Trout stream brings early promise

May 5, 2017 at 2:27 pm

The last days of April sunshine had brought out terrestrial fly life when I made my second visit to the syndicate chalk stream. Passing through the roadside fishery gate, a large cobweb was crammed with small black flies and as I approached the river they were zooming about in the breeze. Having only made a very brief sighting visit before, I forced myself to ignore a rising fish in a position that required serious wading to manage a cast, intending to follow the river half way down the fishery before attempting a cast. More importantly, I had spent time the previous week applying a full tube of rubberised solution to my waders in an attempt to cure an untraceable leak and did not want to start the session with a squelchy boot.

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Crossing the bridge into the copse, the heady aroma of hawthorn, wild garlic and bluebells hit my senses as the sun warmed my back. All this and fishing too. What more could you ask for apart from maybe a trout in the net? I met bailiff Mick who had netted a wild brown, then just lost a much larger fish on a small klinkhammer. More rising fish, this was encouraging. Further down Kevin was mid river casting to another rising trout with a small Adams. Two bailiffs in one day, must be a good sign. Fancying the stretch upstream of Kevin, I asked if he minded me fishing 50 yards up and got the OK.

bramshill 094The river here carves out a deep channel as it rounds a bend creating a pool, where I have caught many trout in the past and the sight of small dimpling rises got my heart beating faster. My Black Devil nymph was still on the line from my previous outing, but this works well with a greased leader fished just below the surface, so gave it a go. The strong downstream wind made casting from range difficult and I worked my way slowly towards the pool making false casts to the right to judge the distance. I waited for the rises to start again, but cast short, waiting for the line to exit the pool, before recasting. This time the nymph dropped on target, but after the fish had risen again. On the third cast the wind caught the line carrying it over to the right away from the rise, but as the nymph drifted back to me, the surface bulged and the line zipped under. The trout took me by surprise when I struck, being much bigger than the rises had indicated. The shallow pool erupted as the trout responded to the hook, two minutes of madness being followed by powerful surges, before I could reign the brownie back toward my net.

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A 16 inch stock fish, this brown had been harpooned by a heron in the clear shallow river, but showed no sign of weakness in it’s fighting ability. Kevin was passing by on the bank only minutes after I had left him. Triumphantly I pointed to the trout saying “The Black Devil strikes again!” Allowed time to recover, the brownie was soon swimming strongly back to the pool.

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Wading up to the next pool, a single rise gave away another fish at it’s head, but a high bank and overhead branches made for an almost impossible cast. Another rise, saw me adjusting my position in the river to avoid getting snagged, managing to place the nymph at the tail of the fast water, where it could drift into yet another rise. The leader sank away and I lifted into resistance, that told me it was not a trout, the initial surge petering out as a small chub came to the surface.

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With no more signs of fish, I continued my way back up river, only to see the clear stream turn murky and realised that the farmer had moved his cattle into the top field, seeing them already wading in the cattle drink stirring up the bottom. My main task now was to get past these energetic young bovines without getting trampled and once through the gate made my way back to the van. It had been a short, but sweet afternoon, rising fish, spring blossoms, sunshine and a good trout in the the net. Even better, my feet were dry.