On Friday after work I decided to have half an hour over the road to test my new 8 weight, not the right tool for fine nymphing and dry fly but just wanted to see how it cast. There was nothing rising so put on my good old fox squirrel nymph and on about the third or fourth cast had a take but the trout gave one massive jump and was gone. A fish rose in the run in to the pool below Baslow old bridge so I hastily put on a dry, again my trusty grey-olive parachute and covered the rise and blow me up came the fish and strike it was on but only for a few seconds as I am sure my rod was too stiff to cushion the take. Hey ho! It was a glorious afternoon/evening and I sat on the bench by the churh just to take in the fact that the long cold winter was finally behind us and spring had sprung! Mathew the keeper came down and we had a good natter for an hour. He told me that he had put some bigger fish in from the tanks in the childrens farmyard at the house as they had got too big. Fish up to 7lbs now they will bend your stick.
Sunday dawned very sunny and warm again so rang Derek to see if he was up for it but he declined due to sore hand from landing all the monsters which Matthew had told me about. He has already had nearly 100 fish so far this season on the Derwent, I am sure if you held out a cup of water he could catch a fish from it. He is really a good angler, one I hope to emulate.
I went down to the willow pool and tackled up a bit lighter with my 9' 5 weight and good old dark olive fox squirrel nymph, I eased into the pool at the tail which has really changed following the floods of the winter, each new season means you have to evaluate the pools again to check the levels as some have shallowed up whilst others have been scoured out. No fish were rising but I had a couple of follows and then bang! I hooked into something. This stayed on and led me a merry dance before I could get it's head up. Then I saw the biggest rainbow I have seen in this river, it must have been between 6 and 8 pounds of pure fisghtinmg machine. After it leading me around the pool I eventually managed to get its head up and readied my net but "flippin' heck!" it wouldn't go in. I had to man handle it and released a cracking 1st fish of the season full finned and in excellent condition, obviously 1 of those monster Matthew had told me about. I continued up the pool and by now there were a few sedge knocking about, probably grannom. A few fish were showing and I had changed to a grannom emerger (ala Louis Noble) and covered a fish close in an up he came and again it was on. A nice wild brown of about a pound and a half well mended from the winter. I came out and fished the head of the pool as its not possible to fish up the whole pool as there is a deep bit right across the middle which stops you so you have to exit at the cattle drink. I fished the top of the pool and took a grayling to the dry sedge, now the temperature was dropping and it was only around 3.30pm so decide to call it a day. Not a bad start to my Derwent season.