Up to the Spaunton Moor beat of the Seven on a muggy late morning of broken cloud and intermittent sunshine. The last time I was here she spurned me with blank, so today I was going to have to lay on the charm to get her back on side. As I tackled up the Burns seven-and-a-half footer I could see one or two rises in the pool at the start of the beat:
So I began the gentle seduction, lightly caressing her with my 3wt floating line and tickling her surface playfully with my hairy little emerger. She was playing hard to get – I covered rises to no avail. Fifteen minutes of fruitless coaxing had produced nothing when – relief! – there was a little splash at the fly and she yielded a titchy brownie:
It ain’t going to break any records, but a fish is a fish and no blank today. As I was preparing to vacate the pool, just slightly disappointed, I noticed a rise just the other side of this flat rock:
I edged my way towards it and saw the fish lurking in its station. Hmm, it would be difficult to get the fly onto it, what with the overhanging branch, but decided I’d give it a go anyhow. Amazingly first cast plopped the emerger at about 1 o’clock to the fish’s nose and it turned and took it. Fantastic! It was bigger than I thought, albeit not a monster:
Well, it looked like I was winning her round. Excellent. I worked my way gingerly upstream through the slippery boulders underfoot and picked up one or two more of a similar size. I then came to a makeshift dam of fallen trees:
There was a large apron of scum on its far side with many dibbly rises just beyond. Throwing caution to the wind I clambered onto a fallen tree and cast over the scum raft:
Each time the fly landed there’d be a tiny swirl but I couldn’t connect. I then caught my fly in a branch above me and had to edge my way along the tree trunk and stretch on tiptoes to try to untangle it. Daft really for a man of my advancing years. Nevertheless I managed to retrieve the fly and continued to get it among the rising fish. A few moments later I had the take and a nice little fish came to hand:
I’d bagged half a dozen or so by now so was feeling smug. To wipe the smile from my face fate decided to snap the branch upon which one of my feet was perched and with a sharp crack I found my right leg in the water up to the thigh. I hauled myself up and scrambled to safety.
From then on I picked up a few more browns of 8-9″, some in faster water some in the slack:
Smallest fish of the day was this one:
After a bit under three hours I’d brought 11 to hand and had risen maybe half a dozen more. I was happy enough with that but was keen to get the count up to a round dozen. A few casts later and I had number 12 on, the best fish of the day as it happens, fittingly about 12″:
So that was it. A good session and very happy to have patched things up with the river. She really is gorgeous. That might be the last outing on the rivers for the next couple of weeks: up to Scourie on Sunday for four intense days on the hill lochs. Watch this space!