28 April – River Plym

The first May Bank Holiday would bring hordes of walkers, cyclists and campers. I decided to take advantage of a brief lull in the rain and visit the river. A peaceful walk beside a Dartmoor river with a fly rod would balance the onslaught of Lycra maniacs, disposable barbeques and litter.

The warm north west wind and sparse cloud cover prompted a hatch of olives and I kept an eye on the water as I threaded the fly line through the rod rings. I started with a few upstream casts on a broad riffle with several deep channels in the bed rock. Just to get in the zone and straighten the fly line. After retrieving my fly from a hazel tree, I moved upstream to the first big pool.

The water had a peaty tint and a nice flow, the level was slightly above normal. I explored the sandy margins of a back eddy with an extra heavy GRHE nymph expecting a take at any second. I extended the cast and ran the fly down the bubble line and then through the depths of the fast water along the far bank. Nothing.

I had imagined the woodland covered with bluebells and wild garlic. I found a solitary patch of garlic. The bluebells were sparse, held back by the shade of the trees and cold weather during April. They would be at their best in a couple of weeks.

I walked slowly upstream, scanning the depths for any movement. I paused on a shingle beach and cast upstream, allowing the nymph to trundle down through a small pool next to the sheer rock face along the opposite bank. I saw a dipper and heard a kingfisher but the trout were absent.

I reached the middle of the Beat where in previous seasons, I had seen both fish and mayflies. I sat behind cover and concentrated on covering the entire pool and run out. There were no footprints or paw prints in the sand, similarly no trout were at home.

I walked back downstream and reworked the big pool. I lost concentration and had to rescue my favourite nymph from a tree. Time to go. It had been a lovely, relaxing walk without the distractions of the real world.