A lunchtime finish on the 3rd saw me head off to use a guest ticket I had won in a raffle, for a club whose waiting list I am on. To cut a long story short I wasted a couple of hours looking at various bits of water; I struggled to find anywhere worth fishing as a lot of the river was over grown both inside and out of the water. Access was restricted on one of the sections I looked at due to a barbed wire fence that created a buffer patch - great for the river, but not so good for the wader-wearing angler who incidentally was fishing a river with a no wading rule!
I conceded defeat and headed to the smaller club river that has been so kind to me recently; I had permission to fish late so it didn't bother me that I didn't get there until late afternoon. I made my way to the bottom of the long glide where I had fished last week with Tom. I knew there were fish here and the number of mayfly spinners in the air and flitting along the rivers surface gave me hope of good sport.
|Oliver Edwards' Mohican Mayfly|
|JP Pupa - Scruffy Dubbing caddis green|
A few casts proved to be too short, anxious to not spook the fish I gave it a rest while watching. Lengthening more line it took a couple more casts before the fly landed where I wanted. A confident rise was met with a firm lift and the fish was on. Boring deep into the undercut on my near-side the fish tore up and down, doubling over my little six footer. I saw the trout more than once, it was colossal. I remained calm and met its every move with a counter move, side-strain was my allie. However, as with all big trout, this one knew what it was doing, finding a small but thick branch in the undercut it had successfully caught my line around it. I was still in contact and remained confident, this may have been my downfall.
Tightening down to the fish, I made a fatal error. Initially it was the furled leader that was entangled around the branch, the result of my shortening my line meant the tippet was now in contact with it, the furled leader ultimately being stronger than the mono. All this was happening inches away from me, I could see the trout trying to get away - then it happened. I watched without it registering as the trout shot off, a few seconds later the realisation hit, it was gone. As I snapped and pulled the branch out before throwing it into the bank I vowed we would meet again, I was confident of it.
Surprisingly there was little dejection flowing through me, it was just one of those things - some you win, others you lose. Tying on another fly I fished out the run missing a take, the deep pool failed to provide any comfort.
|Foam-Winged Mayfly Spinner|
Several well positioned casts failed to lure the trout as it took flies around the spinner. I was beginning to have doubts whether it was mayfly spinners it was taking; I spent some more time observing. There were the very occasional olive spinner drifting down the current, but their numbers were dwarf by the larger mayflies. I persevered and eventually my persistence was rewarded, a much more powerful lift than I would normally firmly attached the fish to my hook - and it held. I was led a merry dance by this fish - the trout in this river love their undercuts - but the little six foot rod performed beautifully.
Fishing a little further on without success I quickly cut my losses and headed home. Despite losing that monster you can't go home after catching such a splendid fish and my biggest so far.