Contributed by John Garner (29.08.2005)
Started upstream of Warcop Bridge on Monday afternoon and found one fish rising regularly just upstream of the shared water. Took it after 5 or 6 casts on a size 16 Sparkle Dun. About 12 inches and fit as they make them, 3 times it took to the air before I slipped the net under it. After releasing it I wandered off upstream and noticed that the river seemed to be rising slightly and beginning to colour up. As there didn't seem to be anything else rising I wandered back to the car and drove up towards Kirkby Stephen in the hope that the Belah could be bringing the colour in.
The river looked OK at Musgrave but I carried on up to Eastfield Bridge and fished upstream from there.
There were 2 fish rising steadily in a bit of slack water below the first bush upstream of the bridge. A few minutes later the Sparkle Dun claimed its second victim of the day. Only 8 inches but, again, a fit little fish. After releasing it I managed to prick the other fish and put it down.
It wasn't until well above the falls that I found any more fish rising. In a gap between the trees there were 3 or 4 fish were taking something in or just below the surface. Fish number 3 soon came to the Sparkle Dun, perhaps more by chance than anything else. I definitely couldn't see any upwinged flies coming off. I had a bit of an epic getting into a position (involving laying down and sliding below branches onto a bit of a ledge just above the water) where I could get the net under it and spooked the rest of them. Another fish just above 12 inches and promptly released to fight another day.
A few yards further up there was another group of fish rising steadily, again to something unseen. After a while trying to work out how to get a fly to them I worked my way under low branches until I could sit, uncomfortably, just above the water. The fish continued to rise - OK so far. I'm sure that the method of casting that followed is not in any text book and I'm sure I couldn't describe it but suffice to say I managed to get a fly onto water and after a short time took fish number 4. Another fish about 12 inches and, again, released.
The Sparkle Dun by this time was now just a Dun having had its sparkle removed by fish number 4 and, guessing that the fish could be taking Needle Flies, I tied on a size 16 F fly (with a black silk body). The remaining fish continued to rise but after a few more minutes the cramp set in and I had to move.
Back at the spot where fish number 3 was taken there were fish rising again. The fifth fish came after 20 minutes of perseverance with the F fly. Another fish of about 12 inches, another epic getting it in the net and another one released.
At this point I started to regret making promises to be back early but decided that 5 wild fish, all in perfect condition should be a good enough way to spend a bank holiday . Nothing massive but a hell of a good afternoon.