Albert Einstein is attributed as saying that "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results", it strikes me that the same quote could also be a pretty serviceable definition of the term "fly fishing".
Although yesterday started off a bit grim, grey, cold and cloudy, the afternoon sun soon burnt through the veil to reveal a later half of the day that was all warmth, blue sky and the prospect of an evening spent down on the river in pursuit of good times and tight lines. Upon arriving at the carpark on Beat K, I was pleased to see a couple of other WFFC members cars were already there, not wanting to encroach on their fishing I took a stroll along the bank to do a bit of recon before getting into all my garb and jumping in headfirst. Good news, both other members were way down the beat and over on L meaning that I could start downstream on K without interrupting them and then better news, the fish were rising and rising consistently!
I finally got into the water around 4.45pm and started as far down stream as possible. There was a good hatch of Green Drake coming off and fish were visibly exploding onto - and clear of - the surface all the way up the initial stretch of the beat, I don't like to presume, but it felt like I was going to be in for a good evening. Given that the hatch was ongoing, I tied on an OE Mohican Yellow May Dun pattern but no matter how precise my placement or presentation the fish were just not switching on to it, nevertheless I tried doing the same thing over and over again in the prospect of gaining different results, but I just seemed to be chasing the fish upstream as I waded on. I continued another 20 yards or so but decided to abandon that stretch and walk the path upstream in search of - hopefully - better success.
Fish sure do love a man-made structure don’t they?! Despite the roar of the arterial road above, the fish congregate there across the entire breadth of the Wylye in the shadow of the concrete and in the stream of any passing mouthful. With several good-sized trout visible but no space to cast the only option was to Bow & Arrow cast ahead of the fish in order to try an induce a take, I continued to persevere with the Yellow May Dun but it became clear that it just wasn’t working, so I changed up and then changed up again, and again, in other words, I tried doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results, but alas, the fish were just so reluctant to take what I was offering.
I made my way further upstream and bumped into the two Gents who were already on the stretch having made their way back from L – it was deeply remiss of me, but I failed to get their names. They were reporting similar things, some visible fish, a few rises, some takes but they had at least caught a couple of Wild Brown Trout. Having previously caught on the Nadder using the OE Mohican Mayfly I decided to swap that in and see if the fish respond, and there was definitely a reaction with the odd fish heading up towards the fly but turning off right at the last minute but if I was going to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results then it was going to be with the OE Mohican Mayfly.
Once it reached around 7.30pm the two other members decided to call it a day and headed home I meanwhile continued to chase rising fish up and down Beat K striking to the occasional bite but not managing to set the hook. For some reason, be it atmospheric, astrological, temporal or chance, at around 8.15pm, finally I found a fish not far from the far bank holding behind a submerged log and after a couple of casts it rose fast to the Mayfly pattern and I hooked the beautiful, Silvery Wild Brown Trout played it into the net and released it back into the stream shortly after. I had been doing the same thing over and over again for hours and finally I had a different result.
As I continued up the stretch there was another rising fish hugging towards the far bank, I put in a few good casts but nothing would convince the fish that my fly was the one to go for, I repositioned myself slightly and made my cast, but a slight gust of wind took it off target – bugger, I’ll try ag….Oh! never mind. A fish came out of nowhere from the bottom of the river bed to aggressively take my fly, not just take it in fact it smashed it, swallowed it! A good take a nice strike and I was in to a fantastic, fierce fighting fish that started a 10 minute challenge up and down the river but eventually I had a wonderful 35cm Stocked Brown Trout in the net.