Some spectacular hatches of Mayfly have resulted in some of the best fishing for years. This week Mayfly have been on the water from seven in the morning until ten at night. Fish have filled their boots on hatching Duns and some heavy falls of Spinners. Light winds throughout the heaviest hatches have resulted in large numbers of Mayfly making their way back to the river to lay their eggs which bodes well for next year. Heavy hatches of Olives have been mixed in with the Mayflies, mostly medium midday jobs, but a good number of three tailed blue winged ones coming off in the afternoon with a noticeable fall of sherry spinners most evenings.
Cricket kicked in big time for this household recently, and during our travels around the county in a pantechnicon full of whites and wet weather gear to festivals far flung, we can report that mayfly hatches on the middle Itchen looked good, The middle Avon is filled with flowering Ranunculus and experiencing good hatches of fly and several New Forest streams are low and weed free. At home, the weed is putting in a spurt, and Ranunculus on the top shallows has started to flower.
Last year we were treated to a fantastic show of early summer orchids, this year they are slow to put in an appearance. The surge in growth of meadow grass may have made them less visible, or, like everything else this year, they may just be late. Whatever the reason my dogs come back every morning covered in ticks having run through the long grass, it may be time to start up the topper.
Urban foxes have made the news recently, and are not quite the cuddly creatures that most envisaged. Fearless of a human kind who seek to preserve them at all costs, recent incidents may yet see the folk of Bayswater and Balham turn out with horns and hounds to run Reynard to ground.
The Goose problem persists. Three have hatched and are not the colour that they ought to be. Dad could be Canadian, Graylag or Lesser white front, who knows? Mum is proud, and Surrogate Dad incredibly protective of his mottled brood.
In recent weeks Stockbridge High street has taken on a Jamboree/St George's Day air as large numbers of guides in uniform, parade along the pavement. Along with Otters, Cormorants and Japanese Knot weed, numbers of Guides are up this year.
Now I have some good friends who guide, and I have even had to do a bit myself. Unable to do "flim flam"for much of the day I am clearly unsuited to the task. Living on the premises like many keepers I prefer to drop in and out on any who require assistance. I would suggest that most would have caught fish over the past two weeks without the aid of a guide; at Mayfly time, something big and fluffy presented to a fish that is feeding hard will normally suffice. How on earth you spin this advice out for ten hours or more and justify a sky high fee I do not know. It is in the Guide's interest to make fishing seem raltively compicated to justify his appearance on the bank.
One problem that has arisen recently with guided fishing on this river are Guided rods who catch their limit for the beat early in the day, then continue fishing catch and release till the sun goes down as the Guide is obliged to fill the day. The regular who turns up when the fish are rising, hoping to take 2 brace for the pot ,will return home when his limit is reached and the river is rested. Guided fishing does have its place in the angling world, but too much on this river results in an increase in angling pressure, that you do not get with unguided regular rods.