Still without any significant rainfall hereabouts, I had two sessions on the Ribble this week: one on the lower river with a couple of friends, and one at my usual haunt on the upper middle reaches.
Tuesday evening saw me well down the river with Taff and Nige in search of the elusive sea trout. Monday night rain had raised our hopes of a slight lift, bit it was not to be; the catchment is bone dry at the moment and what little rainfall there was, seems to have infiltrated into the ground, thus making no visible impact upon the river itself.
We spent a couple of hours worming the runs, before darkness finally fell and the fly rods came out. This is not something I am used to and it showed - dodgy casting and tangled flies were the order of the day for me, whilst Taff fared better with a couple of good pulls and one fish hooked. Unfortunately, when netted this turned out to be a brownie of around the pound, which was quite amusing having witnessed the little jig of delight he did, before he realised it wasn't a sea trout at all!
The fish were definitely there though and they betrayed their presence by leaping noisily from time to time. Taff will have been out again on Friday and Saturday nights (few I know work harder for their fish); hopefully he will have nobbled a fish or two.......
The weekend saw me snatch a few hours late on up at our club water. It was a delightful evening of warm stillness, although the fishing was indifferent up until about 10pm. Prospecting any brisker water with dry fly proved largely ineffective save for a couple of parr and one better grayling (still a couple of weeks from being in season, but welcome nonetheless). I crossed paths with fellow member Bernard later on and he had found the going similarly slow. There were plenty of longhorn sedge over the water though; these and the gentle conditions kept hopes alive of a decent rise at dusk.....and so it proved, although I had to wait until the light had all but gone before any serious feeders came out to play.
I finally found a pod of half a dozen good fish feeding hard on the flats, but nightfall was so advanced that I couldn't be sure what they were taking. A frustrating half hour followed before I finally cracked the code and offered them a yellow klinkhamer. I had been sure they were on caddis, but in retrospect I reckon they had keyed onto the yellow may duns which were hatching in unusual numbers (not something I've seen happen at dusk before).
The rises were aggressive swirling affairs, so when I finally landed a couple of the perpetrators, I was surprised to discover they weren't trout, but grayling. Time to move on......
A final throw with a sink tip and streamer into one of the deeper holes produced my best fish of the evening -a nice brownie of 1lb 4oz. By now it was 11pm and totally dark. The cooling night air was causing the warm river water to mist, creating a most unusual atmosphere as a tawny owl in the woods behind began to skrike and the bats came out to hawk for insects over the water's surface.
So, a most enjoyable couple of evenings on my local river. That said, I must speak for most of the area's game fishermen when I say that a proper downpour is long overdue. Does anyone know a good rain dance?