Finally, a evening on the river

Ebchester road bridge
Road bridge at Ebchester. River down to usual levels, but looking quite different


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you won’t have failed to notice we’ve had a little ‘weather’ recently. And like you I’ve been sat inside moping around the house when I should be out on the river catching tree branches and cursing.

Well, the crappy weather front that seemed to park itself over us has moved on and the weather is almost doing what it should for this time of year.

So in recognition of that fact, this evening I decided to take a trip down to the Derwent straight after work.

The temperature was a balmy 19 degrees, not a whiff of rain in the air, but a rather strong wind (couldn’t tell you which way it was blowing, as on the river it was swirling around).

New toys

It was the first outing for my bargain Orvis gear procured from my recent trip to the Corbridge Orvis store closing down sale.

Looking like rain, I’d better fill the vest up with stuff…

For the last god knows how many years (at least 20 – bloody hell, has it been that long?) I’ve used Tac-L-Pak vest, it’s served me very well and on the whole carried all I could ever need comfortably and safely. However, this season I’ve been going fishing less but staying out for longer. If the weather looked like rain (ha!) and I wanted to take a coat, as well as a flask and sarnies, they all go in the back pocket and I ended up looking like the hunchback of Notre Dame.

What I really wanted was the new ‘Orvis Safe Passage Tri-Pack‘ backpack – but at the wrong side of £100 it was a little too expensive. What I needed was a nice hefty discount…

One closing down sale later and I’m the proud owner of a bargain ‘Safe Passage Tri-Pak’ backpack, capable of taking flask, sandwiches, coat, all the other usual stuff and nonsense I carry along with me.

The fit is spot on, though I didn’t fill it with everything for this trip it was pretty full, and was just as comfortable (if not more so) than the old faithful vest. The zinger attachment points have very handy magnets placed beneath the outer material. This results in the line clips ‘sticking’ to the backpack and not clanking around when you’re walking – a small thing, but very noticeable and well thought out.

Getting to my two fly boxes was easy and convenient, and the zipped compartments made bringing a camera along much less of a worry (always dreaded hearing ‘sploosh’ as I’m leaning over the water…).

All in all, very pleased – exactly what I was after. Lets see if it lasts as well as the vest it’s taking over from.

Next up on the trying out new gear front was my new WF3# Hydros Superfine. I put it on the reel the night before and was very pleased with the way it didn’t seem to have any (or very little) memory.

You can feel the last few feet has very fine nobbles on it to aid buoyancy for the tip of the line. Also, if you’re in possession of lots of different types of line Orvis have thoughtfully printed the line details on the end- meaning you can see straight away what size and type of line you have on the spool. Clever.

Finally, the in built loop is a great idea. I’ve seen a few people just recently who’re adding a 8″ length of braid to the end of their fly lines which it’s claimed helps turn over, to this they attach their leader. This loop seems to do just as good a job to me – and it’s far less fuss than trying to attach the braid.

The line replaces a three season old (though not heavy use) Greys Premium floater of the same size/style. It’s been a good line, especially for the price, but was becoming addicted to floatant on the last yard or so to keep it from going all sink tip on me.

This new line casts fantastically and floats really high in the water – but then if you were paying £60 for a line you’d want it to wouldn’t you? Once again that lovely discount helped out and it came in at half price.

What about the fishing?

Ah yes, thanks for reminding me. The water was still a little coloured, but nothing like as bad as it has been. I would expect it to be back to normal by the end of this week if we don’t get any more down pours.

Clearing, but still not as clear as it should be

There were very few fish showing, even though there seemed to be the odd sporadic hatch of (shows his poor entomology skills) smallish brown flies. I had a few small trout take a size 14 Klinkerhammer early on – but I missed the take, or they fell of as I was bringing them in. I’m not hitting anywhere near as many takes as I used to – I’m not too sure what it’s down too, striking to soon or too late maybe. Not sure which.

I took a stroll further down the river, amazed at how different the bank side features looked after all the water has washed away the nooks and crannies I (and the trout) had come to know and take advantage of.

Fast food joint for trout

There was a small babbling stream/brook feeding into the river over on the far side – nothing of any size, but was causing a bit of stir on the water, and could very well be washing terrestrials into the main river. I cast a speculative fly over to where the flow joined the river and within a second or two had a fish on. As per usual this promptly fell off again.

After walking a bit further down the river, not having much luck, I came back to the babbling brook. Just as I got to my vantage point a decent size trout launched itself out of the water and splashed back down. Without further adieu I cast over, and bang! as that annoyingly, over friendly canadian on the telly says, “Fish On!”.

It wasn’t a monster, but was a decent size – this one I wanted to stay on.

And it did. Brought it to the net, and I had a nice 8 or 9 inch brownie to my name. Caught on a size 16 parachute fly, with a neon pink wing post, grizzle cock hackle and a olive body (my own tying).

Look mum, I am keeping my nails clean

Few more tiddlers before pulling stumps at around 9:30pm.

Really pleased with my new purchases, the river is getting back to how it should be, the rain has gone (for now!) and it’s warm-  result!


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