Pickering Beck

Back on track in the wind and rain


I was half expecting another blank as I headed up to Pickering Beck late morning. The forecast was pretty dire – 11C, gusting 20mph winds and scattered showers. As it happens the car’s thermometer said it was only 7C. Brr! Come on Spring, where are you?! Well, at least some slight solace in the form of intermittent sunshine. The beck wasn’t looking bad – up maybe 8 or 9 inches and with a bit of colour in it. I tackled up the 7ft Hardy Marquis with a 3wt floater and reluctantly stuck on the 3mm tungsten bead hare’s ear with a little orange tag on it. I got into the water here and began the slow march upstream:

The wind was buffeting me, but happily it was on my back and indeed aided the casting – or more accurately lobbing – of the chunky nymph. No flies coming off and no fish visible either on the top or under the water. I worked my way up the beat. The wind had been busy:

In the pool just beyond the broken branch my line twitched and I was in! A little out-of-season grayling. Why don’t these fish come to the fly when you actually want them to? Never mind, hopefully they’ll still be around come mid-June when they’ll be back on the menu as it were.

Two or three casts a little further up and another tug on the line, and another grayling. Then, after maybe 45 minutes’ of troutless fishing and not a few snags on the bottom the line tautened and the first brown of the day was on:

That’s more like it. No blank today! It started to rain lightly and while the wind occasionally swung round to make things a little uncomfortable, by and large it remained in my favour. Another couple of small grayling came to hand as I ventured into water like this:

I picked up another couple of little browns in the shallower runs; one hooked itself without me spotting the take, the other came from a ‘legitimate’ strike:

Further upstream through pretty but not exciting water that runs alongside the road:

Had a fourth fish on:

And then a fifth:

And that was it for the session. Five nice little wild brown trout on a day that had not promised a lot. I detected four of the five takes and am slowly getting more confident with this heavy-nymphing lark. And I didn’t lose a fly.


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