It was a beautiful Monday morning with blue skies and a gentle North wind. I’d had a message from the Keeper last Friday to tell me the trout were going ‘crazy’ at Ladymead. However, my weekend was messy and fishing had to wait a couple of days.
I drove along the disused railway line to the start of the top beat. There were Pheasants everywhere. October is a great month for country sports because the fishing and shooting seasons overlap. As I set up my rod three Buzzards were wheeling around the sky, riding the thermals to gain height. They were calling to each other, an unmistakable sound. I walked around the headland to avoid the cover crop and signed in. A member had recorded a good Trout, taken on a dry fly the previous day.
I walked around the old lock and crept to the edge of the pool. I hid behind some rushes and scanned the water for fish. There were several in midstream and amongst the group was a large Trout. I estimated it’s weight at about 4lb. The fish were just under the surface in the main current, I could see them clearly. I thought a dry fly would be the best option. I chose a large badger winged Mayfly, the nearest imitation of a Crane fly that I had in my box. I lengthened the line on the grass behind me and tried to cast the fly upstream of the fish. The wind caught the line and the fly landed right on top of the big Trout. It turned, looked at the fly and moved away. A smaller fish swung round, followed the fly and grabbed it. Luckily it dashed off into the tail of the pool and I was able to land it without too much disturbance. After releasing the fish I rested the pool for a while and the other fish returned. The big Trout was still there in midstream. I tied on a black Neoprene Spider and cast well upstream. It drifted down the right line but started to drag just at the critical point. The fish moved away from me. I tried again with the same result.
I rested the pool and walked to the top of the beat trying a few likely looking holes on the way. I didn’t see any signs of Trout. When I returned to Ladymead the fish were back. I swapped to a size 12 weighted GRHE nymph. The cast was perfect, another one of the smaller fish took the fly confidently. I saw the fish turn and lifted the rod. Once again it went downstream and I netted it from the sandy bank at the tail of the pool. I thought I would have to give the fish a rest but while I was taking some photos another Trout swirled. I watched it for a while and couldn’t resist a cast. To my surprise the fish greedily accepted the nymph and tore around like a mad thing. It jumped out of the landing net but I managed to net it again.
Ladymead needed a rest so I walked down to the Shallow Pool and changed to a dry fly. I had a couple of tentative takes but couldn’t connect. One of the fish looked like a wild Trout about 12oz. Back at Ladymead I saw only one fish, not the big one. It was lying deep, just the other side of the sandbank. I dropped a GRHE nymph infront of it and the Trout moved up in the water, turned and took the fly. This fish behaved differently, it made a dash across the pool but then gave up. I guided it into the net and while unhooking it, I noticed a cut in its upper jaw. It had been caught the day before.
When I returned to the bridge I watched the shallows and a fish rose under the trees. I presented a nymph accurately but there was no interest. I stopped at Keeper’s Bridge on the way home and checked the signing in book, a few fish had been caught over the weekend.