24 June – River Tavy

It had been a roasting hot day, kids played in the weir pool until the evening, shouting, screaming and having a great time. The breeze was warm and the sky cloudless. I watched the children wading around on the bedrock from my vantage point high on the old bridge. The fish were not unduly worried, they drifted away from the little white feet and hid in crevices or behind stones. The water level had dropped about a foot in four days and the water was clearer than a chalk stream.

I waited until the sun went down before leaving the house and thought about the Beat on the short drive to the valley. The journey had become familiar and the final plunge down the rock strewn track held no fears. I’d walked the Beat in March and remembered the long straight valley, the sides of which were covered in an old pine forest. It looked like an advert for ‘Consulate‘ cigarettes filmed in the wilds of Alaska. There were hundreds of Grey Wagtails on the rocks and a kingfisher zoomed upstream. The darkness of the fir trees somehow enhanced it’s electric blue plumage.


I walked upstream and tried some tricks with the silk line. Spey casting and roll casting don’t present a dry fly well. I rose a couple of fish but I was not quick enough. I’m used to the slow motion rise of an Itchen monster or the yank of a Rother two pounder. The little moorland brownies were very quick to eject a fly. Olives were hatching all along the river but although I persisted with with a size 14 Olive, the fish were more interested in the Iron Blue.


I moved downstream to the fishing hut and spent the rest of the evening trying to tempt a fish from the long wide pool under a big Oak. The small resident fish moved away as I encroached on their lies. A couple of Sea Trout leapt but as darkness fell I left the pool and walked back to the car. Although I hadn’t caught anything, I was content that I was on the right track.