This has never been truer than on Friday last when we spent the day on the Orvis Kimbridge beat on a weed cut day. As the long hot summer continues, there is no better place to be than on the river bank. The city is stifling so fishing provides a welcome excuse to escape the intense heat and head for the idyllic Hampshire countryside and the banks of a chalkstream.
I had very kindly been given a weed cut day on the River Test by Richard Banbury at Orvis. Chalkstream weed cutting is necessary as the nutrient rich clear spring water feeding the River Test generally produce exceptional weed growth in the spring and summer months. If left to grow unchecked, this weed will choke the river channel and cause significant flooding preventing us from fishing the dry fly and nymph to the brown trout that frequent these rivers. The river keepers control the weed using traditional hand cuts with scythes and boats with hydraulic mechanical cutters.
I have fished on weed cut days before without much disruption. This day however, vast swathes of cut weed were floating downstream and the boat arrived in the afternoon so fishing was challenging. It was a beautiful sunny day though so I was wading in flip flops which was wonderfully cooling. I started with a dry fly and as the afternoon wore on and there was very little fly life and I changed to a nymph. The fish were to evade me.
However, whatever the conditions, it is hard to beat a day on the river bank with friends. Our picnic was a veritable feast and Lola cooled herself in the shallow waters. Instagram star and fly fishing fanatic @BeakyFishes joined us a bit later and myself and Gilly Bate @GillyBate tried to find sections free of weed to cast into. Beaky had a couple of takes and Gilly narrowly missed landing a good-sized brownie. Naturally, girls will be girls so quite a few snaps were taken of the day in the sunshine which we merrily posted on Instagram as a lasting reminder that friendship on the bank is just as important as the fishing.
To book a day on the Orvis Kimbridge beat contact Bradyr@orvis.co.uk.