Fly fishing on an english chalk stream is a fantastic experience. The clear, cool water and fantastically green swathes of ranunculus, gracefully swaying in the current, interspersed by pure white gravel patches and deeper turquoise runs. Simply being there is a magical experience in itself.
There are many different facets of chalk stream fly fishing that the angler can indulge in, from sight nymphing a large Grayling over a pristine bed of brilliantly white gravel, or chasing Brown trout with a dry fly in the faster, shallower runs, opting for a fly that most closely matches the natural fly emerging from the water. Adding to this is fishing last light in a spinner fall when the river ‘boils’ with rising fish. However, for me, the best experience is early morning fishing, getting to the river 10 minutes or so before the sun starts to rise. Its hard to explain why i enjoy dragging myself out of bed at painfully early in the morning and then making the 30 minute drive to the river, but i do. To anyone else this would sound slightly crazy, but to a fellow fly fisherman there is a kind of feeling that resonates and all the strangeness is replaced by the inevitable “how many fish?” or “did you get any big ‘uns?” However somehow once you have donned the waders, laced up the boots and are tackled up and ready to go, all thoughts of flies, tactics, catching the big one etc tend to all blend together and dissolve away, almost as if the flow of the river has carried those thoughts away with it.
Instead you are left with a feeling of complete relaxation and tranquility. It is a strange feeling seeing the river in its ‘sleepy’ state, mist rising from the water and the sun casting shadows as it peaks over the horizon. It is difficult at times to not become spellbound by the beauty of the environment and not even make a cast. This is further enhanced as the river begins to ‘wake up’ when the sun starts to rise. Everything slowly begins to come to life, the birds chirping, the odd deer prancing across the meadows and the unmistakeable noise of a rise upstream. On mornings like these it really is privilege and you just can shake the feeling that it will be a incredible day.