11 August – River Tavy

I got my gear ready early in the morning but then had a frustrating day, unable to leave home, while watching the clock and the rain clouds approaching Devon. Eventually, late in the afternoon, I turned the ignition key and eased the Defender out of its new home.

The track down into the valley had been washed out by the recent heavy rain and the ground was even more demanding. The deep ruts and exposed rocks, damp from the drizzle, eventually petered out and I left the Defender on flat ground near the river.

I watched the water for a few minutes. It looked perfect, a little higher than normal and lightly stained by the peat on Dartmoor. I wandered up to the top of the Beat, using the waist high ferns for cover, until I reached a riffle with a long wide pool and plenty of slack water.

I flicked the weighted nymph into the main current and let it drift down and across. I used some of the rounded granite rocks protruding from the shallow water to hang the nymph in the slacks. After a few casts the rod rattled and I connected with the first Trout of the evening. I slipped the barbless hook from its lower jaw and it shot away so quickly that I didn’t see its departure. The misty drizzle hung in the tops of the fir trees and the mature oaks beside the river dripped on me. I ignored the weather, there were Trout to catch.

I fished the rest of the pool, expecting another take from behind one of the many rocks, but the fish were not impressed. Further downstream the main flow of the river was funneled into a deep cleft in the bedrock. The water was dark and I was confident that I would get a take. A fish rose several times to snatch small flies off the surface and I wondered if it was worth swapping my weighted nymph for something lighter. Impatience kicked in and I positioned the nymph a few feet above the rising fish which shot to the surface and grabbed the fly. It became airborne and shook the hook. The rain got heavier and I sheltered beside the trunk of an ancient oak, watching for signs of fish. The clouds drifted away and I made my way down to the very deep pool that always contains several fish.

I crept across the table sized platforms of slate to approach the fast broken water at the top of the pool. Moving carefully downstream after each cast, I covered the throat of the pool and the big eddy under the oak tree. Nothing. I wondered if newly arrived Seat Trout and Salmon had chased the small brownies out of the best lies.

The rain became more persistent and tired from crawling over granite and slate, I withdrew. The journey out of the valley tested the Defender and I resolved not to use the Volvo for fishing trips in the rain. I relaxed with a single malt and recalled the evenings adventure. The scenery was stunning and I had caught a Trout. Excellent.