For my birthday I had been given a day fishing on the syndicate water at Albury Park, the Duke of Northumberland’s Surrey estate. We decided to make it a relaxing occasion with a midday picnic or pub lunch to interrupt the proceedings. We were fortunate that our day coincided with the syndicate’s end of season barbeque.
We arrived at 10:30am and signed in then wandered down to the lake. The blustery Autumn wind was ruffling the surface of the water and the mature trees around the lake made the wind swirl. The wind seemed to be against me wherever I went. There were beds of weed surrounded by shallow, crystal clear water. The lake looked like a very wide chalkstream.
Downwind in the shallows I saw three trout patrolling the edge of a weedbed and cast a weighted GRHE nymph infront of them. One fish briefly followed the nymph but then turned away and they all moved out of range. After a few minutes the group of fish returned, I cast to the nearest Trout which approached the fly. It’s mouth flashed white and I lifted into my first fish of the day. It fought hard and made several long runs into the centre of the lake. It was a brownie which weighed about 2lb. It was a very dark bronze colour along it’s back, hence the name.
I moved round to the opposite side of the shallows and saw a much bigger Trout circling a small weedbed. I carefully positioned the nymph about a yard infront of the fish and it changed course slightly to intercept the fly. It shied away at the last moment. I waited for it to circle around again but the next cast was clumsy and the Trout disappeared at high speed up the lake.
I found a wooden bench next to a Willow tree and sat in the sunshine watching the fish and waiting for a monster to come within casting distance. A brownie about 4lb cruised past just under the surface. It did a few circuits around the area and then headed towards me. I dropped the nymph right in it’s path, saw the flash of white as it inhaled the fly and promptly yanked the fly out of it’s mouth. Rats. The fish gave me a dirty look and departed.
A group of four Trout wandered into range from my right and I quickly cast the nymph into the middle of the shoal. They were competing for food and one of them immediately grabbed the fly. The fish fought long and hard but just as I was about to reach for the landing net, the fly came adrift.
A few minutes later a single fish cruised past at the limit of my casting range. I double hauled and put the fly down about a foot infront of the Trout which obligingly took it and dashed away. It fought like a four pounder and a small crowd gathered on the far bank to watch. Thankfully it didn’t come off. With a brace in the net it was time for a break. Lunch was very civilized. Sunshine, wine and cake.
I returned to the wooden bench and I was soon into another good fish. I got it within reach of the net several times but it shot off across the lake. A knot in the fly line and a tangle around the reel handle were probably due to the wine. It was another brownie about 2lb.
The rain arrived and we sheltered under a huge ornamental fir tree. I was able to side cast from under the tree but because of the rain drops, I couldn’t target any trout. The rain eased and I walked around the lake to get a better view of the fish in the bright sunshine.
A group of very large Trout, some about 6lb, were milling around in the centre of the lake. I was standing in a small gap between mature trees and the gusts of wind made casting tricky. I fired a long cast into the middle of the fish and one of the fish took the nymph. Why is it always the smallest fish that gets there first ? It was a rainbow and after ten minutes battling with it, I thought it might be foul hooked. The fish was cleanly hooked and in nice condition, very bright colours.
It had been a lovely day. Autumn weather and colours. A relaxing lunch and four very hard fighting trout. Excellent.