Oxfolds Beck, North Yorkshire

Season’s finale produces a nice fish

22/09/2020

The last outing of this season and I wanted to put a bend in the rod, so I headed up to Oxfolds Beck. As I have mentioned ad infinitum, this chalk stream holds – or at any rate held – some big fish but has been bludgeoned by pollution. Still, of all the club’s waters, bar the two ponds, it gives you the best chance of landing something substantial. I was pretty certain of my tactics: 6ft 3wt rod, furled leader, short tippet with a heavy nymph. I plumped in the first instance for this, which is a simple wool body, as in the Sawyer killer bug, with the addition of a 3mm copper coloured tungsten bead:

If I saw something rise I’d swap to a dry. It was hot for a late September lunchtime, around 20C with a mild, helpful SW breeze.

First ‘real’ stop was the deep pool that is in the middle of this tunnel of overgrowth:

There are often shadows lurking in this 5ft of water, but today I could see nothing. Still, that doesn’t mean there is nothing there, and in the highly restricted environment and using a bow-and-arrow cast I managed to get the fly into the right bit of water. Twice the line twitched, twice I struck and twice I had something big on the end, but on both occasions the line went slack. So that was that. Except I did notice a tangle of line and glitter dangling from a branch. I managed to tease it out with the tip of my rod, and this is what it was:

Yes indeed, a line of five mackerel lures. So another reason why the fish are fewer and further between than they have been in the past. Ah well.

Anyhow, next stop was this run just below the bridge, which drops to about four feet deep:

I lobbed in the sexed-up killer bug and way-hay had a take. This time it stuck. Not a monster, but a nice fish nonetheless:

And that was my lot – I plodded upstream and saw only one other fish. It was very large, maybe 24″, but unfortunately it was dead. I wouldn’t be surprised if it had had a run-in with a lure:

On that grimmish note I decided to call it a day on the Oxfolds and have a quick chuck on the Pickering beck, a few minutes’ drive away, swapping the 6ft rod for a 7 footer, and putting on a dry.

I tooled around for an hour or so, taking two small fish from water like this:

They were both this size. Not huge, but the spots!

Well, family stuff for the next week so that’s it as far as trout are concerned for this year. Odd season, odd times. Stay well.

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    1. Thanks Justin, yes really pleased I made the effort and a good way to end the season as you say. There were some sedge coming off in reasonable numbers and a few olives, and I did see a few smaller fish which might bode well for recruitment. Fingers crossed some sort of recovery has begun…

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