RAVENSTHORPE – 9 April 2021
This was Bob Ayres and my first fishing outing of the year, along with friends Phill and Andy. Thankfully we all decided to avoid an early start and arrived around 09.00 to find only four boats already on the water and a light breeze blowing towards the Dam.
Encouraged by a modest midge hatch, we anchored about 70 m from the far bank and 200m from the dam. Our set up, a long leader and three black buzzers and Bob A, a blob and buzzers. On the first two casts I hooked and lost two fish with Bob A soon into a fish. On my fourth cast I hooked and had nearly landed the fish when another took the point fly, chaos followed, luck held and these were landed, all whilst Bob A was landing another fish.
This pace continued until about lunchtime, my sandwiches and flask out when Bob A said ‘this is a decent fish’ which he played for about 10 minutes and brought the fish to the side of the boat and I saw it for the first time – I dropped my sandwich and grabbed the net and yelled ‘careful this is a really big fish’, and so it was. Sometime later with the fish safely in the net in the water, I could see It was the biggest trout I had ever seen anywhere! I tried to compare it with a 10 pounder I had caught at Ravensthorpe in June 2019 and concluded that was a dwarf compared with this fish. As we have a policy of fish hooked should remain in the water, any accurate measurement was not possible but my guess would be 12 – 14 lb!
The buzzer hatch slowed just after lunch but came on again soon after, until about 16.00. We lost count of how many fish caught, probably more than 30, all in the 3-4lb class and all except two were carefully returned. I hooked and landed 7 fish in 10 casts. All the fish were in superb condition and very fit – one took my fly line and most of the backing off the reel before I could get a modicum of control.
Phill and Andy left before us and came alongside to say their day had been tough and Phill had just 3 fish. They had anchored about 200m from us and the same distance from the bank, indicating how local a hatch can be. We stuck with our original set up throughout the day, 9’ tapered leader and 10’ of 6lb Fluoro’ mine with 2 droppers and 3 black buzzers size 10 and 12 tied on Kamasan B110’s.
Most of the fish were hooked in the top metre of the water. The average weight of the fish caught was more than the usual average, probably explained by being stocked in 2020 and having a year of less fishing pressure. The fish had noticeably more body depth compared to their length.
HAMPSHIRE AVON – 24 June 2021
My favourite river in southern England is the Hampshire Avon and I am fortunate that Martin and me have access to fishing near Amesbury. The 24 June saw us on our way for a day’s fishing with high expectations, buoyed up having learned that the mayfly hatch was late this year and we now should be in the middle of the ‘duffers hatch’. Figuring that the hatch was most usually in mid afternoon we elected to arrive at noon and fish until dusk.
A look at the river showed little in the way of a hatch although Martin saw a decent rise later in the day on the lower part of the beat which is about a 2 km long and comprises the main river and the Ham carrier which divides from the river for about 800m, and is around 3m wide, deep in parts and had a decent flow – but no rises on the day.
Martin chose the lower beat and me the carrier to start the day. The lack of mayfly was perplexing but maybe the fish are mopping up pupa as they rise so – on went a #10 mayfly emerger tied klinkhamer style, and into the river as wading is permitted but upstream fishing only The second cast brought a 7’’ trout and the sixth a similarly size grayling, it seemed the fishing gods were smiling in my direction! Moving up the stream and about 10 minutes later a solid take and I was into different class of fish which after a 5-minute tussle resulted in a 22’’ brown trout, in magnificent condition, vivid spots, deep body and a huge tail fin. I couldn’t believe my luck, it was my second biggest river trout. Two more trout from the carrier followed then a pitstop.
After lunch, Martin moved into the lower part of the carrier and me into the main river with a change of fly to a Jon Barnes pattern LDO tied on a 12 hook*. The highlight of my afternoon was a trout of around 20’’again in excellent condition. We finished the day at the bottom of the beat but saw no rises and caught nixed. For the day, between us we had 11 fish including a chub and grayling.
NB *On the Club’s website there’s a video posted by John Poote showing the tying of the J B LDO tied on a size 14 hook for the LDO hatch. The fly use on the trip to the Avon is tied on a Kamasan B400 size 12 resulting in a much bigger fly.
RAVENSTHORPE – 9 April 2021