And it certainly has been full on! Despite the low temps, high winds and now a mini heat wave I can’t remember such a busy season for a long while. In fact just so many days have passed by that I am not sure where to begin, especially as I think my last update was back in March! So rather than an in depth report here are some of the best moments from the season so far starting with April. Do you remember how cold it was?!
I do because for most of the first 6 weeks of the season I became pretty much hermetically sealed into my under wader wear! It really was unseasonably cold but Jon Hettle managed to hit the Wye with me in early April, on a day when the sun put in an appearance for a couple of hours … framed by the snow capped Welsh mountains in the background.
Despite the rather “fresh” conditions around the nether regions Jon had struck gold as a huge Large Dark Olive hatch ensued. As can be seen from this picture the Browns were lean and in need of a meal resulting in one of the most explosive sessions of guiding that I can remember for a long time, I literally lost count of how many fish came to the net. They must have been ravenous. But as soon as the sun disappeared so did the LDOs … and the Trout with them. Jon described it as an “outstanding couple of days” and I look forward very much to guiding him once again on this beautiful river later this month. And if you are going to use the Wye & Usk passport for yourself I would definitely recommend packing something like a 10′ #4 or #5 rod for the Trout, the Wye gets pretty big in places.
Nothing satisfies me more than watching as an angler progresses through the sport, such as Chris Short who after just one year of fly fishing is regularly weighing in Troutmasters qualifiers at the fishery and now has his eye on the reservoir competition scene.
To help kick start this ambition he asked me to set him up with a days guiding on a reservoir and so we found ourselves on Clatworthy a few days after my return from the Wye. Fishing Buzzers & Crunchers straight line style from one of the brilliant new Coulam 16 boats added to the Clatworthy fleet this season, provided top class sport and superb quality fish. Best of all Chris is now heading out to the large waters with confidence and enjoying success. All great experience which he will need later this year having qualified through to the Troutmasters final in September. Good luck Chris!
The variety of guiding and courses that I am involved with is something that I relish as the owner of a fly fishing school in this part of the world, but I have to say that if I could pick one place for the rest of my days then the Lyn would be very high on the list. I usually like to get going on the Lyn around May but a request from Jon Kerr who owns the busy Coach & Horses Pub in Ganborough to organise a days fishing on a spectacular river for himself and 3 good friends during April, resulted in a meeting on a grey Monday morning.
Jon, Richard, Andrew and Ross all caught fish despite the unseasonably low temperatures and after a riverside lunch of pie Jon took my advice and tried a deep nymph alongside one of the Lyns legendary deep ledges. The result was this very plump Brown which by the bend it managed to place in Jons rods should have been around 5lbs! But it is never the size of these fish that counts on a venue quite so spectacular and although in the past the guys have probably used flies larger than some of the fish they caught it didn’t seem to matter a jot, especially as good steaks & beers were enjoyed in front of an open fire to finish the day!
“Just an email to say thank you from all four of us for the two days we spent with you, we all had a fantastic time and I think it’s made a few of us look very differently about river fishing now.” Ross Martin.
My apologies for the people I have missed, there is simply not enough space to report on all of the adventures but I cant sign off rounding up April without mentioning Paul Willing and his father Bruce from Jersey.
Paul is pretty new to the game but Bruce has been chucking a fly for in excess of 30 years. However, he had never really paid much attention to entomology until we began catching fish after fish using Buzzers! Despite Paul being a relative novice he soon had the casting nailed and was going through the Exe Valley stock like it was going out of fashion. Something a little more challenging was required and so after my successful trip with Chris Short I decided to opt for Clatworthy once again.
I doubt Bruce will ever remove a Buzzer from his leader again as he watched son Paul complete a limit by early afternoon, rubbing it in with this immaculate 5lber. The banter was brilliant between the pair of them and the two days came to a close all too soon. I wish I could have guided them for a week.
So that was April, just May & June to go! I have prep to sort for another 3 days on the water commencing tomorrow, but I will endeavour to get a couple more posts together and perhaps go for a slightly more realtime approach in future!
But just before I go while I cant sign off today without mentioning that great sporting moment which took place yesterday. I should have been teaching but my guest for the day had to cancel and so I just couldn’t resist curling up with a beer to watch the Wimbledon final.
It was edge of the seat stuff was it not and while I know plenty of people feel that we English steal Andy’s success as a “Great Britain” rather than a Scot, while others don’t like his dour press persona, for what it is worth I believe his commitment, determination and ability to never give up is nothing short of inspiring. Not that I am about to be taking up a racket any time soon, but that’s the thing about sport be it tennis or fishing; they help to lift our spirits in so many ways that go far beyond the winning of point or the landing of a fish. So well done Andy … in my book you deserve it and I hope you go on to win many more grand slams.