Photograph by Steve Barnett

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Those three principles all over again...

A wonderful day in the sunshine watching Hawthorn flies in their courtship dances and also seeing the trout grabbing every one of them that ended up on the surface of the river in the unpredictable breezes.
You may recall the three principles that I gladly bang on about to anyone who might pay attention...
Well one example of putting this blessed trinity to work was as I passed through a little gate, it was possible to OBSERVE over on the other side of the river that the fish were hammering the Hawthorn flies.  I tried a cast or two.  Reaching the fish was no real problem but controlling the line was another matter entirely.
What to do?  Simply put I needed to FISH WHERE THE FISH ARE and so walked back upstream, crossed over by the bridge and then worked my way through the pathless swampy wood on the true left bank.  Arrived at the place it was then necessary to BE STEALTHY as there was no cover at all.  The place to be was sat cross legged on the exposed gravel bed.  Crawling to the spot was the only choice.  Undignified certainly but it was worth it.

The reward was almost an hour of exciting Sport with each hooked fish blasting away downstream in the fast currents, side strain persuading them into the slacker water in the edge followed by a gentle guiding into the welcoming meshes of the long handled landing net.

That evening my close pal, John, joined me.  He had a new rod.

"Aren't you going to take the plastic off the cork handle?"

"Only when I catch a fish on it..."

Hmm.... He had arrived quite late on.  There were fish still prepared to eat the Hawthorn flies but the daylight was now fading quickly.  After trying a few places with a Charles Cotton's Black Fly exactly like the one I'd been using all day, his rod was still not about to lose the plastic wrapping. Part of the problem was a lack of visibility on the darkened water.  A change of fly (to a Double Badger) and he quickly caught a very nice little wild rainbow trout.  The plastic could come off, later...

We made our way slowly upstream back to where he had parked his car.  On the way he had a few speculative casts whilst I went ahead a little to OBSERVE!  Lo and behold!  There were several rising fish in both sides of a line of flow.

"C'mon John!  Get up here!"

For John to FISH WHERE THE FISH ARE, he had to BE STEALTHY so he crawled into the vantage point and knelt where I suggested.  Two or three casts later...

"I think your fly's come off!"

"It never has.  Has it?"

"Aye it has."

"I never felt anything..."

"Never mind that!  Can you see all these flies around us?"

"Aye!  What are they?"


They were male blue winged olive spinners and the fish were eating their wives.

So, for the first time this season, a PPS was tied onto his tippet.  A few minutes later John was testing his new rod nicely with a very strong wild rainbow trout that certainly did its best to be elsewhere.  It looked brilliant in the last of the daylight and had the reddest stripe on each side and a big red patch on either "cheek".  I hope you can get some idea of how lovely this fish was from the hurriedly snapped photo.  We watched him swim back to where he came from then we shook hands and grinned at each other like a couple of daft kids...

It was a perfect end to a perfect day!

Regular Rod


  1. Looks likes I've got to start using those three principles! Nice write up

  2. Errr, wading?

  3. Hi there Anonymous

    Wading is not allowed on this water. Hence the long hike round and through the swampy wood (or woody swamp) to get into the vantage point. It would have been very easy, probably not as satisfying, to simply wade out to cast from an easy, almost directly downstream position. But never mind, it adds to the challenge and makes the whole Sport even more fun.

    Regular Rod

  4. OMG spinners already now thats what i call fishing at the top it

    Nice one