Clive Gliddon, an official of the Billericay & District AC wrote to tell me that their section of the R Pant at Shalford had some trout in it which their, predominantly, coarse fishers would catch from time to time, when indulging in their paste and maggot, worm or bready, means to capture the specimens they seek from this exciting little fishery.
I tried, using the flyfishers’ tec hniques but could not match my Coarse Brethren, and in spite of several visits. I caught dace on the fly, and chub, too, but no ‘spotties’, or even rogue, escapee ‘bows.
OK…an admission…in a fit of intemperance (or maybe inventiveness!), I also made a visit last Winter, armed with a small spinning rod and a few Mepps to try to eke one out of the Mill Pool at Codham, but this produced only a solitary jack pike of 20″, who was quite surprised to meet me!
One final attempt this month produced another dace, and some fun, stalking chub, but I was not disappointed, because a ‘cunning plan’ had already been hatched with Rob Mungavon, and this was put to work, the very next day.
September 2012 – the upper Cam, or Granta
The Cam or Granta rises near the delightful Essex village of Newport. It flows in a tree lined corridor through gently rolling farmland and its banks are untended and natural with all that entails, until it reaches Audley End, where in sight of the glorious Jacobean House, it is impounded, and then released to flow through more open territory toward Cambridge. It is a short stream, filled with cool water from its aquifer, which is supplemented by spring waters whose numerous entries are evident by those little bank side distortions in their muddy slopes.
The water was low, very low.
Stealth was imperative and the littler fish in the real shallows could be seen skittling away, in water illuminated by the sunshine, and the bigger, too, and from yards behind, spooked, maybe, via vibrations from my heavy wading boots on the hard banks?
We walked out of the water on the sloping banks where possible (nb. stinging nettles, still do, in September!) and so as to avoid sending warning signals through rippling the flat pools. The alder roots
whilst seemingly offering footholds, were in reality floating, and a missed step meant an unexpected drop into deeper water where fish were hiding from potential predators (you don’t live too long if a small wild brown in a narrow, shallow stream, without some serious self preservation skills!)…so that pool was not worth casting into! And casting in this tightest of environments was an incredible test, and more so when the wind picked up. Moral(s) of this story…enjoy where you are; flies are cheap; leaders, more so; patience is truly, a virtue!! Also, I need to revisit my theory about rod length. Rob used a little five foot bamboo wand with real skill.
And he really knows his fishing, and his wild trout, and suggested that even the imperfect cast should be left to drift naturally, even if really slowly in the tedious flow of low water. For in September these fish know that the larder is emptying and it’s better to eat now, because Spring and new shrimp and juicy pupa are several months away! So they can be tempted,
and without too specific an offering, and mine, an olive CdC, proved tempting to two fish….one tiny,
the other a beautiful monster of at least nine inches…all nine inches of beautiful wild Essex trout! Heaven !!
42 Counties ‘netted’ and just four to go.
John Davies said:
Well done. Nice report and pictures. When I was a teenager living in Bedford in the 1950s there were wild Browns to be seen beside the road in the upper Mimram in Hertfordshire, well above Welwyn. Crystal clear and shallow, almost narrow enough to jump across and adjacent to the landowner’s cottage and garden. He wouldn’t give me permission to fish. He said he reserved that for local boys. I’ve never been back so don’t know the current situation. Wild browns seemed commoner in those days in rural locations away from urbban industrial pollution. John Davies Grimsby N E Lincs
Rob Mungovan said:
Hallo John, I see you mentioned the Mimram. I’m pleased to say that it’s still a healthy little stream (although the reach you described probably ran dry last year). The Tewin Fly Fishers manage the river below Welyn (under my dad’s direction). They’ve reduced their stocking in recent years to allow the wild trout space and to give the grayling a chance too. In the 1950 before water abstraction the Mimram must have been a really beautiful river. Some pictures can be found at http://tewinflyfishingclub.wordpress.com/gallery-2/ Regards Rob
John Davies said:
Great news and beautiful pictures. Grayling are usually a healthy sign as well as breeding trout. Water abstraction has probably ruined many stretches, Best wishes, John Davies