Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Fishes Galore

I work with some great people - Lee, one of my colleagues covered my morning shift for me on Friday last week allowing me to fish all day. I was due to fish the smaller club river with Steve, which would have been his first trip to this river. Due to unforeseen circumstances Steve couldn't make it and this gave me the chance to spend the day on the river I fished the end of May.

I spent such a short amount of time there and was left captivated by the river, I couldn't wait to go back. As I had the whole day, I left a little later, missing the rush-hour traffic which gave me a much more pleasant drive. Arriving at the river it was de-ja-vue, conditions were very similar although the river looked a little lower, despite being spring fed it suffers during dry spells.

I crept into the river and crossed to the far bank; I find setting up whilst standing relatively still allows the river to settle around you and it doesn't take long for feeding fish to reveal themselves. As before I set up my self built six foot 2/3#, I can't get enough of this rod, I love it, and I love using the Waterworks ULA Purist with it.

I could see quite a few fish rising ahead of me, some were sipping, others launching full-scale attacks on late mayflies hatching off. The surface film was covered in fluff from seeds being released upstream, among the debris I could see the occasional aphid and suspected they were providing the main feast. As much as I love fishing aphid patterns I feared it would be a struggle to see such a small fly with all the rubbish on the surface. To make things easier for me and also because it is such an effective pattern I tied on a size twelve Deer Hair Emerger; this fly has probably caught the biggest majority of fish for me so far this season - it is deadly.

1st of the day 12/06/15

Small Dace

I slowly made my way up the river casting at either seen fish. or those revealing themselves with frequent rises. First fish was a plump little trout of around eight inches - I always relax more once that first fish is out of the way, no-one likes a blank. A small dace followed before I came across a larger trout that was feeding, the DHE ticked all the right boxes for this fish and a great scrap ensued. In such a confined river I was lead a merry dance as the fish tore all over the river mostly trying to get into the edges where trailing vegetation reached the water.

15" Wild Brown Trout

15" Wild Brown Trout

At twelve inches long, the trout was in great condition and clearly full of energy, as a result I had to move upstream a little and allow the river to settle down from all the commotion. Ahead of me was a deep pool on a bend and I failed to catch a single fish here last time, I had learned my error and approached with much more caution. I had caught and released around four or five trout by the time I reached the head of the pool around the corner.

Wild Brown Trout

I missed a good fish that was tucked only inches away from the bank sat in the smallest of depressions. I had watched it rise several times and as I walked past it was obvious why it had taken station there; a foam line consisting of a single file of bubbles providing a steady stream of morsels drifting down the current.

I saw a trout I recognised from my last visit, scales shimmering like gold flakes across its back makes it very distinctive, I couldn't tempt it this time. Missing a couple of really small trout, I found a small group of chub hanging around a slack part of the river, catching one sent the others in to a frenzy as they charged around scaring everything else. I spent some more time resting the river as I tried to squeeze past the frightened fish and stood still waiting for things to calm back down.


Like a small doorway, an opening in front of me was surrounded by a horrifying tangle of brambles and branches, an exact cast was needed otherwise you will certainly be fetching stuck flies. A small trout could be seen against the light bottom, hanging mid-water occasionally tilting up to take items from the surface. First cast failed to tempt it, second cast went wayward into the vegetation, thankfully it didn't remain there allowing me to seduce the small fish, however, it didn't stay on.

The river above flows over a shallow gravel bar hitting the bank and flowing hard alongside it, the bottom worn down to clay by the flow and back-lighting all the fish that lay above it - great for fish spotting. I spooked a good-sized trout and watched as it shot past me - at least it went downstream.

Another trout of similar size was stationed in a small depression near to the bank, the current flowing over its head bringing food. I watched as it darted out from its lie to intercept food. My cast landed short, not that it mattered, the trout turned on its tail and took the fly as it faced downstream. Shooting up over the gravel it used the velocity of the fast current to propel it back downstream with ferocity, heading for a tangle of sunken roots and trailing weed. Taking a few minutes I finally drew the fish over the net. Too slippery to take a picture the fish made twelve inches - they fight far harder than they ought to for their size.

