Our excellent chalkstreams guide Colin Alexander writes about two of his recent memorable days:

‘In a fisherman’s lifetime journey, what could be better than starting with small fish like pure wild brown trout and gently progressing in success to catching more of them until an ‘accidental’ larger fish grabs hold one day. That naturally sets a new measure for the angler…he or she doesn’t want to catch the larger fish all the time but there is a magic is in springing a surprise here and there.

The fishing journey will very likely progress until with better proficiency more and more of the bigger fish are intentionally targeted and caught. This can give great satisfaction , but I can tell you from experience that eventually the lure of the river takes you back down the slope to the smaller and often prettier fish that started the infatuation with fish in the first place.

I often think that if you start your fishing journey with a twenty pound carp, you are less likely to suffer the pains of the apprenticeship in fishing…those days of little or no success, followed by little victories as you start to read the water and adjust your tackle set up. Those bits of knowledge acquired from other anglers, and put to practice that yield results that previously evaded you.

So a perfect day in autumn would encompass all those mixtures of smaller trout with beautiful markings. Some silver grayling with the remarkable dorsal fin that they use so hard to fight against the fine line and the current. Then add in some lovely trout between one and a half pounds and three pounds.

Occasionally a bonus fish will appear, and this has just happened for two separate clients of mine fishing two days apart on different beats of the River Test.

IClapson R.Test

Ian Clapson’s fish speaks for itself in size, and was taken on a dry fly. It fought tremendously and took a full five minutes to land. This was Ian’s first day ever fishing on a river so he was rather pleased.

Patrick St John fished with me two years ago and caught a good bag of trout. However, this time the trip from Australia was particularly worthwhile with a superb trout.

PStJohn R.Test

This fish took a hares ear nymph having been carefully targeted in the clear water for some time. He would not rise to a dry so the switch was made and a lengthy battle followed. Patrick followed up with about fourteen good sized trout in total but they all looked small in comparison. A really good day.’