Wild brown trout flyfishing come rain, or shine.

July 15, 2014 at 7:14 pm

Following a 230 mile round trip to collect my sister from Weymouth for a family gathering, I thought a visit to my local syndicate river was off limits, but as she and my wife settled down in front of the TV for their evening soap fix, I made my escape with the minimum of pleading on my part. The sun was blinding, as I drove west to the river, but rain was forecast for later, with heavy showers to follow over the weekend, so this was my only chance to fish this week.

Walking along the overgrown banks, I was pleased to see just a hint of colour, as the river babbled over the shallows. I’d not fished this section all season, even missing out on Duffer’s Fortnight, when mayfly were rising fish all over the river. The winter floods had created a new run along the opposite bank, which extended into a long pool and thought that it offered refuge for a fish, or two.

There were plenty of grannoms scudding about the surface, but no rises, so a Black Devil nymph was tied on to search out the deeper pockets for trout.  I waded downstream in cover of the right hand bank, before moving out to the middle, where short upstream and across casts could be made to cover the faster water. A short six foot leader, greased to float within 18 inches of the fly, is all that is needed in this sort of fishing, casting and recasting, while watching the floating leader. The slightest, stop, twitch, or a “buzz”, when the line seems to vibrate, must be responded to with a quick lift of the rod. My little 7ft Shakespeare Odyssey 4/5 weight rod is perfect for this and minutes into the session, the line darted forward 3 inches and I saw the flash of gold from a small brown, before it tumbled off.

Moving upstream a few yards, there was a back eddy formed behind tree roots jutting into the flow and I tried casts directly to the edge of the flow and into the slack, but it was a cast higher up into the full flow, that met with a solid take. There was a brief explosion of resistance at the head of the pool, then slack line as a ten inch wild brown turned and dashed down stream into a bed of streamer weed, bursting onto the surface once contact was made again. To avoid the bundle of energy from bouncing off, I gave it line, then drew it back upstream, once it’s head was down.

These small browns will take advantage of every depression on the riverbed, ambushing their food as it rushes by over their heads, darting out and back in an eye blink.

I now moved up the shallows, casting into every nook and cranny, but no one was home and found myself at the tail of the next pool, where the river turns sharp right, offering deep water and cover at the edges, a happy trout hunting ground for me in the past. Again no rising fish were showing and I prospected the nymph along the edges, gradually casting further into the pool with no response, not a good sign for this part of the river. A sudden heavy rain shower forced me back into cover, while the evening sun continued to shine beneath the cloud. There must have been an impressive rainbow somewhere out of my sight, as I huddled against the bankside bushes. I took the time to change my leader length by looping in another two feet of 4lb line and tying on a heavier Gold Head Hares Ear to get deep into the pool, the trout not in their expected places hard under the banks.

With the sun back out and the smell of fresh rain still in the air, I began the search process again, disappointed that a good fish that had been growing larger each season was no longer present under bushes to my right. Wading further into the pool, I made an extended cast up to the bend and watched the nymph sink to the depths. The leader did not drift back, but stayed put and I lifted to avoid an assumed snag, that burst into life and headed off round the bend upstream. It hugged the bottom fighting hard, definitely a trout, not a chub, zig zagging across the the pool to appear briefly at my feet, one of the many silver browns that have populated the river. The fight tailed off as the trout turned back to the deeper water, bringing it’s head up and with my landing net still leaning against the bank downstream, I made a successful lift with my left hand under the fish for the capture.

Fin perfect and in prime condition, this was my second and last trout of the evening, the sun shining beneath yet another storm cloud, that was about to empty it’s contents over the Hampshire countryside. Content to hold onto my prize, until a kick of the tail sent it back to the pool, I climbed out of the river and made it back to the van, as raindrops began bouncing off the roof.