I’VE BEEN out for some trout, at last. The mayflies are about, and the next couple of weeks should see some huge hatches taking place – and some giant trout landed.
There’s something about these big mayfly hatches that prompts trout to gorge themselves. Fish that would otherwise refuse anything that wasn’t placed directly on their nose get a bit giddy, and vortex their way across the river towards an artificial resembling a slightly-reduced Sopwith Camel.
My own efforts were successful, though not in terms of out-sized fish. My first aim of the year when I return to river trout fishing is to find my casting rhythm, and that came back quickly. No-one was more surprised than me. And then I caught a few fish.
If you’ve never tried traditional river fishing for trout, it really is one of the most absorbing ways of casting a line. There are rules to follow, some defined by the local clubs and others by years of tradition that go back to men like Frederic. M. Halford and G. E. M. Skues who, in the late 19th-century, defined the ways we fish for the spotty species. But these rules are part of the fun.
On the Cotswold rivers, including the one I fished last weekend, one non-negotiable is the direction of the cast. You can roll it, flick it, mend it and wiggle it, but it must go upstream. The style of fly used is as much a matter for those controlling the beat as it is the fisherman. For some, the fly must float. Others permit a nymph, fished sub-surface.
I’m a fan of both, but have to say that the thrill of a trout rising with confidence to a well-drifted natural fly is as enjoyable as anything in our sport. And so I’ll be out again soon, with a box full of mayflies for company. Facing upstream, of course. It will keep me busy until the carp lake re-opens.
On the subject of carp, news has just reached me of a young angler landing a 39-pounder from the South Cerney Club’s Franklins Lake. Not only is it a terrific achievement for the lad, but it is good news for local anglers, too. After the fish losses I reported on last year, news of 40-pounders – or fish so close to the magical mark that it hardly matters – is very welcome indeed.
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