Often the best fishing comes in the poorest weather.  Wet and windy weather often gets the fish feeding really well.  On 1st June our lucky gift voucher recipient Andy Ward had such a day.  Here our Wiltshire guide/instructor Steve Skuce reports on the memorable day.

‘I hosted an experienced father and son ‘team’ at the Avon Springs fishery at Durrington close to Stonehenge. The fishery has two spring fed lakes which are both crystal clear all year and can offer some excellent rainbow fishing. The top lake, Willow, is especially good for stalking fish because it is, literally, gin clear.

Both Andy and John hooked into good rainbows during the morning. Andy was first to land a fish and his, which took a small lightly weighted damsel, fought like a tiger and weighed in later at 5lb 8oz. Fully finned and brightly coloured it is typical of the high quality of fish that exist at this fishery. John then lost a large rainbow which he fought well for many minutes before it got what must have been its fifteenth breath and broke his 6lb leader! He was exceptionally philosophical about it although I was mortified for John.

Undaunted, they persevered and, soon afterwards I stood alongside Andy as he persistently stalked a large fish. After it took and spit out his Diawl Bach before he could react it was concluded that it was feeding just below the surface so on went a size 12 unweighted GRHE nymph. It didn’t take long for Andy to fool the fish and hook it. After the, expected, long fight a beautiful – see the photo – rainbow weighing 8lb 6oz was netted.8lb 6oz Rainbow Trout

After lunch, during which Andy almost got his heart back to its normal beat, everyone headed for the river. Yes, this fishery has a long and varied stretch of the River Avon which is just one of several beautiful and rewarding Wiltshire chalkstreams. The river hadn’t been visited until afternoon because the Green Drake Mayflies were expected to put in an appearance and they, generally, hatch during the afternoon. I usually set my hatch watch’ for 2.00pm!

Up they came and ,despite the fact that the weather, which had been bad during the morning, got progressively worse with a vicious upstream or crosstream wind and occasional rain showers, the flies came up and so did the fish. Both John and Andy caught several small wild trout with John proving the better at timing the strike on the river. Andy missed his first six or so fish but soon got the hang of dealing with running water as we shall see…..!

About mid afternoon John stood at a deepish section of river whilst he attempted to entice one of the fish that were moving to mayflies. The hatch was at the stage where, although there were flies about, there were not yet enough to make the fish careless. Hence they were being very ‘picky’ and giving us a head-scratch in deciding which fly to try next. In particular a large brown was moving confidently taking both duns and hatching flies. He could not tempt it however and I called Andy over to have a try.

A short time later, following more fly changes, Andy and I settled on an emerger pattern with a CDC loop wing and, bingo, the fish rose and was hooked. John came over to watch and let’s just say that Anglo Saxon language was prevalent when the full size of the fish was realised! After a great scrap the fish was netted and it took the fishery scales up to 6lb 12oz! As you can see from the photo it was a chunky, full finned, wild as the wind beauty! It was a real fish of a lifetime and it took Andy quite a while to calm down after that one!’  And can you see that rain!  But who cares about a bit of rain when fish like that can be caught!

6.12 Brown

Andy commented afterwards ‘I would like to add my thanks.  It was a great day and the fish of a lifetime, which I would never have had a chance at without Steve’s guidance.’

The day had been bought by Andy’s wife as his Christmas present and I guess it was one of the best presents he has ever had!