This day was going to be one of moving around which can be fun and end up with a bit of variety in size of river and hatches encountered. I had been invited to fish with a friend but no idea where we were going. I woke up early so with a few hours still to go and not able to sleep I went to fish a club stretch and ended up on the R.Avon near Amesbury. The day was still cool but I fully expected it to heat up later, the weather had been very hot over the past couple of days with temperatures reaching the 30’s.
With not much clue as to what was hatching I went down to the water before 6am and several sedges were flying around with the very odd fish rising. These turned out to be mostly Grayling with the trout having a ‘layin’. I found that the fish were keyed in on sedges, in particular a sedge with light olive body and a wing of light dun high-float fibre with elk hair over the top. No Hackle. I did manage a trout but not very big with several not to big Grayling. About 8.30 ish it was time to move, the river keeper turned up to cut some of the weed and I decided to go to a nearby cafe for breakfast.
At 10am I met a friend to drop some flies off and waited for my fishing partner, on arrival it was decided to go to the river Wylie. We made our way down the A303 to a stretch I haven’t fished for a while. Fish were rising and so was the temperature, the sedges were about but only in the shade but a few pale wateries were flying about. The sedge from earlier came off and on went a size 18 parachute.
A simple fly but was found to be all I needed, I will likely change the hackle to a ginger variant as I think this hackle is more buggy. As made my way along the stream I found alot of fish spooky so resorted to stalking on my hands and knees which made a big differences with several nice Grayling including one of about a pound and half coming to the net. Then came lunch, many pubs in the area were found to be shut but thankfully one was found near another stretch of the Wylie.
Now came the third stretch of river for the day. Pretty close to my clubs stretch but narrower for some reason. The fish were once again spooky in the clear water and the sweltering heat didn’t help. Has hinted along the previous bit of river there were a few Mayflies still hatching and the fish were after them. A size 14 roadkill wulff did the magic with several nice trout (some not to big) coming to hand. I had miss judged the rod bring with my latest toy, an Orvis 9ft 6 weight proving itself once again. Who needs a rod of several hundred quid when one costing below 200 will do the job. At least the length allowed me to control the line and get over the bankside cover. By 4.30ish the heat had taken its toll and we headed home.
I recently got rather busy but managed to get out a few times, all to the chalkstreams as I was able to combine the trips with dropping flies of. Currently I am trying to fish once a week. This is so that I can make sure that I have time to myself. Mostly I am working or spending what little time with my son and daughter I can. They both work over the weekend so trying to get togeather is difficult at times. Mostly Saturday…leaving Sundays for fishing and with the odd public bank holiday I get to fish. But factors such as dealing with the garden also seem to factor in. Oh, well!
I have managed to get to the chalkstreams, namely the Wylie and the Avon, coinciding with dropping flies off. The Wylie seems to be a favorite of mine during the Hawthorn hatch, which is actually a terrestrial. The little wild browns and hawthorns seem to go well together but that day was cut short when I ran out of hawthorns or rather the apes**it flies which I am now tying on size 12’s with the body going going round the hook bend a bit. They seem to work better.
Next up was the River Avon, I some how managed to time this with a good hatch of sedges. I took a few Browns and Grayling on a green sedge with a scraggy thorax with very fine rubber legs. A couple of busy weekends resulted in missed weekends but then it was Mayfly time with the flies seemingly a little early. The first week the fish were kind of interested but I was only able to catch using snowshoe emergers tied on a size 18.
With each week brings further attachment of fish to the Mayfly and thus a result of me running out of none mangled flies…until next weekend which may also see me on the Usk for the yellow mays and Brook duns.
In the mean time I am happy to announce that once again I will be tying at the Irish flyfair in Galway, Ireland.
I knew I had saved the best to last, the last day of my week off to fish the mayfly, after the previous few days of chill temperatures mixed with occasional warmth and Wednesdays rain which died of over Thursday. I fished the Itchen, the legendary water which I may have fished many years ago and always thought no chance to fish again. Then I remember the free stretch that runs through the town of Winchester. But this days fishing was by invitation. The mayflies had started to hatch on this river a few days before. The hatch isn’t the same on all rivers, it occurs at different times on different rivers so the chasing the hatch can go on for weeks. The weather promised me that it wasn’t sure what to do but by lunch time it had warmed up nicely, perfect in fact.
Anyway, the mayflies hadn’t quite got going when I arrived. I managed to pick a couple of fish up on the roadkill wulff then switched to the Andelle. Not magic at first but slowly built up over a few hours. My friend admitted that he had hated the fly at first but it had become his best mayfly pattern. I was able to have some fun walking the river and picking of the fish several over 2lb. It was very visual which made it all the more fun. The end of the day I was somewhat tired but happy.
Today was day two of my weeks fishing the mayfly. The weather forecast said that it was going to rain but it wasn’t raining in the morning before I left, so I went but there again I don’t really care about rain when I am fishing. It started on the way, a light shower or two and what… I realised that I hadn’t put the rain jacket in the car. I had a thick fleece so wasn’t really that bothered (I was to regret this thinking later).
When I arrived there was no rain, just overcast but not much rising or hatching and it felt a bit chilly. I timed my arrival quite well because it was not long before the first rise was seen along with the mayflies. The rises started on a bend in the river, slight problem was the trees and bushes only had a small opening for casting thankfully it was just enough to get the fly out to a Grayling, more to the point several as several rises in the general area were seen. The one that took was rather nice at about a pound and a quarter. It was at this point that the rain started, slowly then gathering pace. Did I care? No!