As I retied my tippet and a new fly, I could hear Joe calling my name, he had seen my car and came down looking for me. I told him of my success and failures and he was surprised to hear that I had been fishing for four hours, such was the slow speed of my travel. He offered to take me and show me some of the water held by the club he is a member of - the club is generous allowing a member to rod share with a guest. Joining the river above a small weir, we waded up-river, there were a few fish ahead of where we entered the river, mostly dace, but there were one or two trout dotted about. I missed a couple of dace and trout - very poor angling on my part.

We found a large trout lying close to the near-side bank, despite several well placed casts the fish drifted away and hid under some weed. We trampled along a very overgrown bank, the river here was more a slow flowing lowland river, although it remained crystal clear. As we walked upstream the rivers pace quickened and the ribbon weed replaced with ranunculas. We changed our path from the bank to the river. As we walked the river we came across a small group of large fish, a shame we had already spooked them.

Small But Perfectly Formed

It wasn't until we reached a weir below a ford that I caught a fish, two in fact - one small, the other larger; we finished there and followed a road back to where we started. Joe dropped me off by my car as he had run out of time and had to head off. I returned to the river where I had left and crept back into the water.

Above the gravel bar a large tree over hangs the rivers surface, tickling the film with the tips of its leaves. A trout was rising underneath, not an impossible cast but tricky enough. Several attempts were needed before the fish took the DHE. Lifting firmly, the fish immediately and savagely accelerated down. the Purist singing sweetly and line was stripped off at speed. Unfortunately the fish was too powerful and I too slow, the tippet snapping like the proverbial cotton.

I spooked a couple more fish as I passed through the trailing branches, ahead was a lovely riffle, last time I fished I spooked fish from the whole length. I was determined not too fail this time, a trout of around ten inches launched itself at the fly moments after it landed, a brief fight let left me feeling pleased as I really wanted to catch a fish from this run. By the time I had reached the end of the short twenty yard section I had caught three fish in total.

The next pool up only produced one fish, it had spooked all the others which was a shame as I managed quite a few last time. This fish had an interesting black mark near its tail, an old wound that had healed with a darker pigment.

DHE Strikes Again

Interesting scar

I had now reached where the river runs at the bottom of several gardens, the river is really attractive along this stretch, the river is slightly wider and shallower as a result, ranunculas carpets the clean gravel, swaying in the current. There were a lot of fish in this area - chub, dace and the occasional trout - most were holding next to the reeds on the near bank; they provide a decent overhang and the fish generally swam under for protection.

Athripsodes cinereus Brown Silverhorn
Athripsodes cinereus - Brown Silverhorn
I caught a number of dace with the odd trout and chub mixed in, one notable trout that needed some effort in tempting, fell to a size 22 (old sizing) klinkhamer. As I reached the top of this part the river flowed under a tunnel of trees. A good swarm of caddis were zooming up and down the river, I could catch them easily enough, but getting them from the net to my container proved problematic, although I succeeded in the end and secured two specimens in my film canister. I later identified them as Athripsodes cinereus Brown Silverhorn after taking some photographs.

Sunset Gold

I changed over to a Balloon caddis and caught two more trout from under the trees. By this point it was time to leave, it had been a long and extraordinary day, I caught upwards of thirty fish, mostly trout with a good number of dace and a few chub.

Days like this are good for you, because although I do like to pursue larger than average fish, sometimes you need to catch a net full, just to recharge the desire.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Last Of The Mohicans

A very delayed post for some reason - I think I just forgot to write it.

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.

Mohican Mayfly
Oliver Edwards' Mohican Mayfly
The afternoon was bright with a little wind, there wasn't any surface activity while I set up, despite the spinners laying eggs and a reasonable number of duns hatching, but I was hopeful that the Mohican would do it's thing and bring the fish up. I fished up the glide without so much as a swirl or missed take, it wasn't looking good. Even the pool at the top failed to produce anything, and the pool above that too failed. I was starting to get desperate.

Caddis green scruffing dubbing JP Pupa
JP Pupa - Scruffy Dubbing caddis green
By this point I was standing just below the horse's lair, not really wanting to deliberately recapture a fish I desperately felt the need to hook, let alone land a fish. The ever reliable JP Pupa tied with a standard copper coloured bead with a Scruffy Dubbing caddis green body produced a fish first cast. You simple can't beat visually watching a fish take your fly and after a brief and unconvincing scrap a plump 15" fish lay in the net, not the horse I was expecting but it saved me from the dreaded blank. Checking with previous pictures this fish was indeed a repeat capture, caught earlier in the season in the main pool below the horse's lair.

