It was only a yard wide

Contributed by Donald Walker (copyright)

1974, Now that was a year with outstanding holiday memories. I had a caravan in those days and jolly useful it was too for a fisherman. Parked near to the fishing it provided a convenient and handy base. I've always adopted a reasonable attitude with my chosen sport, when on holiday, by not fishing during the day. I do the tourist thing then, and confine my fishing to early morning or evening. It seems to me that that is the best times anyway.

So we arrived on a Saturday afternoon at the Caravan Park, Bronnlys in the Brecon Beacons district of mid Wales. We had chosen the place from the brochure blurb which said "fishing on the site". However we booked in and were told to park where we liked there was plenty of room. Now the site office was out of sight of the actual caravan park and rounding the corner to the park I would have expected to see a lake or a river, but no, I drove all over the park looking for a suitable pitch by the water side, all I found was a little brook over-grown with trees. Somewhat disgruntled by this I went back to the office to ask where the fishing was. I was told that it was the brook at the edge of the park and there was plenty of fish in it, but because I was disappointed about it not being a proper river, they said I could fish that evening free and if I found it satisfactory I could pay thereafter.

Well I was in two minds whether to stay there at all, but we were tired after the journey, so I found a small gap in the frees by the brook and settled in. The fishing prospect was so bad that I didn't even get my rod out. I tied a yard of line to my daughters fishing net cane, baited it and stuck it into the bank. With nothing much happening I returned into the caravan to read a book. After a while, my wife who was preparing our evening meal, called to me to go and check the cane I was fishing with, as it was moving about. Skeptically I went to see and found to my enormous surprise it had caught a trout. A decent one too, and with great difficulty I managed to land it through these overhanging trees. Well what do you think of that? We needed 2 for a meal so I got my short rod out and tackled it up properly and cast in. I could only flick the bait a short way downstream because of the trees, but at least it was further than before. I settled down on the bank to wait holding the rod this time. A slight movement on the end of the rod told me something was interested in the bait and as it moved again I struck into another very lively trout which when I got it out turned out to be exactly the same size as the first. OK that convinced me, we were staying. There was about 800 yards of this brook available to be fished on the campsite ticket and I fished every inch of it. My daughter, who was 13 at the time, didn't like me knocking the fish on the head to kill them. She would much rather I put them back. In fact one of the fish I had knocked and thrown up on the bank, she put it into a bucket of water where it recovered, so I had to knock it again.

I kept a diary of my fishing at Bronllys, and in the 2 weeks I caught 127 fish from that little stream. 35 of these were big enough to keep, the rest were all safely returned to the water unharmed. The fish were not all trout; some were dace and one perch. all from a little brook one yard wide at its best. It was different to normal bank fishing and I'd had to work harder to catch fish. With the difficulties too, I lost quite a few of the fish. Now 27 years on, that stream could be back as I found it, stuffed full of fish. I would love to return there and fish it once again.

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