On the return journey from a holiday in Dorset, I found myself in Stockbridge. It was a convenient place to stop, have lunch and look over the bridge spanning the River Test. I saw a brace of fish taking nymphs from under the newly cut weed. The trout were enormous, each fish looked well over 6lb. The Orvis shop had a ‘Sale’ on. Not fishing tackle, shirts. I had never visited Robjent’s tackle shop. Big mistake. Particularly as it’s just across the road from Orvis. It’s a proper fishing tackle shop run by friendly and knowledgeable anglers. They bullied me into buying a new fly line. I had used Cortland lines for several decades. My reluctance to buy another brand was obvious. The purchase of a Rio fly line was concluded with an agreement that I would write and let the proprietor know if I hated it.
I liked the colour of the line, weed green. The coating felt supple and the core of the line was white braid. Excellent. It didn’t have a welded loop at the business end, no need to cut it off. The running line felt stiffer than the body of the line but that might have been my imagination. I had been told to stretch the entire line before loading it on the reel. I fixed it to the garden fence and gave it a good pull, several times. There were a couple of small blemishes in the line. I could feel the difference in the coating between the main body and the tip of the line. Rio claim the coating on the tip makes it float higher.
I superglued a Greys copolymer nine foot tapered leader into the exposed core of the tip. The 7lb leader was a bit heavy, I’ll use 5lb next time. A couple of short casts on the lawn felt odd, I would have to test it on the river.
After the regular 10:00am meeting to discuss the previous week’s catch returns, I went to the river at Keeper’s Bridge. I tackled up ensuring that I didn’t miss any rod rings. The first few casts under an Alder tree were accurate and I was impressed with how softly the line landed. I’d underlined the rod with an AFTM #3 hoping for more delicate presentation. The profile was Weight Forward with an extended front taper. A Robjent’s Chalkstream special design.
I visited some of the pools that require a more demanding cast and with each cast I became more confident. I saw a fish rise upstream alongside a bush. The cast was into a strong westerly wind, it would be an excellent test of the line. I used a weighted GRHE nymph and gradually worked the fly further up the pool, extending line into the wind. After several casts, to my surprise, the fish took but I lifted the line too soon. I was a bit out of touch after a ten day break from the river. I moved downstream to the Overhanging Tree. I could not bend the line under the tree into the wind, the tip was too light. I saw a fish rise but I couldn’t interest the trout in my nymph. Another trout, on the bend above the Cow Drink, followed the nymph, creating a bow wave but sheered away when I induced the take. I explored the New Riffle and the next pool down but found nothing.
On the way back to Keeper’s Bridge I stopped where a trout had risen earlier and swapped the nymph for a size 14 Adams with the hackle trimmed off. It looked good. The trout took it confidently and put up a spirited fight. I returned the fish and continued upstream. A fish rose close to my bank so I lowered a Mayfly over the rushes and gently onto the water. The trout did not respond, it had probably seen me. I walked upstream to the Sandy Pool but I couldn’t find another fish.
The new line had performed well. No memory, delicate presentation and it floated nicely without any dressing. I had a couple of tip splashdowns when I pushed the line too hard. I found it harder to judge distance because I couldn’t see the line during the cast. On balance, the enhanced presentation outweighs any minor issues. I won’t need to write to Mr Robjent.