On Bank Holiday Monday I decided to have a few hours in the afternoon making plans to meet Derek below the works. I arrived a round 1, there were sunny spells and the temperature was ok. I went down to the willow pool for the 1st time this season and noticed that there has been a bit of work done during the winter. It is now easier to get into the middle of the pool as it was difficult to fish the whole pool previously as it got too deep wading up from the bottom or down from the top but now access to the middle bit due to some tress being felled has made it better. Anyway I noticed that there were some hawthorn flies about around the area so put on an imitation, when I got into the pool there was also a massive hatch of black gnats about and plenty of fish rising to them too. I covered a few with the hawthorn and eventually a lovely wild brown of about 10" took it which was landed, a good start. I covered several more fish but secretly I thought they were on the gnat so changed to a black parachute on a size 16, immediately this was taken by another brown, possibly a stocked one this time but in exception condition, no worn fins or anything but different spots to the first. I continued up the pool and landed a lovely rainbow after losing a couple, they were definitely on the gnats! I had to retreat to get out at the usual spot before getting in where the work had been done, this has opened up the middle of the polo beautifully! I covered a few more rises and managed a couple more browns before the cold got to me, I had forgotten to put my fleece lined trousers on in my haste to get out and was now paying for it by shivering like a leaf! I thought a coffee would go down great but blow me the gas had run out in the hut, hey ho!
John the backup keeper appeared and was about to join me when he had a call about poachers by the bottom weir so had to beat a retreat to help out. It never ceases to amaze me these people try it on when the park is busy with people. It subsequently transpired after speaking to Matthew later that the B****** had killed a rainbow around 4lbs landed on a handline too so hopefully he may have some deep cuts on his fingers.
By now it was around 4 and the rises had stopped as the temperature had dropped and I couldn't,t stop myself from shivering so walked upriver to see what Derek was up to. He was in at the sycamore pool and was working his way up so I just fished from the bank which is not ideal as it severely limits you. Fish had started to rise again by around 4.30 so my black gnat remained on as there were still some about. I lost a couple of good fish before landing another 3 browns and a rainbow. Derek was doing rather better than me with his hawthorn even though it only had 1 leg by now after landing around 15 fish on it and also another bucket full from the Wye earlier in the week on the same fly! He certainly gets his money worth from his flies.
We both finished around 5.30 just before it started to rain after having a rather enjoyable afternoon me finishing with 8-9 fish. It won't be long now before we can get out in the evenings, looking forward to them.