13 July – River Tavy

The conditions were perfect, recent rain, overcast and not too windy. I decided to fish a Beat that I had walked in March but not yet fished. I arrived late in the afternoon and walked down into the valley in light rain. There were footprints and a few wheel tracks but the bankside vegetation hadn’t been trodden down.

The first pool I saw was a long curving run beside a rockface with a riffle at the top. As I watched the water a good fish rose for a sedge so I sheltered under a tree and setup the rod.


The rain got heavier but I hunkered down on the stony beach and worked the pool with a nymph. A good fish flashed gold in the amber coloured water. The Trout turned and flashed repeatedly,  just like a hooked fish. It was over a patch of coarse sand just on the edge of deep water.  Occasionally it took a sedge in an aggressive rise. I tried various nymphs and a Walker’s Sedge but there was no response.


I was crouched among the granite stones, well camouflaged and with a low profile. A very large Herring Gull flew towards me low over the tree line on my left. As I turned to watch, my movement alarmed the giant bird and it veered away. Seconds later there was a thump on the ground, it had dropped something. It was the remains of a Sea Trout, ‘A Sign From Isaac‘. I didn’t know whether to laugh at the irony or be annoyed about the predation of a valuable fish. It was the most bizarre thing to have happened to me while fishing. Ever.


Distracted and bewildered, I changed the fly to a black and silver spider and fished it hard against the rockface in the main current. As the fly swung under the overhanging branches the line became heavy and a fish was on. Only for a few seconds. It was a small Sea Trout.

Although I concentrated and fished a couple of other runs there were no more takes. I was soaked to the skin and the long walk out of the valley was exhausting. I felt that I was getting closer to landing a good Trout from one of the Dartmoor rivers.