Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt

This never happened

Theres definitely an art to river trout fly fishing. A fair amount of finesse seems to be needed. Having never read anything about river fishing for trout, I am kind of in the dark. Wet behind the ears. And with most things its the nuances and fine tuning that tend to make the difference. Being an ex stockie bashing still water res junkie I thought there must be some transferable skills. Casting – thats it. Maybe, patience. Casting, patience and a basic understanding of what you are trying to achieve. Thats it. But having never owned anything lighter than a seven weight rod (Orvis Trident)I was over gunned by some distance. Fishing the trident I have caught sea trout and the odd accidental brown. Same goes for when chasing salmon. I usually catch browns on the dangle by mistake.

Beyond all reasonable trout

Last week I bought a large job lot of fly gear. In this lot was a Vision Mag 10’ 3/4 and a couple of small reels with mystery lines on. So now I am a trout guy, trout punk, trout dude – trout and about, trout tramp and trout vagrant. If you rub a kelly kettle I will appear and give me three wishes. I sleep with sun glasses on and only take landscape photographs. No portrait not never. Now even my dog wears sun glasses.

Zen like, I approached the river today to check my new second hand gear out. First I used the mystery line. I suspected that it may have been a French nymphing line , as it was clear. So I banged on some prehistoric three pound mono (at least 20year old)and a size 16 stone fly nymph and went for a wander. I fished Ribblesdale Anglers beat at Brungerly bridge. Choosing to walk half way up and fish back to the car. Ive had a couple of large accidental browns in a couple of spots. This seemed as good a place as any to have a cast.

The bench – always a good place to polish ideas

Casting up stream from the bank while knelt in the grass I felt pretty trouty. I felt like all the photos id seen on Instagram. Hunched, patiently waiting, mid stream one hand clapping. If I carried on like this sponsorship deals would be swarming all over me. I figured at this stage of the season the big browns would charge anything. It was the middle of the day and it was bright. Unlike me. Still I thought this will be a doddle. It was deader than a 4am walk home. The river was gin clear. I moved down to all the pools I figured Id have a chance. Dark, shaded deep runs that I could quietly cover. The mystery line sinks a bit. But nothing alarming. The rod casts great. It does all the rod stuff supremely well – Id describe it as very casty.

An hour in and nothing even close to a bump or tug. Predation!Yep after an hour I was ready to blame the bite of natures savage B side. How could it be my fault? The phone rings interrupting DJ Shadows Endtroducing Lp and Its my lovely wife. She needs the car back for a work based appointment. Those trout have caught a lucky break.

Home water on the ribble

After tea time I’m going back to break out the mystery line two (looks like a full floater). Square cast and streamer. Maybe later. Maybe with twenty to go on the clock, if I am still blanking. We all love a three pointer at the buzzer. The purist (coughs) in me will maintain with the dry fly this evening and see how the scene plays out.

Clitheroe Angling Association


Its always darkest before the dawn. I hope to fish this water consistently for brown trout this season. I need to sing a new tune. I will still fish for salmon when the conditions and planets align but I am missing opportunities to fish. So most evenings I will have a wander with the fly rod on my home water – Sundowner Sessions. Getting one off the top on a dry is really my aim and learning the beat from top to bottom. Enjoying this learning curve and jump starting my train of thought is the misson I need. A change is as good as a rest and with so much water on my doorstep its time I took advantage. I’m excited by the challenge and learning some new skills. Fishing after work for a couple of evenings a week will be just the tonic I need. Tonight I will focus on the top of the beat 31 down to 21. Having fished this part of the beat for salmon last season I know the areas that may hold some trout. I

I will use this page to map my triumphs, disasters and thoughts

Sundowner Sessions #2

Sundowner session #2


Japanese for cherry blossom season

Being trout lite in terms of actual fly fishing experience for river brown trout. Me wandering on home water after tea time seems a perfect way to play trial and error. During my 3/4 mile walk upstream to West Bradford bridge it was hard not to notice the complete and utter lack of any fly life or trigger happy feeding trout.

In the spring evening haze it felt relaxing just being there. Opting for a six foot 3lb leader to a full floater my plan was to fish a surface mudler upstream, across and even down and back along the bank in the margins. Not very refined I know. Even scattergun.

The river felt empty. It really did. Sneaking into all the overhung most secluded spots I cast upstream and stripped back. I cast upstream and dead drifted. Zero. I was fishing on Ribblesdale Anglers beat so was fishing my way back to the van parked at Brungerly Bridge. The river hangs a sharp left at Sparks Pit.

Here in the back eddy pin fry were fizzing out almost under the bank. Deciding to try a fly with more movement I switched to a black damsel with a weighted head. A res good luck charm. First cast was crap. The fly landed in a heap on the fly line (I was casting into wind). Second cast landed about 3ft from the bank. I had positioned myself in the mouth of a stream and was below where the fry were pinging. Third pull back and the trout hit it. Not massive, id say nearly a pound but immensely pleasing. With about 45 mins of light left I casually hit the spots I felt fishy with just a couple of casts. Nothing more. All very quiet. Early days yet.

Allowing myself the privilege of some time to wander and think. Engaging with my home water and noticing life all around me. The blossom is on the trees and I am very much reminded of hanafubuki. Kingfishers, goosander, frogs, herons, crows, geese all present. Another Japanese word is Kogarashi. Meaning – a cold wind of winter. Winter suddenly feels long gone. I even found the time to proudly jump the stream. My playlist also entertained. The highlight of which was Left Hand Free by Alt J. Recommended to me by my 13yr old son. Music from unlikely places. I wonder if the Japanese have an eloquent word for that?

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