The Tufton Arms Hotel in Appleby has always been one of my favourite places to visit but my stays there have never without incident. From being trapped in the hotel for 2 extra nights during the floods of 2015 to catching probably my biggest ever Brown Trout from a river, it always provides a story.
The owner Nigel, occasionally asks me to guide for his guests when the hotels ever popular “Learn to fish” package is oversubscribed and diary permitting, I jump at the chance.
When I arrived on Friday night, this unpredictable river was on its bones. Hard to believe that this mere trickle of a river caused such chaos and devastation back in December 2015.
Of the 6 attendees on last weekends course, I was to guide husband and wife Richard and Vicky who said that although they’d ‘dabbled’ with fly fishing abroad, I should treat them as total beginners.
I quickly introduced them to several of my stock fly fishing excuses by explaining that with only inches of crystal clear water, a bright sun and a swirling wind, we were going to be up against it. It was clear though that they were up for the challenge!
Whenever we saw rising fish, our attempts to even approach them sent them scattering for cover. That said, both managed to tempt fish to a Greenwells Glory wet fly but in both cases the finicky fish were on … and very quickly, off again.
It was clear that to have any chance we were going to have to change tactics.
My relentless nagging (instruction) now had them making beautifully gentle dry fly presentations and when we finally found some ‘regular risers’, I knew this would be our best opportunity of the weekend.
I’m happy to say that they made it count and whilst we only got a couple of fish to the net, we had several hook ups which, given the circumstances was superb!