After yesterdays jungle fishing on the Plym I fancied an evening in the open air on a bigger river. The weather had been Mediterranean all day and the village was deserted, everyone had gone to the beach. The Defender crept down the rocky track in 1st gear and emerged from the trees beside the river. The engine died in a clatter and peace descended on the valley. There were no noisy kids or barbeques, I had the Beat to myself.
Clouds of Olive Spinners filled the air and midges buzzed around my head. The sound of rushing water encouraged me to set up my rod quickly but I paused to check for missed rings. I tied a heavy tippet to the new leader and walked upstream to a long wide riffle where I could have a few practice casts and check the weight of my fly.
I could see every rock on the riverbed and the crests of the broken water were pristine white, perfect conditions if I kept a low profile. I concentrated on the long run below a deep cauldron of foaming water convinced that a Trout lived somewhere in the fifty yard stretch. Cast, mend, hang and step carefully along the marginal sand. Nothing. A Sea Trout jumped in the flat water on the far side of the current and raised my expectations. It didn’t react to my carefully presented flies.
I found some slack water off a spit of granite. The rock was hard but warm and as I fidgeted about, trying to get comfortable, a smolt took the GRHE nymph. I released the plump little fish into the shallows and it arrowed back into deep water none the worse for visiting me.
The Hut Pool deserved my full attention. I used the ridges of granite to avoid sky-lining and waited for a sign. An insignificant rise in the back eddy on my left was repeated several times. A feeding fish was well within casting range. I presented a parachute Pheasant Tail, a good imitation of an Olive Spinner, to the satisfaction of the Trout which seized it immediately. It was a feisty little brownie. I was pleased to have caught fish on both a nymph and a dry fly.
On previous trips I hadn’t ventured further downstream to Major Kenneth Dawson’s rock, weariness from the long walk had usually kicked in. Thanks to ‘Land-River’ I was still strong, I climbed the gate and dropped down to water level along a culvert and stood where, over a hundred years ago, the Major is said to have caught many fish. I fished a weighted, flashy fly down and across and hooked a fish but it summersaulted off the barbless hook. The light was failing and I’d had enough. The Defender rattled back up the track which had become even more deeply rutted by the heavy rain a couple of weeks ago.
The fine weather is coming to an end, am I fit enough to fish the high moor?