To the upper beat of the Seven on Spaunton Moor to see if the recent rain has livened things up. I was also giving a first outing to my smart new Simms fishing shirt, a birthday gift from my daughters. What with its two buttoned chest pockets, front pleat and natty embroidered trout logo I felt like the Beau Brummel of the Yorkshire fishing set. I was hoping the trout would be impressed. Weatherwise the portents were good: only 22C on the car thermometer and a nice covering of cloud. When I got to the river it did indeed have a decent flow on it:
I tackled up with the Burns seven-and-a-half footer 3wt, together with the 4ft furled leader. To the 4ft of tippet I had used previously I added an extra couple of feet of finer nylon just in case. I’ve decided that with fly choice I’m too conservative, unadventurous and boring. I almost always whack on a foam-headed emerger because I’m lazy – it floats all day – and by and large it does the business. I’d tied a couple of size 22 Griffiths gnats so put one of those on instead.
For the first hour or so I saw little action. No fish rising and none that I could see under the water. I was about to swap to a small weighted nymph when I had a take and pulled in a small brown:
Not a monster but no blank today. Also he looked quite impressed by my shirt. I plugged away for another half hour to no avail. Things weren’t looking as good as I had hoped, so I switched to the size 18 goldhead hare’s ear to see if that could tempt anything. It didn’t. I saw a couple of rises at the far end of a pool so with a sigh took off the nymph and reverted to type with a size 16 foam-headed emerger tied with an orange body and flashabou rib. I worked my way up through water like this:
putting the fly in every pocket of slack water I could. I must say the furled leader makes thing a lot easier for short-range work and I am rapidly becoming a convert. I started to get interest in the fly, but it looked like it was going to be one of those days. Fish after fish came up but I just couldn’t connect. It was getting frustrating when at last one did stick:
Well it’s a fish and it counts as far as I’m concerned. I was paying a lot more attention than usual to the small pockets and gradually this approach began to pay off, with fish like this:
coming from water like this:
Loads more splashes and misses but more and more were sticking:
The bigger pools were also giving up the odd trout:
After a bit over three hours lunch was beckoning and I decided to call it a day, pulling in another nice little brown with the last cast:
I’d had 21 altogether, which was a great result. If just half of the rises had stuck I would have doubled that tally. Almost all of the fish came in the last hour or so, which was a relief after the slow start. Once again the emerger came good so it looks like I’ll have to remain boring and unadventurous. I learnt that there are a lot of fish in the shallow little pockets and that the furled leader is ideal for this kind of tight fishing. Also I looked very smart in my new shirt.
Another handsome little perch on the maggot from the river at the bottom of the field the other evening: