In truth it was more in hope than expectation that I slid over the bank and into the beautiful North Stream water.
It was my last session at the end of two hard fishing days. Sure, I’d been in Paradise.
The water had fined down to perfect condition, the May was out, cowslips and cuckoo pint just coming into bloom. The River Frome at Dairy House is as near a perfect chalk stream as you could wish for, glassy and inviting, flowing with ranunculus just coming into flower. Yes, we’d seen buzzards, jays, a glorious kingfisher on the feed and deer bounding over the water meadows; we’d lunched with a nice bottle of Sauvignon in a fishing hut straight out of Mr. Crabtree.
What’s more, just before my last session of the day I’d just woken from one of God’s own perfect naps in the irresistible hammock on the bend of the main river. But the fishing, these are educated fish, evolved in an elite ecology developed over 150 years of loving care.
They weren’t coming easily in Paradise; we’d had a few hard won trout, there was a trickle of olives, the odd yellow may dun, lots of grannom and the odd daddy. The weather was perfect, a bit cool but lovely cloud, the odd shower and sunburst. But rises had been scarce. At this point I’d raised 8 fish and landed four in the two days. Maybe seem a dozen rises. Erratic rises that didn’t reappear. I’d tried prospecting with all kinds of nymphs for only one five incher winkled out from under a bank to a desperate beaded olive. So for my last hurrah I was a bit stumped. In the absence of a sign of a fish I defaulted to where I’d started at 7 a.m. the previous day, a hopeful klink and dink searching the likely spots upstream. Then as I carefully rounded a bend I caught sight of the hint of a ripple, I stopped in my tracks; a rise, there it was. But to what ? I edged into the bank and crept forward. I couldn’t see what was coming off. I was just reaching for a Wickham when I saw, could it be ? A Mayfly ? At the head of the pool right in the food lane, it drifted down to me, untroubled by the trout. So, no question really, I had to try for it and tied a Mayfly emerger, not a fly I’d ever used before but it looked as though something was being sipped sub surface. First cast, right length but just to the right. Second cast spot on, but nothing; damn, probably lined it. A third try. Spot on again, bang ! A proper hungry take and miraculously, I was in. The fish headed to the left to get under the bank, pressure applied on my 7’ 3wt and the fish shot up out of the water and splashed its way toward me.
The stream is only 10’ wide here and the trout was now leaping its away across it under my feet, I got it heading downsteam turned it again by which time it was ready for the net. Not a massive fish, but a beauty, a slim and buttery 10 inches. That was it for me, game over. Or nearly. For as I trudged back across the meadow filled up with a satisfied grin what did I find ? Our host, watching the sun go down with large glass of wine for me & my fishing pal. O yes. Another day in paradise.
We’ll be back. Jon
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