I had sorted myself out at Christmas with a cheap set up to introduce myself to fly fishing. Shakespeare Odyssey 7'6" rod, small cheap arbour reel, waders, selection of flies, waistcoat and bag. The whole lot cost less than £100. My aim was to explore the small streams and rivers around Bristol learning the art of presenting the fly on the off chance that one day I might just get a take. I had no instruction just knowledge I had gained from the Internet or books. I was not prepared to spend vast amounts on licences as I was unsure how much this sport was going to captivate me. I started with a short 7' leader of straight 4lb fluorocarbon tied to Pheasant Tail Nymph. I already possessed a Bristol & District AA licence for my coarse fishing and at this time they had stretch on the Wellow. I had no idea what the river would look like or what it contained or indeed how I was going to locate fish.
Arriving the stream looked beautiful on this Spring day, the water was gin clear and appeared to be alive with activity. I was in awe of the beauty of this little gem just a short commute from my home. I started by spooking fish left right and centre, catching branches above, behind and in front. I was beginning to realise long casting was not required. Stealth, patience and accuracy were what counted. After an hour on this small stretch I flicked the nymph into one of the pools below a cascade and the fluorescent loop shot forward. I was in to my very fish Brownie on the fly. After a spirited fight, with much jumping and dashing it came to the net. A whim and strange impulsive desire had bought me to this point and was I chuffed as hell. I had blundered my way through all aspects of the learning curve without knowing where I might be going wrong but this little Brownie gave me faith and set me on a path. Ironically a father and son were passing and as I had the fish in the net I found myself offering advice on my tactics. Can you believe it, I vaguely knew myself what I was doing. My wife relived the take, the fight and the release many a time in the following days.