3 August – River Tavy

The Devon air was fresh and clean and so were the rivers. There were lots of rivers to explore but I was drawn to the Tavy. I probably should have widened my horizons but I’d caught Trout there on a previous visit and my confidence was high. The ground was firm and dry which would allow me to navigate the steep track down the side of the valley in the knowledge that I would be able to drive out later that evening. The high pressure and hot weather had returned. So had the children and spaniels, a late start was called for.


I was impatient. As usual. It was tea time when I arrived, I could hear the splashing and shrieks long before I reached the river. The smell of wood smoke drifted down the valley and a Buzzard mewed just above the ancient Oak trees. I approached the pool quietly, keeping to the tree line. I passed two chattering women less than a few yards away without attracting their attention. A young boy hurled rocks into the deepest pool. Further upstream I sat and watched the water for an hour. Each pebble and crease in the bedrock was visible. The water level was good and the runs and pools all held trout. The surface of the water was alive with midges and a few sedges fluttered around the river.


I walked to the footbridge where the Tavy and Walkham meet, the rivers each have their own character. The Tavy is wide and strong, big brother to the Walkham. I spent most of the evening watching the water and taking photos but when I returned to the Big Pool the humans had been replaced by kingfishers and the urge to cast a fly took over. I sat quietly on the stones and tried dry flies, buzzers and a Black and Silver Spider but the fish were unimpressed. The Sea Trout were leaping but not taking and with each cast their activity moderated. I repeatedly told myself to stay until dark but I was tired and frustrated. Next time perhaps, after the rain.