I was like a kid at Christmas! First day of the season, the weather looked like it was going to be well behaved. We had not had any rain to speak of for weeks the river would be in perfect condition for a dry fly bonanza! I tossed and turned most of the night occasionally looking at my digital clock willing it to go quicker so that it would be time to get up. The time finally came and I bounced out of bed and after a quick scrub I was in the already packed car and hot footing it to the river Avon.
I decided to start at the Stonehenge beat as it’s a wild fishery and one of the prettiest stretches on the Salisbury and District ticket. I was first there and before setting up I had a look at the river, it was a little higher than I expected but that was not the worst of it the water clarity was really poor even in at the margins. Undaunted I tackled up my Wychwood Drift XL for a three with a floating line and attached a #16 parachute Adams to some 2lb tippet.
"The joy was short lived though and the fish was soon on its way without a photo."
I wandered up the bank listening and looking for any signs of rising fish. I had a couple of speculative casts to see if I could bring anything up blind but after an hour I was beginning to worry about the rest of the day. The Sun was starting to put a bit of heat into the day and I could see some tiny flies coming off but there were no signs of any fish pursuing them. I moved further upstream and while casting into a likely looking run for nothing I switched my fly across to a very shallow slow part of the river. Before I even saw the fish, my line went tight, I was in, more by luck than judgement. The joy was short lived though and the fish was soon on its way without a photo.
Shortly after and now paying a lot more attention another offer that was well met unfortunately this one was a Grayling. The day was not going particularly well but I was convinced with some hard work and concentration I could manage at least one little wildy. I fished up another tasty looking run and at long last a Brown trout answered the call, only very small but more than welcome to save my blushes. I hooked and lost another before deciding to head elsewhere.
I move down to Amesbury, only ten minutes in the car. As I was leaving another angler arrived with that kid at Christmas look on his face, I didn’t have the heart to burst his bubble so exchanged pleasantries and got on my way. I parked at the recreation ground and headed down for a quick look at the river. It was no better than Stonehenge. I prospected upstream for a while casting blind and picking up small Grayling which I would normally class as a nuisance at this time of year, but to be honest I was grateful for their interest.
There was an angler in front of me and several anglers coming up behind so I decided on a walk downstream. I got a fair way down the track before cutting back into the river. Just at the spot I wanted to fish there were another two guys fishing. So, I decided to walk down a little further to a spot that is usually easy wading and great for trout. I was up to my chest in river and still not seeing any fish, I persevered fishing upstream for a 100yds or so for not even an offer.
"I had gone from the kid at Christmas to the kid that came downstairs expecting the bike they asked for only to find a bag of oranges."
I had gotten out the river and tackled down despondent and feeling slightly robbed. I had gone from the kid at Christmas to the kid that came downstairs expecting the bike they asked for only to find a bag of oranges. As soon as I had reeled my line onto my reel a proper fish rose and splashed in front of me. I traipsed on uttering profanities under my breath. As I got near the car I could see several fish rising it was the most I had seen all day. As I got nearer I decided to re-string my rod and stuck a CDC emerger on. Shuffling up on my knees I made a cast at the first fish. The fly was engulfed and I was into an angry fish but as I brought it to the net I could see it was a Grayling. There was another fish still coming up steadily, it ignored my first couple of casts and I decided to go smaller. Tying on a smaller pattern I noticed I had a small audience, time to look like an asshole! First chuck with the new fly and I was in…… to another Grayling oh well never mind.
Rutland on Thursday just in time for the change in weather, oh joy!