A Saturday spent working that fell outside of my usual 9-5 meant that I had a free Monday to while away the hours wandering the river banks on yet another beautiful day. The seasons seem to have bypassed Spring and jumped from wet and rainy winter to crisp and warm Summer which means that the prospect of fishing from first light to last light is entirely plausible! Innevitably though, life got in the way of those plans and although I didnt have to write-off fishing altogether it was certainly cut shorter than i would have liked. Determined however, I set out in the evening to see what I could find on beats D & E at Barford St. Martin.
As is pretty much tradition now, my first catch was of the Greater Spotted Foliage Fish variety which made short work of the Parachute Adams that I had decided to start out on in my exploration of Beat D and heading up stream, what is clear though is that the fish still havent fully committed to feeding off of the surface just yet with plenty of fish visible but only the occassional rise being seen. The footpath along the bank at Beat D is heavily covered in overgrowth of brambles and nettles meaning that traversing the bank and gaining access in and out of the water can be a little perillous, but I spotted a good looking fish actively feeding just in front of the Tennis Court by Mill House. Climbing gingerly down the carved tree stump that now acts as a ladder to the fishing platform I had all these thoughts in my head about how stealthy I had been, like a Ninja in padded slippers, silently getting into place to skillfully launch my attack. With elegant delicacy I made my cast and with an occassional reajustment I successfully landed my Parachute Adams in the Brambles behind me and snapped my leader.
With that I decided that a change of scenery was in order and I progressed upstream to the beautiful surrounds of the larger pool at the foot of Mill House, with its slightly easier access and more open area to stand within when wading it was a great place to be able get some rhythm and confidence into my casting stroke and make some exploritory casts into the seams around the faster flowing water to see if there was anything lurking. Cast and step, cast and step slowly and carefully making my way further into the swirling water but alas, not even a nibble so I climbed out at the wading ladder on the corner and hopped the fence to gain access to the stretch of the beat that runs parallel to Barford village itself. Somewhat blindly edging my way along the bank above the river - the nettles are chest high along this stretch - my attention was largely occupied on catching any signs of fish feeding for me to notice much else, so it took me by supprise when I felt somthing land on my wrist, for the first time this year, a propper close up view of Ephemera Danica - "The Green Drake Mayfly" - a truly wonderful sight and an opportunity to play 'Match-the-Hatch' and tie an Oliver Edwards Mohican Mayfly pattern onto the end of my line. A few yards later - not far from the unstable bridge - there was a fish consistantly rising and after a few casts in its general location, I must have got the placement just right and the take was almost immediate. Are we about to wade into that beautiful period of time when the Mayfly hatch coincides with the Trout's insatiable appetite? I hope so! Any way, after a fight that belayed its size, I had a beautifully dark and intensely coloured Wild Brown Trout in the landing net.
I decided that instead of making my way back along the heavily vegitated footpath towards Beat E, I would risk the unstable bridge and walk back through the village which had the delightful side benefit of having to walk close enough to the Barford Inn to mean that a light refresher between beats was called for, sadly the pub doesnt open on a Monday meaning that - thirsty - looped back and headed towards Duck Street and down to the club car park to rejoin the top of Beat E. This beat is obviously a little less built up that D meaning that you never know what you might see, on this occasions I didnt get a chance to cast for or see any more fish, but i spooked a beautiful pair of Roe Deer that took off across the meadows and into the sunset.