It doesn’t seem like a month ago that I was writing up the casts of July and here I am doing the same for August! My intention had been to add a couple of blogs which I have in mind but lots of long days on the water mean they will have to wait (after all the end of the season is not far away) … and anyway it’s the fishing that really matters! My apologies that I cant fit everyone in here but I hope you enjoy few of my memories from another hot, dry month.
I first met Chris back in 2002, but in very different circumstances! We had been invited by Henry Gilbey to head over to Nambia to tangle with the notorious Bronze Whaler sharks that inhabit the coast. I don’t think we needed to be asked twice!!! That was an amazing trip for many reasons, including huge fish, some extremely long nights drinking and after my Angolan experience which followed lets say that I learned pretty quickly why remaining hydrated in a hot country is rather important… After all that and watching Chris (who is a big bloke) get destroyed by a shark that he tried to fight while stood up (to be fair he did last about 15 minutes!) I was very much looking forward to reminiscing with him about old times, meeting up with his Dad and showing the pair of them how to chuck a fly. The half day went by all too quickly but the pair of them were soon slinging lines and headed off with some Trout for the BBQ, including this one for Chris that tipped the scales at 4lb 7oz. Like me he has also caught the Bass lure fishing bug pretty bad, so I hope it wont be another 10 years before we catch up!
In 2012 I guided Neil McGhee on the River Barle, a beautiful moorland stream in the Exmoor hills. This time I had hoped that I could show him something a little different so we set off for the on form River Mole in the hope of picking up a Trout or two … after all in the conditions the migratory fishing is near to none existent. While I guide people I am always on the look out for how to help guests improve their casting, which in Neil’s case was mainly all about relaxing and allowing a nice smooth positive stop on the forward cast … we worked on it throughout the day and before long virtually every pool or run we fished produced something to a CDC Sedge. The more Neil relaxed the better his casting became and then finally right at the end of the day he pitched a line that outwitted this little beauty. How many times has the Mole come up trumps this year?!
Above is Marc Slack throwing a very nice line on … yes you have guessed it … The River Mole. I looked after Marc for 3 days in which we indulged in some Trout, Pike & Bass fishing … also known as the River to Rock experience. The Trout fishing was pretty good and Marc rounded off the day with a fish that was in the 12″ region, so all we needed now was a good Pike. But sadly the hot weather seems to have taken its toll and on a stretch that has been producing consistent numbers of toothy critters there was just nothing stirring, despite all Marcs effort with both fly & lure. Not to be outdone he was back on the water early the next day and managed his first ever school Bass which hit a surface lure. He is set to return during the cooler months for take two on the Pike and a crack at the bigger Bass which we hope will arrive.
Fleur Evans booked in a two day fly fishing course for her husband Alex, to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. Now how cool is that! And there is more because Fleur doesn’t do things by halves, when this picture was taken last weekend she was 38 weeks pregnant. But that didn’t stop her from catching her first ever Trout on fly. Alex also got in amongst the fish and after an action packed couple of days they headed off home to await the new arrival to the family … they already have three. That is going to be one busy household and imagine all the fishing kit they are going to need!
Possibly the stand out moment for me of the month was this fish above. Laurence had asked me to “blind guide” him for a day on the River Stour … and I didn’t need asking twice because getting to see a new stretch of river for the first time just excites the hell out of me. This was a super hot day and by the time we had finished having a walk along the beat it was fair to say that we were close to melting!
It wasnt looking great for Trout as there was just nothing hatching so instead we turned our attention to Grayling winding up with fish to just under 2lbs on a #16 Mary Pheasant Tail … which I was pleased with as Laurence has fished the stretch before and not managed a fish of this size. But better was to come! We had already seen Martin (Laurences father in law) bank a Chub of 6lbs that day using floating crust but I was quietly hopeful that we could tempt one using a nymph on the 4 weight rod.
After much searching we finally found a pod of decent sized fish under a very awkward tree, with a weed bed also between them & us. Laurence didn’t give up and after about half an hour of changing flies, repositioning and practising side casts it all suddenly came together when this perfect Chub snaffled a Czech nymph. Well done Laurence!!!
So September is before us and the final 4 weeks of the River Trout fishing season in the West Country. Can you believe it?! I have an action packed month of guiding ahead but I have to say that if some rain doesn’t materialise soon its going to mean disappointment for those eager to tangle with a Salmon. But what can we do? Find another species! I already have a couple of Bass trips lined up including a couple afloat … I cant wait and will reveal all next month.