With rain predicted over the next few days I thought I’d make the most of the sunshine and nipped up to the top beat of the Seven at Spaunton Moor. It looked like it should be a good day, with temperatures due to rise to around 15C, and only a gentle breeze from the east.
My new-found enthusiasm for spiders remains unabated, but rather than attempt the 9ft rod and traditional north country method, I scaled down to the Burns 7.5ft 3wt to adopt a more conventional upstream nymphing approach. I used a 4ft furled leader with a tippet of around 5ft. I put a black and peacock on the point and a Greenwell’s spider on the dropper for a two-fly set-up. The Greenwell’s is on a size 16 nymph hook, the black and peacock on a coarse fishing hook, possibly size 14 – it was just lying around in a load of unmarked hooks that I’ve amassed over the years.
I started off at the lowest point of the beat, where there’s a nice pool. While I was tackling up I saw a couple of small rises, but failed to get any interest so I worked my way upstream, casting the flies on a shortish line into any likely looking water. First take of the day came in the faster riffle here:
A really nice wild moorland brown of around 9″:
It had taken the Greenwell’s. That’s a really nice fish for this water and I was chuffed.
A couple of casts later just a few feet further up and a second good fish was on, having gone for the black and peacock:
I was getting quite excited by this stage. These were two good fish on a technique that I’ve shied away from in the past, relying almost exclusively on an emerger, usually fished in slower water. My eyes were being opened to the value of fishing shallower, faster runs with a wet fly.
Things went a bit quiet for the next 20 minutes or so until I came to this stretch:
I prospected in a fan across the water, and as I got towards the left-hand bank the line straightened and the rod bent. The fish shot downstream, but I soon had it to hand. A corker, the biggest I’ve had on this upper part of the river:
The black peacock was doing the business.
Fish number four, another good one, came from this bit of the water, again in the faster run and again on the point fly:
The sun came out and I had a lot of fun targeting, unsuccessfully, loads of small fish in this shallow, very clear, pool:
But then it all went wrong. A few yards further upstream in water that was only a foot or so deep but heavily boulder-strewn, I failed to lift my feet enough as I was wading and tripped badly. I went down like a sack of spuds, just about breaking my fall with my left hand but smacking both knees really painfully. Worse, my camera fell out of my top pocket and took a dunking. I staggered to the bank and took a breather. The camera was dripping and, probably foolishly, I turned it on. The lens popped out, displaying a large blob of water behind it. I quickly switched it off and decided to call it a day. With two painful knees and a throbbing hand I limped back to the car. The knees are still a bit sore, and the camera is drying out near the boiler. Whether it’ll survive or not only time will tell.
But for all that, what a cracking (ha!) day.