With so many beats available, I had decided relatively quickly that I’d try a different stretch each time to really find my way around. So, for my next trip I had an evening on a more northern section of the Avon, not far from Stonehenge. This time I had to try and find a gate down a mainroad with houses on both sides; not the easiest thing to do but after accidentally trying to break into a farm I eventually found the right gate and drove slowly down a single track lane towards the river. There was a small parking spot (thankfully empty) and the now familiar returns box. I set-up, logged my arrival and wondered downstream.
This stretch was a mix of open spaces with slower, weed-filled sections and more enclosed faster moving sections. I started at the bottom of the beat in the open section but there were no signs of fish rising and, with a thick blanket of weed, I couldn’t see any either. Desperate to cast to rising fish, I moved further up the beat and spotted a couple of decent sized brownies hanging around a shallower gravelly section. This seems to have been a feature of my limited experience so far in that the trout seemed to prefer the gravelly bit, or maybe they were just easier to see there!
Anyway, this section was quite cramped with trees on either side but I managed to find a little gap or so I thought until my first cast got stuck in the tree. I retrieved my fly and managed to get a line out but the trout was on the far side and I could not get my cast far enough. Undeterred, I moved on and found a bend where the fast moving water opened out into a weedy pool. It just looked perfect for a trout to lie in wait for food rushing through the faster current. I tried a few dries but they were moving too quickly on the current. So, as it was now 2nd July and we were able to use nymphs, I stuck a small gold head hares ear on. I tried to plonk it down in the faster current and let it drift through into the slower section. On my fifth cast, I saw the briefest little flash of something and lifted my rod just in case. I think I was as surprised as the lovely little wild brownie which had decided to nibble on my nymph. It was only 4-5 inches long but it was such a beautiful looking little thing and my first wild brown trout. I slipped the little thing back into the water and watched happily as it dashed away back under the weeds it had been hiding under.
I continued further up the beat but there was nothing rising and, as the light was fading, I was struggling to see anything to aim at and so decided to call it a night. So, only a small brownie but I was ridiculously pleased with it. As I walked back to the car down the dusky grass path, a deer ran out in front of me. We both stopped and stared at each other for a few seconds before the deer ran off but it was a magical little moment.