The Test at Timsbury

steve collyer

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I agree with Luke. Trevor Housby fished nobblers on the Test in the early 1980's. The art of delicate presentation exemplified as the 2.5 inch long nymph, cast with a modest #6 wt rod, with a supple, angels hair 10lb fluorocarbon tippet alights on the surface with a definite plop that can be heard from 30 yards away.
All in the best traditions of Southern chalkstream fishing :)

I say Luke, mind your head dear boy, ones nobbler... err I mean damsel imitation.... is approaching at speed!
 

BobP

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Trout have been stocked into the Test and other rivers for well over 100 years. The banks were mown to facilitate access in the days of Skues, Sawyer and Kite, though not to the lawn-like consistency that we see in one or two places today - not everywhere by any stretch.

Pellets weren't invented when Skues was alive and I very much doubt that Kite would have stooped as low as to use anything resembling a damsel fly, whether or not it was indigenous.

The whole point is the manner of fishing. Trout in a river take up a station to feed, and I somehow think one in mid-river would wait a long, long time and get extremely hungry before the current brought a damsel nymph drifting down to him. I spend a lot of time guiding on various chalkstreams and I've yet to see trout hunting around looking for the nymphs. They don't even do it for mayflies.

So, that tells me that a damsel nymph on a river is fished across, or across & down and pulled. Trout, whether wild or stocked, will chase after something that is pulled across in front of them.

If people find proper chalkstream - or river - fishing too difficult for them, which it isn't on the whole, then I suggest they stick to their local stockie pool where pulling big fluffy "nymphs" is acceptable.
 

luke troutstalker

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Bob, thank you for your concise answer, I'd forgotten about this thread. I can sort of see where you are coming from, and it's interesting to see the way the river is managed goes back a relatively long way.

I'll still say though, that in an environment that's to all intents and purposes artificial and cultured, getting precious over a fly pattern ( that's occurring naturally ) is a little OTT. We don't even know how the chap that started this sub debate even fished the nymph - he may have fished it upstream in the traditional 'allowed' style.

:thumbs:
 

mrnotherone

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An extract from the 1910 seminal Skues work "Minor Tactics of the Chalk Stream"

I was for years myself under the spell, and it is the purpose of the ensuing pages to tell, for the benefit of the angling community, by what processes, by what stages, I have been led into a sustained effort to recover for this generation, and to transmute into forms suited to the modern conditions of sport on the chalk stream, the old squirmy wormy art, to be used as a supplement to, and in no sense to supplant or rival, the beautiful art of which Mr. F. M. Halford is the prophet.

No wonder he caused a bit of a stir :thumbs:
 

sewinbasher

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I love fishing chalkstreams and have had a few memorable (and sometimes expensive) days on them. I've fished beats on the Kennet, Lambourn, Coln, Test, Itchen, Wilts. Avon, Wylye, Anton, Dever and Bourne. (OK they're not all classic chalkstreams but you get my drift).

My first chalk stream day was in 1973 on the Itchen for wild browns and then a couple of years later I was happy to catch stockie browns on the Test at Longparish. It was the Test, it was dry fly and the experience of being on its hallowed banks was more important than the provenance of the trout.

Then I fished the Test at Bossington and Testwood and was catching browns but also some rainbows that I was less happy about but they were big and in some cases took some deceiving so not all bad.

My eyes were finally opened at Denford on the Kennet where the typical catch was a 1lb 8oz stockie rainbow with ragged fins and I realised that I could get better rainbows for far less money on virtually any good small stillwater or reservoir. On my last day there I ignored the rainbows and concentrated on trying to find the browns amongst the far more numerous rainbows but realised that it was a parody of chalkstream fishing despite the lovely surroundings.

I had some truly lovely days, including a day on the famous Sawyer/Kite water at Netheravon, which I had to myself, and other memorable Avon days at Salterton and Chisenbury.

Even the stocked browns started to disappoint and things came to a head with the capture of a 25" brown (stockie) at Wherwell that, despite being my largest trout to dry fly, was a very poor fish and instead of being delighted I found myself quite unimpressed.

All these issues eventually put me off many chalkstream beats and now I'm hopefully a bit more mature in my expectations I still love the chalkstreams but value the unstocked beats and look for the fish in the most difficult lies as these days a 14" WBT that required a good cast and presentation means far more to me than any big stockie.

In truth the market for chalkstream fishing is more geared to anglers with bigger wallets than fishing ability, and to get return visits the anglers need to massage their egos with big trout, that are not too challenging to catch. This wallet over fishing ability scenario is also true of many salmon beats.

However, I don't mind manicured banks and at my age a few seats and a comfortable hut make a pleasant day better. :D
 
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boisker

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I've only fished the Dorset chalk streams... A world away from the manicured image.
Like Sewin... I'd have nothing against fishing a manicured beat, a day without a face full of nettles is always q nice change:D
But, I want unstocked... Rather a day spent catching a couple of 1-2 lb fish than a bucket load of 3lb plus stocked fish.... And if your lucky in the crystal clear water you see big one:D
Last time I visited the Frome two weeks ago-

