It was time to go. I've been cooped up inside far too long. I’ve been living on my own for the last month. I've enjoyed the space and the knowledge that any hair I find in the bathroom is mine and mine alone. However, time and space can lead to a cluttered mind. I needed a room without walls with water flowing right through it. Time to head outside.
So last night I packed up, sorted through reams of rotted reels of line and scrambled together a fly assortment of sorts. I bought Scotch-eggs and filled the thermoses. Yes, for the first time this year I was going fishing.
I’d been dying to try out the Pretty Ditch all season, work and rain and Swiss-based-husbands-to-be have prevented me so far. The Pretty Ditch is my club water and I’ve been looking forward to working with her all year. She was looking rather scruffy, like a deranged woman returned from drinking. She had clearly almost flooded and the flow through her reminded me of the might River Eden. After an hour trudging through her and up her, I learned so much. Today she was cloudy but she is always high-sided and crowded with trees. You can’t cast far, so controlling the drag on a sole nymph through a raging stream was difficult. I added a dropper and put a klink on, hopefully helping me see. This is a nod to allowing the dry fly fish more naturally. I am unused to duos, I am unused to casting with trees and bank everywhere and so very soon I got very used to ghastly tangles.
I switched to using a progressive New Zealand style. Here you tie the dry and then attach the nymph to the bend of a hook. Using this method, your dry fly really is little more than an indicator.
I needed it today, I couldn’t read the pull of my line fast enough in the water and this way the fly and nymph tangle up a lot, lot less. If I had more space I would prefer to use a dropper but it was helping me get used to the weight of two flies.
Catching my first fish of the season was glorious. I paused when I spotted some flitting olives knowing that a rise couldn’t be far away. I snipped off the foreign klink and dink set up and put on a dry. Two dodgy casts and one perfect one gave me a small and gorgeous grayling.
I ploughed on upstream and the Pretty Ditch gave me a big surprise in the form of a big drop into a deep hole. I nearly lost me and I certainly lost my net which ended my delayed season’s first trip prematurely.
Today was a start, not the one I hoped for but there’s plenty of time to make up for it. Next weekend I return to my Pretty Ditch.