I hadn’t fished the stretch of river closest to the cottage. I’d abandoned a previous visit because I found the river in spate, it was a washing machine. Recent disputes over access had discouraged me from fishing but with only a few weeks before the end of the season, I felt that it was time to explore the river properly. I could have walked to the Beat but I conserved my energy and took the Defender.
The river is wild, no strimming or pruning, access to the water is tricky. It’s jungle fishing. I followed a stream down into the valley, crossed the ford and found the first pool. On the rocky margin I found Jaws! A decent fish at last. I thought about the child, playing in the river with a favourite toy, watching it swim off downstream, lost, never to be seen again. I put the plastic monster in my pocket, a great momento of the day. It was a sign from Isaac.
I fished the fast water and worked the nymph around the roots of the overhanging trees. I was surprised by the lack of a response, perhaps my approach had been clumsy. I wandered upstream, weaving the long rod carefully between the trees, looking for deeper water. I worked a few riffles and pools, rolling out the line under the trees, without any takes. Eventually the bracken and briars prevented from approaching the river and I turned back.
I found a long straight riffle with some deeper stretches, kept off the skyline and worked the water down and across. The rod grew heavy and I lifted into a little brownie. It was a very dark fish and quite plump. I fished down the rest of the Beat without troubling the trout. The walk out of the deep valley was tiring. Twice I fell over on boggy ground. I was relieved to reach the Defender and relax in the cab while cooling off.