River Seven, Yorkshire

A tale of two halves on the Seven


To the wild, top section of the Seven on Spaunton Moor on a chilly May morning but with no rain predicted. We’d had virtually non-stop rain two days ago but the water was eminently fishable, containing just a hint of copper.

My plan was to give the spiders another outing, so I tackled up the Burns 7.5ft 3wt, 4ft furled leader and about 5ft of tippet with a small black and peacock on the point and a partridge and orange on the dropper.

Well, the air was about 11C and the water felt cold. I didn’t see a single fish for the first hour and nothing was interested in the spiders. I was beginning to get a little disheartened. I switched the point fly to a small gold-headed hare’s ear to see if the extra depth might tempt something. Nothing doing.

I eventually spotted a small fish rising at the end of a long pool, but by the time I’d switched back to spiders the rises had stopped and despite comprehensively covering the water where the fish had been it had well and truly done a runner.

I then snagged my fly on a tree and a sharp tug left it there, together with the dropper. Bah. In desperation I stuck on a really meaty gold-headed hare’s ear, probably about size 12. Only about two feet of my tippet remained but through laziness I thought I’d give it a go in any event and started casting in any water that looked likely, like this:

By now I’d been fishing for the better part of two hours with zilch to show for it. But I saw the line twitch and pulled in a nice little trout:

So, the little tykes were hanging deep. I persisted with the short tippet and heavy fly and landed another couple of this sort of size:

Well, I thought that I might as well at least try to do things properly, so I re-rigged with a five foot leader, 3mm tungsten-beaded hare’s ear on the point and smaller gold-head on the dropper. That did the trick. In water like this:

I started to regularly pick up fish like this:

and these, all on the dropper:

In the end not a bad day, with ten in all. No fish in the first two hours, double figures in the second two. It demonstrated something that I hadn’t really thought feasible, that short-line nymphing is perfectly possible with a short rod. I’d assumed you needed the full 10ft outfit etc etc, but no. Hmm, interesting.

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  1. Great report Simon, and well done! I see you are still using a furled leader. I am trying it for the first time this year( think one of your experiments encouraged me) and suitably impressed. Does not seem to spook the fish , either wet or dry. No doubt it helps casting into difficult spots with a 8ft rod. Similarly heavy nymphs , with sharp tugs now and then during the retrieve working well on the Rye.

    1. Thanks Ken. Yeah, I’m definitely a furlie convert. Looking forward to trying it on the lochs in Scourie next month.

  2. Nice Simon lovely colours in them, drop me your snail mail address & I will send you over a weight forward furled leader I developed and is doing well, it’s never off my line, may help you out up in scourie if you get a wee breeze.

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