Lasting Test Memories - 22nd & 23rd November 2012

With most of the rivers over several weekends running high and the chance of chasing the Ladies slim both Dad and I decided upon a trip to the Test Valley to fish the Test Carriers on the Wherwell Estate. Having had several conversations with Robbie the river keeper, we were good to make the four hour treck to Hampshire.  Leaving at 4am and stopping briefly for a full fry up we met up on the river just before nine.

The weather on the first days fishing was forecast to be blowing a gale, and indeed it was a good 60mph ripping through the valley, but dry and the river in crystal clear order.  Robbie sent us northern lads on our way and wished us the best of luck as always.  We had fished this section a couple of years previous and knew that it held some big Grayling and of course the resident out of season critters at this time of year.

As we progressed through the morning, my first fish after the long journey was a bloody Rainbow!!! should have gone stockie bashing at the local Dever Springs, any way we were both connecting with the fish and the small Grayling for the time being and at lunch we sat down to feast on a few sandwiches and slurp a couple of bottles of Bud.  Reflecting on the morning and the potential for the afternoon our excuses were out, the high wind making it difficult to spot fish, no chance of any dry fly action it was to be nymphs all the way.

The afternoon continued in the same vein as the morning with little sign of the Grayling we had travelled so far to chase, but the Trout didn't seem to mind and in any case they were great sport.  Ill post the full pics of the critters next spring!

The day finished at 4.30 as it was pich black so it was back to the B&B in Stocksbridge for a reflection on the day.  London Pride Bitter and a whole roasted Pheasant will all the trimmings for me, the old man sampling the lamb chops with a good half dozen or so Prides slipping down nicely.

Day two arrived and a large Grayling I had spotted the day before under a bridge was my target, the day was calm not a breath of wind and  ideal for spotting the monsters, yes they were there and the gale force winds the day before which we thought were a hinderence, was indeed our friend as the fish  were really spooky today, hands and knees time!!.

I had a few missed attempts at the large Grayling not even looking at my stripped quill nymphs, and variations even down to 22s.  Then for whatever reason I plucked out of my box a 16s polish woven nymph, "well its worth a go", first run through and bang she was on, I couldn't believe my luck there I was trundling all the small delicate stuff past its nose, when all it wanted was a good feast.  Pheasant & Trimmings not just a Sandwich...... anyway the fight in this crystal clear water was immense and every turn she made and darting run I had a grandstand view, she was a good one easily topping my 3lb best, then for whatever reason, Ping!.   The beauty had thrown the hook and she gladly shook her head  in defiance and rested back in her spot under the bridge.

The day continued the same as the previous with the Trout more active than the Grayling, a small hatch of olives during late afternoon produced a few bits rising, and a good chance for a short spell on the dry.

The Days for me although short at this time of year proved to be good sport, and its more than just the catching of the fish.  Its the whole package, where else can you have lasting memories like this of fishing the famous chalk streams of Hampshire with your best mate.  If we had blanked for the two days, what the heck! it really wouldn't have mattered,  for me the memories we both have of this beat will last a life time and are just priceless.

The day rounded off with a great curry and a few beers.....just great!.

Thanks Dad for the great banter and don't worry mate, that Lunker under the Bridge will be landed on our next visit

Until Next Time....

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