Pickering Beck

Hard work under a hot sun


A quick trip up to Pickering Beck before the bank holiday comes round and the A64 towards the coast and North York Moors becomes gridlocked. A mightily hot day, blazing sun and a pesky breeze blowing in my face. Tackled up with a Hardy Marquis 7 ft with 3 wt floating line and trusty emerger:


The recent rain had put a bit of depth on the water and I could see rises in the first run that I fancied:


Surely today I would truly fill my boots. Ha. Kept casting into the rises and zilch. I could see some small fish taking a look a the fly then turning tail. Managed to get on one then off again almost immediately. Switched down a couple of sizes to an 18 and almost immediately had a take – in and out again. The fly was tricky to see in the water, so after rising nothing in this section:


I reverted to the larger fly. Chucked it into a swift riffle and result:


That was the first fish to stick after five takes. No blank today anyhow. Came to some nice shallow water:


Two fish rose to the fly but neither connected properly. I probably whipped the fly out due to overenthusiasm and incompetence. Things were starting to become a tad frustrating.

Made my way to a useful deep pool – Cox’s Hole – where decent sized fish traditionally reside.


Could see one or two fairly small fish in the water, but the slow, sticky surface was making my leader look like one of those fat spongy noodle things that kids use in the swimming pool. Had another missed take. Bah!

Skirted on the road round the mill to this canal-like stretch which is slow but contains fish:


Wasn’t confident but had a chuck. My lack of self-belief was fully justified.

Along the bank through the next field – plenty of fish but slow, deep water and the odd cast I put in had no real conviction attached. I wish the fish were as hungry as this tree, which seems to be gobbling up our sign:


The next portion of the water is good. I have had fish up to about 2lb here in the past and I secretly hoped that a pounder might have my name on it today. I dared not articulate this wish too loudly for fear of offending the gods of angling. Experience has taught me that they do not appreciate hubris.

Into the water with plenty of fish rising in front of me.


Bang! One on, then off again. Curses. But another one quickly and this time brought to hand:


Followed soon by another:


The rises looked promising and I was certain there were some nice fish here. Round to this stretch:


Got a whacking take close to a bunch of reeds and had my pounder on the line. Fantastic. It shot around for a bit then came off. I swore. No matter, a few moments later a big splash at the fly and…


Well, it’s a fish and I’m not moaning. A few more like this:


In water like this:


Was getting ready to call it a day. Last stretch was this reed-fringed straight run.


No bankside cover so I wasn’t sure what it might hold. But it produced this, the last fish of the day:


So that was that. A dozen small brownies in a three hour session. I’m happy with that. I pricked probably a dozen more and a better angler than me would have had at least a score I reckon.

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