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Ewan Lindsay

More Tall Tales From The Chalkstreams 2
« on: September 29, 2011, 12:04:10 PM »
After Thursday at Bullington Manor, I stayed the night in Stockbridge as I was booked on the Wherwell Park Beat of the River Test the following day.  Nice little town (village) with a Curry House, a couple of hotels, several small bars, lots of boutique shops for tourists and two very good tackle shops (Orvis & Robjents).  After a stonking curry I adjourned across the road to a pub and sat in the corner, drinking beer and reflecting on an excellent day.  One thing led to another and I soon got invited to join the conversations at the bar with some of the locals and Orvis guys from the shop next door.  More beers than I care to mention and a lock-in later, I staggered to bed at about 02:30 in the morning... :z18

Needless to say, the morning was not for the faint-hearted and I eventually managed to drag myself out of bed, over to the Co-Op to buy my lunch and over to the Orvis shop to stock up on flies for the day.  The Orvis guys looked like I felt which somehow made me feel a bit better!

I arrived at the Wherwell Park Beat hut at about 10:30 and started tackling up and getting as much caffeine into me a humanly possible (the huts are always well stocked) .  Wherwell is a picture postcard village with two branches of the River Test running through it.  The River is all part of the Wherwell Estate and is immaculately maintained.  The River Keeper wandered past as I was tackling up and introduced himself.  A nice chap who gave me a description of the beat and it's boundries and advised that conditions were very good and that there were loads of fish.  He gave me a few dry fly suggestions and also said "you can use a nymph...if you must" (you could see the words sticking in his throat!  :z4) "(but none of those big, 'orrible, coloured jobs...traditional Chalkstream nypmhs only...).

I had the whole beat to myself again  :grin.  The beat runs through gardens for much of it's length although the (very nice/expensive) houses have no fishing rights  :shock.

One bank is "prepared" for the fisherman with mown grass, seats every few hundred yards etc.  I walked down to the start of the beat and noticed lots of decent fish on the way.  Things looked good; crystal clear water, fish feeding, great warm and slightly overcast weather with no wind and by the time I cast my first fly I'd forgotten about the raging hangover that was still doing it's best to remind me never to drink again (until the next time...:z6).

Not much dry fly action to see at this point so I started with a PTN again and was soon into nice grayling to break the duck.  There were not as many Grayling visible as there were on the Dever but there were still a lot of nice specimens to see.  The river is a lot wider (20-25 yards at it's widest) than the Dever but it was still easy to cast at fish visible lying over at the far bank.  I could see a very nice looking fish lying near the far bank and went for him.  After a couple of casts my line went tight as the fly drifted past him and I was into an obvioulsy wild fish as he shot off downstream with incredible power and speed.  I actually had to run down the bank to keep up with him, much to the amusement of a resident of the garden opposite who stopped mowing his lawn to watch the action.  Up and down the river this fish went making 10-15 yard runs at a time.  Each run ended in spectaucular jumps and I could see it was a fish of at least 4-5lbs.  After about 5 mins I still hadn't managed to make much of an impact on him - he was still on the far side of the river.  The fish then decided he'd had enough and started spiraling about on the surface before spitting my fly out into my face..."That was a nice fish..." said the guy in the garden opposite,  Cheers...Mate... :mad

Ho-hum, plenty more fish in the river and I didn't have to wait long before I had the first trout of the day on the bank.  A very nice 2lb fish.

I worked my way upstream casting at freely feeding fish and landed three more in fairly quick succession on the nymph and lost several more.  This was great, it seemed that almost every cast had a chance of interesting a trout.

It was while about to cast at anoter nice looking trout mid-stream that I was convinced to switch to a dry fly.  A large dragonfly flew across the river and stopped right above the trout I was about to cast at.  It hovered there about 12" or so above the water darting left and right a few inches at a time almost as if it was looking at the fish.  The trout launched itself vertically clear out of the water with it's mouth wide open and just missed the very lucky dragonfly...brilliant!  Who needs the Discovery Channel? :z14  The River Keeper had said that Olive Kinks had been working well and so I stuck one on.  1st cast got that dragonfly fish!

3rd-4th cast got another

Then another...

and another...

Well, you get the point.  I actually lost count and when I looked at my watch it was 15:30 I couldn't believe where the time had gone.  I'd only fished half the beat but decided I'd better eat something.  Big mistake...As soon as I'd stopped fishing, I remembered the raging hangover and felt like death warmed up!  Amazing how concentrating on something you're interested in can make you forget about everything else!

I decided to get back on the water ASAP and fished out the rest of the day steadily hooking fish and landing several more  on the Oilve Klink and a Daddy Long Legs (of course  :grin).  Once again though there was no evening rise to speak of and so as the sun went down I packed up knackered but very, very happy.  An absolutely fantastic day, marred only by my self-inflicted exploits the night before and the constant drone of sit-on lawn mowers!  :z4

That'll will be the last pilgramage to the Chalkstreams this year  :cry but I'm already dreaming of next year's trips.   Get your ar*e down there;  I know it's not everyone's cup of tea but it's well worth the money, time & effort for a day you'll probably never forget.


« Last Edit: September 29, 2011, 12:31:05 PM by Big Daddy »

Jim Eddie

Re: More Tall Tales From The Chalkstreams 2
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2011, 13:08:44 PM »
Great report and some nice pics Euan  :z16


"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."

Noel kelly

Re: More Tall Tales From The Chalkstreams 2
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2011, 13:13:38 PM »
Ewan wow. Seriously good posts thanks. You seem well capable of taking full advantage :z14

Euan Innes

Re: More Tall Tales From The Chalkstreams 2
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2011, 15:55:20 PM »
I agree with the other chaps. Brilliant posts, excellent pictures.
How did it feel fishing from someone's garden?  :z4

Living with deep, full breaths is the way of the trout. Fish, it seems, are the ultimate teachers in breathing.
RC Cone

Ewan Lindsay

Re: More Tall Tales From The Chalkstreams 2
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2011, 16:12:09 PM »
Guilty...for about 1 minute...!  :z4



Re: More Tall Tales From The Chalkstreams 2
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2011, 17:56:07 PM »
Euan, you're starting to get on my thruppeny bits  :z4 :z4 :z4 :z4

Excellent post!



Re: More Tall Tales From The Chalkstreams 2
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2011, 13:56:35 PM »
Superb report and some nice pics.  :z16

 :z18 //Harri


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