The little track down to the Usk is overgrown and unlikely the right way. I’ve been here before though, so I know I’m only a few hundred yards from parking up and only a few more from the river.
The path is overgrown too and I take my time, a slip here could spoil my afternoon. The river looks spot on, just the right height, running clear, but it’s sunny and the water still feels cold
I’m grabbing a couple of hours on a middle Usk beat at the last minute. Today was supposed to be busy with other stuff, but no complaints, I’m on the river.
I’ve seen so few rises this season that when I spot a fish rising on the far bank as I walk down the beat, I stop and plan my approach. This turns out to be one of just five rises I see. I catch two of the five in the first hour, presumably I’m too clumsy for the others.
I’m pleased that my size 18 olive emerger does the trick as today I’m only fishing a dry fly and I pass over the faster water at the top of the beat, in favour of the more likely dry fly water. My first cast is good enough and a 12″ brownie comes to the net, followed ten minutes later by another.
Today resembles one of those days that I yearn for during the colder months, perfect in every respect, apart from the distinct lack of fish. It’s a similar story to a week ago and a week before that. Everything looks just right, except the fish don’t show.
I continue to prospect with the dry, concentrating on the far bank and I manage to rise and catch two more brownies to the olive emerger and an Adams.
A hundred yards upstream is a family messing around with a dog splashing in the margins, so I slow down and take a break. I just sit, take a drink and watch the river. There are some duns coming off and I see two yellow mays, but no fish are interested.
I’m tempted to stay longer but I’ve promised my daughter a barbecue. I can catch some more if I work the faster water with nymphs but as this is a dry fly day, I call it a day.
On the way home, near Raglan, I’m held up by a driver doing 25mph. Driving a Defender, it’s rare that I find much going slower than me. There’s a certain irony that the ‘go slow’ is driving a Suzuki Swift. I bide my time, drop down a gear and plant my right foot. There’s a three to four second pause as the land rover tries to work out what’s happened, before doing it’s best to respond. It’s quite possibly the first time I overtake anything moving in my Defender.
Today I enjoy a few hours on the Usk on a warm Spring day and catch four smallish trout on a dry fly. Nothing too remarkable. However, I’ll remember the day for the rush of adrenaline as I see the Suzuki driver mouthing “hooligan” in my mirror as he eats my dust.