It was my birthday last week the kids got a dog and I got the runs, let me elaborate. New dog on the eve of my birthday its first night down stairs on its own. It had me up at 0300hrs then 0400hrs, I slept in but was still on the road by 0700hrs. As it was my birthday I was going to stop at the Solstice services for a McDonalds breakfast….. no, no wait I always stop there anyway…..lol. It was a good run and I ate breakfast before heading to one of my favourite stretches of the Avon (Stonhenge). As I opened the boot to get my kit out I had an immediate need to go to the toilet and I mean immediate, no warning! I got to the nearest tree grabbed on and dropped my kegs. It was like a bazooka BOOM! I did check to see if there was a lung or a kidney but it looked like well you know, that and my dignity. I grabbed some leaves and cleaned myself up as best I could before heading back to the services for a proper clean up.
I have a dry bag when going to the river just in case I fall in so a quick wash up and change of clothes and I was on my way back to the river. I felt much better and it looked like it was going to be a cracking day. Having got all my gear on I reached for my trusty Drift XL rod tube. Unzipped the tube to find an empty sock, it immediately dawned on me that all my rods were in the travel tube I took to Norway. There was much cursing of my stupidity, before I decided to have a walk up the bank and see how the river was. It looked in great nick and I was enjoying the silence until a whippet hit me in the chest at full pelt WTF! I managed to beat the dog back before the owner eventually caught up with it. So that was my last outing happy **cking birthday!
The first frost was here a couple of days ago and I had the nod from my dealer, Sloe Berry dealer that is. Richard Thorpe who had kindly foraged some grand Sloes the year before that had made an outstanding batch of Sloe Gin and he had come through again. He said they were the best he has seen, I also had some work to do down that neck of the woods and would you know it I built in a couple of hours prior to that to visit the Avon. It was very early though and I would not have too long I was there for first light. It was bitter cold and I was glad of a hot drink while I set my rod up and the woolly hat was a good shout too. As time was short I went straight to the sweet spot, but it was not so sweet. Nothing rising I switched to a small nymph and watch as several Grayling swam enthusiastically towards it only to turn away. The Nymph did eventually manage to account for one fish but time was against me and I was keen to do better.
Further upstream there is a peachy bit of water and it was a nice depth and running clear. I had seen a couple of small fish rise and had switched back to the dry fly. I dropped the fly about five feet in front of the rise and kept up with the line and on que the fish rose, snaffeled and bolted I suspected one of the Avon’s wild Brown Trout and was not disappointed to have the little spotty in the net. Lovely markings and fin perfect, they always bring a smile to my face. As I moved upstream and the Sun started to put some heat into the morning a hatch was starting to come off. Very small flies that I could not really tell what they were, but the fish were rising. I stuck a small sedge pattern on and the fish came another small Brown Trout and several Grayling.
As I moved to what was effectively the end of the beat and I was out of time anyway the rise was in full swing. I had interest and fish on near every cast, I kept glancing at my watch and thinking just five more minutes but I really had to get going. I was leaving at the best part of the morning but had to be at a meeting, still as short as it was it was most productive and a damn sight better than shitting yourself! I walked back towards the car thinking about days when I am not fishing around work appointments and I can come and go as I please. I stopped briefly to chat to another angler that had just started and shared some flies for him to try. I would have chatted longer but was now a bit worried I was going to be late and my stroll back to the car turned into a light jog.
The Grayling are starting to pod up now and October should be a bumper month for those looking to chase the ladies. The Avon is at a great depth, maybe another 6” or so of water is needed and it is running crystal clear. I for one can’t wait to get back for a proper day out!