Fishing River Test at Broadlands – Thursday 15th October 2020
Martin James, Keith Alison and John Gamon arrived at Broadlands early in morning, with bright sunshine and increasing warmth. It was a glorious autumn morning. There were 3 beats booked for fishing, Longbridge at the top, then Moorcourt, and Grove was the lowest beat. Martin was familiar with the river but had never fished Grove beat, so that was his plan for the day. John and Keith had never been to Broadlands before so, as usual, Keith immediately set off for fishing, on the Grove beat on the opposite bank from Martin, and John set off to walk the whole fishery to get familiar with the water and the layout..
The Test at Broadlands is quite wide, very deep in parts, and fast flowing. Wading is not allowed. John’s walk turned out to be quite long – there was a lot of water to explore! But was well worth the effort, learning from the local regulars and spotting a few trout, but only saw one break the surface. A much better fish spotter had also seen quite a few chub and a salmon. But very few fish had been caught – probably because of the very bright conditions. Walking the Grove beat, John found that Martin had netted 1 brownie and lost a few others during the morning, and saw Keith net his first fish just before lunch. Because of the fast running deep water, Martin advised that we bring some heavy flies, so in the days before Keith and John tied some Davie McPhail pattern flies with big tungsten beads and that was what did the trick for all the fish caught by Keith and John(tying note: DMc says to burn the end of the wool or chenille to make the head, but John found it much easier to do it the Steve Skuce way, with a blob of UV resin and colour with black marker pen or black varnish).
After lunch the weather clouded over, which was an improvement for the fishing, but the wind picked up as well which made casting awkward at times. John fished the Longbridge and Moorcourt beats and netted 2 nice grayling – but needed the full length of his 2-metre telescopic net handle to land them! On the way back to the car park he discovered from the regulars that although wading is not permitted it was permissible to enter the river at a safe place and then creep along tight against the bank to fish those parts of the river that were difficult or impossible to fish otherwise because of the height of the bank or overhanging trees – good to know for the next time. One angler down in the river with his head barely above the bank had hooked, but not landed, 2 big browns on a #10 Black Pennel – really had not occurred to John to try that approach! By the end of the afternoon Martin had hooked a few more fish on the Grove beat, and by somewhere near darkness, long after Martin and John had departed, Keith had brought his tally to 4 grayling and 2 browns, and right at the end lost his biggest grayling ever after playing it for a good 5 minutes. With his excellent catch, Keith must have been top rod on Broadlands that day, which was unusually busy because it was the last day of the season.
And finally, a big thank you to Bob Sharp for booking the day. Unfortunately, Bob was unable to make the trip, but Keith was incredibly grateful for his absence.