Rain and wind continues, along with cool temperatures. The fishing on the river, as is often the case on this stretch has become increasingly difficult as July progresses. All of the weed in the river has grown spectacularly since the June weed cut, the July Weed cut that starts next week will be a heavy one on this stretch of the Dever, many of the fish that we stocked over two weeks ago have not put in an appearance, choosing instead to tuck themselves away until the last hour of the day before feasting on the huge numbers of Sedges that continue to bumble around on the surface of the river. There have also been several big fish of around six pounds hooked and lost this week, these will have been in the river several years and could probably tie their own flies. Often at this time of the year we will have a big fish on the bottom part of the beat who will sit high n the water and look at most flies offered to him, in cricketing terms you would say that he is “in” well past his hundred and seeing it like a football. They are real time wasters, confident in what they are doing and unperturbed by the angler on the bank, it is nothing to retire after several fishless hours with the fish still high in the water and feeding confident that he will be there next year and a few pounds heavier.
I have continued to chop down the trees on the Iron Age defence ditch and while doing so have seen several broods of wild Pheasant who must be having a tough time of it with the cool and wet weather. On the neighbouring estate there has been a big effort to increase the numbers of English Partridge in the area. The results have been mixed, but I would guess that numbers of chicks surviving through to adulthood would be down on previous years after the spring and early summer of this year. We rarely see English Partridge on shooting days, although when we kept chickens at the bottom of the garden there was a covey of between twelve and fourteen that would come and feed in the chicken run for around three weeks.
Along with the huge hatches of sedge at this time of the year we are also inundated with a spectacular variety of Moths, ranging in size from a quarter of an inch to three inches across. Some have great big knobbly heads others intricate markings all over their backs. I know nothing of moths but am told by two of my fisherman that we are blessed with a range of unusual species. They suggested that I catch some moths by painting a sticky substance containing alcohol on a tree just before dark, I could then observe the hungover moths the following morning as they struggled in the sticky goo and ascertain what type they were. I told them that it was completely uneccesary as I only had to open our bedroom window for ten minutes at night and most of them would gladly fly in. If ever there was a market for Moth safaris I have the perfect location and you wouldn’t have to bounce around in the back of a Landrover to see them, just plump up the pillows and watch em fly by!
I have started basic training with Otis, sitting, staying and short retrieves with a dummy. Like his Uncle Zebo he is intelligent and steady, he has it all between the ears, it will be my fault if he is not up to the job.