Sunday, 29 May 2016

With the roar of a Merlin engine...

With very low river levels and gin clear water I have resigned myself to having a few hours in the evenings now instead of a full day on the water, until the river levels improve some.

Yesterday as I left the house after evening meal the roar of two Merlin engines filled the sky, A spitfire & hurricane returning from the air show at The Tees valley airport I suspect. There is something about the Merlin engines that the sound makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on edge, Im not sure if its from the war-films we watched as kids or not but to hear them for real & not on TV is surreal, something I never tire from hearing.

It took slightly longer than normal to get up the Dale with having to pass the numbers of Romany horse drawn carriages which are currently transiting through the Dales on route to the Appleby horse fair.

The amount of May blossom on the trees and bushes is a sight at the moment, the whites and pinks as your driving up the Dale with the combination of the grasses and meadows in full colour and the sight of the combine harvesters out already stripping some of the fields.

The river was as expected low & clear and not much moving at all. I sat under the shade and looked around for a few moments, all that was moving was the fingerling grayling sipping insects from the surface film.

I decided to start off with a couple of nymphs and make my way downstream to a point where I could sit and observe a large long flat under the cover of some trees, if anything was moving Im sure it would be there.
The first run I came to after a few casts the first fish came to my hand, literally a finger sized grayling, Its mouth firmly clamped around the nymph, the next cast followed suit as the one before, another fingerling grayling, perfection in miniature.

I made my way down the bank scanning the water for movement but alas not much was happening, so turned my attentions to the scenery as I went. I've walked past this stone gate post hundreds of times and often wondered where the rest of the gate and walls that once stood have gone? No doubt dismantled for other uses.

As I reached the long flat I could see a single fish topping halfway down the flat under the trees on the opposite bank, I sat and watched to see how frequent it would rise if it was indeed feeding or merely taking the odd insect now and again. For 15 minutes I continued to watch it rise in the same place so knew it was actively feeding so decided to switch gear over to the dry fly and have a try for it.

I have gone back to the Finland rod for the moment as I have been doing some care & maintenance on my cane rods and wading stick giving them a coat of varnish just to keep them in prime condition, so for now back to carbon.

I slipped into the water just below where the fish was feeding and very slowly made my way to a reasonable distance where I could cast comfortably without catching the undergrowth of the bank on my back cast. The first cast landed slightly above and left of the fish and drifted wide of the mark, the second caught it spot on and with anticipation I waited as the fly drifted over the fish, up it came and took my fly, fish on....

A lovely full tailed wild fish in pristine condition.

As always released to give sport another day.

I retreated to the cover of the bank-side vegetation and sat watching the remainder of the flat for movement of fish, it was about 20 minutes or so before I seen another fish rise just below an overhanging branch, I decided not to wait and move into position as the first trout had taken the fly without hesitation I just hoped this fish would do the same.

It took a couple of casts to get the fly to where I wanted it, and meantime the fish continued to rise, which was a promising. The fly drifted over its head and sure enough it sipped it down, at first I thought it was another fish the way it had gently sipped the fly from the surface, but off it shot upstream and I knew it was the trout.

A longer fish than the first again with a full tail, but I suspect this may have seen the inside of a stock pond at some point in its life, as yet Im unsure as one thing contradicts another every time I look at it.

And with the last few rays of the sun  reflecting on the water and the fish it was released.

I sat and scanned the flat but for the next half hour nothing moved at all, so I decided to make my way back to the car just as the sun dipped away over the trees in the horizon.

A few hours out in stunning scenery and thankful for the few fish I caught.

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