Big trout in a small stream

May 8, 2013 at 10:45 am

The first days of May brought warmth and the anticipation of rising fish, as I pulled on waders at my syndicate water and watched hawthorn flies dancing above the grass verge in the afternoon sunshine. The short walk to the river soon dashed my hopes of fishing the dry fly, when looking downstream, not a single rise was in evidence, despite a variety of fly life, on, or above the surface.

The river was now back to normal level and pace, unlike the opening days of the season, when weeks of rain needed to run off and I was expecting an instant response as I waded up to a pool that has been good to me in the past. The smooth surface was untroubled by feeding trout, so my reliable Gold Head Hares Ear nymph was flicked out along the edges among the roots, but not a twitch of the leader rewarded my efforts. I was considering a change to a darker nymph, when a trout swept round the shallows at my feet and returned to the centre of the stream ahead.  A cast up the pool brought a solid pull halfway through the drift and I was into that trout, a plump wild brown of around a pound, fighting for all it was worth, it’s exit from the pool barred by my feet as it tried to escape downstream. I now had the trout thrashing about in the shallow tail and my landing net was resting against a tree out of reach. Stepping across to my left for the net, gave the slack needed for the hook to lose grip and the trout to dart back to the pool. With a photo opportunity missed, I continued downstream intending to fish along the bank cleared during a new year working party, but paused to look at another previously productive pool.

 It seemed too good to pass and getting down into the water, I waded up, searching out the eddies and runs with my nymph as I went. The river here rushes down through trees and turns, holding fish across the pool, good dace and chub adding to the mix. Again surface fly life was being ignored and so it seemed was my nymph, until a six inch brown raised my hopes and straightened the leader. The tiddler returned, I cast further up between the trees and watched the leader skirt the edge of  a far bank eddy, where it suddenly dived to the left, to be met with solid resistance as I lifted into a very powerful fish. Deep in the pool, the zig-zag rolling fight indicated a big trout rather than a chub and I gave line as it made a series of sprinting runs into the tree lined channel, then back to the pool, before zooming along the far bank to pass below me. Having turned to follow the big brown downstream, I looked up to see a fellow syndicate member watching from the river fifty yards downstream. More pressure, bad enough to lose a fish and talk of the one that got away, but to have it witnessed is worse. The gods of angling were on my side this time and the deep sided brown turned and came back upstream to me, obliging by rolling onto it’s side before sliding into the net.

A full tail was the power house for this seventeen inch brown that took  no prisoners in it’s efforts to escape the barbless hook, which fell out into the net once the pressure was off. In the same respect, that it is misery to lose a good fish in front of a fellow angler, it was also a joy to show just what this little river can hold to new member George, who had a grandstand view of my struggle with this beast of a fish. After a quick photo and a short recovery session in the net, my best fish so far this year, swam off to sulk in the shallows.