The weather was perfect; warm, overcast and a gentle breeze. How could I continue with chores when the Bank Holiday crowds had dispersed and the fish were waiting? I had planned on fishing my favourite Tavy pools but I realised that I had misread the rota. I eased the Defender out of the garage and headed south towards the Plym. A column of sunburnt 42 Commando Royal Marines marched back into barracks as I dropped down into the deep river valley and found a parking space by the bridge. The river looked beautiful, a few inches up with a hint of colour.
The water temperature was 14 degrees and upwinged flies were everywhere so I started in a fast run with a dry fly. The line curled out nicely and the fly rode the current convincingly back downstream towards me. The likely holding places, crevices in the bedrock and behind stones, failed to hold anything and I moved upstream to the first deep pool. As I approached quietly through the trees, a Sea Trout leapt and noisily splashed back into the water. I swapped the dry fly for a Teal, Blue and Silver and slid down the rocks at the head of the pool on my backside. The fast broken water and rock ledges hid me from the spooky fish and as I rolled out the first cast I had high hopes of a take. I worked the pool methodically, gradually extending line without a response. I’d try again in a couple of hours.
The bluebells were a distraction as I made my upstream along the riverside path. A combination of anglers, deer and badgers had crushed the stems and leaves which enhanced the flowery perfume. I sat beside a fallen tree at the head of a long pool where a culvert joined the main river on the far bank. The eddy had produced fish for me and I swapped the fly for a weighted nymph which would drop into the deeper water quickly. No bead, just a few turns of lead wire. As I was about to cast a lone Mayfly fluttered into the air and passed close over my head into the trees behind me. I was surprised to see a Mayfly on an acid moorland spate river, it lifted my spirits.
After exploring the eddy and the main pool, I rose from behind the ferns and turned to leave just as a good Trout rose close to the near bank. It was mocking my efforts, telling me that I should have used a dry fly, not a nymph. I fished the first pool again with a heavier fly but I had a feeling that the Sea Trout had seen me and retired to the safety of the tree roots.
It had been a lovely walk, I hadn’t seen anyone and fishing was a bonus. My tactics had been wrong, I would return late one evening with just a box of dry flies.