Another lunchtime finish on Friday - I think I've only fished once in the morning before work so far this season. Tom was working at home and would be joining me later on, I had already planned my afternoon and knew where I wanted to fish.
There is a section on the urban river I fish that remains relatively untouched, this is because it is penetrable; concrete banks encased by a canopy of tree branches and a barricade of brambles at the top of the banks, means it cannot be fished from the bank. During the early part of the season you can see a good number of fish before the leaves obscure the view so there ought to be fish around. Fishing here also gave me an excuse to use my much favoured six foot rod, that said side casting would still be the order of the day.
Walking downstream to just beyond the trees I spotted a rather nice grayling, at least for this part of the river. Easing into the river above the fish; obstructions meant a traditional upstream approach was impossible. Standing in the edge of the river I quietly set up while allowing my surroundings to settle.
Ahead of me and across the far side a fish rose directly above a small bush that hung over the river's surface. Unable to refuse a rising fish I tied on a quill bodied cdc shuttlecock, a small trout threw itself on to the hook. The rises stopped after that, but I guess a fish is a fish.
At the very top a small weir forms a convenient boundary, it is often quite productive but again the low flows and excessive weed made the pool virtually inhabited except for a plump ten inch fish which was the biggest trout from the urban river.
By this point it was time for me to meet Tom, after a fifteen minute drive I arrived at our bottom-most fly beat; I waited a while before Tom showed up. We walked the end of the beat, I had changed rods, taking my Lexa with me and intending to set up a french leader, Tom had his 8' four weight and opted to fish dries, we agreed to use which ever rod suited the particular bit of water we were fishing.
After faffing around looking at the very bottom end of the beat we settled on a short glide below a pool on a sharp bend. We saw many small dark caddis fluttering in little swarms, Tom tied on a dark deer hair winged caddis with a hares ear body. After many casts and a couple of missed rises, Tom caught a grayling, a great start for him. I fished a lot of water before I too finally caught a grayling using the French leader, another followed; although we had seen trout, so far there was not a sniff from one.
By now it was getting dark, we tried a pool that has fished well previously, last time I fished there, there was a cracking medium olive hatch. With the river so low and lacking flow the dynamics of the pool had changed, either way nothing moved and we walked up on to the riffle above. Ahead of this was a long stretch of generally uniform channel and flow. The light had almost gone, Tom and I have been talking about glow in the dark flies, a la Glen Pointon. Tom was the first to experiment, a glow in the dark post klinkhamer the first offering. More just to see what the fly looked like on the water Tom had half a dozen casts in the smooth water ahead of us. One drift was quietly interrupted by a tiny rise in the middle of the river, Tom lifted in to the fish and we were both left in shock as the rod jagged ferociously, the line parted quickly, the only evidence that remained was a boil in the surface that faded as it drifted down in the current. That concluded the end of our evening, on the walk back to the car we couldn't help but talk of that fish and the comparative absence of trout, a rather strange evening.