Kirkby Stephen and District Angling Association

Opening day hat-trick

Contributed by John Garner, Secretary (19.03.2008)

It was 1pm when I turned the ignition key.  Jobs done, I was on my way back to the river - the first trip of the season.  The sky looked heavy and the breeze from the east was pretty cool.  Despite a quick look over the bridge in Appleby, while shopping, revealing a river that looked better than I expected, I wasn’t over optimistic.  I was thinking of this being more of a token gesture than serious fishing. Wrong again!

river eden trout

As I drove over Warcop Bridge there was a bloke intent on extracting Appleby’s stockies from the bridge pool. Whatever floats your boat – I carried on driving.

There were three cars at Musgrave Bridge.  Guessing that the occupants wouldn’t be going far, I carried on and parked in the layby between Musgrave and Blandswath Bridges.  It was pretty obvious that sunbathing was out of the question today and I pulled on an extra pair of fleece trousers before the waders and wading jacket before the waistcoat.  I don’t do cold.

I wandered across the field, crossed the river and by 1.30 I was sat on the river bank – watching.  A cigarette later and I’d seen no sign of either fish or fly. Realising that the Klinks were going to stay dry today, it was time to get down and dirty. I started with a tungsten beaded PTN. It didn’t last long. Within the first half hour I’d managed to prick one fish and eventually cracked off on a second. Thankfully the hook was de-barbed and should soon be shed.

Back to the fly box and I realised that that was the last of the tungsten bead PTNs.  A copper head looked like the best replacement and on it went. At the end of the first run down a small fish rose to it on the dangle. And missed. I used to be able to do this fishing thing.

I made no mistake with the next one. Before the first hour was up there was a fine 14 inch fish in the net. But not without one or two heart stopping jumps clear of the water. It was released after the obligatory photo.

A brief foray down towards Rudhills soon had me scuttling back upstream out of the worst of the wind. And within the next hour another two fish (neither of which were much smaller than the first) fell to the copper head and were promptly returned to fight another day.

Despite the extra layers, by 4pm the cold was beginning to make itself felt and I’d had enough. After just over 2 hours fishing I’d had three fish and come close to another three. Considering that I set out with not much hope of success, I went back to the car feeling pretty chuffed.

Even realising that I’d got a leaky wader couldn’t knock the shine off it.

Some points that may be of interest:

None of the fish that I encountered were in water that was anything like a ‘pool.’
At no point did I have more than 3 yards of fly line outside the rod tip.
At this time of year, no matter how much clothing you wear, wading more than thigh deep makes your voice go funny.