The motivations for going out to fish even when conditions are not as good as we'd like them to be are varied. Ego might make us want to prove, even if only to ourselves, that we can catch fish no matter what the conditions are. Maybe we have only got a limited opportunity to fish the river and we have journeyed long and far to get here so the last thing we want to do is give up and go home. Or else it might be that we are fed up of things getting in the way of having an hour or two on the water and so we will fish, right now, no matter what and if we catch nowt then so be it!
Even when things are not ideal, the dry fly angler can still find Sport, although it will be less abundant. Abundance or short commons it matters not when the mood is: "I've got to fish and I'm bloody well going to..."
Yesterday my Mother river, the Derbyshire Wye, was running high and still on the coloured side, but not as thick as it has been lately. The very welcome rain has percolated into the water table and coupled with the usual surface run off, this combination has raised the water to a pleasing traditional early season level. This in direct contrast to the two previous seasons when the river opened for trout fishing with water levels more typical of high and late summer. The picture below illustrates this.
The tactic for the three, post-meridian hours was simply to look for where there might be fish rising. Flies were out in plenty so it was a case of looking for where the fish would be prepared to feed on them. The breezy conditions and low angled sun made getting the artificial onto the right spot, controlling its drift and seeing it just a little harder than usual. The flies were Large Dark Olives with some smaller olives that I think were Olive Uprights by their paler grey wings. No matter, the Grey Duster on a size 14 hook proved itself to be ideal for the job.
This spot that you might have seen in an earlier post had a few fish lined up and rising well.
In a bid to encourage anglers not to engage in their own, similar episodes the keepers have laid brash of alder branches over the dodgy area. I thought the brash might be just what I needed...
It was. By treading as lightly and as quickly as I could I reached the brash and...
SAT ON IT!
Perfect! The brash wasn't sinking, it supported my weight, my head was below the skyline and the fish did not stop rising. The only time I was at risk was when I had to stand briefly to reach over the reed mace stems to net the fishes. After releasing each fish, the trick was to sit down immediately and work the feet up and out of the sink holes they had started to make. Then attend to fly drying etc. in readiness for the next cast.
I wandered on up river, fishing my way home.
On reflection, a number of small things added up to success, in despite of the less than ideal conditions...
Reconnaissance through the winter had indicated where to look for rising fish during breezy, rainy, high and coloured water conditions.
The waterproof overtrousers let me stay low by sitting down to fish.
By deciding to fish no matter what, I just so happened to be there at the right time.
The Grey Duster, on the right sized hook, is a brilliant fake of the Large Dark Olive.