Thornton Beck

Look, they’re still technically trout so I’m counting them


To Thornton Beck close to the Dalby Forest, the prettiest yet by some distance most challenging water that I fish. It’s tiny, clear as gin and very overgrown in places. Plus there was a briskish breeze right into my face. Those are today’s excuses. Against that, the temperature was up to 17C or so, which was encouraging.

Tackled up with the 6ft 3wt Burns, 4ft furled leader and about 5ft of tippet. I put on a size 18 pheasant tail, tied more or less traditionally with copper wire.

The first stretch of water was horribly silted, and although frustratingly I could see some nice fish holding quite low down, wading was a nightmare – like pulling your way through three feet of talcum powder – and getting the fly ahead of the fish before spooking them was tough to say the least.

No joy after a good 90 minutes, by which time I’d come to the top part of the water. I switched to a size 16 gold head hare’s ear. As I say, the water is devilishly clear:

A lot of the day is spent watching skittish fish dart back through your legs. Even with the small rod it was a job to get the fly into the water when you are confronted with this sort of thing:

Eventually I did spot a small fish within casting distance and managed to get the fly over him. He turned and I struck, without really being sure if he’d taken the fly. He did, but not sure why I bothered really:

Well, better than nothing I suppose – just. More water like this:

I kept casting more or less wherever I could and after while was surprised to find something on the end of my line. Another little microtrout:

And that was it. There were some surprisingly nice fish in the water, and I’ll be back later in the year with the dry fly. I determined to bag something bigger than a stickleback.

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