Wistlandpound Reservoir is just up the road from where I live and is an ideal spot to combine a summer evening walk with a few casts here and there. It was ideal that Pauline could join me and capture a few images of the scene and hopefully a fish or two. Despite being on my doorstep I haven’t visited as often as I had planned even though I did tempt some stunning wild brown trout earlier in the season.
Mid-August fishing can be a struggle so my expectations were not high so my target for the evening would be to tempt a golden flanked rudd or two. These beautiful fish are considered a nuisance by some but I see them as a pleasing diversion from the trout. I have glimpsed rudd of over a pound and would love to catch one of these larger specimens.
I had grabbed an old split cane Scottie Fly Rod that was already set up with a PTN on the point and black spider on a dropper. There is perhaps something organic and tactile about split cane and this rod could undoubtedly tell a tale or two and has a slightly poignant history.
I bought the rod from a friend at work who had picked it up at a car boot sale at Torrington. He wasn’t really an angler but had started to take a bit of an interest and we planned to take rods to the River Torridge and cast a line for trout. He was going to retire at some point in the near future and would have time to indulge in a new hobby expanding upon his love for family time, playing golf and tinkering with his sports car.
At the Roadford Fly Fair we met up with a friend and got chatting about life and fishing. How’s it going we asked to be told rather awkwardly that this would be his last Fly-fair as he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. A bit of a conversation stifler but we stumbled on and somehow got talking about fishing rods. It turned out he had sold his old Scottie Fly Rod at a car boot sale at Torrington.
Later that year I attended my work colleague’s funeral. He had retired after being diagnosed with cancer. We never did get to cast a line on the Torridge so on the odd occasion when I take out the old Scottie I cannot help but have a cast for my lost friends who had shared ownership of the old Scottie.
The sun was slowly sinking as we walked to the reservoir and there was barely a breath of wind. Reflections of trees, evening light, the occasional trout rise dimpling the surface and vapour trails decorating the cloud free evening sky.
We stopped at the first area of open bank and I extended a line upon the calm water. It took a while to adjust to the need to cast slower with the cane rod and I ended up spending a few moments untangling my fine leader. As is often the case other areas of the lake called and we ambled on chatting and absorbing the embers of the fading summer day.
We ended up on the far shoreline where I had caught a good brown trout earlier in the season. I waded out and suggested that Pauline capture a few images of me fishing out the fading day.
Tantalisingly beyond casting range the surface was broken as a large shoal of fish feasted upon something, a hatch of fly perhaps? Large numbers of martins swooped above the water a sure indication that flies were indeed hatching. I flicked a fly yards from bushes that stretched out into the lake, paused and began a slow retrieve, the line tightened. A rudd was guided to my hand and lifted from the water its flanks glowing a burnished bronze and silver in the fading light.
After a quick picture the fish was slipped back. I cast again to be rewarded with a slightly bigger rudd.
A pleasing end to the day etching out another memory I remembered those immortal lines that feature in the books written by the late countryside writer BB.
The Wonder of the world, the beauty and the power, the shapes of things, their colours, lights, and shades; these I saw. Look ye also while life lasts.