As I stood under quite nice sized willow trees I watched a very steady, although picking up at times a hatch of mayflies with the chill and rain they seemed to take longer taking off from the water. Thus a plan was hatched. I would watch the water, see a rise or two to pin point a fish, go to a point on the bank cast then land the trout. Next I would move to the next seen rising fish and wait in the shelter of a bush. Once a trout was located I would execute a cast or two then retreat to the shelter. The final encounter didn’t end well, the fish which large broke the tippet at which point the rain add decided to run cold down my neck, time to go but a much better day than yesterday was had.
The dun and the husk
Yesterday was the start of my weeks fishing the Mayfly hatch this. I have actually taken the time of work to spend a week just fishing the mayfly hatch with full attention on the fishing and not just grabbing a few hours here and there when I can. The mayflies have been hatching for a couple of weeks now, possibly a bit more because they were early this year. I actually caught a couple of fish at the start of the hatch two weeks ago early on in the beginning of the hatch. Well, all I can say is that the hatch had truly got going because thousands of flies were coming off. The hatch seems better this year, although the conditions yesterday were perfect, cloudy in the morning with warm bright sun in the afternoon and a still evening which was perfect for the spinners (gnat). The day also happened to be a bank holiday which meant loads of people with lots of fishers (they had escaped from family duties and so the river was busy). What was nice today was that a father was seen to have taken his daughter fishing, I cann’t actually remember the last time I saw a young person fishing, I would like to see more out but alas I have little faith.
With the hatch seeming larger in fly numbers also bought the thought that after the past two or three years when the flies seemed to be smaller they had got big again. This means visits to the vice to tie some bigger flies, thankfully I had a few of the bigger size ten flies in the box, deep in the corners mind you but still there.
I was fishing a stretch of the Avon which can get busy and thanks to the ease of access and parking can get hard hit. This may explain the spooky fish, several people said the fish were coming short or being spooky but didn’t seem to wonder why. They are hard hit after being fished for heavily especially this time of year, I wonder how many grey wulffs and variations there of they have seen. I found a pods of feeding browns but there seemed to be Grayling aplenty in the usual spots, I thought I would check the lower section in wading section but fished from the bank. Several fish were seen rising to the mayfly and one or two seemed rather big including one of about 4 to 5 pounds. It and some of the others came to the fly but didn’t take, some came to have a look or took and didn’t hold. I tried several (about a dozen) different patterns and sizes but no, they weren’t interested. I managed one Grayling of about a pound and that was it. I will return to this stretch later in the season when its all died down. Oh well, tomorrow could only be better.
About a week ago I took an invitation to fish a stretch of the Avon near to one of my club stretches. A have fished there before but this time is was by kind invitation of the river keeper. Through emails I knew that there had been a couple of good late evening BWO spinner falls, but the temperature had started dropping to much again in the evening so it may not happen the night I fished. It kind of did but I had to leave due to an early start the following day.
I had arrived early enough to also find out that a half decent hatch had occured the previous day of Mayflies (the big ones that normally hatch at the end of May begining of June). I had seen the odd spinner in the garden the previous days but on the Avon there were also a few about, enough to interest the fish. I had a feeling that the fish were on the spinners and luckily I still had one stuck in the waist coat foam. This resulted in a confident rise from a 3lb brown but the fish managed to mangle the fly and so a change to a roadkill wulff was required. This took another fish and rose a couple of others. The rise died about 9ish but the fish started again half an hour later but I had to leave due to an early start the following day.
This past Monday saw me fishing again, would have gone before but my daughter was over on Saturday and stuff needed doing. what was really frustrating was looking down the garden and seeing the Mayflies dancing, I swear that this years hatch is the best for a long time. If this is the case then I strongly suspect the lack of floods over the winter as something to do with it.
Any way, of I went with a stretch of the Avon in mind that I first fished during the winter but expecting it to be crowded. I got there and no, just one other fisher which was a surprise. Speaking to other members later on I found that there was a consensus that the rivers were quiet for the time of year. The reasons are generally unknown at the time of writting. I suspect work and family though.
Upon arrival I saw the odd Mayfly fluttering over the river which in places was covered in willow fluff. I saw the odd fish moving and so did I, heading up river. Near the end of this section of river I saw a few fish moving. I really couldn’t decid if they were big, normal or small. Indeed the first was small, a brown. The second though took me by surprise. The rise said average brown the grumpy fish pull said otherwise, my biggest Grayling of about 1 3/4lb. I always get my best grayling during the Mayfly but hopefully that will change! From this point I really couldn’t go wrong fishing the Annadel (sp) Mayfly. After a while a also managed a couple of decent browns including one of about 2lb, same fly.
I then moved onto West Amesbury, oh, the hatch here was, I am sure the best in years. Flies and fish everywhere. Now, here is a theory. Each fish seemed to either take, look or not bother when the fly past over while rising steady or with a varied frequency. From this I am thinking that each fish is keyed in on a particular stage of the hatch OR colour within the flies spectrum. I did try the Emerger May with a couple of missed fish but nothing (more on this in a other post, it has evolved!). I took a few more fish including one on a foam bodied lively may although this as now progressed beyond the original it needs a new name. This fish took the fly with such gusto that it made the reel scream as it took of but it ended up being only about a 1 1/4, thought I had hooked something bigger.
I got this shot of a Mayfly thinking it wouldn’t work, what a surprise when I got home.
Until next time…