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The FishPal website identified the River Bain, a chalkstream, but not how to access it.

The Fly Fishing Forums website led me to Robert Gibson-Bevan, who listened enthusiastically to my plans and invited me to fish his syndicate’s beat near South Thoresby. It’s a long drive to north Lincolnshire from London and after leaving the A1 near Spalding the trip was slowed by agricultural vehicles and more, but to a Southerner the Fens were a revelation. I discovered and decided that there is true beauty in mile after mile of flatness, and no chalk stream in prospect until after hitting higher ground north of West Keal.

I met Robert north of Spilsby and off we drove to the beat on –

May 2010 – the Great Eau

An entrepreneur, ex-City type and outdoorsman and organiser of shooting and fishing, professionally, he refused any payment, such is the interest that fishers have in my quest. He carefully walked the top end of the beat, explaining that he had put me on to the “prettier” parts.

My letter of thanks to Robert (he does not ‘do’ email!), hopefully said it all –

Dear Robert

My grateful thanks to you for generously indulging me in my pursuit and enabling me to add Lincolnshire to my ‘List’ which I duly have !

The weather was kind to me. After you left (and thank you for the short tutorial which on a new river, like a golf course, is always welcome), I walked to the bottom of the beat. It was frustrating to see fish rising below the bridge, and therefore ‘off limits’ but encouraging too. So I jettisoned the nymph set up in favour of the dry fly, or more specifically an olive emerger, size 18 with CdC hackle, a favourite of mine. I had two fish quite quickly, and spent the next three hours slowly casting my way upstream, enjoying the remarkably different pools, bends, and riffles, and really enjoying fishing the very intimate stream that the Great Eau is. There were no members about so I had the whole river to myself, and I connected and netted seven fish. I missed loads….they are quick, and must all have been wild. They are canny and shoot out from under bank or weed, growth of which even from a late Spring, is enough for plenty of cover already.

I enjoyed the stretch where you and the WTT did some narrowing work some years ago. I arrived there during a hatch and had three, and all were fin perfect. They were no net breakers, just beautiful fish up to ten inches or so.I did drive through Claythorpe to check out the river below the Mill, and I thank you for putting me onto beat one, because a perfunctory view of that water suggested a beat of more mixed fishery than higher up (although I am probably wrong about that), and I feel I had the very best that the Great Eau can offer.

And so with renewed thanks and best regards