The urban trout hunt continues…
I returned to the River Wandle determined to succeed where I failed the previous evening. A trip to Farlows fixed the gaps in my kit identified last night: thinner tippet material (Frog Hair 6X 0.127 mm 3.3 lbs Fluorocarbon) and a few heavier nymphs.
The very same big trout was lying in the shallows downstream of the bridge, escorted by a shoal of coarse fish. Fishing from the bridge this time, the heavy Czech Mate Hare’s Ear Red Super dropped down in the current to the fish’s snout. Where it was ignored. A few more attempts with the nymph failed, so I switched to a dry Adams. This fly was similarly rejected.
Fishing in such a conspicuous spot in this part of town was always going to attract some ‘attention’, most – but not all – positive. “Stop Fishing” yelled one yob, as he sped past in his hot hatch; other people were more agreeable. One guy on a mobility scooter rolled up, stopped for a chat, and suggested a place to fish under another bridge further downstream.
A couple of chaps in with fly-rods walked onto the bridge. One introduced himself as Jez (whom I recognised from his photo on the UrbanTrout.net site.) Looking at my target trout, he said that he knew that fish well. It was about ten years old and in poor condition, and having lived so long (and been caught many times) it was going to be difficult to tempt on the fly. I felt a bit better about not catching it yesterday now.
Their thigh-waders allowed them to position themselves mid-stream. Using light weight rods, they cast up under the bridge to the rising trout. Jez helpfully suggested flies to use on this river, and pointed out the best places to cast. I bid the two chaps good luck, and explored a bit more of the river. Parts of it look quite beautiful…
Other parts, not so much…
I’ll leave you to guess which parts hold the trout.
Returning to the “hole” which the traveller boys had shown me last night, I tied on a Nugget Buzzer Black & Green hoping the extra weight and high-visibility head would allow me to position the lure right on the mark.
The trout revealed themselves with occasional golden flashes of their flanks as they moved in the shadowy water. I bounced the buzzer down towards the fish nearest the bank. After a couple of attempts, the dark shape of a trout moved to intercept my offering. The bright head of the buzzer disappeared and I was in! A minute of spirited struggle, and the brownie was ready for the net. From my elevated position, laying on my stomach, with telescopic net at its full reach was the only way this fish was coming to the net.
A quick photo and the wild Wandle brown trout was back in the water. The struggle seemed to have put down the other fish in the pool. I switched flies and practiced a few roll casts, but one trout was to be all today.
I’m so happy to have achieved my goal of catching a wild brown trout in London. All credit to the people who’ve worked hard to bring this urban river back to life.
- 1 Brown Trout (Nugget Buzzer Black & Green)