depths.

All the commotion caused by landing the chub had put an end to the rising fish and deciding to continue for another half hour, I tied on a gold head Hares Ear nymph to get down to the bottom of the pool. I missed two lightening takes, before making contact and seeing a silver flash beneath the surface, assumed it was a dace, but I was wrong, another bright wild trout coming to hand.

A near identical trout followed, our river being full of these bright brown trout variations. I’m not complaining, they fight just as hard and hopefully will be a few ounces bigger next season. While searching the pool upstream with the nymph, I heard a rise behind my left shoulder and saw a ring of water spreading out from just above the tail on the far side.

Keeping low, I eased my way back down to the bend and tried drifting the nymph over the now rising fish to no avail, so the Sedge was tied back on and second cast another small brown was on, dropping back into the run to put a bend in my rod.

My need to catch fish satisfied, I made my way back through the wilderness to the van and joined the early evening rush hour home for tea.