A Cold Winter Day’s Guided Fishing & Dry Fly Fishing in January(!?)

A fantastic day on a tributary of the River Wye this past Sunday, and this time saw me guiding Nigel from Worcester. Temperatures weren’t as low as I was expecting, especially after the -5C temps experienced in the area the day before, but there was a sprinkling of frost as I arrived at the day’s venue at a rather chilled 07:45.

Nigel has grown up in angling, but as he has focused more on fly fishing over the last three or so years, he felt the inclination to develop his fishing and casting skills further. Preparations and greetings now done, we got straight into a fresh and (more importantly) hot coffee while discussing all things fishing, as well as the tactics we’d likely employ throughout the day. One specific request Nigel had was to attempt to catch a fish on the dry fly…not the easiest things to do at this time of year but, Nigel was boss, so off we set.

Beginning the day with a little casting practice, attention quickly turned to hauls, their uses, and their advantages. With Nigel beginning to get to grips with hauling, and beginning to warm up, we decided to hit the river. Two rods were set up – one rod being an 8’6″ 5wt loaded with a Klinkhamer and bead head GRHE in Duo/New Zealand set-up; the second rod a 10′ 4wt loaded with a French Leader, two jig nymphs, each of which was weighted with a single 4mm tungsten bead.

The first stretch of water was searched with our Duo outfit but, unfortunately, the method accounted for no fish. Still, it was early, so we opted to quickly fish the same stretch lower in the water-column by employing the French Leader outfit. Rarely does this happen so perfectly (or is that ‘annoyingly’?), but while demoing the French Nymphing technique to Nigel, the second cast saw the braided indicator slowly jerk upstream, all thanks to the hungry appetite of one lovely 1.5lb winter grayling. With the grayling safely released, the rod was quickly given to Nigel, now sold on the effectiveness of the French Nymphing technique, but after a quick fish through the stretch, Nigel was still sadly fishless…always a ‘sweaty palm’ moment for any guide.

So, onwards and upwards we travelled and, thankfully, we located a decent sized shoal sitting in a deeper pool. Back with the Duo rig, Nigel searched the pool like a pro, and managed to pick up fish after fish after fish on the trailed tungsten bead-head GRHE. Oh, and do you remember that earlier request to catch fish on a dry? Well, Nigel succeeded…TWICE!

The rest of the day – a lovely laid back and wintry affair of grayling and winter scenery – saw additional fishing techniques explored and casts tweaked; and to finish the day, more hot coffee…a Godsend at this time of year!

Well done Nigel! Now then, I’m sure I know a place where there’s a summer trout with your name on it…

A glorious winters day on a tributary of the River Wye…
A glorious winters day on a tributary of the River Wye

Nigel into one of his first fish of the day…job done!
Nigel into one of his first fish of the day...job done!

Nigel’s first attempt at Czech Nymphing, and things are looking good…
Nigel's first attempt at Czech Nymphing, and things are looking good...

…watch that indicator and ‘lead’ the flies downstream Czech Nymphing.
...watch that indicator and 'lead' the flies downstream when Cz Nymphing

And finally, Nigel’s first attempt at the now-infamous French Nymphing technique…
And finally, Nigel's first attempt at the now-infamous French Nymphing technique...

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