thousands of you will have caught thousands of fish on the Mayfly. My
personal score stands resolutely at zero. I am yet to cast a Mayfly. For my
days around this magical time evolve in a slightly different manner to
a dawn but not, sadly, to fish. Email is a marvellous thing but it's also a
choke chain on my life. Some of you clearly wake up in the middle of the
night with the dread question: is my fishing tomorrow? Did I really book
it? Where are my maps? Or a myriad of other things that invade our sleep
ahead of any trip. And being as we all are (and I am not complaining) you
send an email. I truly don't mind. I'd rather answer an email over my first
cup of tea of the morning than field a frantic phone call later on.
is off to the river to greet guests and corral the guides. I am a veritable
travelling fly shop and mini mart - everything from cool beer to some of
the most esoteric mayfly patterns in existence. We all like a bit of
novelty. Then it back to the office for yes, more emails and writing. I
sacrifice time on the river to bring you this newsletter. And then it is
back to the river to collect the empties. Console the unsuccessful.
Congratulate the victors.
to stay until everyone is gone; the car park finally empty. It is for me
one of the greatest pleasures in life to sit on a bench, deserted of human
company, to absorb the silence and quiet. Watch the river slide on by. See
the occasional dying Mayfly sucked down by a trout who has mastered the art
of the effortless take. I never feel inclined to fish though I do err
towards that arrogant belief that I would indeed catch every rising fish
should I have a rod in hand. But somehow the act of fishing seems
unimportant. The fish have suppled their side of the bargain: sport for the
day. In the dying light I feel they have earnt the right to feed unimpeded.
the occasional rises peter away to absolutely nothing. A glass flat river.
It's done for another Mayfly day. It is time for me to leave. I feel my
phone vibrate on silent in my pocket. The final round of the day beckons.
Home. Eat. Sleep. Reboot. Tomorrow is another Mayfly day.
Is it a
plane? Is it a bird? Well, sort of ....
it's a swoose. I never knew such a thing existed, the product of a swan and
a goose. However odd the combination this stuffed specimen lived to the
goodly age (at least for a hybrid bird) of fourteen years, born in 1910 at
Beeston Priory in Norfolk where it lived out its life.
are a few other swooses documented in more recent times. There was one
living close to the estuary of the River Frome that was variously seen
between 2004 and 2011. If our stuffed version was more swan than goose;
this Dorset one was more goose than swan. More recently one was born at the
National Trust West Green House in Hampshire in 2016.
would like to buy this rare stuffed exmaple it is in the Summers Place
Auction on 11th June. The guide price is £2,000-3,000. www.summersplaceauctions.com
fowl to odd fish
a weird looking brown trout, in fine condition bar the obvious, that came
out of the River Test on the Main beat at Mottisfont Abbey earlier this
now back swimming around, but we think it may have been caught once before
in the One Fly, though that was some years ago. It did, as you might,
imagine cause a certain amount of discussion as the One Fly scoring is
based on the length of the fish. Now clearly this fish would, under normal
circumstances be a quarter longer than it currently is. There was some
attempt to argue for a higher score based on what-it-should-have-been, but
our rigorous scrutiny committee dismissed the appeal i.e. we just laughed
at the notion.
undecided as to whether this is a wild or stocked fish, though are
generally erring on the side of wild. A disfigured fish of this kind would
rarely get through the quality control of any decent fish farmer and if it
did it probably would not have survived for so long and in such good
do happen to catch Stumpy again do take a photo but do put him (or her)
father had absolutely no interest in fishing, fly or otherwise. But even
though he never really understood my fascination, he happily ferried me
around the rivers and trout lakes of southern England in the days before I
could drive. He always seemed perfectly happy to read the paper or nod off
in the car. Maybe he did get that bit of fishing where we are all very
capable of filling a day doing very little.
journey home was inevitably interrupted by frequent stops at wayside inns
where we occasionally traded my catch for scampi-in-the-basket. My father
had this uncanny knack of becoming the publicans' best friend in the matter
of a few sentences. We were treated as regulars despite being miles from
home in pubs we hardly ever visited. As you might imagine the remainder of
the trip could sometimes be something of an adventure ......
not sure my childhood experience is the best template for inculcating your
own children to fly fishing, but we do have the chance for fishing with
your son or daughter here at Nether Wallop Mill on Saturday 15 June, the
day before Father's Day proper.
It is a
half day led by one of our patient instructors which aims to teach the
essential casting skills, how to tie a fly and all importantly, catch
plenty of fish. As the parent you will sit out the first 90 minutes (we
serve excellent coffee, have comfortable chairs and Wi-Fi) but after that
you'll buddy up with your child to catch fish.
sessions run 9.30am-1pm or 2pm-5.30pm. There will be up to four
father/child (8-16 years) pairs at each session. All tackle and flies
provided. You may take home fish if you wish. The cost is £125/pair. For
more details and to book click here .....
with all the swoose in mind our quiz this week is on hybrids. As ever it is
just for fun
answers at the bottom of the Newsletter.
1)What is a hinny?
2)What bee species were crossed to create the Killer Bee?
3)What two trout species are crossed to create the cutbow?