Fly Fishing Hampshire
These are my recollections of my first introduction to fly fishing in Hampshire on the River Test but let me first explain……….
I caught my first brown trout in a stream at the back of our house known as Crimple Beck in Burn Bridge Nr Harrogate in North Yorkshire with a red worm at the age of four on a one piece solid fibreglass rod that had belonged to my father.
When I was seven I caught my first brown trout whilst fly fishing on the River Coquet at Felton in Northumberland where my grandparents lived and where I spent all my school holidays. I fly fished almost every day in the easter and summer school holidays on this river but also on the River Nidd in North Yorkshire.
As a teenager my grandparents sent me Trout and Salmon magazine each month which I read from the front to back cover paying particular attention to any articles about chalk stream fly fishing.
It was a dream and an ambition of mine to, one day, go fly fishing for brown trout on a chalk stream and at the age of forty nine that dream came true thanks to the generosity of my wife Anne and sons John and Adam.
Through Orvis, who are a fishing equipment retailer, they arranged for me to have a day’s fly fishing in Hampshire on the world renowned River Test on the Timsbury 5 stretch. As if the gift could not get any better-the date they had selected was during the Mayfly season!
We arrived at the fly fishing beat, to which we had exclusive use, parking the car near the fishing lodge which was equipped with table, chairs, cooker, tea, coffee, milk, sugar, wine, mineral water, cheese and fruit-luxury fly fishing in Hampshire! The stretch was about a third of a mile of the main River Test with about four hundred yards of a tributary which almost ran parallel to the main river. The bankside had been mown-yes mown. The water was crystal clear despite it having rained with this stretch being mainly slow flowing. The sky was overcast with small hatches of Mayfly and a few brown trout rising throughout the day. The weeds which I understand they cut every month were clearly visible and it was thrilling to watch some specimen brown trout swimming in this beautiful stretch.
I also spent some time fly fishing on the faster flowing tributary and caught two brown trout which, having put up a superb fight, I returned to the water. My wife and son John also did some fly fishing using my tackle and Anne caught a grayling.
I mainly fished using a dry fly but occassionaly used nymphs.
In the early evening the clouds broke and the sun appeared resulting in further hatches of Mayfly on this exquisite stretch of the River Test which provided idealic fly fishing in Hampshire.
The day was most memorable for us all- I have never experienced fly fishing like it!
Reluctantly we had to leave but we will be back fly fishing once again in Hampshire-perhaps next time we will try the River Itchen.
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