Our excellent guide Colin Alexander reports:

‘One minute I am guiding in the heat of an Indian Summer on the River Test, River Kennet and the River Avon and it seems from nowhere I am now grayling fishing on the River Test.

What has been very satisfying is recently guiding three separate father and son combinations. These were all adult sons who were all just delighted to spend a day with their father sharing the countryside and some good fishing. Same thing I guess as taking your Dad to the football except it’s not all over in 90 minutes and slightly less swearing maybe!

On the River Kennet Eddy Gibson, a beginner on the fly, caught his first trout on a black gnat and his son Steve also had some good fish. Both had coarse fished before but the transition to the fly was something they really enjoyed and this was Steve’s present to his father. Great day and Steve’s photo tells the story.


On the River Avon the father was Frederic who had travelled from France purely to fish with his son Anthony who works in the UK. Fortunately the trip on the Euro Star was not wasted as Frederic produced some good fish as did Anthony. Again they were beginners to fly fishing so they did well. Frederic is now fly fishing in France and trying to teach his friends.

On the River Test on 18th October I met up with beginners Richard and Matthew. They took to the casting well and Matthew soon had his first grayling to a size 18 pheasant tail nymph fished under a buoyant dry fly. He followed that up with another of about ¾ of a pound and then Richard started to fish the same pool. He managed three reasonable grayling and a small trout.

River Test hatch pool

Catching some early fish is always good when achievable to give beginners confidence. We moved onto the harder reaches of the river, a low summer levels and more awkward to approach fish without scaring them. The fish of the day was a lovely grayling taken by Matthew on an Elk Hair Sedge fly. He saw the rise at the far bank, cast above it and timed the lift perfectly. What was even better was Richard was with me watching this happen. No mean achievement in terms of casting when you haven’t picked up a fly rod before.

The beauty of these days is that most likely the account of the day will be repeated many times between them in future months and years, and no doubt the fish will multiply in size and quantity. A bit of leg pulling always goes on but I know how each independently has told me during the day how they hope their father (or son ) catches the biggest or the most fish. Well I guess they wouldn’t turn up if they didn’t like each other!’