Small stream fishing

How to irritate the Gods of Angling


Boy, the Gods of Angling had some fun with me today. I suppose it was largely my fault and that I should have known better. Here’s the story.

I was off to a small stream known to hold some meaty trout, both browns and rainbows (the latter being refugees from a number of nearby trout farms). So the first mistake I made was to beef up my leader, putting on a 4lb tippet rather than the usual 2lb, which suffices for most of the fish I catch. In other words I dared to think I might hook a decent specimen. The Gods don’t look kindly on that sort of thing. I compounded things by ensuring that I took a landing net (silly boy!) And finally – and actually I am a bit embarrassed by this – I took some newly acquired electronic weighing scales!!

To punish me for my presumptiousness the first thing that happened was that it didn’t rain. Heavy downpours had been forecast so I duly togged up with a wading jacket. Uncomfortable in the warmth, given that I had a good half-mile hike through undergrowth to get to the water. For the three hours I fished it steadfastly remained warm and sticky, and being fundamentally lazy I couldn’t be bothered to take the thing off.

The water is little fished, heavily overgrown and exceedingly weedy. I had a six foot rod with only a leader of 7-8 ft to cope with the obstacles. I put on a small emerger.


No fish were rising, but I could see many fish in the water, large and not so large, all completely inaccessible because of dense undergrowth. Eventually I approached a deep pool in which sat maybe half a dozen really nice fish, ranging from about 1lb to more than twice that size. With great difficulty and many disentanglements from overhanging branches, I managed to get the fly over a big fish, which took the fly and spat it out before I could set the hook. Curses. The same thing happened again before the pool was spooked out. I’d spent a good 40 minutes there, having to really concentrate on each cast – gathering up the leader to prevent it from going too far downstream to get snagged in surface weed.

I moved on upstream, casting where I could and watching with dismay as I disturbed fish after fish, and watched them dart off downstream.

After a good hour I hadn’t had a touch and was contemplating a blank. But then the Gods presumably felt a bit sorry for me. Hoorah. Not a brown, and not very big but no blank today:


A small alien but welcome nonetheless. I bagged another of similar size, so maybe I had served my penance and things were looking up.

But them upstairs continued to toy with me – I rose two or three pretty big fish to no avail.

Towards the top of the beat I noticed a few swirly rises and managed, despite much overhanging hawthorn, to get the fly into more or less the right spot. Slurp and bang, I had a decent rainbow on. It bored into the weed beds but I managed to bully it to the net:


It was around 13-14″ long and I did in fact weigh it. Disappointingly it registered at about 1.5lb. I would have estimated it at around 2lb. Bloomin’ scales, don’t think I’ll bother with them again.

Anyway, after the earlier frustrations things were getting better. Took a nice little brownie (didn’t need net):

followed by a couple of small rainbows. In a dark stretch covered by trees…


I spotted another rise and had enough room to make a cast. Bingo! A nice fat brown:


Didn’t bother weighing it, but a nice fish probably similar size to the rainbow.

That was it for the day. Six fish including one pretty good brown. I’m pleased the Gods took pity on me in the end. Next time I shall certainly leave the weighing scales at home. Maybe then ‘They’ will let me catch a couple more.


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