Photograph by Steve Barnett

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Busy Day

It was another chopping and changing day for your correspondent and his pal, Henry.

The Hawthorn flies seem to have finished their honeymoons for the year and most dry fly anglers hereabouts will be willing the Drake to begin theirs as soon as possible.

No Drake yet but lots of flies around of a variety of species.  This is what made the day a busy one, and added a certain something to the proceedings. The first few fish came to a size 14 Double Badger, which was chosen because there were no fish rising "four to the minute" with their attentions fixed on a specific fly.  The Double Badger makes a good fake for many different real flies and looks to be a decent mouthful.  Anyway it was working.

Then the fish started to rise more frequently and it quickly became clear that they were choosing something specific from the buffet bar near their sky.  What was it?  Aphids!  But not green ones.  Fat little, dark brown creatures that had gorged on sap to the point when Gravity took them from the leaves in the canopy.

On with a size 20 Sturdy's Fancy and the next fish was the biggest of the day! A fine brown trout with all fabulous colours that Lathkill Brown Trout are so famous for.

After a few more fish it all went quiet.  The Double Badger went back on to continue its coaxing duties.  Henry and Regular Rod continued to wander up stream, picking pockets as we went...

Mid-afternoon saw the first flotilla of duns sail by.  Untouched for a good ten minutes.  Then it started.  What a sight!  Fly choice was easy.  The slight backward angle of the Blue Winged Olive's wings is very distinctive.

Chop off the Double Badger and change to a Kite's Imperial and choose your fish!

This river is always a bit of a test for the angler.  Here the water is so clear the fish can see you from quite a distance.  Creeping about is the only way to earn any real success.  Scare a fish on the mother river, the Derbyshire Wye, and you put down all the fish in that pool.  Scare one on the Lathkill and the effect can spread over 100 yards!  These banks may be mown a little bit but the river has lots of cover so careful casting is required.  The back cast has to be watched as much as the forward cast.  Failure to take this precaution will get your fly stolen by that precious, fish-holding, cover.

Very soon the Drake will be on the menu.  On some days the fly will go on at the start of the fishing and only come off when packing up.  Meanwhile, I reckon we may well be occupied by another week or so of chopping and changing!

Regular Rod