River Seven, Yorkshire

Early switch of tactics pays dividends on the Seven


Greedy for more fishing before the season ends I had something of a dilemma. After the heavy recent rain, which water would be most fishable? I didn’t fancy the upper stretch of the Seven because if it was a bit high and coloured wading would be a gamble, and having sat on my backside in Pickering Beck the other day I didn’t fancy taking the risk.

I’d fished Thornton Beck fairly recently so didn’t feel the urge to give it another go just yet, and the Environment Agency website suggested that Pickering Beck was still pretty high. So I opted for the middle section of the Seven and off I went.

I was thinking goldhead nymph – with the water a tad colder and with a bit of extra depth on it. I’d recently bought, for the first time, some tungsten beads and had tied up a handful of hare’s ears in 16 and 18. These, I reckoned, would do the biz:


It was windy but bright and warming up when I got to the river. The water was not as high as I had feared – maybe an extra 7 or 8 inches – and was not too badly coloured. More black tea than hot chocolate, another bonus:


I tackled up with the 7.5 footer with a 3wt floating line and a 10 ft leader. I’d normally opt for a longer leader than that but was wary of the stiffish breeze.

I’d noticed a couple of rises but decided to persist with my goldhead scheme. Got in, negotiated a length of barbed wire stretched across the water attached to a drowned fence post, and lobbed the nymph over the rises.

Nothing doing. I persisted for about 20 or 30 minutes, then thought this is silly. Fish are rising freely enough so get a dry over them. So on went a small foam-headed emerger, purple body, flashabou rib:


I cast to a rise that was only eight or nine feet away and bang! A belter of around 12″:


Decision to switch flies vindicated! Two casts later and another one was on:


I was surprised at the amount of surface activity this late in the season. I started to fill my boots, picking up regularly, losing the odd one or two. I have to say I was casting like a demon, even if the wind was giving me a helping hand. I was covering rises close the bank and under overhanging branches. Spotted one rise under a bush, managed after two or three attempts to get the fly to drift nicely over the rise. I could see the leader starting to bow and knew that I only had a second or two before the dreaded drag set in. Then a flash of silver and the fish was on. Superb.


Within an hour, and having covered only about 150 yards of water, I’d had a good dozen to the hand. This was really terrific sport.

Things quietened down a bit after lunch (I’d started at about 11.45 am), and I decided to have another crack with the goldhead, but nothing happening so back to the emerger.

Carried on up water like this:


Picking up fairly regularly, including this thin fellow of about 10″:


Anyhow, after a bit over 4 hours’ fishing I’d bagged 24 and lost a fair few. Really excellent top-of-the-water late season sport.

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  1. Simon, another great post, thanks. This is one of my favourite beats on our stretch and it’s good to see so many fish coming out – I’m not sure that ‘hopelessly optimistic’ is ringing true anymore……

  2. Nice write up. Sounds like you had a very enjoyable few hours. It’s nice when it all comes together.

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