I was looking for a fishing venue not too far from my home near central London.  The small muddy ponds in Clapham Common were out-of-bounds without a hard to get permit (and never seemed attractive at any time). Online research threw up the name of Syon Park – a small stillwater in west London – where I could fly fish for rainbow trout.

Most of my fly fishing had been way back in the eighties, so it was time to update my gear. From the Glasgow Angling Centre, I ordered Greys  GR30 Rod #6, GTS 700 # 5/6/7 reel and 3 platinum fly lines (floating, intermediate and fast sinking) and picked up a few Fulling Mill flies from Farlows.

I set up on the south-eastern bank, with a floating line and Blue Flash Damsel and began casting between the coots and mute swans into the clear water. Every dive of the coots caught my eye, fooling me into thinking of rising fish. I spent the first hour or so awakening long dormant casting skills, but the lure didn’t trouble the trout. Regardless, I was happy with my rod/reel/line selection – I achieved better casts than I had all those years ago.

A light, but cold north-easterly continued to blow under a cloudy sky.  A couple of fish were caught on the opposite bank. Still no takes for me. Enthusiasm fading, my cold fingers tied on a Cats Whisker Gold. A few casts with still no result meant time to try something different.

I gave up on my current location and walked around the lake to the north-western bank. I don’t know if it was feeling the warmth of the newly emerged sun, the look of the water from my slightly elevated position or a fisherman’s sixth-sense but now everything just felt right to catch a fish. On the second cast – fish on! A swirl of a rainbow-coloured body at the surface – then fish off! My numb fingers had tied an inadequate knot, and the fly detached from the tippet. Lesson learned. A few more casts with the same fly, didn’t give a take, so I reverted back to the Blue Flash Damsel.

Greys GR30 Rod #6 and GTS 700 # 5/6/7

Within half a dozen casts another fish took the lure. A brief fight and the rainbow was in the net of my fishing neighbour, who ran over to make up for my lack of net. I examined the trout’s stomach contents with a marrow spoon – Nothing but transparent daphnia – Nothing I could imitate with the contents of my fly box.

Rainbow Trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss

I continued with the Blue Flash Damsel, and took another two rainbows of 2lb, once again my neighbour helping with the net. Three fish was enough for me, so in the last half-hour I switched to an Olive Buzzer (Superglue) to practise the stillness of buzzer fishing, but no takes.

Syon park is a great little venue, handy for central London, so I will return for more sessions when time allows, or to one of Albury Estate’s other venues in Surrey.

Total Catch:

  • 3 Rainbow Trout (Blue Flash Damsel)