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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


31/03/2014 - Hatching Olives Brown Trout and Grey Wagtails

                                     Litter Louts

 Why do people have to leave their rubbish in the countryside? Today I spent about an hour and a half clearing rubbish which included bags of dog dirt, bottles, cans, crisp bags, coffee cups also the usual MacDonald’s rubbish and one mattress. By 11 o’clock I’d finished litter picking, I then chose a spot on the river shielded from the wind by a small copse where I enjoyed a mug of tea. A weak sun was trying to break through the cloud giving one an impression of warmth, a few olives were struggling to get airborne but trout were quicker off the mark. Those that did get away were quickly snaffled by a pair of Grey wagtails, I must have spent thirty minutes watching these birds with their acrobatic flying display marvelling how these birds seemed stop in one position fifteen twenty feet above the water flapping their wings to hold in position. Then suddenly diving down or flying upwards catching flies that were often minuscule in size.

                                              A Pair of Grey Wagtails

 One could only marvel at these Grey wagtails but they are not grey but yellow black and grey, just upstream a pair of Pied wagtails were feeding on flies. On a rock just upstream of the bridge a Dipper was bobbing up and down, then it disappeared into the water no doubt looking for nymphs. It’s amazing to watch these birds walk along the bed of the river and no doubt this dipper along with its mate will make a nest close to the far bank buttress of bridge which is over hung by a large willow.

 Having watched these birds going about their business for some time I decided I should try and catch a trout, walking back to the car I decided I would put together two rods both nine foot Thomas and Thomas models a 3 weight for the dry fly work, the 4 weight for fishing upstream wet flies and nymphs. On the 4 weight rod I nail knotted a 12 foot fluorocarbon leader with a 3lb tippet to which I tied on a size 14 wet Greenwell’s Glory. On the 3 weight rod I attached a nine foot leader with a 3lb tippet then added another four feet of 3lb line followed by a foot of 3lb fluorocarbon tippet choosing a size 18 Adams that represents quite a few early season flies.


                                              Olives and Swirling Trout


Back on the river bank I sat quietly watching the surface for rising fish, upstream I heard a splash under the opposite bank I spotted a small dimple on the surface then a good swirl from a fish in midstream, a few more olives were now coming off as they did so the birds got more excited as did the trout. I watched one fish sipping down flies some ten foot out from the far bank. I could easily cover the fish from where I was sitting, all I needed was a thirty foot cast. Pulling off some line I made a roll cast a back cast then watched the line and finally the leader unfurled. The fly dropping like thistle down five feet upstream of the fish. It drifted down perfectly, a tiny swirl indicated the fly had been taken, I tightened into a fish that moved off fast downstream to the rapids under the bridge. It felt great feeling once more hooked up to a good fish on my three weight rod. The balanced tackle was more than capable in handling this fish, five minutes later I was getting line back on the reel, in midstream the fish swirled on the surface leaning the rod over to my left I exerted a bit more pressure and had the fish coming towards the bank. Sliding down the bank I stood in the water landing net gripped between my knees waiting for the fish to come within range. A minute or so later the fish was ready for netting, a good brown trout about 15inches fin and scale perfect it was unhooked and released.


Ten minutes later fish number two about 14 inches was hooked and again released when netted. For ten minutes lots of olives were coming off giving the impression of a mini yacht race with fish were rising everywhere. I quickly had two more fish then lost three fish in succession but no idea why I lost those fish, when I checked the hook point it was needle sharp. After a twenty minutes with no takes I quickly had two more nice fish around 12 inches then nothing so half an hour later I went off for a late lunch. Looking back on that session I realise how much I enjoy early season trout fishing seeing all the bird life going about their business of mating and nest building, in fact a blackbird is sitting on a clutch of eggs in a Holly bush. Finally watching those olives and smaller flies coming off, some to reproduce others to feed the birds and more sucked down by the trout. Long may it continue I just hope I have a few more years to come so I can continue to enjoy this type of fishing




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Martin James Fishing
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