My first visit to the Abernant beat of the River Wye (which I had booked via The Fishing Passport). Another angler, who had co-booked the beat, turned up almost as I did. We did the gentlemanly thing and agreed to work from opposite ends, me taking the lower half. As usual during my visits to the rivers Usk and Wye, the river was low, clear and sluggish. No fish were rising in the lowest pool of the beat, the Stone Catch. This was despite the blizzard of fly life just above the surface.

I moved upstream right to the top of the mile-long beat where the main river is joined by the River Edw (a small stream, I’m interested in fishing one day). In the Edw Pool at the confluence of the two rivers, a few fish were rising. I waded out to midstream, scattering shoals of tiny fry. I tried my go-to dry fly: a parachute adams. This provoked no interest, so I switched to a green klinkhammer. I cast upstream close to some trees where a fish was repeatedly rising. The fish took the fly, stayed on the line for a moment, and then was gone. In the next cast, I rose a fish again, but didn’t connect.

I took a break for lunch and retrieved my homemade wading staff from the car. The wading was trickier than I’d been led to believe: boulders rather than gravel, in the main. The staff was going to prevent an otherwise inevitable dunking.

I moved back downstream to the charmingly named Lady Alexanders Catch pool. Wading into the streamy water at the head of the pool, I tried a combo of bead-headed Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear and Waterhen Bloa. Nothing doing. I snapped off the dropper, and tied on a Peeping Caddis Jig. First cast, and I had a fish on. Coincidence? or was this what they were waiting for? The small trout was netted without too much protest.

Nine-inch wild Brown Trout, Salmo trutta
Nine-inch wild Brown Trout, Salmo trutta

I returned to the Edw Pool and persisted with the green klinkhammer. A fish was rising in the same place as before, and I persuaded it to intercept my offering. The fish was well hooked and as I drew it toward me, I realised it was a good size grayling. The biggest I’ve caught (despite this fish being out of season)

Grayling, Thymallus thymallus
Grayling, Thymallus thymallus

Both fish had been taken on a caddis pattern. Despite me not seeing any caddis flies on the wing, this is what the fish seemed to have wanted.

To the north, over the hills I could see dark clouds bearing rain. This was not what the forecast had said! I suppose you can always expect rain over the hills in Wales. I felt the first spots of rain. Time to go. Quitting at 4 p.m. when I had intended to fish till sunset at 9 p.m. was disappointing, but I’m happy with my pair of fish today.


Total Catch:

  • 1 Brown Trout (Peeping Caddis Jig)
  • 1 Grayling (Klink Caddis Green)