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Ewan Lindsay

Tales From The Test
« on: August 28, 2011, 09:44:57 AM »
I completed my 2nd visit of the year to the Test earlier this month, this time fishing the Greyhound Beat which is in the middle of Stockbridge.  Actually, it is a small length of L-shaped Carrier that short-cuts a large bend of the Test.  The beat is literally within casting distance of the Greyhound pub…which is nice!


The long leg of the Beat


The short leg of the beat

The weather was looking pretty good when I arrived, overcast but warm with a gentle breeze every so often.  The river was crystal clear as you’d expect without too much weed build-up (the weed cutting week on the Test wasn’t due until mid-August).

Armed with my new 3wt Helios, I started at the bottom of the beat (upstream, single fly only remember!  Although at this time of the year you are at least allowed to fish a “traditional chalkstream” nymph if you want) which is below the Hatch/Sluice gates that are on a 90 degree bend in the river.

There was no fly life to speak of on or above the water so I started with a Pheasant Tail Nymph and prospected away as the water was quite fast flowing and I couldn’t spot any trout to cast at.  There were no takers as I worked my way up to the Hatch Pool which was very turbulent and deep and required a heavier nymph, so a gold head PTN went on.  Line mends in the turbulent water were almost impossible and it was a case of keeping as much fly line out of the water as possible (difficult as no wading is permitted on this beat and there was a large area of back eddy and slack water on my side of the pool) but it was good fun having to keep your eye on the tip of your line for any tell-tale tweeks or pulls; was that the bottom or a fish?  Eventually, a pull left me in no doubt and a fish was on.  It tore off upstream towards the Hatch Gates and put a serious bend in the rod.  When I got him to the net though he was surprisingly small; a wild brownie no bigger than 10oz and almost silver.  Lovely looking fish but I didn’t take a picture and put him straight back.

Encouraged by this, I persevered here and was soon into another, bigger fish.  This one was even more lively but got the better of me and broke me on a powerful run…”Bugger”.


The Hatch/Sluice Gates

I moved upstream of the Hatch/Sluice gates where the flow was much slower but the water deeper.  I could see several sizable 3lb+ fish (including a couple of errant Rainbows) holding station feeding steadily on nymphs.  I covered several different large Browns but could seem to tempt them with my nymph.  I was about to give up and move upstream when one of them turned and followed my fly and then there was the tell tale flash of white in his mouth…fish on!  He put in a couple of very powerful runs and just when I thought I was getting the better of him he made a bolt for the Hatch/Sluice gates.  I stopped him just at the edge of the centre open gate but, no matter how much I tried to put some side-strain on him to turn his head, he wouldn’t budge.  Then, to my dismay, he disappeared through the gate and down to the pool below…Hmmm; ”Now get out of that”!  The fish was effectively hanging at the bottom of the waterfall on the end of the leader but I couldn’t see him because of all the turbulence.  I couldn’t pass the rod through the gate (not a brand new Helios anyway!) and so decided that the only thing I could do was to try and fish him out of the waterfall with my landing net.  However, while I was lowering the net into the water the leader broke…”Arse”.

I decided to give that pool a rest and work my way up the longer straight section of the river.  Still not much of a hatch visible so I stuck with a nymph but could not tempt the few fish I saw even when changing the size and colour of fly.  I decided to change to old faithful; the Daddy Long Legs.  That often tempts a fish up off the bottom even if they’re not feeding on the surface.  After a few casts over to the far bank margins, my faith was rewarded and I got a very aggressive take, and landed a very nice Brown Trout of about 1.5lbs after a spirited fight.  Back he went to fight another day.  Phew, no blank - pressure off!


The Bairns shall eat tonight!

Time for lunch.  No Spar Sausage Roll, Frazzles and Kit Kat this time; Home made soup, Veal escalope and beer from the Greyhound pub!  Now we’re talking.

The rest of the afternoon was quite frustrating.  There were not many fish visible and still no hatch to speak off to tempt them to start feeding on the top of the water and give their position away.  I eventually found a nice little slow, riffled run where two decent fish could be seen steadily feeding just below the surface.  One in the middle of the river and the other on the far bank.  I threw everything I had at both of them but they were too wise to me.  Consistently ignoring my offerings and munching everything else that drifted past them!  Eventually, I put a small olive CDC emerger on and got a rise 1st time from the one in the middle…pricked him, but that was it.  He didn’t stop feeding just ignored my fly from then on.


I see you...


I see you too...

After a couple of casts at the one on the far bank, the same thing; pricked him but didn’t hook-up.  He also continued feeding but was now smiling at me as he did so!

