River Witham

River Witham
River Witham near Barkston, Lincolnshire

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

I'm going fishing anyway!

Saturday 8th October

This Rugby World Cup's playing havoc with my R & R, getting up at 5.45am to catch the quarter finals!  Its too much especially when England can't pull it together.  Well enough's enough, I had to get out and fish.

It was grey, overcast and raining, but not too cold, .. good for fish I suppose.  Cos it was raining it seemed like a good idea to go up river to our upper reaches, which has lots of tree cover, and see if it is was fishable.  One of our keepers told me he'd been doing some clearance work so I thought it worth a try. 

Looking out at the stream, there were no rises to be seen,  .. that I could differentiate from the rain splashes anyway.  So on with a klink & ptn nymph set up to do some prospecting.

The water is still so low despite the rain, that the nymph was continually snagging bottom, and the bankside vegetation so profuse it was difficult to drop a line. Perseverance, and concentration, were the watch words,  things that I lacked in my state of sleep deprived torpor.  So I missed the first take, opposite the confluence of a feeder brook, as my dry fly swung out of sight under the bank! Hmph I needed to try harder.

Further up there is a nice pool on a bend alongside a tree with submerged roots, a very fishy spot.  It required me to lean out and roll the flies upstream at a 90 degree, what fun! The dry fly (black klink with orange post) drifted back towards me and slipped out of sight, and joy of joys I lifted into my first fish for a fortnight, albeit a tiddler!  After shaking him off another cast and almost in the same spot the dry disappeared, and a slightly more respectable fish came to the net.

Well I pressed on and managed a couple more, but the 'cleared' stream was more often clogged as not!
 Please note that my rod is pointing along the main course of the river and I am thigh deep!
Quite a challenge to get one's fly down to the fish!!
 Is this because of the very low flows and warm weather we've experienced all summer I wonder.  Desperately in need of a good flush through, or we'll need a lot of work-party effort come late winter. 
I eventually found some clear stretches mainly under the trees, where the light struggled to illuminate sufficiently for photosynthesis.  In one particular very shallow stretch I noticed a distinct v-shaped wake moving upstream slowly. A cast ahead and to one side resulted in a violent pull and then my leader did an about turn and headed towards me at a rate of knots, trouble was I was standing downstream of a fallen branch!  My rod bent and then the leader flies and all were in the branches above me, sh.......!  And to cap it all the tree wasn't for letting go, and so remains festooned as if for the festive season.

Tying on a new tippet, and pair of flies, required more effort than I cared for, and that my poor eyesight could cope with in the grey gloom!  Did I mention that the light was beginning to go and it was only 6.00 o'clock. Once done I was free to amble further upstream, but to no avail as there was very little fishable water remaining, and what there was wasn't playing ball.  Well, I hadn't bargained for fighting through all the in-river vegetation so I was more than a little knackered as I walked the mile & half back to the car.

Sunday 9th October

Up at 5.45am again, I must be mad as well as shattered, good rugby though.

Went to Burton upon Trent with the missus, to the fly fair organised by Wendy Gibson of Flies by Wendy
Burton Fly Tying Fair It was a super event in the lovely old town hall, with great catering, lots of trade stands and great fly tying demos.  It was in aid of 2 very worthwhile charities Casting for Recovery and Fishing for Heroes, my wife having benefited from the former.  I hope it was successful enough to take place again next year. 

We had to leave earlier than I hoped to join my brother & sister-in-law for a birthday lunch, but that was probably just as well, and saved me money that I can ill afford to spend! But there are always some tying materials you can't do without.


  1. That first day sounds like quite an adventure. I always hate when those trees won't let go of the flies. :) Nice looking fish and fishable water. That fly tying event had some great charities. I was just watching something on the tele about that. Great program. Tight Lines.

  2. Wow, that streamside/covering foliage is think! I am impressed you got a fly through that at all. Nice going!