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Rich - Beyond the Dreams of Avarice

By Mike Pratt

Although I've been about this business now for more years than most people want to remember - though I don't wish to forget a single moment of them - it is still a source of amazement to me that two days on the river can be so completely different.

This was certainly the case between last week when I was here and today.

Today was a lovely warm morning when, filled with anticipation and excitement at the prospect of dealing with 'Mayfly hunting trout,' I arrived on the river at about 10 o'clock.

I should have known better.

For that brief moment, that singularity in time, buoyed with expectancy, I had forgotten all that life had taught me to expect of fly fishing.

A lovely first of June it might be, but there were no Mayfly hatching and not a sign of a fish moving anywhere on the river. With no wind to speak of the river surface was glass like in countenance. The only disturbance being caused by the odd Water Hawthorn blooms breaking through the surface and being moved lazily to and fro by the current. Last week, with its miserable, grey and damp start, there were Mayfly hatching, and the Trout were feeding.



Filled with a wild, almost desterate, hope that things would improve fairly rapidly, I tackled up and perused the river from a point just up-stream of the Copper beech. The warm air was heavy with the scent of new cut grass where the banks had been mown, making it a pleasant spot to sit and contemplate things. From this vantage point I was able to observe the river up-stream as far as the flow meter, and could hear any activity in the carrier or down-stream of the beech. Nothing.

A movement up-stream caught my attention but it turned out to be a Dabchick (Little Grebe) diving. It so often is. Over the years I suspect many a fly has been cast unwittingly to the last known position of a Dabchick.

After about half an hour I moved down-stream below the beech and opposite the fishing hut to where one can usually rely upon seeing some movement if only from grayling. And there were one or two little tiny grayling close in to the bank making a splash out of all proportion to their size, but there was still no sign of fly activity of any sort.

At twenty to twelve there was a sudden burst of rises, all from grayling, across the width of the river. At first it was difficult to see what was causing the movement because no flies were immediately in evidence on the surface or taking to the air. After a while I saw that there were one or two Mayflies making it to the surface and away. The grayling appeared to be intercepting the fly just before it hatched. Pleased though I was to see that things were on the move, I was disappointed that there were so few flies about, and that I could see no Trout anywhere. By half past twelve even this little hatch had stopped and the river once more resumed its somnabulent air.

The only thing to disturb its tranquility was a running dispute over territorial rights between a pair of Canada geese and a resident Swan.

Just before lunch I moved over to the garden wall, Micawber like in the hope 'that something will turn up.'

About mid afternoon there were one or two Mayflies hatching, but it could in no way be described as a 'hatch'. There were also one or two fish rising steadily. One fairly large trout half way out in the river was feeding quite clearly on the Mayfly. I put on a Grey Wulff and cast to it.

Time after time this fish either ignored my fly or, worse still, actually pushed it around the surface with its nose!! There were even occasions when it moved several feet to one side to do this. I changed my pattern but to no avail. Why is it that when one finds a feeding fish it isn't feeding on what one has to offer it?

At about this time my wife arrived for a fleeting visit to give a little much needed moral support. Clearly her influence extends beyond that of mere mortals because in her presence this fish that had been playing for so long decided to actually take my fly. She landed it at just over two and a half pounds.

As there were no other trout willing to take her on we spent a pleasant hour before she left, watching a pair of Tufted ducks flying up and down the river for no apparent reason, and a very young brood of Mallard ducklings dashing back and forth across the river for the very good reason of trying to catch the hatching flies before they took to the wing.

Later in the evening a friend of mine arrived at my invitation to try his hand at Mayfly fishing.

Although I felt that there was little activity in this area, he avowed that there was far more than he had witnessed before in his fishing experience. Having made himself aware of the beats, he promptly brought a 3 lbs 14 oz trout to the net from under, of all places, the Chestnut trees.

As the evening wore on there was a heavy fall of Mayfly spinners which the fish went mad over. This was a fine spectacle but it made it hard for the caster of an artificial fly. It was nye on impossible to persuade them to take the artificial. I did manage to make momentary contact with a couple just above the island point before I finally managed to bring one to the net only to find I had caught a superb specimen of a Roach of about a pound. It was a pleasure to be able to release back into the water such a beautiful fish. It was of interest that it took a large Grey Wulff.

With the light fading the fly activity declined and the fish stopped feeding; it was time to go home. ~ Mike Pratt

More Fly Fishing in Europe:
Zulu's - By Alan the Highlander
Teal Blue Variant - By Alan the Highlander
Green Highlander - By Alan the Highlander
North Donegal, Ireland - By Arthur Greenwood
Marble Trout in Slovenia - By Tomaz Modic
Red and Cinnamon Sedge - By Alan Goodwin
Rogan of Donegal - By Arthur Greenwood
Bug Tank Benefits - By Peter Lapsley
River Piddle, U.K. - By Paul Slaney
A Day on the River Test By Mike Pratt
Ladyís Fish Finder Fly By Mike Pratt
Cast Again? - By Mike Pratt
Just Good to be There - By Mike Pratt
Why Fish? - By Mike Pratt
The pleasure of anticipation . . . - By Mike Pratt
A Pleasant and Surprising Day - By Mike Pratt
Donít duck the issue! - By Mike Pratt
To Russia with Love - By Ron Gras
Just Simple Pleasure - By Mike Pratt
Rich - Beyond the Dreams of Avarice - By Mike Pratt
The Good Place (Ireland) - By Jim Clarke
The Elusive Lake - By Jim Clarke
The Big Rod - By Jim Clarke
The Bank Manager's Fish - By Jim Clarke
Catch and Release . . .or not - By Jim Clarke
Fish On Half a Rod - By Jim Clarke
Sockeye the Easy Way - By Jim Clarke
The Odd Couple - By Jim Clarke
Fly Fishing Scotland - By Franz Grimley
The Artist - By Jim Clarke
One to Remember - By Jim Clarke
The Italian Secret - By Ralph Shuey
Opening Day on an English Chalk Stream - By Roger Ellis
Kolpakova River, Western Russia - By Rob Merrill
Fishing in the Czech Republic - By Tim Baldwin
2004 Fishing Season in the Czech Republic - By Tim Baldwin

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