Presentation was everything, it was a very exacting day on the river. I signed in at Keepers Bridge and walked upstream, past a lot of pools that normally produce a fish. The pools looked lifeless under the oppressive grey sky. It felt as if a thunder storm was about to unload torrential rain. I was heading for Perryfields but I couldn’t resist the temptation to explore the gaps in the trees just below the old riffle. The water looked a bit murky so I started with a Black Spider. No response. I felt sure that the Trout were hiding under the bushes but nothing moved. I walked upstream to the flat water above the riffle. There is usually a fish under the trees just above the fast water. I persevered with the black fly and after twenty minutes the water surged and swirled just as I was lifting off to recast. I had found a feeding fish. I worked the pool down and across then stood in the riffle and cast up under the trees. I wondered if I had put the fish down but just as I was turning to leave the water, the fish rose for a Mayfly under the tree branch.
I returned to my original position at the top of the pool and tied on a Mayfly spinner. I let the fly drift down in midstream. It was inspected by the fish, it was a very detailed inspection. The fly was rejected. I swapped the fly for another spinner with a dense black hen hackle wing. That was also rejected. I was amused by the Trout’s reaction to the flies. I chose a white Neoprene bodied pattern, that didn’t even get a glance. Finally, I selected a size 14 badger wing and hackle pattern. That was taken immediately. The fish was about 1lb 12ozs and in lovely condition.
I moved upstream towards Perryfields Barn and found a fish feeding in a pool that, on a previous visit, was full of rising Trout. As I arrived a fish rose in midstream just under an Alder tree. I slid down the grass and sat behind the fringe of weeds. The first couple of casts were hopeless. Tangles, rod wraps and hooked weeds. I calmed down, took aim and flicked the fly out. It landed perfectly, the tippet curled upstream and the fly was seized by the fish which looked like a wild brownie about 1lb. The photos later revealed a damaged pelvic fin. The tell tale mark of a stock fish.
I crossed the bridge to the north bank and walked downstream to the muddy cattle drink. As I crept towards the pool a good fish rose for a Mayfly. It kept rising. I dried the fly, replaced the tippet and made sure the fly line was not tangled on the reel. Everything was ready. I couldn’t reach the fish from the bank, the fly dragged before it got to the Trout. I inched forwards into the cattle drink and crouched on the firm mud near the edge. A sideways cast under a tree branch, a short drift and then a take. I connected but it was not my target fish. It was a small wild brownie which I released from the landing net.
The big fish kept rising but further downstream around a bend. I could only cover the fish from the south bank so I walked back to the bridge and retraced my steps. The fish was below the bend in midstream and the cast looked quite easy. I checked everything except the fly which I had removed from the wild fish with forceps. On the third or fourth attempt the fly sailed down the current, under the bush and into the Trout’s mouth. I lifted the rod and felt no resistance. I thought I had missed the fish but on checking the tippet the fly had gone. I must have nicked the tippet with the forceps. Sloppy, I should have checked everything.
I was hot and tired. Three fish in an afternoon was sufficient but it should have been four. I was glad of a cold drink and a toffee before I drove home.