7 June – Abbey

Although I had walked the Beat several times I had never fished the wide, slow stretch of the Tavy. It was a long drive through the woods, down a deeply rutted and rocky forestry track but the Defender rattled along confidently. As I sorted through my fly boxes a Buzzard mewed high above the valley and a raven croaked from the top of a tall fir tree.

I wove my way through the waist high nettles and low hanging brush into the intense sunlight. As I sat beside a tree lined pool and threaded the fly line through the rod rings, a Trout took a fly from the surface only a few yards away.  It was an encouraging sign. The water was crystal clear and a light upstream breeze ruffled the surface delaying the passage of debris and hatching  insects.

Olives, midges and the occasional Mayfly provided a feast for the fish and noisy, splashy rises every few minutes revealed their position. Usually along the far tree line or in midstream, way beyond my casting range. The slow, deep water was littered with the sunken remains of mature trees, washed downstream by the winter spates. It was impossible to wade and my backcast was restricted but I managed to work the big pool with a heavily weighted nymph. The fish were not impressed and gradually the rises petered out.

I wandered downstream,  stopping occasionally to watch the water and to explore some of the holding pools. The sun was sinking but it was too bright for both me and the fish. I walked back along the path and stood under an old Oak close to the waters edge. A Trout was rising frequently below an overhanging Willow bush, gentle, sipping rises for either emerging Mayflies or buzzers. I circled around, using the long grass as cover, to position myself just below the bush. A parachute Pheasant Tail was a good choice of fly but I missed the take. I rested the fish which resumed feeding but it wouldn’t respond and eventually went down.

I moved upstream, checking the pools and faster water. It was too bright, I should have waited a couple of hours longer but as usual, my impatience had lead to an early start. An electric blue Kingfisher whizzed past only a foot off the water and disappeared into the tree tunnel. I returned to the feeding Trout and gave it the choice of a tiny midge imitation and a Mayfly to no avail. A clumsy cast ended my chances and I fought my way back to the Defender through the undergrowth.

It had been a demanding trip. The sun was too bright and the fish were sheltering out of reach. I will return late one evening and try again.