My day started with a leisurely drive in the cool cabin of the Volvo listening to Beethoven. I was beside the river by noon and spent an hour wandering around looking for fish and admiring the scenery. It was hot, breezy and the air was clean. It felt more like the South of France than Hampshire.
I found two large Salmon, some Chub and Grayling in a back eddy under a line of scrub Willow. A much larger salmon occupied a lie in midstream. The fish looked relaxed and the Chub were feeding. I sat and watched the shoal for twenty minutes, they were easy to see in the bright sunlight even though the eddy was five to six feet deep.
I bent a few stems to enlarge the letterbox through which I would waggle the rod. I laid the landing net over some plants that were out of reach and tied on a Walker’s Sedge. The stage was set. The first couple of casts, into the wind, were short. I pushed a little harder and the leader curled nicely towards the bank. One of the Chub turned and followed the fly downstream before rejoining the shoal.
The same fish took the fly gently the next cast. It ran downstream but failed to get it’s head in the weeds. It was a struggle to get it in the landing net. The fish was a bit thin after spawning and weighed about 3lbs. A great start to the day.
The three Salmon weighed between 12lbs and 15lbs and I surrendered my Beat to a couple of Salmon anglers in exchange for the shade of Beat Three. I had lunch and gathered my thoughts before exploring the top pool. There were a lot of good sized Trout in the pool, wandering around and occasionally rising to take a fly.
I had chosen the silk line to help with presentation. I hooked a fish on a Walker’s Sedge but it escaped. I wandered down the true right bank and returned to the top of the Beat up the opposite bank. I found several fish but spooked them with wayward casts. The silk line was too fine in the tip and impossible to cast accurately in the head wind. I had afternoon tea and swapped back to the Rio Chalkstream Special.
The fish had settled and were feeding delicately on midges in the fast water. I tried various flies but the fish were educated and rejected all of them. I chose a Black Neoprene Buzzer and the tippet moved away on the first cast. I lifted into the fish but it also escaped as it came to the landing net. After resting the pool I presented the fly to a rising Trout and to my surprise, it took confidently. I played it gently and I was relieved when the landing net engulfed the fish.
I spent some time offering the buzzer to Trout and Grayling but the pattern was no longer effective. I will have to experiment with various coloured buzzers on my next visit.