3 April – River Tavy

Spring had arrived in Devon. The morning was dull but warm with a south easterly wind. I wanted a peaceful few hours beside the water without kids or spaniels. I opted for a stretch of the Tavy reserved for members. The plan was to travel light, walk the entire Beat and winkle out a couple of trout.

The overcast burnt off leaving clean air, fluffy white clouds and a bright blue sky. The water was clear with a slight green tint, it raced through the riffles and channels in the rock.

Olives hatched and drifted upwards but there was no sign of rising trout. If a trout had risen to intercept a fly it would probably have gone unseen in the turbulent water. The choice of fly was obvious, a heavily weighted nymph.

I started by covering a deep channel in midstream, constantly mending the line to allow the fly to get down deep. Each drift lasted about ten seconds before the fly dragged over the lip of a riffle. It was hard work. I moved down a few yards and allowed the fly to trundle round in a back eddy.

A few wagtails moved along the river picking off Olives but there was little to distract me until a couple of youngsters and a dog appeared beside the river well upstream of me. End of term games on a sandy beach beside a torrent of cold water and a dog off the lead. What could possibly go wrong ? As I moved further downstream I wondered what I would do if a dog or child floated past.

I explored the eddies under the bank and drifted the nymph through the deep flat water, there was no response. I eventually reached the deep pool near the end of the Beat but there was too much water for nymphing, it was like an industrial washing machine. I sat and watched the water for a while and then wandered back to the Defender.

I had a soggy foot and a muddy backside. I was tired and dehydrated but content with my efforts. The weather had been glorious and it was good to be back on the river making a genuine attempt to catch a trout rather than messing about.

I have yet to catch my first trout of the season.