15" Wild Brown Trout

15" Wild Brown Trout

Moving up the river I continued in vain having retied the Mohican back on. This section had yealded several good fish but gave me nothing that afternoon. Making my way upstream, I couldn't help wonder if anything was swimming in its current, I still hadn't seen a rise yet. A little further up a rise gave me encouragement, after a couple more rises I knew there was a fish I could target. A sprightly 12" fish rewarded me for my perseverance.

12" Wild Brown Trout

Leaving the river and walking a short distance, skipping what I consider fairly unproductive water I slipped into the river at the bottom end of another long glide. I don't know what made me but I stood in the edge of the river and waited for a few minutes. It wasn't long before a very large fish exposed itself. Rising close to the bank it moved with purpose taking spinners and duns without fuss, I watched, barely further than six meters downstream. Moments like this make you appreciate how essential a quite approach getting to and entering the river, I really was that close to it.

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
Foam-Winged Mayfly Spinner
Once again I left the river and walked a short distance before rejoining it a little further upstream. A small trout jumped after a fly but I couldn't get it to take and prospecting up the run and around the corner left me wanting. At the head of a small pool a fish sipped flies with such regularity I wondered if there were more than one. Tying on one of the foam-winged spinners that had given me so much frustration only the week before, I wondered if it was a good idea - I vowed I would simply lift harder, in case the wings were masking the point and preventing the hook from penetrating.

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.

18" Wild Brown Trout

18" Wild Brown Trout

18" Wild Brown Trout

Expecting the fish to be the 16"er I had caught before from this pool, I was pleasantly surprised at the size of the fish that lay in the net. It measured 18" but was a long lean fish, by the end of the summer I'm sure it will be reaching three. However this trout was nothing compared to the one I lost earlier, I reckon that one was easily over 20" and looked fuller in the body, possibly a near four pounder! I'm not sure how I will catch it, the mayfly now over my job will be much harder, but I am focused and relishing the challenge. Bring it on!

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.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Feast And Famine Together

A long winded post as it'll be covering two days.

Chalk Stream Delight

Continuing from Wednesdays success I fished another river on Thursday. Arriving in the morning the river looked pristine; during the short walk upstream I spotted a few fish, nothing big, but it's always encouraging to see some. I arrived just down from the pool I planned to start on. Tackling up it was disappointing to find my French leader missing, I was planning to fish a mayfly nymph with it. With that option now ruled out the standard five foot furled leader was reattached, upstream nymphing it was.

Ephemera Danica Mayfly Nymph
Ephemera danica nymph
After setting up I crept back down the river a few meters in order to cross over the other side; I have found that this pool is easier to fish from the opposite bank. I spotted a very nice fish a few feet from the bank just where I was about to enter the water, luckily I hadn't spooked it although its demeanor suggested it wasn't likely to take anything - the fish was laying behind a small rock hard on the bottom.

With a mayfly nymph already tied on a bow-and-arrow cast flicked the fly upstream of the fish although I wasn't really expecting anything. The fly slowly sunk as it drifted towards the trout, it turned and looked at the fly; it repeated this once more and then refused to inspect the nymph any more. I began trawling through my fly box, a pheasant tail nymph failed, a gammarus pattern failed, even the legendary JP pupa failed. Running out of all options I even tried a Mohican Mayfly which surprisingly caused the trout to rise up and have a look. Eventually the fish spooked and disappeared leaving me to enter the river. I saw a the occasional mayfly dun emerge and a rising fish inspired me, despite it being early still I left the Mohican Mayfly on. It wasn't until I reached the pool did I catch a fish, nothing big, but a plump little trout was welcome; another fish fell to the mayfly by the time I left the pool. Before I moved on a female tufted duck plopped into the river on the far bank and immediately flew off when it saw me.

Just About  Big Enough
First of the day
Moving up-river I caught fish frequently enough to warrant my choice of method, I always prefer to fish a dry-fly if I can, don't get me wrong I'm no purist or dry-fly snob, but I don't think you can beat taking a fish off the top when conditions allow. The clear water meant I could see the fish ahead of me, although not all, and it wasn't unusual to see the odd trout dart up stream occasionally spooking others. When this happens I take a few minutes to let things settle; an excuse to have a drink, a smoke (if you do) and spend time observing.

