Sunday, 7 November 2010

Learning about the Upstream Nymph

On Friday I was thinking about the Internet and how it is helping to forward all kinds of fishing. People are meeting, going fishing, talking about tackle, tactics and all manner of other stuff via social media, blogs, forums etc. David Burton brought up a very interesting point in his comment about that post which you can see here. He said that we use the Internet to "virtually" fish when time does not allow us to head to the waters edge. Too true! In a nutshell I guess we would all love to go fishing everyday but the simple fact is we have to work. Is that a groan I hear!? "You go fishing everyday Nick!" I would be the first to put my hands up and say I have a great job but the fact is that guiding is very different to actually "going fishing". That's another post, right now I am thinking about Grayling, Nymphs and Fishing upstream.

I had been relishing the thought of heading to the Anton since we set the trip up almost a year ago. I have guided a lot of chalkstreams and fished them of course. But the Anton is different. I have guided there and watched clients catch a bunch of fish, but in fact had never caught a fish on the Westover Farm beat myself, because I have never fished the venue! That all changed on Saturday.

Fishing with a Pink Shrimp (technically not a Nymph!) from the new Tactical Range by Fulling Mill we all enjoyed some superb Grayling action, fishing mainly short line, upstream. Check out some photos here and here. Now on our spate rivers I often fish (and guide) upstream with a nymph (such as a Copper John), set below a dry fly acting as an indicator. This is deadly in the fast running streams but the slow moving chalkstream allows for some proper "traditional" upstream nymphing.

Other than picking up a few fish off the top on a CDC BWO, I opted to fish a long fluorocarbon leader and see how many ways I could tempt a fish to pick up my fly. Flicking well ahead of a target fish it was all about line control. Get the depth right, watch the speed and observe the fish. Sometimes the takes were obvious as a greedy Grayling charged over and chowed the weighted Shrimp. In the shade I watched for the flicker of a white mouth. If that didn't work I applied a little sweep of the rod, watching the fish and the line for signs of a take which may have been a savage stab or a very subtle stop. Sometimes the line just felt a little "heavy".
Whatever happened my reaction to any or all of the above was a smooth lift. By the end of the day I was having such a great time that I was left wishing for more fishing and more light, the days are just so short at this time of year! Thankfully I am back off to the Anton on Thursday and although I won't be guiding not fishing I will get just as much pleasure out of showing my guest for the day how to fish this challenging but highly addictive tactic.


  1. Good reading Nick - we've not ventured into a river yet as we're still novices but I guess it's not far off now

  2. Get out there and have a go Stuart, you will love the rivers and Grayling are a great way to start.