By coincidence I often have to travel down to Andover for very short meetings. It would be a real shame to have travelled all that way and not take advantage of the excellent fishing opportunities to be had all over the area. So an early start saw me standing by a familiar stretch of river, I had fished here a couple of weeks earlier with Alan Ward. It’s difficult to fish well when the pressure of the camera is on you so I thought it would be nice to have it to myself and just enjoy the place. I had no sooner returned from walking the length of the beat and had begun to set up when I was joined by two other anglers Warren and John. Warren a regular visitor and John who lived a bit further afield could not have picked a better day for it. It was hot but not the oppressive heat that we have had in the South for the last few days. As time was against me I left them to get tackled up and headed up to a section that I had spotted several Grayling rising. There was also a very decent looking Brown trout sipping some small midge from the surface just a little upstream of them.
I had tackled up my shorter rod as I intended to do the bulk of my fishing under the canopy of some large trees. A start a little down from where I had spotted the grayling rising soon saw me into a bit of sport. Not your big fish mind but of a good stamp between 25-30cm if carefully handled these have the potential to get much bigger. In amongst the shoal of Grayling a rouge Brown trout put in an appearance again only small but in perfect proportion. I was having a blast and noticed Warren and John fishing below me slowly moving up. I had only moved about 20’ all in but was now in the area where I saw the trout rise. The first couple of casts to the area brought small Grayling slashing at the fly. Then from nowhere the trout came and smashed the dry. It gave a great account of itself but with little flow in the river to aid the fight it was quickly into the net. I am using one of Glen Pointen’s floating nets its ideal if like me you enjoy taking pictures of fish before releasing them. The fish can sit in the net while you get all you shit together; you can even sit your rod on top of the net to allow both hands free for the photography bit. But here is a top tip, ensure the net is connected to you in some manner or watch your rod, net and fish float gently away from you! By the time I had retrieved my camera the net with rod and fish was some 10’ from me. Luckily the river was in a lazy mood and it did not take long to retrieve all three items. Photo done, I waded back up to where I had caught the fish.
The river is not quite canal like but not far from it so wading has to be done with considerable care. Any thrashing about results in fish bolting for cover me running down the river trying to catch my net had not helped. I was however up into fresh water I had spotted a few more steadily rising Grayling. I managed to grab a couple pulling them quickly from the shoal as not to spook the rest. The water was very clear and as I watched my next cast drift down I saw a good fish swim down and track it back about a foot. It decided to have it and this boy did not need any flow in the river to fight It brought its own motor! It carted round the pool bossing the fight for the most part. Eventually it got downstream of me and all my slack line was on the reel and I began to move down after him. Once I was clear of the canopy the fight was a lot easier and I could raise my rod high. The fish slipped over the brim of the net and it was a beauty. Well chuffed with my efforts a quick glance at my watch showed my time was running out.
I wandered up the river a little dipping in here and there taking the odd Grayling but I did want to make time to take some photographs with my big camera back at the car. So after a great little session it was time to stow the tackle and break out the camera. There was so many bugs and beasties about it was great fun trying to photograph them. The river was alive with life and as always I was just glad to be there. I met another member whose name I failed to catch a Canadian gentleman who was with his wife. 81 years old and still fishing, fair play! As I arrived back at the car Warren and John had returned for a spot of lunch. We chatted about all things fishy, isn’t it great how you can meet fellow anglers and instantly be chatting away. They had faired pretty well fishing a small black nat I handed over my successful patterns. Before I knew it I was already late for my meeting but it was worth every minute! A trip to the Dart with my old mucker Graham Lumsdon in a week, so no fishing for me this weekend :-(