Another trip to the Services Dry Fly Water courtesy of Ian Pinder, Ian has been a bit of a charm for me this year. We have had several outings on both still and running water and they have been nothing short of outstanding. Today was to be no exception the river carried a little colour from the previous day’s rain but on the whole seemed to be in pretty decent nick. The levels remain a little low but the weed is already starting to die back making it ideal for Grayling fishing. The Avon is blessed with a large healthy population of Grayling and having a stretch of river that is only lightly fished to play with is a real boon. Ian is only a very recent member and I only know small parts that I have managed to explore when invited along for the day.
Today we were going to concentrate on nymph fishing and try to seek out some deeper runs where some better fish may be found. I set Ian up with a French leader and a heavy bug about .5g to plumb the depths. I gave Ian a quick demo of the method and explained that it may take a wee bit of getting used to not having a fly line to load the rod. I assured him that once he mastered this method that he would catch a lot more and a better stamp of Grayling. I had also set up my trusty 11’ bugging rod and Frenchie rig. I got Ian started and watched for a bit to make sure he had the technique before wandering a little upstream to look for some deep water.
I did not have to wander far before finding a reasonable looking run with a bit of flow coming off a bend. It proved to be
well populated with Grayling and they came steady away, not big fish but they all need love. After catching a few I thought to go back down and see how Ian was managing with the new method. He had managed a couple of Grayling but I thought that where I had put him in should have produced more fish. I nipped in at the back of him and first cast I missed a decent offer, the next cast brought a nice fish to the net. The cast after brought my best fish of the day which took virtually at my feet. There was much muttering from Ian and I am sure he called me a few names that I could not make out. Onwards and upwards though and we had a stroll back upstream to look for some new water.
We had both fished this section before and knew there was a good deep hole not far from where we had parked. Before we could reach the hole though I spotted some cracking looking fast runs that looked like it may hold some Grayling with the classic gravelly bed. Even looking hard I could not initially see any fish. But a couple of casts later I was playing some small Grayling who had blended into the gravel perfectly. As I worked my way up the run the fish got steadily bigger it was surprising that fish of this stamp were in such shallow water. As I pushed downstream I noticed Ian had by-passed the deep hole, try as I may I could not tempt a fish from it the hulking shapes of some big trout could just about be made out but their time is passed so I moved on. When I got level with Ian he was busy making the most of a large shoal of Grayling and I think the French leader technique was starting to win him over.
We stopped for a bite to eat and to discuss where we might visit next. There is a lot of water to choose from but in the end we opted to have a look further upstream. The parking spot took a bit of finding next to an old pump house that looked derelict. Stupidly we did not see the path that would have led us straight to the river and instead attempted the assault course route, over the bridge wall and through the thick vegetation. After much cursing and muttering we eventually made it to the river, Ian found a good spot at the tail of a big pool and I wandered further downstream. The river could not be more picturesque and I was thrilled to come across the memorial bench dedicated to the famous river keeper Frank Sawyer. It could do with a scrub up mind as it was covered in bird shite, none the less I was pleased to see it. I decided to fish back up towards where I had left Ian. It was slow going because the fishing was outstanding, everywhere you thought there might have been a Grayling sure enough there would be. I was having a ball but began to feel the coolness of the water wading waist deep for an hour or so. After getting back up to Ian he reported taking several Perch, three Pike, Grayling and a couple OOS Brown trout. Rest assured we have a new convert to nymph fishing ;-).
We decided to wander up and explore some more of the beat, the water above the bridge was deep and very weedy and we walked some ways before finding some water to fish. Sure enough though once we had identified likely looking stretches the Grayling were there in numbers. There was a bit of a flap on as Ian had dropped his glasses, he assured me that he could cope I am not so lucky without glasses there would be no tying a fly on! Luckily for Ian the next Grayling he caught ended up wearing the glasses that had fallen into his net…..lol apparently the fish looked good in them. We pushed on until eventually we reached a large weir at an old mill. Ian was a bit behind me however and by the time he reached me I was already on a good dozen Grayling. Ian offered up a small wager first one to five Grayling, loser buys tea.
I was trying to tie a new fly on when Ian’s rod went over his laugh soon died though as he pulled a healthy looking perch towards the net. My rod went over next and I knew that I had hooked a Brownie. Still nil – nil, had I cleaned the run out? I persevered and started to grind a few out constantly changing my fly to show them something different. This worked well and I soon reached the target. The light was starting to fade but we were keen to bleed the last drops of daylight from what had been a great day so I took Ian back up to show him Frank’s bench. A few more casts could be had with the last of the light and Ian caught his best fish of the day. My thanks to Ian for the kind invite and off course dinner, it’s on me next time pal. Ian is back on the river today as I type this up and I can only say I am more than a little jealous!