I could see a fish rising ahead of me, it moved a lot of water without the splashing often associated with smaller fish. Another fish was rising below it and I was fortunate to catch that and quickly pull it down to avoid disturbing my intended target. After a couple of casts the fly was taken with purpose, I knew then it was a good fish. Lifting in to the fish, it shot downstream towards me and the woody debris to my left. Unable to prevent it from getting underneath, I stripped in the line reaching the furled leader with probably no more than six or seven foot of line out. Keeping the rod so low the tip was under water and using as much side strain as I dared, I was thankful for the 0.15mm tippet. Patience won the game and the fish saw my way of thinking as I eased it out from under its shelter. Continuing the fight in open water ahead of me it became one sided and the trout was safely in the net.

Looking Menacing
A menacing looking brute
I was elated, this was a superb fish and nothing else had come close to the size of this.

Plump Handfull
A proper handful

Baetis scambus Small Dark Olive
Baetis scambus - Small Dark Olive
Carrying on, I came across more rising fish as the day wore on, there were also a number of olives hatching off. I caught one and later identified it as Baetis scambus - the Small Dark Olive. I'm sure a few of the fish where taking them instead of the significantly larger mayfly, but probably out of laziness I persisted with the Mohican Mayfly, a sort of do or die, there were enough fish for me to get away with it.

A little further up I caught another good fish, it too tried that same trick as the previous large fish heading for more woody debris; not quite as big as the other trout but a lovely fish regardless. I didn't catch any trout over twelve inches last year with an average size of eight to ten, it made a pleasant change to latch on to a few decent sized fish.


Bathed In Golden Sun

By this point it was half one and I wanted to fish the stretch where I had parked my car. I find this stretch very productive at mayfly time, there is also a large fish that lives under a road bridge spanning the river here.

Tufted Duck Nest
Tufted duck nest hidden so well I nearly stood on it.
I walked back downstream and crossed the river at the pool I started on. The tufted duck I saw earlier exploded from the bank-side cover, as it was a female I figured there must be a nest near by. I did find it, only a foot and a half away from where I had walked out of and back into the river, very fortunate that it wasn't stepped on.

The trout from earlier this morning had slipped my mind, until I saw it again whilst walking the bank. Creeping up the bank it was still holding station behind its rock. Peeling off a little line it only took one cast, I watched the trout drift up to met the fly as it gently departed the fly from the surface film - epic stuff to watch. I firm lift and the fish was on, it left me surprised as it powered off, turning out to be much bigger than I thought. The trout was a peculiar looking beast, pewter with a hint of yellow, a small number of very large black spots and a mouth like a conger eel. I released the fish triumphant, it may have taken me two attempts but I at least I caught it.

An Odd One

An Odd One #3

An Odd One #3

An Odd One #2

Walking down to the bridge I stood upstream, waiting and watching. It wasn't long before my prize revealed itself taking mayflies as they emerged and drifted under the bridge; it was taking flies all over rivers surface. Not wanting to disturb the fish I opted to cross the road rather than the usual route under the bridge. My plan was thwarted, I wasn't the only one who wanted to fish this part, and so it was I left the pair of fishers. I felt a little disappointed to not be able to finish the day trying for the horse that lives under the bridge, however, I was due to fish that evening with Tom so it wasn't the end of the world.

Swans On A Chalk Stream
Time to kill after leaving the river I went and had a look another.
Tom and I had previously arranged to fish our smaller club river in the evening. He made his way there earlier as I had to wait for the wife to get home from work. Arriving after seven we met in the lay-by at the bottom of the beat. Tom suggested an area to try as there had been activity on a previous evening, because he had already caught three fish before I arrived Tom kindly gave me first chance to fish.

Where the the frustration began.
This is where it all went wrong.

The wind from earlier had dropped allowing me to using the Lexa. We slid down the bank at the bottom of a long glide, there were several fish rising all the way up. A few mayfly spinners were in the air but overall there wasn't much activity. Hoping the trout wouldn't be selective and wanting to continue the mayfly theme of the day I tied on a spinner pattern.

And so my problems began. Fish after fish was either missed or hooked and quickly lost. I think I lost around five fish, some of them substantial. I struggled to control my rage and frustration at constantly failing to hook these fish. I can only put it down to the fly, a spent spinner pattern with foam wings tied on a longish shanked hook; the fly is pliable in the hands but something was preventing the hook gaining hold, probably the wings - back to square one with that fly.

