Bob Sharp, Martin James and occasionally Keith Allison went river fishing from April through September 2018. This is Bob’s report of their experiences.

This summer’s weather has dictated the quality of the river fishing in the south of England. We have experienced floods, low water and lots of combinations in between. We delayed starting fishing until nearly the end of April, only to find the River Avon in flood! This was followed later in the year by very hot weather with open, bright blue skies which adversely affected the fishing.

Martin James, who also fished the Test at Wherwell in October, has been with me on most of the trips, and it was really good to have Keith Allison along at Mottisfont (Test) and Salterton (Avon). It’s interesting to note that Martin’s catch averages are about the same as mine for the year. Martin is a devotee of tiny flies. On a visit to the Kennet on 15th November, he caught a grayling on a #22 nymph with a 1mm hot pink bead and hot pink thread body!

We managed eight trips over the season. Our favourite remains the Upper Avon at Salterton near Amesbury. The proprietor, Anthony Edwards still does much of the weed cutting by hand and achieves just the right level of maintenance. None of your Test manicuring here!

26th April – River Avon at Salterton. On arrival we found the river in flood with the island between the river and the carrier under water. We managed a couple of hours upstream nymphing waiting until the last hour of daylight for fishing’s best chance but with no results.

4th May – River Kennet, Denford Fishery.  The river was running very full which made fishing tricky but I managed 2 brown trout and a grayling, all about 12 oz and all on a #17 JB Jingler.

24th May – River Lambourne. We arrived to find the river very high and torrential rain made it nigh on impossible to fish effectively.

14th June – River Avon at Salterton. We found the river out of condition and fish not feeding until the evening which finished with 1 brown trout in the net and 2 lost.

10th July – River Test, Mottisfont. Low water conditions and glaring sunshine conspired to make the fish wary and not inclined to feed. Keith had 2 brown trout and a grayling and I lost a trout at the net! Need a longer handle!

27th July – River Kennet, Barton Court. This fishery has been subject to a major restoration, having been taken ‘in hand’ by the Estate about 9 months ago, and more restoration is planned for the future. I was fortunate to be invited to a preview day resulting in 3 trout and 3 grayling in the net all to a #14 unweighted PTN.

30thAugust – River Avon, Salterton. Whilst the river was in good condition, a very brisk crosswind made fishing conditions very tricky. 3 brown trout and a chub took my #17 JB Jingler whilst another 2 brown trout and 2 chub took a #16 Parachute Adams. Keith Allison had 4 brown trout on a McPhail PTN and another on an emerger together with 2 roach, a dace and a grayling. There was a decent rise of white mayfly in the afternoon.

27th September – River Avon, Salterton. This was our last trout fishing trip of the season. We found the river in good condition under a cloudless sky. Of the 7 trout landed, 5 came to a #17 JB Jingler and 2 to a #16 Parachute Adams.

The fishing gear used throughout the year included:  4wt, 9’ or 10’ Streamflex and 7’-6’’ Orvis Superfine rods, with either Danielsson Nymph or Orvis CFO reels. The fly lines were double taper Cortland Sylk and Soldarini euro light. Tapered leaders were either Orvis or Profil (preferably), tapering to 4 or 4.75lb .Tippet material was Stroft GTM, 0.12mm dia. (4lb test).