Well, that was a bit disappointing. I made my way up to Thornton Beck, a tiny stream that winds its way through the Dalby Forest up in North Yorkshire with a clever plan in mind. I’ve generally struggled here; the fish are small and highly skittish. They don’t rise freely, see you coming and are generally reluctant to be caught.
Last time out, back in June, I had some good results with a six foot rod, short tippet on a furled leader and single beaded nymph. Buoyed by that relative success I thought I had it sussed. I’d abandon the fly line entirely, lengthen the rod a tad (to seven foot – needs to be short because its a real jungle) and bung on a couple of beaded nymphs and fish it a la francais.
Prospects looked fine – overcast, slight breeze generally in my favour and a good amount of water. I got in at the cattle drink here, having to limbo under the barbed wire:
I merrily made my way upstream, putting the flies in deeper pools under rougher water – the sort of lie that had proved productive last time. Nothing. I spooked a lot of fish. This short range nymphing wasn’t working. With such a short rod and so much overhang I had to get too close to the lie and the nervous fish skedaddled. So I decided to put on a conventional line with a highly buoyant emerger with a fat foam wing to ride the rapids. That allowed me to cast from a bit further away into water like this:
It was still a struggle. Eventually what worked, to a small degree, was sneaking up to a bend and casting around the corner as it were. That produced three small fish. Actually they are all small…
But some smaller than others…
Ok, so what did I learn? Stealth and concealment is vital; you need to cast from as far away as possible; the fish will take a heavy nymph but can also be brought up by a dry.
I’m going to give it another go. Next time I’ll revert to the six foot rod and put on a wet fly such as a black and peacock – kind of half way between the dry and the beaded nymph. That should do the trick (haha). Watch this space!