River Seven, Yorkshire

Picky fish make for hard going on the Seven


To the lowest beat of the Seven for the first time this season. This stretch is probably the least interesting of the club’s waters in terms of features. Mostly it’s pretty slow-flowing, with the odd little riffle and the deeper weir pool. But there are some good fish here and on its day sport can be rewarding.

I wanted to test a couple of things. After the tumble I took on the upper reaches of the river – knees still sporting impressive bruises – I decided to invest in a Snowbee telescopic wading staff. I’ve not used a wading stick before and was curious to find out how I’d get on with it, in particular whether it would be a nuisance when it wasn’t actually in use. I opened it up to about shoulder height and clipped it with a chunky zinger to the belt of my waders. In the event it was pretty successful and it didn’t get in the way when it was left dangling as I fished. Good!

That same fall had nicked the right knee on my waders and I’d smeared a blob of Aquasure over the inside of the hole. That also seemed to work, so another small victory.

The other casualty of my undignified entry into the water was my camera. It dried out ok and seems to function, but was left with a pesky circular white deposit on the rear of the lens. I’ve sent it away for dismantling and cleaning – a mere hundred quid (!). Ah well, c’est la vie.

The sun was out and the temperature was climbing steadily from about 12C when I kicked off at around noon. I decided to give the spiders another outing on the Burns 7.5ft 3wt, a black and peacock on the point and orange partridge on the dropper.

Things were slow to start with, but as I made my way upstream I could see fish starting to rise in water like this:

But they were not tempted by the spiders, so I switched to a size 16 foam-head emerger. Still nothing, even though I was covering the fish reasonably accurately and not spooking them. Close inspection of the water appeared to reveal tiny little black flies – probably size 28. I’ve nothing of that size in my box, so persevered with the emerger. I managed to get a reasonable fish on, but it disappeared, taking my fly with it. Poor knot. Pathetic.

Re-tied, kept plugging away and was rewarded by what turned out to be the best fish of the day:

Over the next hour or so this was followed by a couple more:

Three fish in around two hours of fishing was hard work. I’m going to have to get some tiny hooks and tie up some micro flies.

When I got to the weir pool I decided on a change of tack and rigged up the 10ft 3wt with a French leader system, 3mm tungsten-beaded hare’s ear on the point and size 16 1.5mm beaded hare’s ear on the dropper.

The wading stick had been more or less redundant downstream, but here it was actually quite useful as there are some tricky and slippery blocks of masonry on the river bed and in fact I have had a slight dunking here in the past while trying to retrieve a fly from a tree.

Anyhow, after 15 or 20 minutes I had a twitch on the line and a not-bad trout came to hand, having taken the dropper:

A while later I pulled in a reasonable little grayling, followed by the final trout of the day, which had gone for the chunkier point fly:

Five fish for around three-and-a-half hours’ effort. Could have been better but could certainly have been a lot worse. And I didn’t fall in. Result!

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