How often do really good moments in life sneak up on you and surprise you when you are not really expecting it? Often events that you plan and anticipate for ages don't work out as you planned and can prove an anti-climax. I rang up Robert Rusby of Hallamshire wines to get a dozen cases of wine dropped off when he was passing next and he said " what about meeting up on the River Lune below Kirkby Lonsdale as there had been some water last weekend and though the water had dropped, it could have bought some salmon or sea trout in and why not meet up in the afternoon exchange the wines and have a fish? "
Set of late and arrived at Newton at about 4.30 pm, no sign of Rusby and the water looked quite low. Rusby rang to say his day had gone wrong he would not be there until 6.30 ish, but to get started and see what was about. Newton is noted for being the Ogelsby's home beat for many years and the hut has photographs and fishing records of theirs which somehow set the pulse running. It is also remarkable for the reason that the complete river moved in the middle of the beat some 200 yds making the bank we fish double bank when it used to be single bank. It really is quite extraordinary and has to be seen to be believed.
I tackled up and dropped down to 10lb nylon with a dropper and walked up to the very top most pool of the beat thinking that I would leave the best water until later when my host arrived. It was very hot, surely the hottest day of the year so far and the sun was bright but at least behind the fish, with the water at 3ins and very clear. I fished the pool down and started to think about our experiences in Norway. Which meant I started trying to fish more downstream, and more carefully. Whilst trying to wade along the waters edge without making any noise by splashing or disturbing rocks as I walked on them. As you do, I got very absorbed in this, completely in my own little word. When suddenly I was disturbed by a splash and a graunching noise. Tia my Labrador was 50 yds downstream trying to dig a large rock up from the river bed. I felt rather foolish and shouted at the dog, however what was interesting, was how the sound of the rocks she moved carried and presumably vibrated. Food for thought.
Rusby arrived and we had a snack and geared up for sea trout, apparently here traditional flies work well, but a touch of blue can help. I found a few stoats tails and tosh's, a couple of which were the right size and had a bit of blue along with a small thunder and lightening double. There are two favoured areas for sea trout, both with a good stream at the head so we resolved to try the oxygenated streams and observe the pools and then to concentrate when it got dark where we hopefully saw fish. I went to my stream and fished it 3 times with no excitement or sign of a sea trout. A car pulled up on the other bank and a pleasant chap passed the time of day and told me that there were not many sea trout in and I was inclined to agree with him!
I moved upstream to join Robert and compare notes and changed to some bigger flies, the thunder and lightening on the dropper and a shrimp with a tail on the point. Robert had seen nothing either apart from a few parr. As it got dark he continued down the pool and I went in behind in the stream. I went in higher than Robert did as I had a seen a fish move earlier in the day and immediately started catching parr and felt more hopeful. However I reached the bottom of the faster water after nearly an hour and had still not seen a sea trout so wandered down to join Robert and tactfully suggest we went home or found a local pub.
He though had seen several fish start moving in the very slow flats which go on for some 300 yds and suggested I started some 100 yds below him. The water was very slow and I lengthened my line until I thought I was in danger of hitting the other bank. Cast out again and it went solid immediately, I gave it a bit of pull to hopefully pull the fly of the rocks and it went bananas! Not a huge fish, but what acrobatics. I had forgotten how special fishing in the dark is for these wonderful creatures. Got the sea trout gently beached, it had taken the dropper and though we had had a discussion about the merits of 2lb sea trout to eat, considering them the best. I decided to put it it back as it had given so much excitement. Unfortunately though, it had put so much into fighting I could not get it going again properly so had to kill it.
Heard some splashing upstream and could just make out Rusby landing a fish. Went straight back in and after a couple of casts had a solid knock at which I struck, but it was gone. Was I too slow it always feels that way. Carried on had another knock, struck, this time success, a larger fish cartwheels up into the air but then runs hard towards me, I strip line rapidly and stay in touch until the fish is beneath the rod tip. Try to stay in touch and get the fish to run but suddenly I feel the fly ping out. However many times you lose fish the disappointment is always keenly felt and you are never quite ready for it. Robert let out a cry and had lost one as well. Still there was plenty of time left it was only 11.30 pm, but there wasn't. That was it 15 mins of activity otherwise you would not know that there was a sea trout in the river.
We tried for another hour but though it was a lovely night with shooting stars, a ruddy moon that got brighter and a pleasant wind. The reality was that moon was too bright, the wind had a bite to it and the water felt like lukewarm bath water and our fun was over. We exchanged the wines and I drove home happy and planning tomorrow's dinner for two. Fresh Lune Sea Trout with Hollandaise Sauce washed down with a bottle of Faively's 2002 Rully from the bin ends. Life has its compensations.
Fly Fishing Breaks