Our excellent guide Colin Alexander reports:

On 19th August I took two clients to my favourite beat of the lower River Test. This is a wading beat that is primarily for syndicate members and one of those, Phillip, was already on the beat. The water looked good for summer levels and as a group we all saw an early rising trout across the river.  All looked good.

We left Phillip to catch that one and went off down the beat. One of my rods got settled fishing dries tight to the bank whilst I went off with the other rod to seek rising fish in a backwater part of the beat. We found a rising fish that kept us busy for over an hour and a half. That trout turned and followed a Tups Indispensible for what seemed ages before  turning away. The same fish then proceeded to rise to and kiss but not take an assortment of dries of which I was constantly reducing in size and tippet diameter. He also refused the tiniest of pheasant tail and Hares Ear nymphs that eventually had my client and myself laughing and respecting his caution. What else could you do but laugh? Eventually he retreated under the tree cover and we both agreed that in fact he had provided tremendous sport and on this occasion he was the winner. My client then told me that it is no fun if the fish also doesn’t have a chance. He was absolutely right. Mind you, Phillip managed a nice trout on a Hares Ear nymph in the pool below us whilst we were captivated by the riser. So they were catchable!

My other client had managed to catch a small wild trout so we took a break for lunch. When we returned we fared better with a 2lb Brown taken on a black Klinkhammer in exactly the place under the trees where our earlier riser had retreated to.  Whether it was the same fish we will never know but if so, and as my other client caught it, I guess in total we had hours of fun from that fish. He deserved to go back and he did. My other client then caught a nice fish nymphing in a deeper glide, but when it jumped clear in the fight it got some slack and was gone.

To end the day we caught up with Phillip and shared the pleasure of his story …proven by photograph…of his catching a Pike about 12lbs in the shallows behind a weedrack. He had sighted the fish and gave it a cast. He described it as the most exciting moment he had had for a long time with having to get the Pike’s head in his net and then tailing the fish to land it.

Moral of the story is perhaps to accept that at times the dream rises will not be there. However, fishing is still the best excuse for being in the countryside. A rising fish can give pleasure without ever being caught. Also, a Pike is a worthy capture and it doesn’t have to be you that catches it to appreciate the magic.