Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Where the punts can't go

I do most of my flyfishing on the upper reaches of the river Cam. But this isn’t the stretch of the Cam where Cambridge undergraduates punt past the historic colleges. This is Essex, where the punts can’t go. Here the river is narrower, shallower and usually faster flowing. And in the water there are trout, most of them stocked but some of the wild.

I used to be a season ticket at Grafham, the reservoir owned by Anglian Water. Grafham couldn’t be more different: it’s a massive expanse of water that takes three hours to walk around. You need heavy duty gear: a 9 and a half foot rod and a seven weight line. And from the bank you often need to wade out, sometimes a long way. You need chest waders. On the upper Cam I use an eight and a half foot rod and a four weight line.

There’s another difference too – at Grafham you can fish all day, catch nothing and not know whether your distance casting covered a single fish. On the river, hours pass and you may still blank. But at least you can see that the fish are in there.


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