River Avon (River Avon, West Amesbury) 25 Jul 2017

Jayne had taken the kids to Brighton for the day and the prospect of going home to an empty house did not appeal. I am mostly through reviewing a line for Troutline and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to finish it off. So I tootled down to the Avon on what was a fairly decent day considering the amount of inclement weather of late. I arrived at the recreation ground where you park up and set up my 11’ #3 Streamflex and stuck on the small reel that I had loaded the Troutline Tactical Nymphing fly line (more on this in the upcoming review).

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As I walked down to the river there was a gaggle of kids fishing with bread at the deep plunge pool. I turned left and headed downstream to start, I couldn’t help but notice the amount of rising fish in the stream. I looked down ruefully at my set up but needs must. I had attached my go to Mary Nymph in a #18. I wanted to get into the water but as I strolled up the bank I could not resist a little chuck at a shoal of Grayling. As I lifted into one of the smaller fish the rest of the herd headed for the hills and I was moving on. I got to the wading section and before I could even get a boot in the water I could see fish rising around the edge. None the less I stuck my nymph upstream and tracked it back and took a small Brown trout. It seemed they were just as happy taking the nymph as well as the hatching flies. I managed another couple of Grayling before easing gently into the water trying not to cause too much of a disturbance. I could see some bigger fish ahead of me but casting was awkward due to an overhanging tree. The first couple of times the line shot away fast as a little fish snatched at the fly. I was too slow to hook these fish though and just ended up disturbing the water with my failed attempts to strike. Without moving my feet I fished a different part of the river lengthening my line. A few small fish followed but I wanted to get something a little bigger and returned my attention to the awkward fish under the tree. It had been rested for a while and this time with a good first cast I could see the movement I was waiting for and I lifted into a decent Brown trout. It went nuts round the pool and on light tippet provided great sport eventually slipping into my waiting net. It was a stocked fish but in reasonable condition and went back none the worse for the experience.

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I moved up the river and it seemed alive with fish actively feeding at one point I decided to change to a dry fly that I had tied earlier in the week. It was an emerger shuttlecock pattern on a #14. This fly proved to be very popular with both Grayling and Brown trout and I must whittle some more up before my next visit. The Afternoon was wearing on and I decided to retire the 11’ rod in favour of my 8’ 6” Helios a much better tool for dry fly fishing. As I headed back to the car the lads that had been fishing bread were doing very nicely and had taken about a dozen to reasonable sizes. I showed them my rig but they must have thought I was mental, maybe when they grow on a bit they will turn to fly fishing, I do hope so. Armed with my shorter rod I walked down to the very bottom of our beat. I sat for quite a while watching the river amble on by, there was a good fish rising sporadically and I was trying to get a bead on it to offer up a fly. The fish quietly took the piss out me for fifteen minutes and I moved off tail between my legs. I arrived at a part of the river where wading is permitted and slipped into the water. First cast saw a hungry little trout rise to claim the fly then shoot off down the river to be quickly pulled back to the net.

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There were plenty of fish rising and they were up for joining in to boot. I worked my way up the river and could hear the river keeper mowing the paths at the edge of the river, yes, we are spoiled down this neck of the woods! On his way, back down he stopped for a chat, His name was Stuart and he was the river keeper for the Piscatorial club who have the beat above and as I know now the right-hand bank of the beat I was on. We had a long chat about the river and the two clubs and it was a most enlightening chat. Before I knew it, it was getting on six o’clock. It was time to head back up towards the car. As I walked up though there was the odd fish taunting me and I could not resist having a chuck at them. They proved to be a little tough though and my hurried efforts did not cut the mustard. No more fish for me, but I will return soon it’s good for the soul!