Well, a return to my home river……I have fished quite a few rivers this year and Wherewell has largely been neglected. At £40 a go its little wonder, roll on the Salisbury and District season ticket! I was going to stick up a detailed map of where all the fish are but thought no one would be interested in that so I will just drivel on about the days fishing……PMSL.
I was having a long overdue day with Steve Cullen and Graham Lumsdon was also in the area so we decided on a day on Wherewell. The previous day had enjoyed some long periods of sunshine and I am sure there would have been some prolific hatches. The day we turned up was very overcast but mild and the rain was coming to an end as we arrived. Steve wanted to take a few pictures so Graham and I made our best effort at being presentable and smiling for the camera. I dropped into the weir below the lodge and much to my surprise caught nowt there is usually always a couple of Grayling there to take advantage of. Now I am not going to start with the excuses, but the water was carrying a little colour from the previous night’s rain and the water level was as low as I had seen it for this time of year. Still, these things are sent to try us, I moved above the weir and after a few casts the rod buckled over and I instantly knew it was my first OOS brownie, nice fish mind Steve snapped a photo and I went downstream to join Graham. He had just started to get a few smaller fish and we decided to move downstream a little. I slipped down the bank into the water and started to pick up the odd fish here and there. I had not really come across a big pod as yet but the day was young. Graham was experiencing the same thing the odd fish and then a move to fresh water. Not the usual for this time of year but then again it has been quite mild. Steve moved off to get some shots of Graham in action and I had another move further downstream again I was picking up the odd one and two but nothing really consistent. I wandered down to find Graham on his knees picking away at a few Grayling and Steve was off to get geared up for a wee fish. It was time for a cup of coffee, a tough start Graham and I had managed a dozen each which on balance for a couple of hours fishing was not bad. As we wandered back Steve had found a few fish and was quickly into them fish of a decent stamp as well. Graham and I had only really found smaller fish in the 20cm -30cm bracket.
We broke out the flask and discussed what was to be done with the rest of the day. Steve kindly offered Graham and me, some of his salad but both of us being strict salad dodgers politely declined. We decided to potter around the lodge area and meet back up around one o’clock. Graham went above the lodge and I dropped below. We had already fished this water but I was convinced we had not had the best out of it yet. It was time to get small, I changed my size #18 to a #22 and wandered down to the start point. My first cast and a small Grayling caught me unaware and came to slash at my dry. Interesting I recast and watched intently as the dry drifted slowly down the river. It dipped I lifted and was into what was to be my best fish of the day. It gave a really good account of itself and it took a bit of time to get it into the net. It’s always nice to pick up bigger fish and I have been fortunate of late to have caught some real lumps. This was not the caliber or some of my recent fish but still perfectly formed with a great big tail. I proceeded up the river very carefully really picking out my casts and this started to pay dividends. Fish were coming much more steadily and I totally immersed. I noticed Steve coming up from the other carrier and moved out the water to meet him. He had caught a cracking fish but had only his phone for the photograph a lovely thick Wherewell lady had succumbed to his nymph. We joined Graham who had found a good concentration of fish and we joined him trying extract a few more. After a bit of sport and banter, Graham and I walked upstream for a look.
I am not a big fan of the top of Wherewell and rarely get up to the top, now and again I like to go have a look as it can produce some really nice fish especially if they come on the dries. Graham and I walked past huge shoals of Grayling on our trip up. We plonked our flies in front of many fish only for our offerings to be snubbed. I eventually managed to get a few by casting around the corner of a tree well out of sight, but it was hard work. I joined Graham on the long flat at the top of the beat and the odd fish was rising but none were forthcoming. We decided to drop back down and try for some of the other pods we had walks past. They were in the real skinny water and the slightest sudden movement spooked the shoal and they were gone. It was getting pretty near dark and there was just enough time to have a few more casts by the lodge. Half three in the afternoon and most of the light had skulked off. We just missed Steve who had finished a little earlier and was making the long journey home. A grand days fishing in good company might be a while before I am back to Wherewell though. Looking forward to a wee session up North at the weekend.