Shooting and fishing: It has been raining for three weeks..

THE bantams have scratched up every attempt to sow a lettuce, pigeons have hammered the red cabbage seedlings and a kamikaze sparrowhawk has reappeared, crashing at high speed into the bird feeders on the Nevada rose outside the kitchen window. Time to go fishing.

As usual it was the news that fish were being caught that spurred me on. Alf, our sporting companion, reported that his mother had been staying with four friends fishing for a week and every one of the party had caught a fish. This is unusual in the extreme. Out of five you can reckon two will probably catch all the fish and the rest us will have to look pleased. Which of course we are, although one can have rather too much of the I-don’t-mind-not-catching-fish-it’s-being-out-on-the-river-that-counts. Up to a point Lord Copper.

Of course, by the time word reached me that fish were being caught it was two days later and the water had been up and down, but was now dropping. Dropping is good. So off with the usual suspects, the Ally Shrimps, Munro Killers and Stoats Tails of varying patterns, and of course The Crumpet tube fly tied from the pale ginger hair of our cocker spaniel and so far not a success; but then, you need to have confidence in your fly as much as 
anything else.

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Anyway, I had been reminded by something online that there isn’t much point flogging favourite pools and spots if conditions aren’t right. Go and try somewhere less favoured but which might work under 
the conditions.

So being high water and clearish (good), I was trying to do that thing which is to think like a salmon – if there’s a lot of water coming down then the place to be is dodging up the edges and hiding behind boulders. Pretty obvious really.

So I decided to walk the whole beat, missing out the places where fish are caught when the height is right and paying more attention to the bits in between and trying to keep an eye on the dog that has a penchant 
for ducks.

With high-ish water it was fairly easy to keep moving along the bank without getting in; flicking out a shortish line with a hefty Ally’s Shrimp on the end. So it was; cast, fish 
it round, scramble along the bank a few yards, 
cast again. All quite quickly. And coming to the big ditch that comes in just above the corner and casting from the plank that does service as a bridge 
I stood on the 
slack line and was disentangling myself and shouting 
at the dog when the untended and unremarked fly must have gone almost 
under the bank, just below a large overhanging ash and: bang, a two-and-a-half pound sea trout took the fly. Just like that. The first one 
this year.