Our guide/instructor Colin Alexander reports:

‘Some anglers just love to catch larger trout and so it proved when I had a call from a very keen novice angler called Carlos, who had made a previous visit alone to a big fish water with no success.  Whilst fish can be seen in the clear water cruising some of these fisheries and laying in the margins quietly feeding at will, they are rarely easy to catch. ( Please note I said ‘rarely’…not ‘really’).

As in all freshwater fishing half the battle is to read the water on the day before starting to fish. So often anglers set up the rod in the car park with their chosen tippet and fly based purely on what caught for them on their last visit. It often works but by having a good look it is always achievable to identify if any fish are rising. If they are then you may be able to identify what insect they are taking and then try and match it to one from your fly box. How satisfying if you can catch your first fish of the day on the dry fly.

The fish on my day with Carlos were not instantly rising but were holding about three feet down. They looked to be closer to the surface because of the clarity of the water, but the tell tale signs of feeding were there with a few fish in that they showed the white of their mouths as they opened to feed.

To get Carlos casting comfortably and to demonstrate the effect of his retrieve on a fly, I started him with a Cats Whisker. This is an excellent lure fly, imitating a small and wounded fish fry, and highly effective when given short sharp pulls to produce a ‘nodding dog’ effect. Try it and you will see what I mean. The beauty is you can see the fly in clear waters and when fish follow or take it, it is easy to strike as the fly disappears from sight. You know it is in the fish’s mouth.

We had some follows but no solid takes so I soon changed to an orange tadpole fly, size 12, to give a similar effect but just to show the fish a change. This worked pretty instantly and the first fish was on for about a minute before making a really surging run and securing his freedom. Oh well, congratulations to the fish but no one likes to lose the first fish of the day.

No matter, with perseverance Carlos eventually hooked and landed a lovely trout of 5lb 4 oz and late in the day a beauty of 8lb. This one had him in the weeds at the margins and fought for a good twenty minutes before being netted. An excellent end to the day.Avington Rainbow

Some anglers like to catch lots of smaller fish and some love the bigger fish. Personally, I don’t think we should be prescriptive on the matter. Fishing is fishing and if you can mix up the venues and the size of fish then your angling life will not become stagnated and repetitive. I am pleased to say Carlos is now coming Grayling fishing with me on the River Test in November.

Anyway, the venue was the beautiful Avington Fishery near Winchester and here is a photo of the catch.’