The Gentleman said – “I have rights to just a bit of River that runs at the bottom of the garden. Hardly anyone fishes it and it’s not stocked or anything but I guess it will do for what we want”.
What I heard was – “I have fishing rights on a small section of exclusive wild Trout & Grayling water” - this was going to be interesting!
It was just before Christmas last year & I was contacted by a chap wanting to buy his Dad an “Introduction to Fly fishing Session” as a Christmas Present. Emails & phone calls followed until all that was needed was for him to surprise his Dad on Christmas Day and then for me to phone his Dad to arrange a date & place with him.
I phoned him, we chatted, and he said he would like to try Fly fishing as he had never done it before and so we agreed a suitable date. Now I normally suggest a small stillwater for anyone trying Fly fishing for the first time BUT the Gentleman said – “I have rights to just a bit of river that runs at the bottom of the garden. Hardly anyone fishes it and it’s not stocked or anything but I guess it will do for what we want”.
Now what I heard was – “I have fishing rights on a small section of exclusive wild Trout & Grayling water”. - This was going to be interesting!
The morning arrived and we exchanged pleasantries and sorted out the paperwork – if you have never done a Risk Assessment on a River you should try it - but it is a requirement of being a Coach and Instructor and every job has its downside. We had planned to default to a stillwater should there be any doubt about safety.
We then walked down to look at the section of river – it wasn’t a very long section but it had more features than the Odeon Leicester Square, was running crystal clear, it was rarely fished, and it was a straightforward wade – in a word “perfect”!
We now needed to get the Gentleman to be able to perform the basic casts to an acceptable level so that we could be in the river, fishing, by the time the flies had started to get lively and the fish had started to get deadly. I thought it best not to share this information as I didn’t want to apply unnecessary pressure.
Into the field we went to come to terms with the Overhead & Roll Casts. It was windy and remember he had never held a fly rod before. Making a cast with Fly tackle is about as far removed from casting Coarse or Sea tackle as you can get and that’s all he had experience of.
I’d like to think it was my expert instruction but this was a chap with very good natural timing. Before long he was putting in some very acceptable grass casts and it was time to don the waders.
Casting on water surrounded by trees is a little different to standing in the middle of a field but this didn’t deter him as he quickly started to adapt and make some good casts.
We moved upstream to the weir pool and soon saw some tell tale rings in the bubble stream. I kept my cool and asked him to deliver the fly to where the fish were moving – and guess what – he did!
His first fish was a fin perfect Grayling, being out of season it was soon returned to the clear waters. This was quickly followed by another take but unfortunately a lost fish –now you have to do a lot of things right to get the take in the first place and we know exactly where the fish is, so it isn’t really lost. The final fish of the day was a beautiful Brown Trout of around one and a half pounds which fell to a nymph on an induced take. Again it was admired, photographed & quickly returned to the river.
I love my job and its days like this that make me realise why – A perfect day in a perfect place in perfect company!
My thanks to the Gentleman who so kindly agreed to me using our time together as the basis for this article. I have a feeling this won’t have been his last trip to the river - fly rod in hand!
For me it’s time to clean and dry the tackle in readiness for another trip “hunting with a fishing rod”.
This blog was brought to you by Peter Lax Fly Fishing Tuition