This week was a funny old week. With my 2 year daughter having fallen off the windowsill on her adventures i spent the morning (2am) of her birthday with her being xraysd. It was only a small fracture but enough to cause her alot of pain but one that should heal quickly. If she stops bliming diving around the garden i guess. We had a check up on the Wednesday to see how she was and it was a wasted effort. 'Leave it on till Friday then see how she is' anyway on the way home i had a message off the big man himself. John Tyzack.
Now this man has played apart in alot of my learning passively as my good friend Mike gave me alot of pointers and info that JT had showed him himself during a guide. I'm hoping to have one with hin this spring/summer but for now JT wanted to explore some new water and who better to ask than that idiot who can't swim. Me. After sorting everything out we was down on the river and i showed JT my usual spots, explaining my fortune and misfortunes in certain pools, explaining the tricky bits like bedrock which would snag you once you touched it. I honestly didn't know what to expect from JT, we had spoke on facebook etc but there i was with an England International. Equivalent to playing football on your local park with Joe Hart. But all in all he was 'one of us' a normal guy who just so happened to be bloody good at fly fishing and wading i might add, like a mountain goat of the river (that's one for the quote book)
We took it in turns fishing holes, about a dozen or so casts each or a small run each, purposely allowing JT to fish sections i'd had trouble to pull fish from. Admittingly he was surprised that some holes didn't reveal a trout as they were very fishy spots. JT eventually spilled first blood in a spot i'd only ever caught on dries so was good to see one out on the nymph. It wasn't a guided session but i was analysing as much as i could, i know being a 'pretty' fly fisherman is one thing but i'm still lacking in areas which thankfully JT has already seen and can address them.
We headed up two runs of the river and only spotted 1 fish rise which munched down a freshly tied JT olive on its 3rd pass. On the narrower run JT pulled out 5 in total and i lost one. We moved up to the wider section and devised tactics, i sent JT up to the bridge pools which held some good fish last year while i fished below the bridge, this water was deeper and uncharted so i was unwillingly to wade any further than at the side of the bank. Not due to the fact i'd asked JT to hold my wading stick earlier and he'd took it hostage!
I believe JT had a miss on the streamer then lost it in a tree only to catch what presumably was the same fish moments later, i had hit into a fish which felt decent but when JT came to look i'd hooked it up the arse which explained the lack of control and it pinged off as soon as it went downstream. JT headed off upstream like Bear Grylls, i took my time and headed to a spot i had a couple of nice browns last year, JT was already fishing there and had appeared to have pulled two from it already. Fishing my way up to it JT had gone further ahead as i made my own path through the river, about waist deep with deeper drops either side.
I cast in between two wooden sleepers and at the end of the drift i got a good take, infact it was a very good take, i was stripping the line back to keep in contact with my nymphs but that line was soon stripped back and then some as my reel whirled away feeding line as the fish ran straight upstream. It was heading to the wooden sleepers so i put my hand on the brake but i was a little too late, it had enough line to take me behind the sleeper, i shouted 'got one' to get JT's attention but he was miles away at this point.
With my rod held straight above my arm outstretched above all 6ft 8 of me i somehow managed to allow the fish to swim only feet behind the sleeper with the line inches above snagging it. It tried fighting further upstream and it was an arm tiring effort to keep my rod high and play the fish side to side to keep it going in one direction that would cause me to snag up. With so much line out when it decided upstream was no longer an option it burst downstream, right past a rock that was between me and it. I was trying to retrieve line to maintain contact and wade closer to avoid a line snapped snag, luckily i held off long enough before the line came in contact with the rock and as it did it was the fly line that made contact.
As i waded closer, one eye on the line and one on the bottom of the river the line pinged from under the rock and chased the fish downstream. I edged closer trying not to kill myself and the fish made for the current, it started to tire and it came up to the surface, as it did it shook its head and tail and the hook pinged away. It was over and the fish had won.