Sunday, 30 June 2013

Fishing friends reunited

Crystal clear 
I am not a big fan of facebook but it is occasionally useful for keeping in touch and finding old friends. I had not seen or even heard from my old fishing buddy Nick Hammond for more than 15 years and it is almost 20 years since we last fished together so you can imagine my excitement as I pointed the car in the direction of Avington Trout fishery and a rendezvous with my old mate and some big Trout.
Avington fishery is an intimate complex of three shallow lakes, chalk stream fed with crystal clear water giving superb visibility and wonderful stalking opportunities. It is located in the stunning grounds of Avington Hall just outside of Winchester and is stocked with some absolutely gorgeous Trout, excellently conditioned full tailed fish. On site there is a well stocked tackle shop, gutting and cleaning facilities and a cafe bar.
The fishery opens at 8am and despite the 80-90 mile journeys we both arrived at virtually that time on the dot. We purchased three fish tickets and went for a recce round the lakes chatting away and spotting fish. The water was so clear that Nick joked it would be easy to just foul hook them.
The far end of the middle lake was teaming with fish so we started there and and within a couple of casts my companion shouted across that he was in, hooked perfectly in the dorsal! His claims of accidental fell on deaf ears considering that it was his idea only moments earlier. His protestations of innocence continued throughout the fight but as we landed the fish it become the source of mickey taking for the rest of the day. That aside it was a good start to the day.
He had caught it on an orange lure so I changed to the same fly, which Nick pointed out was ridiculous as the fish had not taken it properly but it worked and the next cast I landed a 6lb 14oz caught fair and square in the chops.
The rain had started so we took shelter and over coffee caught up on events over the last two decades. Between the ages of 11 and 17 we had virtually lived at each other's houses (when we weren't fishing-which was a lot) so it felt quite surreal chatting away after all this time. Once the rain had passed we went back to the fishing, I took the next fish and we decided to slow down, we had all day and didn't want to bag up too quickly.
Nick fished on while I went for a wander, with only one fish needed for my limit I went in search of a biggie, and I found one patrolling the far margin. It would have to wait though as a pub lunch was calling, far too civilised!
On the outskirts of the estate is the Bush Inn and I would thoroughly recommend it, fine ales, lovely food and a nice beer garden bordered by a babbling chalk stream.

I plumped for the Stilton Burger.....

Nick went for Gammon and duck egg.

With bellies full we returned to the fishing, I found the big Trout which was now named Walter ( If you have not watched 'On Golden Pond' then do so) and started stalking it while Nick fished further along trying to foul hook anything. Mid-afternoon and he put another on the bank, this time it was mouth hooked.

Meanwhile old Walter got spooked by my amateurish casting at him and skulked off to hide so I landed one of his smaller mates.

Nick finished off his limit not long after and that was the end of the action, a brilliant days fishing and we vowed to not leave it as long until next time!

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