Sunday, 19 June 2011

Fly fishing the River Culm

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.

A nice Dace to the dry fly.

The wonderful Culm.

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