Contributed by John Garner (19.04.2006)
Easter started early for me thanks to flexi time.Thursday saw the river starting to clear and drop back after the rain of earlier in the week and an hour or two fishing seemed like a good idea. Just after 12:30 I sat opposite Musgrave church drinking coffee and deciding what to tie on the end.
By 1pm the decision was made as the first of the afternoons LDOs made an appearance and were met by the repeated rises of at least three fish that were obviously ready for lunch. Three or four casts with a Klinkhamer saw me commit the cardinal sin (again) and crack off on a good fish. Luckily it wasn’t game over and the other two continued to rise.
The fly was soon replaced and I began to cast at the two remaining fish alternately. It didn’t take long before fish number two made its mistake. And that’s when the fun started. This baby was obviously in no mood to give up easily and proceeded to race round the pool alternating between hugging the bottom and airborne head shaking.
Thoughts of ‘how long before it sheds the hook’ crossed my mind. However, a few minutes later it was in the net, measured, photographed and released. At 47 cm (18 1/2 inches in old money), that’s the biggest fish I’ve had from Kirkby Stephen water.
By 2pm the hatch was reduced to a trickle with just the odd dun coming down and with nothing more rising by the church (not really surprising) I wandered off upstream and had another couple of hours searching in vain. I saw the odd fish move but failed to add to the score and by 5pm I was on my way home happy.
Just occasionally I manage to get the pass out for two days on the trot. Still on a high from yesterday, I decided to fish up from Eastfield Bridge and aimed to get there in time for the expected (1pm) start of the hatch. Sure enough, just after 1, the first of the duns came drifting down the river and not long after that dimpling rises broke the surface to take advantage.
I wasted 20 minutes (and left a fly in the tree opposite) covering a couple of fish that had obviously seen it all before and weren’t going to fall for the Klink or an F-fly.
I wandered further up and found a couple more fish rising freely. I really hope that there was no one watching as I crawled, hands and knees, down to the edge of the river in order to get a fly between the trees. As with yesterdays’ fish, it was all over the place once hooked but soon came to the net. At 12 inches it was considerably smaller than that one but excellent value for money. It too was released.
Having put the other fish down in the process, I went back to have another go at the first pair (still rising) - and failed miserably again. That’s life.
Further downstream, the big pool on the bend produced another fish. Only 10 inches but again good value. This one was fooled second cast into taking the F-fly. Another fish in the same pool continued to rise but didn’t want to play.
On the way back to the car I stopped to drain the flask beside the waterfall pool and spotted a couple more fish rising occasionally. A few casts from the left bank and I soon realised that I was on a loser from here due to the fly getting dragged about by the currents. I crossed the river at the tail of the pool and came back up to try from the opposite side. A few minutes and a lucky cast later saw fish number three in the net. Slightly bigger than the first, this one was also released. Another one to the F-fly.
5pm saw me back at the car having had another excellent day.
Two days on the trot is pretty good going. I’m not brave enough to suggest three so Saturday was spent earning brownie points in the garden. It worked – it wasn’t me that suggested going fishing on Sunday morning. I don’t need to be asked twice.
I’m not sure if the hatch started earlier and I only caught the tail end of it or it just wasn’t so good. By the time I got to the river (just above Ploughlands), at 1pm, there was just the odd LDO coming down and very few fish showing any interest. Having confidence in the Klinkhamer, I decided to stick with it rather than try a spider or nymph which would probably have been the more sensible option.
By 1:45 I was rewarded with the first and only fish of the afternoon. At 15 inches, this one also had plenty of life in it and left the water at least three times before it was eventually netted, measured and released. The next hour and a half was spent searching unsuccessfully with the Klink. Yes, I know it wasn’t the brightest thing to do as far as fish on the bank is concerned, but it is enjoyable.
Over the three days I’d had 11 hours fishing, seen plenty of fly life and caught 5 cracking fish. If anyone tells you there’s no flies or fish in the river don’t believe them. If you’re not there at the right time you’ll not see flies and, if the flies aren’t coming off, the trout don’t rise for the fun of it.
The score for the weekend: Klinkamer 3, F-fly 2.