Quick session on the Wharfe

Saturday night was a damp squib as I was still feeling out of sorts from another dose of Astra Zeneca’s finest and a week of rubbish sleep. I only had a couple of beers and retired to bed relatively early but not early enough to justify waking up at 5:45. Unable to get back to sleep I decided to make the best of a bad situation and put in a couple of hours on the Wharfe to try get back into the swing of river fishing. I’ve always been shit at river fishing and now I barely do any I’m even worse despite trying to read up on tactics and techniques. Fishing a river, it seems, is not like riding a bicycle. I’m actually pretty shit at that as well judging by the scars on my knees!

Verdant meadow on my way to the river

I was plotted up bankside by about 8:40 which is remarkable for me. I built up a dry fly leader which I then bagged up for possible later use if fish started rising and instead put on a French Nymphing leader I’d made earlier. I then proceeded to fish ‘Top Island Run’ which our club guide book describes thusly: It looks like it should be full of fish but often fails. A momentary flash of arrogance led me to think I could buck that trend but I fished it through without a knock. This French Nymphing is not easy, the thing I really struggle with is trying to get a longer cast to keep its distance from me, it just wants to come back in to be a maximum of about 15 feet away to get a taught leader. I was also struggling with a downstream wind which although light made it harder to keep the leader and its indicator tight.

At this time of year the curvature of the earth is very pronounced

The next ‘beat’ I fished was Belt Wood which I again targeted with nymphs. My perseverance eventually paid off with tactile take from a brownie of about a pound. Judging by photos I see on social media this is the only one pound brown in the UK so it was handled carefully and returned to live another day.

After swilling down a coffee I wandered up to Belt Wood Deeps which I think is an absolutely smashing name for a pool, it sounds like somewhere in a Tolkein/George. R.R.Martin novel. This is deep and slow so I sat and watched for any signs for an excuse to tackle up my dry fly leader. Alas there were none and as is often the case nowadays I realised I couldn’t just spend my day mincing up and down the river hoying flies at fish whilst the dirty nappies piled up back home so called it quits after 2 hours.

A pleasant morning but a frustrating reminder that I really need to drastically improve my river fishing skills! On the plus side, there is hopefully a long range solo Scotland mission on the horizon this month unless COVID comes along and fucks my annual solo to the Highlands. River fishing is ace, especially on the Wharfe at this time of year but what I tend to spend my time daydreaming about is tramping out into the wilds, fishing hill lochs and camping in the shadows of Scotland’s giants.

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