River Seven, Yorkshire

Getting to grips with the short-line nymph. Sort of.


In the spirit of adventure I thought I’d try something different today and take the 10ft 3wt rod up to the Spaunton stretch of the Seven. I’ve shied away from this before because I’d assumed the rod would be too unweildy in what is a tight stream – five or six metres wide on average and with a fair bit of overgrowth.

In the event it I was surprised at how much water I was able to cover with the short-line nymphing rig. The flies ended up in the trees what a mere dozen times?

The river was looking grand and not too low after the recent rain:

With this outfit I dispense with a fly line and use a backing of 12lb mono with a 6m tapered Hends leader. I’m a novice at this still, not entirely sure what I’m doing, but I think that outfit sounds ok. I put on a 5ft tippet with a hefty beaded hare’s ear on the point and a smaller one on the dropper about 14″ up:

One keeps reading about how devastating a method this can be, and I’m sure that is correct. Just hasn’t happened yet.

I was brimful of hope when I stared and dared to think I might bag a dozen. This season has generally been a bit of a struggle with both surface and sub-surface flies, and I was keeping my fingers crossed that today would mark the start of a glorious new era in my fishing career.

Well, not really. As I say, I was less restricted than I’d feared and I got into a decent rhythm of flicking the flies into what looked like tasty lies. For the first 40 minutes or so nothing happened, but then I finally bagged a little one:

Well, it was a start. Onwards through water like this:

and this:

I picked up two or three more little ones. Often they would take as soon as the fly hit the water:

I’d had half a dozen by the time I reached a nice little glide up against an outcrop of rock. I’d had fish from here before so was optimistic that I might pull something out:

And lo and behold I did get one, which although still small was probably the best fish of the day:

I’d been on the water for over three hours by then and was getting a tad peckish so decided to pack up, having brought seven fish to hand and connected with seven or eight more. It had been instructive and I’m beginning to think that this could be the most effective method on this water, which has got bags of character, loads of fishy features and is the fastest-flowing of the rivers that I fish regularly. Interestingly all the fish took the point fly, which is in contrast to my modest experience with this technique in the past. Not sure what that says, probably not a lot.

Anyhow, I’ve ordered some smaller jig hooks and some 2.5mm tungsten beads, so shall be tying up some more flies and will persevere. It was surprisingly good fun.

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