After a quick turnaround on Monday, I was taking the kids up to see their Gran and Grandad in Leeds. I have been fortunate in my trips North in regards fishing havering spent days with JT, Andy Cliffe and Clark Coleman on various rivers. This time around I was to visit yet another new venue for me the River Swale, I would not be on my own as Stuart Wardle was kind enough to show me the ropes. We a started the day with a grand breakfast from the Wetherspoons in Richmond. Stuart had already picked up my ticket, a right rip off at £6 ;-).
The day was absolutely stunning, not a cloud in the sky and the river was as clear as any I have ever seen. On the walk downstream we did spot the occasional rising fish but it was not what you would describe as prolific! We finally arrived at our start point and I could hardly wait to get started. My dry fly was a little big but it was not long before I was changing down to size #20. I tried all my favorite dries to no effect, a have hearted take offered some encouragement but it was tough going. Stuart was not fairing much better but spent most of the time offering me tips and advice. We got on the hoof and started to look for telltale signs of fish. Having found a spot that had one or two rising fish we had a sit down for five minutes to watch the fish. I re-rigged with a lot lighter Tippett and a fresh dry and I moved into a position to cast at the fish. The wading on this river can be pretty tricky and I thought I may have been swimming on more than one occasion. I made my first cast and immediately had an offer ......missed.......bugger and no second chance with these bad boys. The breeze that came on the water seems to put the rising fish down so it was back to the backside for a rethink. I thought that I might try a duo rig, so once set up I got back into position and made my first cast. The dry fly dipped and I struck into a nice Brown Trout the joy was short-lived as the fish discarded the hook in short order.
We moved a little up the river and Stuart put me into a sweet run that brought almost instant success. My first fish on the Swale an out of season Grayling, oh well never mind. The next cast, however, produced a nice Brown trout, not a monster by any stretch but I was glad to have it none the less. I had forgotten my camera and as I scrambled to retrieve my phone the fish slipped from my fingers and off back to the depths. The day had worn on and my stomach was telling me it was time to eat. Fed and watered we headed upstream to another spot. Stuart pointed out some likely lies and I got into the water and carefully moved into position, the first cast saw my dry disappear and I struck into another fish. It would not stick however and that was short lived. I moved up the river fishing likely runs and lies. I spotted the tiniest of movement ahead of me and made a cast, again the dry disappeared this time when I struck I felt the solid resistance of a good fish. The fish fought courageously and made several leaps into the air but it was soon in my net. This time I did not fumble the camera and go a decent shot of the fish, well pleased.
This was a tough days fishing by any standard and I was very pleased to get a couple of Brownies. Each day is a gift though and it was a real pleasure and privilege to be in such a beautiful place. Many thanks to my guide today Stuart Wardle from the Durham Flyfishing Company.
A quick turn around as I will be visiting the River Wharfe tomorrow with my good pal Del Spry. He will be bringing along a Loop S1 Cross 9' for a #4 can't wait to fish with it for the day.