This sunny spell is lovely. A family barbecue yesterday and now as I open the bedroom blind, this morning looks much the same. One of the wettest May’s has given way to one of the driest June’s. Gardeners aside, perhaps not many are hoping for rain, but I suspect I’m not alone amongst river anglers in wishing for a bit more flow.
The family is busy without me today and very early I find myself with just the dog for company. I want to go fishing but the rising heat and brilliant sunshine will make a day on the river a challenge. Perhaps an evening session is the best bet.
I head off in the Land Rover for an early morning walk with Ollie and thirty minutes later we are heading up Pen y Fal (more often known as the Sugarloaf). For a while I think we are the first to make the climb. Then I spot a couple ahead of us on the western most path – still, I calculate that we will be up and back home in time for breakfast. Certainly not late enough to call it brunch.
Although it’s early, it’s hot. Even Ollie is slower than usual and by the time we are back at the car we both are wacked and share a litre of water.
The day drifts away and I potter around avoiding some jobs that need doing. I make a business call and get a few things ready for an overseas trip this week. I can slide into the evening, put my feet up and wait for the family to get home. I tell myself that it’s not good enough and I should grab my kit and head to the river. I’m right of course, I always am when I talk to myself.
It’s 7pm when I stroll along the bank. I’ve my 9ft 4wt, a long leader and a trusted olive emerger tied on. I’ll probably only fish until 8.30pm and I’ve decided to just use a dry fly.
I select a spot just below some faster water. The seam tracks towards the far bank and deepens a little. It looks fishy and there is a gradual shelf where I can edge out without making too much of a disturbance. I spot a rise and position to cover the fish. My first few casts are good with no drag – no take. Over the next forty minutes, I try half a dozen patterns targeting several fish within range, but nothing.
Then quite suddenly there is a hatch and fish feeding in every direction. This is the first time this season when I’ve seen this much surface action. As none of my flies has caught yet, I’m unsure what to use and it’s not obvious what has turned them on. I reach for a ‘tups indispensable’ in the top corner of my Wheatley. It’s tied and given to me by an angler I met on the Monnow a few seasons ago and as yet, not been wet.
Over the next fifteen minutes I catch 3 brownies and hook two more that I use to practise my long range release technique. Then as quickly as it started, all is quiet. The little size 18 tups did just the job.
I’d like to say that my growing entomology knowledge helps me crack the feeding code. Actually I just get lucky. All the fish are only about 12 inches, but they put up a good fight.
I’m pleased I make the effort this evening. Funny how I always am after the event. I resolve to keep making the effort and remember this evening when next the lazy gene start to win through. As I’m traveling this coming week, I also do a little rain dance. Just enough to make sure it’s nice and sunny again when I get back on Friday.