Thursday, 18 August 2011

Fly Fishing Devon - on a bike. Part 3

Normally anglers blog the great days, big catches, loads of photos of grinning anglers and fish. Not all days are like that, today wasn't like that, here's the blog anyway.

I awoke on day 3 to the sound of rain against the bivi bag and for a second I contemplated cycling the 30 miles to the River Torridge in my chest waders. Despite the weather the journey was enjoyable, some great views, a close encounter with a full pack of fox hounds and not too many hills.
As I popped my 5 tokens into the Gortleigh beat postbox I heard the first rumble of thunder, by the time I was kitted up it was raining again, only this time with more purpose. The beat consist of over a mile of the river Torridge and a small leat, a good amount of fishing for your tokens. Some good runs and excellent looking salmon and sea trout holding pools. Anticipating that the rain might very soon put the river out of condition I quickly tackled up, a Duo Rig, standard prospecting set up for me and set off slowly upstream.

not just a nice fishing spot but I could hide under the bridge from the rain.

With me today was Nikki Davies, a photographer from North Devon (check out, I don't know if she does underwater photography, but it could have come in handy as the rain intensified and started to give the appearance of being 'set in'. She managed some great shots, despite the weather and the good thing about working with a Pro such as Nikki as you forget they are there, I can concentrate on the fishing and not worry about 'getting the shot'.

A photo of the photographer, photographing.

A managed a couple of fish, around the 6-8inch mark, on a weighted pheasant tail nymph fished under the dry fly. And then things went down hill. Firstly the rain got even heavier, so much so that it was time for Nikki to give up before her expensive gear got completely saturated. Working with a pro is a real treat and it was a shame that we didn't get the conditions to get the best from it. Secondly, approximately 5 minutes after Nikki left the sun came out, damn. Thirdly, shortly after that I snapped a rod. Completely my fault, I hooked up on some himalayan balsam (this river struggles with it too) just as I started into the forward cast and I guess that the two sections had been gradually working apart because with a loud crack the rod broke at the male part of the ferrule. So back to the bike, out with the spare rod and try for a sea trout as the river starts to rise. An hour lately, soaked to the skin, river the colour of cocoa I decide to knock it on the head. On my way back to the bike I bump in to a local farmer who fishes the beat regularly. Typically, he assures me that I should be here tomorrow, with the freshwater in the river he expects a good run of peal and salmon.

Wet, wet, wet.

At 4.30pm it was too early to head for the campsite, so back into the riding gear and back on the road. I ticked off 15 miles of the next day's route and at 8pm I pulled in to a campsite on the banks of Roadford Reservoir. As I had neared the lake I had contemplated fishing the last hour or so of day light, I like this lake, some very nice brown trout live there and I considered salvaging the day with a fish or two as we went into dark. And Angling Passport tokens can be used on all Southwest Lakes. However, as I rolled in to the campsite I realised just how cold, wet, tired and hungry I was. It quickly became evident that I needed to concentrate on my own welfare for a while. Thankfully the campsite had fantastic showers, I must have been in them for half an hour. I made camp and went to bed after dinner - pasta, feeling a little sorry for myself and hoping for a better day tomorrow.

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