Had a couple of hours to kill before dropping of some stuff in Andover, where better to spend it than the beautiful River Avon. There was already someone there when I arrived but he was looking for his sunglasses and not there to fish. As it was I was to have the entire beat to myself for the duration of the visit. We have had a fair bit of rain here but it seemed not to have affected the river. It was showing a little colour in the deeper holes but on the whole clarity was excellent. The river was as low as I have ever seen it and its not particularly deep at the best of times.
As I went to the boot of the car I realised that I had forgotten to stick my preferred rod in not to worry I had brought a 10’ for #4 or the 9’ for #2. I opted for the 9’ a rod I have not used in a while which used to be my go to for chalk stream fishing. I much prefer the shorter 8’ 6” for a #3 I get a bit more accuracy with it. Needs must though and it was better than a sharp stick in the eye. I got my reel out, yes, I managed to remember that, but found that the tapered leader was shot to bits. I scrambled around in the bag and thankfully found another which I attached to the fly line.
I sat watching the river for a while and was pleased to see the occasional Grayling tipping up to take flies from the
surface. I attached a #18 parachute Adams and my first cast went askew completely missing the mark and spooking the rising Grayling which must have been in no more than 10” of water. I sat back for a bit and waited until the fish proceeded to start feeding again. It didn’t take long and on the second time of asking my fly was devoured and I brought my first Grayling in a long time to hand. Only small but perfectly formed example of a chalk stream Grayling.
I moved further up the beat, the river was alive with fly life and there were plenty of fish on the fin nothing big mind but great fun on #2 rod. There has been quite a bit of work done to this beat making access much easier and it has also opened up a lot more water. The areas I had done so well with the last year were not so good but other areas fished much better than expected. The challenge when the water is so low is getting near the fish and I managed to scare more than my share. In the end the trick was to get a little distance by casting slightly further than normal. The water was so low that it never really got above ankle deep.
I wandered up the beat stopping when I spotted feeding fish or likely looking spots. The Brown trout where noted by their absence in fact for the whole session I only saw one spotty and I spooked that with some clumsy wading. Luckily the Grayling were not so picky and kept me busy for my short time there. The river fishing has been a little neglected of late with so much Loch Style on the go it’s hard to make time to get to the river. Today’s trip though reminds me of what a very special place the river is.