Standing under the thatched roof of the Orvis fishing hut, we watched as the heavens opened and the biblical rain poured. Down on the Kimbridge beat on the River Test, we stood there wondering if our guests would take one look out of their window and climb back into the safety of bed or, worse, the office.
We needn’t have worried though as our guests proved that they genuinely love the outdoors, pitching up in waterproofs and wellies keen for a day’s fly-fishing on Orvis’ “Ginger Beer” beat. We were delighted to be joined by Orvis UK brand ambassador, and fishing buff, Marina Gibson, Patrick Tillard, Online Editor of The Gentleman’s Journal, Naturalist and BBC TV presenter, Nick Baker, outdoor writer and photographer Paul Sharman and Theo Pike, author of Trout in Dirty Places.
(images courtesy of Paul Sharman Outdoors)
Testing out the Orvis Recon and iconic Helios 2 rods, each of us found of spot on the riverbank and cast our lines out onto the high waters. The rain did not deter our beginners and fly-fishing enthusiasts. Fortunately, there were many success stories of the day, with everyone hooking a beautiful trout or two before carefully releasing them back into the coursing river.
(images courtesy of Patrick Tillard)
Lunch was served in the traditional fishing hut, spectacularly catered for by The Greyhound on the Test. Over lunch, Nick Baker regaled tales of his many brushes with death, including a rather hair-raising encounter with a young rhino bull. We like a man who has a passion for adventure but it did made our day’s fly-fishing feel rather civilised in comparison! It was hard to compete…
More fly-fishing ensued in the afternoon and – by some miracle – the sky cleared, making way for brilliant sunshine. A bit of casting practice was in order for me, kindly guided by my “fishing entourage”, Theo Pike and Orvis River Keeper, Myles Levy. The immense focus and determination to catch a fish meant that it wasn’t long before half of my Recon Rod was in the river. Keen not to let a rather expensive and high-quality piece of equipment float downstream, Theo grabbed the line and pulled it to safety. The savvy trout swimming stealthily underneath definitely had the last laugh.