Cow Patrol

Cow Patrol

Tracy&James | Sunday, 20 June 2021

The fishing on the Dee has been a bit of a mixed bag this week. Given all the travel restrictions in place at the moment preventing people travelling abroad on holiday it’s perhaps to be expected that some beats are busier than usual. Tracy and I were therefore pleasantly surprised to arrive at the river mid-morning to find that we had one of the more popular areas to ourselves, even more so as it was the weekend and the weather was lovely. From the car parking area there is the choice of going upstream or down, we decided we’d go up before lunch and then down afterwards.

Tracy decided to fish a large glide that we know fishes exceptionally well to dry flies whilst I proceeded upstream to a tree lined area.  Comparing notes at lunchtime Tracy remarked that she’d had the best couple of hours fishing that she’d had on the river, having a large number of rises to our go-to ‘look edible’ pattern – a drab coloured klink.  She’d lost count of the number of fish she landed plus she’d had an epic battle with a very large grayling which slipped the hook just in front of the net (perhaps not a bad thing as grayling season opening was a couple of days off).  My own fishing had also been pretty good, picking up fish from under the overhanging branches.  However, my progress upstream was ultimately truncated by a large family group using the river for their own leisure purposes.

As we sat on the bank together and reflected on our morning’s fishing we both sensed a presence behind us.  Looking round we found some inquisitive cattle quietly staring at us.  We continued with our lunch before we realised that these first few cows had been joined by the rest of the herd and now they’d formed a close-packed semi-circle all the way around us with the river in front of us.  It was almost as if they’d come to inspect what we were eating – perhaps they were on a beef patrol looking to punish anyone with a steak sandwich.  As it was Tracy had prepared one of her usual fishing picnics comprising hummus with breadsticks and carrots for dipping along with an Indian veggie selection of samosas, bhajis and vegetable rolls with a chilli dip.  As such, we stared back at the cows in a totally guilt free manner.  We extricated ourselves from the cow scrum by heading for the end beast, as we felt this would be better than tackling one with a mate on each side of it.  Luckily this cow eventually backed down and took some steps backwards allowing us to slip past and get behind the herd and into the field.

The fishing downstream of the car park was steady rather than spectacular but then petered out completely at exactly the time when things can build to a frantic evening.  As we walked the mile or so back to the car we did not see a single rise, so I think we made the right call to finish a bit earlier than we were expecting to, but we’d had a great day none the less.

My next trip was a bit of a contrast.  The conditions were quite similar, perhaps slightly windier, however I didn’t arrive until after lunch due to a work commitment.  I decided to fish the same area that Tracy had lost the big grayling in as they were now in season.  On arrival there was another car in the parking area and I could see a pair of anglers heading downstream.  As such I headed across the cow field to the upstream area.  Again I found rising fish, but as soon as I floated a dry offering over them they went down never to be seen again.  I did manage to get a few but they were mostly tiddlers with only two medium sized grayling requiring the net.  Throughout the time I was fishing I had an overwhelming feeling that someone had fished through the water not long before me – I suspect the two anglers I saw heading downstream had exactly the same plan of attack that Tracy and I had had a few days earlier.

With regard to casting this week we called an end to the wiggle cast competition.  Many congratulations to Jose Nieto from Spain who won with a magnificent score of 27.  Thanks to all those who entered.  I’m going to start practising soon for the next BFCC competition day which is on the 4th of July in Frome Somerset – virtual entries will be allowed again so if you fancy a crack at any of the events, wherever you are then please do so.

Have a great week, James.