The rivers for the fish... Very, very limited weed cutting... If any:D it's up to the angler to work out how to cope with the weed.. Accurate casting and work out where you trying to steer him to before the cast is made... Perfect
 

benisa

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sorry to say but the above sorts the boy's out from the girls:eek:mg:
we all like a bit of easy fishing

but you can not away from wild brown in places like this and outwitting them, that's all part of the game of river fishing for sure:thumbs:
 

dave b

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I may need educating on the delights of chalk stream fishing as I only live half an hour away from some of the best chalk streams in the south west, however after looking at some of the waters and seeing Boiskers post, I'd rather fish an over grown stream or big river rather than a chalk stream that what looks to be little more than a weed choked drain that flows.
 

benisa

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Yes would agree some are a little over grown, but that is the challenge
its not the big stock you are going to get for there
but the wild ones put up a better fight than stock fish any day

was down on the Anton this week and it was bit like the picture above, we had a few wild ones between 1.5 and 2lb
 

boisker

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Hey Dave...
It's not all like that,some stretches grow huge amounts of weed and some less so...
My point was that not all chalkstreams are manicured with easy casting and stocked fish... I'm no casting ninja, but I do like the challenge of the less 'manicured' stretches..
This is another stretch-

Or the Frome's little brother the Piddle..
 

ACW

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sewin bashers comment re Kennet stocked fish ,hit a chord with me .
I moved from a season rod on the Hungerford town water to a season ticket at Hanningfeild .
Since then ,I have tended to fish the chalk for grayling or as a very appreciative guest(offers always welcome :thumbs:),much prefering my hardd earned cash to get me into grown on fish in the larger ressers who really go a bit and make me feel i am fishing and not shooting tigers in a cage.
 

benisa

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I still think Grayling fishing knocks the B....... out of trout fishing
they fight 10 times more than a wild brown
when the get the fin up its like a battle with a min submarine
I never pay silly money to fish the test, have a spot that I can go to for 2 rods works out to be £90 per day

£45 pounds is what you pay to go to a stock place like Albury etc
but horses for courses on what you want
get your self down to the river Wandle Wild brown up to 6lb and its Free:thumbs:
 

dave b

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Matt

I'll venture out in Oct/Nov when the weed has died back. My two targets for the season was a 3 lb Brown and a 2lb Grayling on the fly. The trout was sorted on the Usk and now all I need is the Grayling with the Piddle and Frome being the prime candidits:D
 

benisa

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you would have liked Bosnia then
Friend and I had them to 3lb + this year:thumbs:
even bigger buggers there 5 +
 

BobP

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A couple of points.

1) This country has more than 80% of the chalkstreams in the entire world. If we, as anglers, whether we have fished them, would like to fish them or have never even seen one, can't value them then how can we possibly expect others to do so? Or maybe the chalkstream detractors don't care about a very precious habitat.

2) I was guiding on the Test downstream of Timsbury on Friday. A very wide section of river. Rising fish there were, BUT they all seemed to be rising under the trees on the far bank. So, we're looking at a 25 yard cast to put a size 16 dry fly on the money. Piece of p*ss for all the chalkstream detractors on here I dare say. Easy on the chalkstreams innit?
 

dave b

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Bob

You need to keep current with methods. It's easy with a damsel and a 7# :D
 

benisa

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BobP
That's the distance we were having to put the size 16/18,s down for the brown in Slovenia
its was in a made and I say made Mayfly hatch must have been over 500 + in the air :confused:
they would not take any think bigger than a 16, no big mayfly copies etc

it was re cast after recast , they were sitting on the far bank under the trees so it was he who got it to the far bank got it right and a fish.:)
 

boisker

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Hey Dave
There's been some big Grayling around on the Frome and one of it's carriers... Haven't fished the Piddle this year.
I was on the carrier a couple of weeks ago and spotted a huge grayling sat in the bottom of a pool, hot sunny day and he wasn't moving so I left him alone... But I'd guess 4lb, far bigger than my biggest of 3lb... Hopefully I'll see him again:D
 

BobP

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BobP
That's the distance we were having to put the size 16/18,s down for the brown in Slovenia
its was in a made and I say made Mayfly hatch must have been over 500 + in the air :confused:
they would not take any think bigger than a 16, no big mayfly copies etc

it was re cast after recast , they were sitting on the far bank under the trees so it was he who got it to the far bank got it right and a fish.:)
As it was on the Test on Friday with the exception that the hatch was very sparse. One of the guys I was guiding was using his Sage Z-Axis 9' #3 which was just not man enough to push a fly that far across. He kept dropping a couple of yards short which was just not good enough. Luckily I had a Zenith 9' #5 in the car which, with some trepidation I let him use. That made the difference as far as distance was concerned.

However, my main point is that we have a very rare, in world terms, habitat in the chalkstreams and if we, as anglers, denigrate them and consider them no better than any small, overstocked stillwater where more or less any fly fishing method is OK to use, then we can hardly be surprised if others outside the fishing world pay them scant attention.

I've never fished Loch Leven, for example, but I still recognise it as a fishery with a history and tradition worth valuing. Would I fish it with a DI7 and Blobs? No, because it does not fit with the ethos of the place. It might be highly effective but it would not be "right".
 

ACW

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Talking of that distance needed it reminds me of my Kennet town rod .
No not the ticket,but a custom made 9ft Fenwick '#5 that needed the only floating weight forward I had at the time to cover fish on the far bank at the top of the town water .
If you got it right with a good presentation ,some big fish seen rising could be taken .
That rod still sees an outing when I want to fish the dancia,and has been a loan rod on those fun days at Denford chasing grayling.
Not to sure that I could manage a accurate 25 yard cast though ,20 maybe!
 
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