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Never thinking that the industrialised Greater Manchester could ever hold river trout, the revelation that one river did, en route to forming the Mersey, was thanks to the WTT’s Autumn 2010 Newsletter (see page 13).  Exchanges with Amanda Wilson, Hon. Sec. of the Disley & New Mills AC, revealed that my goal might be achieved by joining this 100 year old club, which I did!

Success in Nottinghamshire the day before buoyed me for this season end surge, and after overnighting in the very comfortable Pack Horse Inn in High Peak, and after a delicious breakfast of local bacon and sausage, it was off to the river.

Today I was flying solo, and, guideless, and  I overshot the mark, and found myself close to the Roman Lakes, and whilst the runs below the ancient (actually, seventeenth century) bridge were tempting, it was not only the steep descent to the river which was deterring, but the notion that I would be trespassing (aka poaching ) and a further study suggested that I was a mile or two downstream of where I should have been. So retracing my steps, it took only a short drive to put me where the DNMAC water was.

August 2011 – the Goyt

The Goyt tumbles off the Pennines, touching bits of Derbyshire and Cheshire, and collecting various tributary waters before it arrives at New Mills. A mile downstream and at the village of Strines, it enters the County of Greater Manchester.

It is latterly joined by the River Etherow, and then by the River Tame in central Stockport, where after a relatively short life, it is transformed into the River Mersey! Had many today, heard of the Mersey before Gerry Marsden immortalised it in song?

Strines is a very up-market suburb of Stockport/Manchester…maybe Gerry lives there on his royalties! It is very grand and has a trout stream below its manicured lawns, but it is difficult to access. My walk into and out of, an enfenced development of new houses,  sent me eventually past a decrepit tennis club, which saddened. A pavilion which I imagine could tell a tale or two, overlooking grass courts which have dislevelled through lack of attention, and four hard courts with so many weeds peering through the aging tarmac, that the whole area resembled a post holocaust event. Maybe Hitchcock designed it…

The river at that point is well below the fields adjoining it. But, I had perfected the technique for reaching it, after a season of fishing high banked and often, secluded and narrow streams, strewn with overgrowth.

1  Put the rod, which must be protected at all costs, within reach of an upward ultimate retrieve

2  Look riverward, and standing just above the chosen descent route, drop down in athletic surprise  and bend the knees more than you thought you could, then rock backwards and fall slowly and gently onto the buttocks..then, and with no discernible ceasing in the total motion, rock forwards, and legs outstretched, lean outwards and slide down the green sward on said buttocks…hoping that, either, the rocks below, are stable enough to absorb the impact of the aging weighty frame, or, the water is shallow enough not to drown in.

[The pressure on the wader seams is considerable, and repeated performance of this manoeuvre confirms the benefit of having a tube of Aquaseal to hand, and it dries quite quickly, too]

3 Then, look up and back and retrieve said rod, and commence fishing…

Easy!  But, only God knows how the older members of DNMAC manage this challenge! It’s a twelve foot drop into their river!

On the Goyt, to begin with the water colour confused me. The peaty brown flows at this point were so concentrated, that they belied what was quite shallow water. So my NZ rig, snagged often. No matter, because when the first rise showed, it was onto the dry.

IT IS IMPORTANT I MAKE A SIGNIFICANT DECLARATION AT THIS POINT.

IT IS OFFICIAL…I have too many flies in my box(es), and THE ONLY DRY FLY I NEED IS THE WONDERFUL  ‘ADAMS’…it is ubiquity, personified, and I love it. I guess we all default to a fly with which we fish with confidence, and whilst I wish my entymology was better honed, I still rate this fly enormously.

And whilst casting into the long flat pools required care, the fish were feeding and cared little about the odd splash of a cast where my right arm came down too fast and  low, and missing several serious plunges onto my fly, I nevertheless and quickly, netted a couple of 12” fish,


and Greater Manchester, at the same time.

It’s good stretch, this DNMAC beat. The quiet is disturbed only by the trundling of the odd goods train in the nearby viaduct, and it is a pretty, very pretty water. Access was hard, so was my exit…

I may have had to employ some ancient and forgotten gymnastics in finding my way back to Tonka Too, and I will strenuously reject any charge that I committed trespass in doing so…!!

I caught four fish that morning, and decided that an afternoon fish was in order, so after a picnic lunch at several hundred feet overlooking High Peak and in full and distant view of  the Pennine heather in all its pink and breathtaking glory, I set off to find the DNMAC’s beats on the River Sett (in Derbyshire).

Upstream of Watford Bridge near Thornsett,

three more fish came to the incomparable, dry ‘you know what’ on this narrow and intimate stream, and just made my day.

And I hope to meet the little blighters I missed, in a year or two!

The riverside here is un-strimmed  and not pristine, like  Southern chalk stream banks,  and  Himalayan balsam is alive and well. It grows to seven feet and more! At this time of year, it snaps as you flick it out of your path, in jungle warfare, seeking out another likely lie beyond its screen, and in doing do, you know you have done its prosperity, a favour, as its seeds are propelled to settle and land to germinate next year and occupy even more space and kill off (murder?) what we would rather see…Damn!

I think I even prefer nettles. At least they are ours!

The DNMAC handbook declares that fish in its waters are ’unfit for human consumption’. I do not doubt this assertion, but I observe that the Club has done much to improve its habitat ( see – http://dnmacgoyt.blogspot.com/ )and that  water quality today  is immeasurably better than when, and whilst the disgorgement of even recent times may have been unhealthy, this river system is in ‘great nick’ today. I had a thoroughly, great day, on a super fishery.

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