Fab­u­lous flies for the Usk

Paul Slaney of­fers four flies that might save your ba­con this sum­mer

Trout & Salmon (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Paul Slaney of­fers four pat­terns for sum­mer trout

WHEN WE made the de­ci­sion to move close to the River Usk, I had vi­sions of end­less fish­ing, fan­tas­tic hatches of brook duns, March browns and olives of all sorts. The truth is some­what dif­fer­ent. Even though my favourite beat is a short walk from home, work and fam­ily weekend com­mit­ments nearly al­ways get in the way. As those fa­mous day­time earl­y­sea­son Usk hatches and free-ris­ing fish pass me by, I ex­pe­ri­ence them through oth­ers more able to take the op­por­tu­nity. The oc­ca­sional foray scratches the itch but leaves me want­ing more, the rows of brook dun, March brown, large dark olive and grannom pat­terns in my box go largely un­touched from sea­son to sea­son. I’ll save them for re­tire­ment. How­ever, it’s rare that a day goes by with­out me walk­ing the banks, al­ways at dawn or late evening, with my dogs. I watch the river change from month to month and as spring slips into sum­mer and right through to Septem­ber, the early-morn­ing river can come alive with op­por­tu­ni­ties. It’s a sur­real place at that time of day, seem­ingly un­touched by hu­mans, some­times swathed in mist; quiet, warm and cosy. By this time of year, my four-weight rod is per­ma­nently made up by the back door be­side a small box of pat­terns on which I’ve come to rely. Walk softly, lis­ten and watch the mar­gins, par­tic­u­larly back ed­dies or the qui­eter wa­ter around the neck of a pool, where the rem­nants of the pre­vi­ous evening’s hatch col­lect. These spent bugs – cad­dis, mainly – are the trout’s break­fast. The fish will take a well-pre­sented pat­tern in the most leisurely and con­fi­dent man­ner imag­in­able.

PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: PETER GATHERCOLE

Rem­nants of the pre­vi­ous evening's cad­dis hatch pro­vide the trout's first meal of the day.

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