Nottinghamshire was always going to be a problem and this required ingenuity. Who did I know, or who did I know who knew someone who might? Where could I seek information which might lead to where…because the ‘Where to’s ’… seemed unable to.
Julian (Atkins) had a pal who might know…and Tim Jacklin (WTT) offered some really helpful thoughts, but it was a speculative plea on Fly Fishing Forums, which produced a response from, one, Chris Hawkins, who is one interesting young man. So some words about him, first.
He is a local lad who left school and started a mechanical engineering course which did not excite him. So eager and ambitious, he set about obtaining some ‘A’ Levels, which he did, in order to secure a place at (Aberystwyth) University where he studied environmental sciences, but to what end? Well, already a keen fisher, and also one with a strong conscience, he chose to enter the charity sector, and parlayed his love for fishing in particular, the outdoors in general, and utilise his generous spirit, to try to help vulnerable youngsters by offering some insights into something/anything, or in his case, fishing, so that new learnings might give them an improved sense of worth.
His own fishing journey is evolving as he moves from coarse to game, excited by the hunting aspects and the artistry, too, and today, he is generally at the still water stage, but he is now learning river craft , and I hope some of my experience was helpful to him. But, it was his inquisitiveness and eagerness to learn about this new fishing which led to him, finding me, as he used the Forums to learn for himself! He is a special chap.
He gave me some time during a rare holiday week, and my SatNav got me to the very car park where he wanted to meet in the pretty town of Warsop.
August 2011 – the Meden
We strolled his stream for sometime, he pointing out potential runs on a weedy water where the chub could be seen waiting, but it was only after clambering over fences and wading cross stream, avoiding some outsize cows, that he excitedly told me we had arrived where I might succeed. And a rising fish excited me, too, but a snagged weighted nymph trailing a dry probably saw him off, from what turned out to be just six inches of water, anyway.
There was just a little fly life (olives and caddis) on this overcast and windy day.
And , not too much farther upstream, I spotted a run which, after just two casts, delivered a Nottinghamshire trout which Chris netted in his outsize net – “to be sure”! – and on a dry, and on my reliable Adams, the onsurface equivalent of the subsurface ‘hare’s ear’!
His is a small stream. It is narrow but laden with features, and more than enough variety to engage. Gravelly bottomed, but protected in parts by steep banks, and many a leaning bush and tree to snag poor casts, and at this time of year, there is plenty of overgrowth tumbling into the water to give much needed security. Council owned water abutting an old quarry, and part leased for grazing, this is not a tended stretch. Public space therefore, it was noticeable that strollers and dog walkers, this day, respected our need for stealth, for the trout were all wild, and we saw plenty…in escape!
The upper beat, through farmland, is shared with young lads bottom fishing ‘au maggot’, and I learned just what specimens this stream holds. One, asked – “Is that a fly rod, Mister?” and the other, his pal, shared proudly, with me, two pictures saved on his mobile of brownies he had caught at the very spot under an old brick rail bridge where they were fishing, which put my solitary 8” tiddler to shame! It also shared with perch, and at one spot, it was lovely to stand and watch a family of them swim fearlessly between my wadered legs!