10 June – River Tamar

I’d heard on the grapevine that the fish were rising on the Tamar and that the recent rain had freshened up the river. I arrived at lunchtime, filled my pockets with a good selection of toffees and flies and walked across the fields keeping well away from the bull. The river had a brown tint but I could see the rocks scattered about in midstream, nothing was rising. I walked slowly to the top of the Beat, pausing for a few minutes at each gap in the trees. Mayfly were hatching and Blue Winged Olives were coming off in good numbers.

Blue Winged Olive

I fished the slow glides, rolling a nymph under the trees. I bumped a small fish which gave me confidence. I moved downstream until I reached the Ladder of Death and descended about 10 feet onto a rocky outcrop above a riffle. The glide above the riffle was shallow but the pool was deep and stretched for about a hundred yards, lots of water to explore. Sitting on a flat rock near midstream and casting from beneath an overhanging ash tree was challenging. While untangling the rod tip from a branch the line grew tight and I lifted into a fish. It felt like a good trout but to my surprise, it morphed into a graying. It was about 1lb, not a monster but a very welcome visitor to the bank.

I released the fish and decided to continue fishing that pool in the hope that a shoal of grayling lived there. I moved further along the line of rocks creating the riffle and found a comfy seat facing downstream. The casts flowed and I got into a rhythm. I heard a fish rise behind me in the glide. I flicked the nymph above the rise but the fish had moved on. A few minutes later there was a splashy rise on the lip of the riffle. I put the nymph about five yards upstream and just as the fly line started to drag into the fast water, a fish seized the fly and dashed downstream through the rocks and into the pool. I was convinced it was a trout but a much better graying eventually came to hand.

Fish began to rise in the glide, I saw several dimples within casting range. They were sipping down BWOs trapped in the surface film. I covered a few fish without response. I dropped the nymph about ten yards above the rocks, towards the far bank. Again, as the line started to drag, a fish grabbed the fly. There was no doubt about it’s identity, the brownie jumped repeatedly before heading through a gap in the rocks and releasing itself. It was a good fish, over 1lb, but I was not too miffed.

The wind strengthened and black clouds gathered along the horizon. I’d had a challenging but enjoyable couple of hours. The bull had followed the herd to an adjacent field, all was well in the world.