Trout between the showers.

May 13, 2017 at 11:40 am

Rain at last. Rain at last. Like buses you pray for rain, then it all comes at once. That was the feeling this week as I waited for my Thursday to Saturday syndicate trout fishing days. Leaving home on Thursday afternoon in bright sunshine, I headed west toward an all encompassing black cloud, which by the time I reached the fishery, had begun dumping it’s contents over the countryside. I sat in the van and waited in vain for a break in the cloud. Unable to find a radio broadcast to my liking, I cut my loses and headed home to find that the clouds had passed us by, the lawns the burnt yellow of high summer.

A commitment in another town, to collect a couple of pairs of scales ordered on behalf of my fishing club did not go well, with only one set available after an extensive search. Yet another set was ordered and with brightening skies, hoped to recoup what was left of the Friday afternoon, trying for a trout on the syndicate river. Lunch over and gear in the van, I headed back to the river, the window wipers on full for the last half mile, deciding that the car park at the lower end of the fishery would save fuel, if Thursday’s aborted attempt was to be repeated.

I decided that I would fish whatever the weather and forced on my waders in the van, emerging fully kitted out into bright sunshine again, the warm southerly wind dispersing the clouds, as quickly as they had formed. Getting in the water above the bridge, the river looked perfect, with the occasional Mayfly blowing downstream, but my previously successful Black Devil failed to attract interest.

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Back over the bridge and into the meadow below, I followed the river down looking for rises, making blind casts to likely looking holding areas to no response. Mayfly were now skidding along the surface, driven by the downstream wind, before making their first awkward flights skyward, but the trout were not switched on to them yet.

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This pool on an S bend was as far as I was prepared to walk, the long wet grass of the meadow dragging at my waders. In past days, this time of year would see large trout, up from the depths, cruising around sucking in mayfly nymphs, but floods have washed away the gravel at it’s tail reducing the depth, while that gravel now lies in a fast shallow run only suitable for the tiniest of dace and juvenile trout.

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I worked the Black Devil nymph, up the pool without success and found myself distracted by a roe deer munching the fresh green leaves of an overhanging tree, taking out my camera in an attempt to get a closeup shot of this elegant animal. A step too far and the deer was gone in a series of dignified bounds, clearing a fence in Olympic style.

Returning to my rod, I was studying the Mayfly as they broke the surface film, black head out first, with wings outstretched behind, then bing, they were clear, the gossamer wings springing up to catch the breeze like a sail, before that scudding take off.


Masked by the ripple, a trout began rising silently on the outside of the bend close the bank. Mayfly were being taken with abandon above and below the surface and I edged upstream to get within casting range, aware that accuracy was impossible with the gusting wind. A dry fly would be dragged under with the combined force of the river and downstream wind, so the first option was the Black Devil, which was cast almost to the grass. A rise, and a missed strike by myself, or the trout, saw the nymph ignored from then on, while Mayfly continued to be plucked from safety.

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Option 2 was to tie on an unweighted Hares Ear Flashback nymph, which was rubbed in with floatant. The last 18 inches of leader was run through my lips to aid sinking, while the nymph would float in the surface tension like an emerging Mayfly. My first cast was too short, the second too far to the right, while the third dropped lightly close to the bank. A rise and I was in. A frantic, tumbling fight, gave way to a hard boring run into the depths of the pool, but this was not a big fish and a 10 inch wild brown trout was soon drifting back into my net.

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My first wild brown trout from the syndicate river this year, fighting fit and fat with a diet of Mayfly. It is still early days, but the season is already an improvement on this time last year. After letting the trout recover in my net before release, I made my way back to the van. I’d had a fish and dinner was waiting.