13 May 2012

The Hawthorn Hoax

up and discoloured, just what the water table needs!
I nipped out for a few hours on the Darent to marvel at the fantastic flows the rains have brought and of course to see if there were any fish looking up. The wind was up so I decided on a walk through a stretch we call the "hop garden" because it's in woodland and probably a little protected from the wind. We did some major river habitat restoration work in this stretch winter past so this was also an opportunity to ogle at the new upstream deflectors in action, scouring out gravel beds in the high flows.
Clever bird building its nest out on the water away from foxes! but what about otters and voles?

Hawthorn imitation in the choppers :-)
 I had the 9' 4wt Zenith with me. I'm developing serious affection for this rod now, almost to an unhealthy degree. I woke up this morning with mental images of tight loops and accurate casts to rising fish. Do I tell the wife about this in a plea for help (do I want help?) or will she think I'm (even more) weird? I didn't think I'd see any risers so I didn't string up, I just held the 4 sections in my hand and strolled the bank watching. And Murphy's law was invoked, as I thought it would. A riser. Far bank, under a tree. Every 15 or 20 seconds. But to what? 1 or 2 olives are were loitering looking for a mate but nothing enough to produce this rise frequency. What's that crawling up my neck? A hawthorn. Aha! Strung up the rod, went into stalking mode. Made the cast... Caught the willow branch above the fish. Tugged and the fly came free. Another cast, looking good, drifting... Gulp.

Didn't see any more risers. Made no more casts. Smuggly completed my walk and went home for a pint of bitter. My hawthorn pattern is only a few seasons old and has been through a few evolution to the point where I think it will stabilise in this form for some time. It sites quite deeply in the surface and looks suitably in disarray and nonplussed with its situation. The hook is a  Grip 14723BL, one of my favourites
The Micro chenille extended body and black CDC legs/abdomen are the key pieces I think: they produce the right silhouette of "tangled mess" unique to a downed hawthorn.

Hopefully I'll be throwing it at Usk browns with my mate Mark next weekend...

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