What a dismal July day. Drizzle, easterly wind and the temperature hovering around 13C. Crap. Anyhow, plan A was to have a go on the very top beat of the Seven at Spaunton Moor. But when I got there at 10.30am the water was running like a steam train and the colour of hot chocolate – unfishable.
So I hastily formulated a Plan B and headed for the Duchy section of the Pickering Beck for the first time this season. Here the water was up and coloured but fishable:
Today was going to be an experiment. I’d try two heavy nymphs on a French leader set up with a 7.5ft rod – nylon only on the reel, no fly line, and a coiled pink bite indicator. I wasn’t massively confident; the water looked a bit too fast for my liking and I suspected that the fish might be holed up and not too bothered about feeding. The first half hour or so seemed to confirm my suspicions with zilch activity – nothing was interested in the two beaded nymphs, nondescript orange bug with a flashabou rib on the point and a slimline creation on the dropper whose body consists simply of pearl flashabou wound onto the hook shank:
But then I did get a tiny fish on – and just as quickly off again. Nonetheless it meant that the fish were taking. I was concentrating on the slightly deeper water at the edges. Finally took one:
And after that things began to hot up considerably. I think the water must have been dropping rather than rising as I had feared and the fish were certainly feeding.
I was particularly keen to try a spot where I do the invertebrate sampling. It looks really fishy but I’ve always struggled with dry fly or standard spiders/nymphing:
Gratifyingly I picked up three fish in the deeper, slacker water either side of the point of the island – about this size:
By now I was getting into some kind of rhythm and was getting a feel for the sort of water where the fish were likely to be hanging out. I flicked the flies under this tree on the right:
And pulled out this little beauty:
Anyhow, had a few more along these lines:
Fantastic little sparklers. In the end I bagged, I think, 16 fish and lost half a dozen more. So that experiment succeeded. I can’t think that I would have had such a productive day with conventional fly-line tactics. Hmm, this short-line nymphing is becoming extremely interesting.