26 September – Burrator

The north wind was blustery, swirling around as it passed over Leather Tor and dipped down into the steep sided valley. The clouds moved quickly across the blue sky, creating patches of sunlight on Down Tor to the East and the steep side of Sheeps Tor to the South.

The water level was very low, a rocky beach stretched around the entire circumference of the reservoir. The wall along the north bank, normally submerged, was ten feet above the water level. Coarse sand filled the gaps between the granite boulders along the shoreline which prevented the wavelets from colouring the margins. The water was crystal clear and the trout would have no trouble finding my flies.

I started on a point where I had seen a fish move a couple of hours earlier. The smooth sandy bottom dropped away quickly a rod length out. The wind was mainly left to right but violently switched direction every few minutes. The fish were feeding high in the water and I decided to start with an unweighted black spider. I cast the line across the wind and let it form a long bow, in the style of Arthur Cove. When the wind was helpful I fed the fly line out under the rod tip and watched it drift out into the bay. After an hour I decided that I needed a weighted fly, the spider was skating across the surface in the high wind.

I swapped to a heavy Red Tag which anchored the leader and produced a steady curve in the fly line. A splashy take was followed by a series of long runs which helped me sort out the tangles and get the fish onto the reel. I was surprised at the size of the rainbow, it fought well above its weight and shrunk as it entered the landing net. I released the trout.

Halfway through a drift I saw a rise to my right, lifted off and presented the fly accurately. Another fighting fit rainbow hit the fly and took line, I thought it might be bigger than the first trout but it was identical in colour and size. I also released that fish.

I got into a rhythm and expected to catch a few more. Thirty minutes later I had a tap on the line but I couldn’t induce the fish to take properly. An hour later I had another half-hearted inquiry but didn’t convert it.

The wind dropped which prevented me from drifting the fly effectively and made the fly line more visible. I was exhausted from constant casting in the blustery wind and decided not to fish the evening rise. I had caught sufficient.