After fishing through the glide and round into the pool I admitted defeat and allowed Tom to fish. He had a Mohican Mayfly tied on from earlier and as he had good results into the evening a few days ago with this fly, why not keep using it. Fishing up some good runs and pools there weren't any fish showing and Tom didn't manage to tempt any. We moved on to a deep pool on a tight bend. Tom ever the gentleman was adamant that I had to catch, especially with his tally being on three.

Balloon caddis varant
Moser's Balloon Caddis - a variant of course.
There is a short narrow run below the pool, the water is smooth due to its depth. After the continual failure with the spinner I had changed flies and tied on a Moser Balloon Caddis, a fly that has proven its worth in the past when fishing in the evening. I caught nothing in the run leading up, and after searching the lower part of the pool it wasn't until I had started to cast into the top of the pool that a fish nailed the fly.

Several leaps and powerful surges followed as the trout resisted the efforts of the Lexa to control it. Once in the net Tom reckoned it was a fish he had caught previously in the week, a quick reference against the net was made and I worked it out to be seventeen inches, I was happy now.

Blank Saviour
A welcome capture
17" On A Balloon Caddis

Moving up river, we arrived at the run that provided some epic sport to a hatch of medium olives. I gave Tom a Mouflon Marauder to try, an interesting pattern with an elk hair wing and mouflon hair providing a straggly thorax - mouflon is a type of mountain sheep with hair superficially like deer. Fishing up the run, Tom lost a small fish, round the corner at the top of the run is a small S-shaped pool that has yielded a number of fish previously including a good fish that measured sixteen inches.

Mouflon marauder
Mouflon Marauder
At almost the head of the pool a fish took the fly, and after a strong fight, was soon in the net. A good fish that I think we have both caught, neither of the pictures I have are of the same side so I wasn't able to compare the spot pattern.

One For The Mouflon Marauder
Tom's fish
By this point it was getting late and the light was fading fast, I suggested we head back down to where we started, hoping that those fish had had time to settle. Easing back in at the same spot I cast the Balloon Caddis along both edges and along the center, twitching it occasionally to try and provoke a response, I was starting to think it wasn't going to happen. Reaching the top of the straight before the river curves around a  root ball, a fish took the fly. I was taken by surprise when line was ripped from between my fingers, the fish made a dash for the roots and as I frantically stripped line in I dropped the rod down to the side and applied steady pressure trying to pull it out. As the fish was forced out from its sanctuary I lifted the rod back up, unaware that it then shot over the other side into a tangle of over-hanging vegetation. There is where it remained, the line wrapped around a tuft of grass. Wading over to release the fish I was genuinely surprised at the size of the fish, not the horse I was expecting, perhaps barely making twelve inches at best. No pictures as the light had virtually disappeared by this point. We left, both happy with our results, even though it ought to have been better.

Friday marked the last of my three full days of fishing, I was completely knackered and I really struggled to get out of bed, even for some more fishing.

Friday was planned at the beginning of the week, I was going to fish with Steve Morrison, but as he was car-less I had to chauffeur him around. Our plan was to fish in the town and try and catch an urban lump. The forecast for the day wasn't great, a strong Westerly and rain expected, we still stuck with our plan. On the drive to Steve's the rain started, and continued through most of the morning.

Arriving at the river we used the shelter provided by an enclosure with some benches to allow us to get waders and jackets on without getting too wet. The eight foot four weight was dusted off because of the gusty wind and to cover most options I set up a klink and dink, size 12 klinkhamer (new Partridge sizing) and a size 12 cream JP Pupa with a standard copper bead. The water had a slight tinge to it, although we could still see far enough down; an outflow was discharging the rain water from the drains and coloured the river heavily downstream so we headed up. To cut a long story, it rained all morning, Steve managed a trout and a grayling and I caught a single trout. We left to fish club water further downstream not knowing if the river conditions would make it possible.

Thankfully the river was in much better shape this far downstream. The direction of the river also meant it was an upstream wind, I however stuck with the four weight as it was already set up. Walking down to the very bottom of the beat we spotted several good-sized trout that were generally holding mid-water, we also spotted the occasional rise on the walk down.