I decided to go back to the pool just above the Hatch/Sluice gates and go for some of the big Browns I had seen earlier. I put a weighted Sawyer’s Killer Bug on and crept up on a very nice looking brown holding station about 6 feet from the near bank.  I covered him a couple of times but he didn’t budge.  The next cast he decided he was interested, turned and followed the fly downstream…”come on then – take it if you’re going to take it!”.  He followed it downstream for about 6 feet and then hit the fly with the most ferocious take I‘ve ever had.  All hell broke loose.  He tore off down stream and to the far bank ending this run in a couple of spectacular leaps completely clear of the water.  I shat myself; this was easily the biggest Brown Trout I’ve ever hooked; well over 5lbs.  My poor little 3wt Helios was almost bent double and I confess to having little control over this fish as he charged across the river from bank to bank a couple of times.  A couple of more leaps clear of the water at the far bank and then he made his play.

You guessed it - he made a bolt for the Hatch gates.  Again, I put as much side-strain on him as I dared and managed to stop him just short of the waterfall.  He was literally pointing downstream with his head almost over the edge.  Hopefully, he was getting tired now and I could bully him away from the gates and upstream.  His head turned and I tried to encourage him away from the gates but he wasn’t giving up that easily and did a full 360 and shot through the gate and down into the pool below.  Snap…”expletives deleted…”

Several cigarettes later and having dried my eyes, I tried again in the pool below the gates and was rewarded with one more nice Brownie on the Killer Bug.


Last of the day

The “Evening Rise” never materialised and as the sun went down I packed up for the day.  At least I didn’t have far to walk to the pub to drown my sorrows!

Note to self: Don’t fish on a beat with Hatch Gates in the future.  Or if do, then ask the River Keeper to shut the gates!  Either that or fish the pools just below the gates, that’s where all the big fish end up!

I’m stopping off on the way back from this offshore trip for two more days on the Test (the last of the season for me) – can’t wait…

Ewan

Jim Eddie

Re: Tales From The Test
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2011, 10:07:53 AM »
Great report, nice to see other parts of the country  :z16

 :z18

Jim
"Because in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing what they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion."

Hamish Young

Re: Tales From The Test
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2011, 10:10:17 AM »
Nice going Ewan, other than the hatch gates making life tricky it certainly looks like you had a great time :z16

Have you tried the Dever yet :? Worth a look  :wink

:z3
Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience ;)

Ewan Lindsay

Re: Tales From The Test
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2011, 10:55:42 AM »
Hi Hamish,

Yes - I love the Dever (in fact it's probably my favorite!).  I've fished beat 3 at Bullington Manor a couple of times now and am fishing Beat 4 on the 1st day of my visit on the way back this time.  :grin

Ewan

Goolager

Re: Tales From The Test
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2011, 11:56:07 AM »
Very envious Big Daddy.

Great report and pictures too  :z16

It's always the big ones that get away..................that's why they're big

Fantastic sport on a 3wt though.

Iain

Mike Barrio

Re: Tales From The Test
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2011, 18:29:06 PM »
Great stuff Ewan :z16

Thanks for posting .... and the photos make it even better!

Best wishes
Mike
www.flylineshop.com   At the heart of your fishing ..... lies a great fly line!

Hamish Young

Re: Tales From The Test
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2011, 21:44:15 PM »
Hi Hamish,

Yes - I love the Dever (in fact it's probably my favorite!).  I've fished beat 3 at Bullington Manor a couple of times now and am fishing Beat 4 on the 1st day of my visit on the way back this time.  :grin

Ewan

Nice  :z13

:z3
Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience ;)

paavo

Re: Tales From The Test
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2011, 18:02:30 PM »
Great report and nice pics.  :z18
A question, Do they run the river bank with lawnmover? (first pics,)

//Harri

Ewan Lindsay

Re: Tales From The Test
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2011, 19:17:22 PM »
Hi Harri,

Yes they do.  On the beats I have fished on the Test and it's tributaries (e.g. Dever, Dun etc) There is usually one bank that is groomed like that for a lot of it's length and on some beats sections of both banks (I suppose to make it fair for Left Handers too!).  Usually one bank is kept wild though to keep a good habitat for the wildlife, flylife etc.  There is always a fairly wide section of reeds between the bank and the groomed area though and it is often difficult to land a fish in your landing net without getting your boots wet, especially if you have a short net handle!


Cheers,

Ewan


Sandy Nelson

Re: Tales From The Test
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2011, 01:26:26 AM »
Cheers Ewan

I enjoyed reading that, cool.
I not tried fishing in that neck of the woods yet,
But it's been on my list of things to do for a long time.

Cheers

Sandy
John Geirach 1999 "Millions of trout have died of old age before i could catch them and there's not a damn thing i can do about that"

Ewan Lindsay

Re: Tales From The Test
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2011, 09:14:14 AM »
Hi Sandy,

I thouroughly recommend it.  It's not cheap but it's definately worth the effort.  Check out the Fishing Breaks website www.fishingbreaks.co.uk


Cheers,

Ewan

 




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