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Out with the old and in with the new !!

Forget the Glorious 12th, the even more glorious 16th has arrived and heralded the start of the river fishing season so, duly tackled up, I arrived at the river the next day in search of a fish or two.

I really enjoy fishing at this time of the year on the river, not because the fishing is good, far from it in fact, but more because of all the new growth and wildlife that abounds. Walking through a meadow with lambs running around and kicking and jumping, sitting on the river bank as a pair of swans and their cygnets glide past, hearing all the birds singing in the trees and imagining just how many fledglings they have in the nest. For the first time in ages I heard the call of a cuckoo and the drill of a woodpecker, but failed to spot either even though the woodpecker sounded as though it was on a tree directly in front of me. When you are amidst all this beauty time seems to stand still, but in reality moves on faster than you think it does.

What about the fishing though? Liquidised bread and bread flake on the hook were the order of the day, long trotting down various swims. The only drawback was a strong gusty wind that made presentation difficult, even impossible in some swims. The only prize was a chub of about 1lb but it was in pristine condition, probably not having seen a hook before. I had two other bites and connected with them, however the fish shed the hook before I could even glimpse them. The one thing that surprised me was the ferocity of the bites. Normally when float fishing, the float will just dip under, you strike and connect, then the fish starts to fight. Not so this time!!! Each bite resulted in the float diving under the surface and before I could get the rod back to strike properly, the fish was rocketing off with hook and bait in it’s mouth. My guess, poor and uneducated that it may be, is that the three fish were all less than one year old and therefore not wise to the various baits that anglers will try to entice them with. I say wise but know it’s the wrong word to describe their behaviour, as it’s more “association “than” memory.

I had all the best intentions of arriving at the river armed with a 6weight fly outfit and fishing dry flies for chub, however nerves got the better of me and I opted for a tried and tested method instead. Nerves, though, will not stand in the way next time, as I was surprised at the amount of fish that were taking food from the surface. This being the case, my next session will almost certainly be in the evening, preferably a hot and balmy one, when should you happen to wander along the banks of the river you may well hear the swish of a fly lines as it zips through the air and lands deftly on the water. If you do, then someone else is probably casting, as mine doesn’t sound anything like this, however I’m going to try it.

If all else fails, I’ll just watch nature again and be amazed at it all.

Tight lines.


Adrian Hartopp
July 2004

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