Its been a long time , actually it feels like an age . Fishing the evening rise is something that I have almost forgotten existed. But this weekend the opportunity arose to fish into the evening. Fining down rivers and the last few days mild weather, the fact that the mayfly could arrive any time soon all spurred me on and so I arrived on the Rye at 5pm planning to fish till , well to fish till I couldn't see the fly any more . Whilst I am saying that it occurs to me why does my wife always ask what time I will be back?, when I have absolutely no idea myself. I love fishing as the light goes the river seems to truly come alive as the sun slides away.
When I arrived I was a little disheartened to see three more cars parked up. One was the fishery manager but that still meant two anglers on quite a small beat. But I hoped if they had been there a while I would probably end up alone for the last hour or two.
The river is in spanking condition at the moment , although its running almost a foot up on the usual early summer level. So although clear and settled the fish aren't holed up in the lies where they normally would be. Initially there also seemed to be a real absence of rising fish, there was some surface activity but only small fish splashing in the tails of pools and shallow water.
There was plenty of fly life , clouds of midges , small sedges and various up wings in fact a real Ephemeroptera Smorgasbord. Even a few late hawthorns and daddies for hors d`oeuvres.
There were a few mayfly duns showing, this one came floating down the river , but the fish let it sail down unmolested . Only time will tell what this years hatch will be like. But if the warm weather holds for a few days we will find out. As usual before I started fishing in real earnest I inspected the back eddies and margins looking at the flotsam of trapped bugs. There was everything and nothing every type of critter but nothing in huge numbers.
Anyway the job in hand was to catch fish on a floating fly the evening rise is for that , not for klinks or for the duo or the nymph. The moment of interception between my crude attempt at deception and the elegance of the taking fish is the instant I look for . To me that is fly fishing every thing else is well second best. At boarding school one of the teachers was the first guy I ever watched fly fishing , he caught chub in the river whiske on a black gnat , he was an exceptional man and a great influence on my early life. Years later I met him and asked him if he still fished . He told me he didn't, that he still loved the moment of deception of bringing the fish to the rise but the act of playing and landing the fish somehow seemed an act of barbarity that demeaned the fish. A remarkable man and I admired his stance but hoped that such a moral dilemma would never overtake me.
The first few fish were small not much better than parr . They were rising in the tails and shallows . I saw not one rise that would indicate a larger fish . Anyway prospecting upstream into the longer pools I cast to where the fish should be, casting tight to the overhanging bushes or where an underwater obstruction lurked. Fishing at close range the first rise took me by surprise the fly just seemed to drop into a tiny hole , no slurp or splash it just disappeared , at anything more than close range I would have missed it. Tightening into the fish I was still surprised by the lack of a real rise.
Several more fish followed all beautiful wild brownies of a decent size for this river all of them taking with a delicacy and lack of disturbance not often shown. After experiencing this I sat for a good while positioned close to a point where fish would be feeding. I saw not one surface disturbance that could have been taken for a rise and yet fishing through that area after brought two good fish to the net, If I had not been fishing at close range I am sure the rises would have gone unnoticed . There was so much fly on the water that drawing any sort of conclusion as to what they were taking was difficult , however the smaller fish were taken on a CDC emerger the larger fish all came to a tiny adams about a size 20 . In the book "in the ring of the rise " by Vincent Marinaro he describes this as the sipping rise...
I worked up this small run a couple more came to the surface and a very good grayling that decided he had played enough and dropped the hook as it was drawn to the net.
At about 9 the temperature dropped very sharply , the clouds of spinners disappeared and only the biting midges stayed. I realised the curtain had been brought down on that particular act, but the fish had played there part a fine set of handsome players had put in an appearance . As the summer develops and the temperature rises the late evening rise will be my main feature.