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Spooky trout

Posted by arbocop , 25 April 2009 · 195 views

River Lambourn, Shaw.  25th April.

The weather forecast the night previous was promising so I planned an early assault on the trout of the Lambourn.  I had to go out with the family at 11am so this was to be an early and short session.  Checked the fly box and made up some leaders with new tippets so that I would be able to fish the dry and the nymph.  The fish are spooky in the clear water, and this is a public stretch so there waryness in clear shallow water means that a careful approach is essential.  

Arrived at 4am, it was misty and the water looked fantastic.  Apart from a reveller from the night before staggering down the path towards the bridge I was the only person around.  Carefully stalking the banks, several fish were visible on the church stretch but the fish were all located in positions that made it impossible to cover them with a fly.  The water was too deep to wade so I had to leave them to it.  A couple of glides where the water was too deep, and surface glare too intense to see to the bottom, looked like they might hold fish.  A few speculative casts with a ptn were unproductive.  Changed to a goldhead grhe and tried again, this time lifting at what seemed to be the right point I saw movement at the bottom and the slack leader tightened briefly - probably a grayling.  Tried again, and this time  the leader tightened while the fly was on the drop and I connected with a lively brownie of around 20cm which promptly shed the hook!  The sudden movement spooked a coot, which set off upstream running and flapping on the surface making that loud panicked call.  The commotion would have scattered everything fishy so I moved downstream to try again.  Ignoring a fish rising in another impossible position I tried a wide smooth glide before the water disappeared into the next section.  

This time I could see fish, so  got myself into a reasonably unrestricted position where my backcast was at least respectable and got the fly in the correct position on the third attempt. The line was held up in it's downstream movement and I tightened into another small brownie aroound 15cm.  Working upstream I was casting into likely looking holes and glides but the water is only around 3ft and the sun was rising fast, glinting off the line and spooking the fish.   The bank is also high and my shadow was therefore long in the early sun.  Several times I saw fish dashing upstream or downstream past me.

Fished the second section upstream which is deeper and waded in, so that I could get the fly upstream in the reedy section where bank fishing is impossible with the fly rod.  After about an hour of casting around I noticed a fish around 20cm holding in the current, not far in front of me.   Lifting the rod as the fly came back towards me I saw it move sideways, I tightened speculaltively and it was on.  I was very close to the top of my waders when I hooked it and nearly breached them a couple of times.  

I fished the last 50m of the section without any offers and it had started to drizzle.  No fish were rising and the park was filling up with early morning dog walkers.  I fished the last pool which was very fast with a heavier GRHE and got a 20cm grayling first cast which I very carefully unhooked.   It gave a notably poor account of itself as it was obviously spawning.   I held it in the current before it swam off so it was not unduly harmed by it's experience.   Two more small grayling and a trout, the biggest 10cm, added to my final tally.  A large trout around 3lb swirled at one of the small 5cm grayling I was bringing in and it gave me quite a surprise.  I would never land it on the light gear I had so I decided to  try for it another time with a heavier outfit and a fry imitation.

Wildlife was not too notable today - buzzards, a pair of foxes, and a kingfisher.  Something was bashing around in some reeds but it never showed itself - fox?

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