This is the sort of afternoon when we all want to be on a river. It’s warm, a little overcast and the water looks the perfect height for dry fly.
There is a pleasure in knowing a river well. There is also an excitement exploring somewhere new. The frustration of wasting some time or of having to backtrack is always offset by discovering what is around the next bend.
I turn onto the small track, unsure if I’m in the right place and as I only have a few hours, I want to make the most of it. I can’t possibly fish the whole beat, so I focus on the first few hundred yards. Access is easy and the only disturbance I make involves a few ewe’s and lambs relocating as I approach.
Initially I don’t see any surface activity, but I’ve only been here a few minutes.
At the bottom of the beat I decide to fish the far bank. It’s the tail of a nice looking pool with a few features to offer fish some protection. Of course, it’s good practice to fish the water you’re about to step into, so I strip some line and with no real sense of purpose I flick the fly a little upstream. I get a take as the fly hits the water and moments later I’m unhooking a greedy little 5″ brownie.
Whenever something like this happens it serves as a good reminder that fish can crop up in the least likely places.
Over the next two hours I make my way upstream, cast to and catch several risers. Today I’m struck by how subtle that rise can be. Barely a dimple on the surface. It’s so easy to miss particularly if I’m tuned into the more obvious rises. There are small olives, spinners and sedges trickling off, with midges abundant too.
As I’m stalking a fish on the far side of the food seam, I catch a glimpse in my peripheral vision of a disturbance much closer to me. Unsure if it’s a fish, I make a short cast across my body and after just a yard or two of the drift the trout takes the elk hair emerger.
My initial reaction is surprise as I’m expecting another small brownie, but this one takes off like a train and I only just stop him from diving under a submerged log. After giving me a run around and a few of those heart stopping moments I slide the net under. He is just over 16″ and a real lump. This season I have caught plenty of smallish trout in fewer outings than I would like, but a half decent fish has eluded me. I’ve got too familiar playing and handling smaller fish. This one, the seasons best so far, is very satisfying.
A bit like my first catch of the day, the trout is taken in twelve inches of water just three yards from the bank. Water I’ve already stepped through in pursuit of others.
In a couple of hours I manage eight fish, bump off two more and all on a dry fly.
This beat looks great and the map suggests there could be another half mile to explore next time. I’m looking forward to coming back and seeing around the next bend.