Cressbrook & Litton Flyfishers
30 June 2013
My annual pilgrimage to the Upper Itchen mid-month kept me away from the river for Hampshire too, and the fish at Martyr Worthy were still on the look out for Mayflies. The hatch on the Wye has been very sporadic and spread out this year but the fish did eventually cotton on to them and some good catches have been recorded. Another delayed hatch was Alfie Thomas Dore, newborn son of Chris & Tracy, who finally arrived on 21 June. I’m sure all members will be delighted for them. Congratulations!
Paul Bannister took a week’s leave to coincide with the mayfly and enjoyed some excellent sport including this 4 and a half pounder from Tom’s Pool. The fish took a Mayfly Emerger of Paul’s own design. He had just been broken by a very large rainbow and had upped his tippet to 3 kg Stroft. Although this might seem excessive to some, it pays to use thicker tippet during the mayfly to assist with the turnover of larger flies and to avoid line twist. The fish don’t seem to mind and it could help to land the fish of a lifetime. Paul was also fortunate to be on the river when there was a spectacular hatch of Iron Blues one afternoon. The fish became keyed into these tiny tasty duns, completely ignoring the mayfly.
My last couple of visits have revealed the homes of two absolutely enormous fish, both browns, one of which I had on briefly before it let go, the other eschewing all offerings before finally losing patience with me. It swam off disdainfully, passing no more than a foot away from my waders, every spot on its monstrous girth in clear view. I’d swear it even looked me in the eye. I’ll be back!
Warm and settled conditions as we went into the last week of the month had me out most evenings, alternating between Wye & Derwent, as has become my custom. I’ve recently purchased another Tenkara rod, this one being a 13 foot Hamon. It has a bit more backbone than my original and has a very sensible matt finish. The set up consists of 9 feet of 15lb flourocarbon, to which is attached a tiny metal ring, then one of Crofty’s short (4 foot) furled leaders, then about 2 feet of 5x tippet. With a s.16 Caddis Green Klinkhamer at the business end, this has brought up any number of wonderful wild fish from the streamier sections. On the Derwent, there were fish dimpling the surface of the flats that would have swum a mile if I’d attempted to cover them with conventional fly gear. With the Tenkara and a very careful ripple-free approach, these dimples turned out to be substantial brownies. They just sucked in my s.22 Tiny Black Klink and swam off with it. A slight lift and – boff!
I’m sure you’ve all read the old chalkstream classics by Halford, Skues and others, and no doubt you will recall that there is often frustrated mention of trout “tailing” – grubbing about on the bottom with tails
breaking the surface.
Personally, in 43 years of fly fishing, I’ve never witnessed this on the Wye, nor on the chalk streams for that matter. Until last Tuesday that is, when I saw several fish in the slow water above the Water Wheel with their heads in the silt, their tails waving about – quite big fish too. Whether they were feeding or trying to rid themselves of leeches I couldn’t say. The browns especially seem to be troubled with these pesky parasites at the moment, maybe because of the low water. I always feel duty bound to pick them off and squish the little suckers before returning my fish.
We can look forward to the cream of the evening fishing over the next few weeks, with plenty of scope to get back from the office and get in three or four hours of serious fishing before heading off to the pub. The BWOs are now in full swing and Stuart Croft’s Cranked Shank Spinner, Richard Ward’s Poly Prop Sherry or my little Parachute Spinner can bring up some serious fish as the light fails. Don’t forget that there can be a hatch of BWO duns at the same time that spinners are falling, so look out for the fish changing their affections as darkness falls. There are lots of caddis on the water now, and an Elk Hair & CDC caddis or a Caddis Green or Light Tan Klinkhamer make ideal search patterns if you’re not certain what the fish are taking.
I’m off to France on holiday shortly, so should you have any interesting stuff to impart over the next couple of weeks, I’d be pleased to have it for my next report.