A late Season bonanza on the Avon
A late season bonanza on the Avon
I was very fortunate to be invited to join two friends to fish on the Avon on the last weekend of September and what a day’s sport we had...
We drove down to Hampshire bright and early from my hosts Giles’ house in Hertfordshire and got down to the river in good time. The weather was perfect for a late September day and there was just enough fly life around to see the odd trout rising as we started to get all our extra lightweight gear together. I assumed being September a Rob Gents Daddy Long-Legs would do the job, normally my fly of choice on the test all year round and September is the perfect time of year for Daddy Long-Legs!
The three of us friends set off and walked down to the bottom of the beat and hopped into the water to which I realised I had a gaping hole in my waders, as you can imagine the thought of a morning Trout on the dry-fly outweighed the thought of having to walk back to the car to change my waders for a new pair.
As we strolled up the carrier we got to where the main river joined as it formed a small waterfall into the carrier with what looked like a perfect spot to hold more than a couple of hungry trout. Giles turned to me and Jolyon and said “this pool we will do with a nymph”. So we knelt down and started casting under the low hanging branches to try to get a cast into the faster water. After a 10 minutes of pulling flies out of the branches, we somehow managed to get the casting sussed and the fly in the right place. As the line came round into the slack water Giles said to me “wait... strip... strip...” Whack the first fish took and another three followed from that pool before we moved onto the main River, the perfect start to the day!
As we moved up the river slowly with my waders nicely filling up to the knees with cold September water it was soon apparent that there was an abundance of life on this lovely stretch of river. A huge amount of hungry grayling feeding hard on the river bed as well as small trout everywhere you looked.
As we slowly moved up the river Giles guided me onto a truly huge Grayling, which somehow decided to take my fly, be it more by luck than chance I think! It shot off down river bending my 6ft 3# rod double and left my reel screaming as its fluorescent dorsal helped it propel its silver body clean out of the water. A fish of around 2 – 2.5lbs I thought and as I went to pick the fish up the hook came out and he swam back to his weedy layer in the crystal clear waters of the Avon. It was a magical moment.
More trout and grayling were landed as we moved up stream and interestingly some larger fish were seen and as you can imagine not interested in any of our flies although presented perfectly (we thought!). In fact we saw a number of fish over 1lb and some pushing 3-4lb, Giles did add that it was the most amount of large fish he had seen on the stretch this season. Considering it is completely wild brown trout fishing I was astonished at the abundance of larger fish.
As we crept closer to the Lunch Hut we saw a very large fish move in front of us, myself and Giles moved slowly up the slack water abreast both casting at both banks trying to lure this monster into a false sense of security and take a fly if presented to him. Sure enough before we knew it Giles was into this behemoth of a fish. After a good few runs and a few failed landing attempts we got the fish to the side of the bank and what a fish it was. It was perfectly spotted, its fins were in pristine condition and best of all it was wild and returned safely!
So back to the lunch hut for a very nice lunch, beers, ciders and stories of the morning as we caught up with Giles’ brother about their mornings fishing on the other beat.
As we mulled over what a brilliant mornings fishing we had all had, as we sat around nattering away I kept my eye on a very decent fish rising just up from the hut which I could probably make a long cast out to from the bridge. As I walked onto the bridge I couldn’t help but notice the large cobwebs which had caught huge amount of flies... I looked at my daddy-long-legs and realised that this definitely was not the fly to be using, I had a quick look in my fly box and somehow managed to match the exact fly with an small olive coloured dry fly and like it was taken from a book, first cast I saw the white lips break the surface and engulf the fly into its vast predatory mouth. I struck and with some help from the others we managed to land the fish which again was around 2lbs, wild and was returned to get bigger for next year!
The afternoon consisted of more grayling and trout and furiously trying to catch chubb on natural dryfly patterns which proved much harder than I thought it would be.
We ended the day with 23 fish between us and a cigar outside the lunch hut watching the sun set over beautiful Hampshire. As we basked in the tranquillity which is so rare to find nowadays, that’s when it really hit home... This is why I do this, this is why I love fishing, it’s about being around wildlife, friends and getting away from everything important in life... It’s just you and the river and that is a truly magical feeling.
A great end to what’s been a fantastic season for many, and time to move onto the shooting season for the winter months.
By Edd Morrison - RodsOnRivers