Martin has guided me twice now on some fantastic fishing on urban rivers and we finally managed to get a day set in stone when we were both available, we watched the river rise and drop all week and I thought I would have to pull out some contingency plans for the day but thankfully although about a foot high and very heavily coloured we decided to stick with plan A.
After piling all the kit into my car we set off up the Dale with anticipation as this was to be the first time for Martin fishing a river as big as the one I had taken him to, none of your stepping across the river in one footstep and still being dry after the single step here.
As suspected when we arrived the water was about a foot higher than I would have liked and still running heavily coloured but not to worry we had an array of nymphs, dries and streamers between the two of us and after some deliberation and loosing a nymph before it had even seen the river as I drop mine whilst setting up, never to be found again in the undergrowth Martin had the pleasure of heading out first.
It didn't take long for him to connect with his first fish and after a spirited fight the rod went straight and the fish was gone! Hopefully not a trend for the rest of the day........
Fishing down the pool with me following behind a couple of steps a small brown trout par came to hand before we headed upstream with the calls of the Oyster catchers above our heads breaking the silence apart from the rush of the water.
We fished upstream where we connected with a small trout in the fast water, some slightly better than others but size made no difference it was just great to be out on the river and sharing the experience with good mates.
The photographer needing shooting for this attempt, but am sure there will be some feeble excuse
a few small fish came and went mainly to nymphs, from trout to salmon Par.
Martin confessing that his wader was letting in water, now I wonder which leg it was?
we watched the Grayling rise a few times more before it was covered and the first pass of the nymph produced the fish to the dropper nymph.
Moving upstream and having spoken about the earlier photographic attempts, Martin sneaks a sly photograph of me in mid stream.
we stumbled across a dead greylag goose and within spitting distance a dead tern, and within 25 metres of them both a dead roe deer, this started triggering alarm bells but after some conferral between us both came to the conclusion of where they were lying they could have died anywhere and been caught up as the river dropped again, I have to admit in all my years of fishing this particular stretch thats the strangest sight I've seen to date.
The wild Mimulus (Monkey Flowers) gaining another admirer as we stepped across the island to the smell of mint in the air as we trod on it.
Up and onto the next bit of promising water
where another couple of trout and a Grayling fell to the nymphs.
A salmon angler passed by stealthily heading to a pool further upstream, so a short time later we headed up to find him sure enough where I had thought so decided to have a break and something to eat whilst watching the tail of the pool for rising fish.
Soon enough a few Grayling made an appearance which prompted Martin to switch completely to dry fly and have a go for them, and so with some difficult wading he positioned himself to cover them and finally temped another fish to rise.
The Dippers, Kingfishers & Yellow Wagtails were all very vocal as they went about their business up and down the river.
Leapfrogging the salmon angler we moved onto a small feeder stream of the river where I knew a small pool containing trout and they would probably be rising and sure enough as we neared the pool a few fish were rising freely.
Martin in stealth mode slowly moving to casting range, and then pricking every fish in the pool, it was my turn to try and pick up the pieces which I had been left.
Between the two of us we had touched every fish in the pool and not landed one of them, talk about catch and release or what! But a fun half hour in the sun.
Just as we were heading off Martin catches sight of a large eel making its way down the pool, the first eel I've seen in these neck of the woods and not too shoddy either, easily in excess of 2 lbs.
Heading back onto the main river we almost trod on a Roe deer lying in the long grass which bolted in front of us to run 20 metres then turn and stare us down before hopping into the wood and out of sight.
We decided to have a go with a couple Martin's Minnow patterns and almost immediately a couple of larger trout were lost which was to be the order for the remainder of the walk back downstream, the fish were connected with but kept slipping the hook either in acrobatic displays or the fast water with both of us loosing a few good fish.
A couple of Heron's not liking our position as they came into land until they caught sight of us both and decided to get back on the wing, I have to admit that the wild life today was out in full force for our trip and as always a pleasure to see.
We dropped back down onto our starting pool only to find it occupied by the salmon angler we had seen earlier so decided to call it a day and make our way back to the car, tired but very satisfied in what was difficult conditions, as for me I was dry below my waders, Now I cant say the same about Martin!
Great day with a good mate and look forward to our next adventure together.