River Seven, Yorkshire

The river looks lovely but the fish are being picky


Up to the lower beat of the Seven on a hot, clear late May early afternoon. The bankside was in its full glory: who needs the Chelsea Flower Show when you’ve got this:

As I tackled up with the Burns seven-and-a-half footer I could see fish rising sporadically and therefore, perfectly reasonably (ha!), thought I was in for a hatful. The water itself was somewhat emaciated after the recent dry spell, as low, slow and clear as I can recall:

Given the surface activity I put on a small parachute emerger, buoyed with a foam head; it usually does the business:

Sadly the fish weren’t playing ball. I was getting the fly over rises but nothing was happening. I wasn’t spooking them because by and large the rises kept coming. I persevered for half an hour of mounting frustration before eventually making contact. Nice little wild brown:

After that it was pretty well much of the same:  covering rising fish generally to no avail, but now and again picking one up:

The third fish was a belter, a good 12″ which is an excellent wild brown for this river:

Onwards through skinny water like this:

Nabbing the occasional little fish like this:

and this:

I rounded a corner and spotted a fellow angler upstream, which meant that my plan to work my way to the top limit of the beat had to be shelved. Instead I aborted that mission and hopped back in the car to drive half a mile downstream to give the weir pool a go. In contrast to earlier in the season when the water had been roaring over the top, there was not much more than a trickle:

I picked up a little out-of-season grayling on the dry before deciding to switch to a small goldhead hare’s ear. This landed a better grayling from the pool. I messed around for 20 minutes without any joy, and just as I was reeling in to pack up I felt a tug on the line and discovered this modest chap on the end:

Well, that was it for the day. A shade under four hours’ fishing had produced nine nice browns and a couple of grayling. The fish aren’t always this picky and on another day I reckon I could have doubled my tally. A better angler than me would have had a couple of dozen today I reckon. Probably needed to go down to a size 24 and extend the leader by a foot or three. That sounds too much like hard work for me. I’m happy enough with the few that I landed.

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