22 March – River Plym

Cottage chores or fishing? A Blue Winged Olive settled on the window frame, it was a sign from Isaak. A Merlin helicopter passed overhead on its way to 42 Commando HQ at Bickleigh, that was another sign; I should fish my favourite river, the Plym. The weather forecast was for cold, easterly winds but as I looked over the bridge parapet in the village, a gentle south-westerly was hardly enough to disturb a cloud of midges. How do they get the forecast so wrong ?

Yellow Spotted Sedge

The gorse was on fire at three separate locations to the north of the main Plymouth road and traffic had been diverted across the moor causing traffic jams. I eventually arrived at the river and hopped over the barbed wire into the quiet, shady woodland. I started at the pool just below the bridge. Sedges were hatching everywhere and a dipper frantically worked the opposite side of the pool picking off the emerging nymphs. I flicked the weighted nymph under the bridge and worked the deep water between both arches but despite my confidence nothing rattled the rod tip.

The river was crystal clear and flowing well. I crept along the waters edge, keeping low to avoid shadows. Each riffle and pool promised a fish but the fly remained unmolested. Just as I reached the most productive stretch four spaniels and a labrador crashed into the pool in pursuit of a tennis ball. Their owner looked a bit embarrassed and said that he would take the dogs further downstream. I left the river and drove to the bottom of the Beat.

Although I had removed three bin liners full of bottles and cans a few days earlier, Carlsberg cans dotted the emerging bluebell shoots like mushrooms and there were fresh embers in a fire pit. I cast upstream and worked the GRHE nymph down the channels in the bedrock. The best pool curved around a sheer rock face and I was relieved to have it to myself for thirty minutes. The sandy beach only had the footprints of deer, no humans or spaniels had been there.

No spaniels

I was slightly disappointed not to catch a trout but the warm breeze and bright spring sunshine were reason enough to be beside the river, the season is young.