Met up with Red at Taunton and we made our way down to the River Culm a few miles from Cullompton. The intention was to hit the Champerhaies beat on the West Country Passport ticket and if the water was up and coloured I had a back up of the Bathern stream near Tiverton. Once we got there the river was slightly coloured but looked in good form with some good fish rising. It is lovely stretch with riffles, runs and big pools. Not unlike the upper Bristol Avon at Lacock but with more gravel and more importantly more trout. After spending months fishing the inaccessible streams around Bristol I was champing at the bit to have space to cast with the chance of catching some decent sized wild Brownies and Chub. Armed with my 8'6" Greys X Flite and usual Klink and Brassie I took the section nearest the car while Red headed off South. First couple of casts and missed two rises to the Klink. After a frustrating hour of missing takes I eventually hooked and lost a good fish of at least a 1lb. Shortly after one finally came to the net on the Brassie nymph it was good sized fish that fought hard in the fast current. I then moved down below Red who had caught a nice Chub on an Emerger pattern. I caught about half a dozen 8" fish in one stretch overshadowed in Alder and Willow both on dry and nymph. I jumped out my skin when a female Goosander launched itself from a branch nearly on my back. I can only assume she was protecting her nest or chicks although I was unable to locate either. She proceeded to watch me from a distance.
Average sized Brownie from the Culm
Red's first Chub on the fly.
After a short lunch break we both headed to next field down. In the afternoon my catch rate went up netting numerous Brownies between 4-12" together with some nice Dace. The fish seemed to be in groups where small hatches of Sedge were coming off. I don't know why but for every fish I would miss half a dozen takes to the dry. Finally after a good 7 hrs of fishing, one fall, some 20 Brownies and 2 Dace later exhausted I returned to the car. I kind of felt fished out at the time but look back on the day as a great trip. I need to slow down, pace myself and enjoy the moment. Red had also caught a good number of Brownies and the Chub so he was made up with great days fishing.
Fished the Yeo with Red today. Always keen to see the fruits of our labour following bank clearing early in the year Red finally talked me into fishing the Yeo. Sun was shining and I have to say I was keen to fish a new location. The water was low however and the stream was difficult to access with only a few pools large enough to approach with a well presented fly. I am convinced the stream has suffered from the Blagdon fish farm which has resulted in stagnant pockets of silt and algae growth from excessive nitrites. Its unfortunate because the stream substrate is predominantly gravel which if left unmolested would serve as good breeding ground for trout. Anyway amazingly a small number of wild Brownies still seem to survive and Red managed to hook the only fish - a small Brownie on a shrimp pattern. I persevered with the dry but as I only saw two fish in over two hours my hopes were unrewarded - I also covered a good 1/2 mile. It was nice however to have a Wren skim my ear and locate its nest overhanging the stream.
On to the Upper Chew. One spirited fish for me that shook the hook on its second jump. Blankety Blank - its been a while!
A Friday fish now seems a bit of institution for me now. I'm in a job where I can manage my own time and I like to start the weekend with a nice afternoon session. Leaving N Bristol the sun was shining and all was looking good. Headed to a stretch on the Lower Chew. By the time I'd tied my leader and attached the last fly the clouds had smudged out any blue sky and spots of rain began to fall. Undeterred I proceeded to fish the next hour in heavy rain. Few rises and difficult terrain resulted in just one fish on the dry.
Time for a change in location and time to get dry with hope of the rain passing. No such luck as the rain persisted but the stretch still produced a small Grayling, one lost Brownie and a decent sized Brownie to the net all on the nymph. Saw a cute family of Dippers on a shallow run where the parents were feeding two fledged young.
Long late spring/summer day today. Spent the day at Praa and went fishing round the coast on the kayak towards Prussia Cove. Turquoise water and sea cliffs cloaked in spring flowers made for a wonderful paddle. The outgoing tide and stiff offshore kept us close in. No Bass moving but a couple of nice Pollack from some of the Kelp beds - although Rich W was convinced I'd hooked the same Pollack twice!
In the evening, after catching the last of an abysmal England performance against the Swiss, I fished a local trout stream. Caught a couple on the dry and then on a Brassie fished deep in some of the pools. None of the fish exceeded hand size but it was good sport in the small stream.
Much of the earlier week had meant some serious surfing at Penhale as a good swell had kicked in with fairly light winds. Took a few Mackerel off the rocks at Towan Head one evening some two hours after high tide! My second home for some 25 years now and still lovin' Cornwall. Back to work now yawn and time to concentrate on the rivers round Brizzle yippee - there has to be an upside!