Looking at the weather forecast on Monday morning, more typical British summer weather was due towards the back end of the week, I guess we should be grateful, that at least the rain is warmer! There was nothing for it I had to book Wednesday off to get a day out on the river.
The weather was unseasonably hot at around 19°C and a fairly clear sky too. I set off about 9.15 and arrived at the river about 9.35 or so. I was a little apprehensive as I walked up to the river as to how high the level would be after last weekends downpour and for all it HAD dropped a fair amount the water was still pretty fairly coloured. It was incredible the amount the riverbank had grown on since my last visit
Fishing the farm stretch today, I started with a Gold head GRHE on the point and a cochybhondu on the dropper. I started about 200 yards up from the farm at the streamy stretch; with almost immediate success 3 pulls in the first half dozen casts one of which felt decent and ALL expertly missed! Promising start though obviously the colour in the water was not putting the fish off although there were no fish rising.. throughout the day it was like this until an evening rise started about 5.30. Working my was down the water towards the farm, I hooked a half decent brownie on the gold head in the slower water, I fished down past the farm with only the occasional take here and there.
Now at about 11am things had slowed down and the takes dried up so I had a walk up towards the Stannington road bridge and stopped about half way between the farm and the bridge … Working my way downstream, I took a fairly nice grayling of about 8” on a cochybhondu with a red trigger spot… which I subsequently put up a tree!! Very nice fish though the colours on it were spectacular, hues of silver and purple as the rays of sun caught it.
The odd brownie came to hand as I worked my way back to the farm, all pretty small fry between 6-8” and another small grayling, all these were spread pretty evenly between gold head GRHE, cochybhondu, and a scruffy GRHE variant I tied up – that has a very small palmered dark brown hen hackle. Between the three of them I maybe caught 5-6 fish or so between 12noon and 3.30pm.
I did manage to employ the now famed “blood technique” I think I was fricking about with something on my waistcoat and I must have been dangling my flies tantalisingly in the water.. a good take and a nice 7” brownie followed… is it better to be lucky than good?
By this point I was back in the slower pools directly adjacent to the farm. Dropping my t(r)usty gold head right across one of the lazy eddy of water and letting it drift through .. about 5 casts varying the angle and a solid take.. and surprisingly a hook up! And he felt like a decent fish as he first darted off downstream, turning him he kept deep in the water a was off for the far bank…he was tiring though and I turned him pretty quickly and got him to net.. a really nice fish this one a brownie of maybe 10” maybe a little smaller but what a scrap, off he went to fight another day.
Another Grayling came to the hand, a smaller one this time also from these slow pools before I decided to have a go at dry fly for the last hour or so.. with some partial (for me) success, I stuck on one of my own dries, a light coloured body with badger hackle and did get a couple of rises to my fly .. small steps and maybe worth persevering with .. definitely a very visual style of fishing and very different from my usual style, just need to tempt one to take!
Overall it was a good if long day, I fished from 9.30ish up until about 5.40, plenty of takes pretty much throughout the whole day with the exception of between 11 and 1 when it did go a bit quiet, I must have had something like 10 fish or so to hand one super fit wild brownie and a very nice Grayling being the pick of the bunch. Also had a decent go at dry fly which could well be worth perusing I think as I find it very enjoyable even when not catching!