5 May – Great Springs

The river level had risen after the Bank Holiday rain and I wanted to see if the Mayfly were hatching at Little Springs. I hoped to have the lakes to myself but I was surprised at the number of members around the fishing hut. A rod was bending and spirits were high, surely I could christen Southwell IV with a Trout on a Mayfly. I checked the long grass between the lakes but I couldn’t see any sign of life except a solitary crane fly. The trees were not in leaf, the buds were very small. A number of Trout were rising but it was not clear why.

I felt very confident that I would catch a few fish and loaded Southwell IV with the little Hardy Marquis and the new Rio line. Long distance casting would not be necessary, a stealthy approach was needed. The wind was blustery and constantly changing direction. I sat on the bench on the point at Great Springs which gave me an all round view of the rises and helped casting. The wind was generally from the north west and it was cold. The plan was to drift a weighted nymph across the wind and watch the tip of the line. Arthur Cove style.

After twenty minutes intense concentration the line dragged and I lifted carefully into a fish that didn’t realise it was hooked. The Trout woke up and went on a near thirty yard slanting run across the lake. I knew it was close to thirty yards because there was only a couple of turns of fly line left on the reel. It was a blue Trout and fought hard but the hook pinged out as it approached the net. Probably foul hooked, hence the angled run. Nevermind, there were plenty of fish rising.

I changed the GRHE for a longer pattern which looked more like a Mayfly nymph. As the line blew into a gentle curve on my left, I thought something looked odd and lifted the rod slowly. The fish flashed, tightened the line and was gone. I was pleased that the tactics were working but the Southwell jinx nagged me.

I moved to the main bank but the rain drove me back to the hut. The rain eased and I started casting a dry Mayfly, with an extended body, at rising fish. A Trout gulped the fly down and I missed. I lifted too soon. I searched the west side of the lake but grew cold and as the rain got heavier, I decided to call it a day.

Although I hadn’t landed a Trout I had spent an enjoyable afternoon chasing Mayfly and taking their portrait. Actually, I’d spent the majority of the time paddling in the margins and laying flat over the water. The cover image of the female dun made the trip a success.