Matching the hatch
Ephemera danica with its imitation the Mohican Mayfly
Creeping down to the river from the high bank I changed flies to a Mohican Mayfly, I also gave Steve one to tie on and had one spare, I warned him not to lose it! Ahead of us there were several rising fish, they weren't easy by any means. I put down two fish before I finally fooled one, a plump little fish of around thirteen inches, at least there wouldn't be a blank entry on my catch return. Steve then tried for a fish that was rising steadily in the main body of a small pool. After many casts we saw the fish swim up and confidently take the fly, it wasn't on long before it came off however, and the commotion had put the others in the pool down.

Off To A Nice Start #2

Off To A Nice Start

Whilst Steve had been fishing, I had heard and seen a fish rising behind us where I had just been fishing. After Steve lost his fish I went back down to try and tempt this fish again. Steve heard fish rising even further down and went of to investigate. After a ridiculous number of casts to a fish that kept moving, it finally took my fly - at the same time Steve was playing a fish and I could hear it jumping around. Then came the cry that fisherman, and women know only too well, the sound you make when I fish comes off - it was to be our soundtrack of the afternoon; Steve had actually lost three fish altogether whilst he was below me. My fish stayed on and was almost a replica of the first, I worked hard for that fish.

Hard Won
A hard won fish.
The length of time we spent away from the main pool meant the fish had returned. We counted at least two fish rising, possibly three, a smaller fish at the back end and a larger one in the middle, we suspected it was the same fish as earlier. Not wanting to spook the larger fish, I advised Steve to try and tempt the smaller fish behind the main target. Steve hooked and landed the smaller fish, the larger fish was still rising, which was lucky.

A well placed cast just on the edge of the main current we watched the fish take, Steve struck firmly as the trout bolted for the brambles trailing in the edge of the river, perhaps holding on too hard, the rod sprung back - minus the fly - it was a seriously good fish. One Mohican lost, two remaining, I gave Steve the last spare fly.

Danica PhD
Danica Phd
I had already mentioned about moving up to a tantalising pool further up; rising fish around the corner changed that. We spotted about five or six fish ahead of us, most sitting and rising on the edges of the river. I missed a fish and then myself got snapped off on another. Steve caught a small trout and I caught one further up on a Danica Phd. Steve finished the run and round the next corner, without success.

Going Back

Exiting the river where I had caught my last fish I began walking the bank ahead of Steve, he told me he had seen some fish rising further up. After he joined me we saw a fish rise, a quick cheeky cast from high up on top of the bank produced another fish which Steve netted and released for me. The next pool was the one I had wanted to by-pass directly to.

Steve's turn, and we had high hopes for this pool, we could see two substantial fish rising subtly and with purpose, showing their tails as the went back down after raiding the surface of its goodies. Steve was pulling line off his reel when he made a short cast to get the fly line beyond the tip, as the fly landed on the surface a small trout instantly took and was on briefly before shedding the hook, it gave us a chuckle, it was barely a couple of yards in front.
Fishing properly now, Steve searched the pool, the Mohican floating beautifully as its wing sailed upright down the current. A hefty fish took the fly and shot of as if propelled by a motor. The fish was instantly recognisable as a fish I caught in April but looking far fuller in the belly. This fish measured sixteen inches and still held its lovely reddish golden brown colour.

We Meet Again

Filled Out Nicely

Golden Brown

16" Brown Trout
The same fish when I caught it six weeks ago looking a little leaner
My turn saw me latch on to something equally big, powering around the pool it made a run downstream. I had to follow before managing to ease it back in front of me. Safely in the net the fish was simply stunning, a full seventeen inches long, I was feeling satisfied with my lot. I had caught the last two fish on a Deer Hair Mayfly that I had concocted, tied on a long-shank hook the tail is moose body, trimmed bleached deer formed the body and picric dyed roe deer for the wing.

Deer Hair Mayfly Working Well

Mini Horse

17" Wild Brown Trout

This Is Why We Love Mayfly Time
Trophy shot, 17" of wild brown trout perfection.
The rest of the day continued much the same, missed fish, lost fish and a few landed. We changed over to spinners and Balloon Caddis' in the evening, one of my notable losses was a trout I hooked on a downstream drift using a spinner; not a technique I usually fair well with. The final tallies were seven for me and five for Steve. The day proved equally as frustrating and delightful - a feast and famine together. Who ever said mayfly time was easy!