Red Quill

Just got back – terrible homeward journey this evening.

Yesterday afternoon, I got a half-pounder on a hackled Red Quill (my own dressing – see below). Saw John Aplin by the river. He recommended a small sedge, twitching it now and then, as described in his recent blog article. I tried it and got a swirling rise from a good fish almost straight away, but when I tightened there was nothing there. I had to stop shortly afterwards in order to drive to Piddletrenthide, where I was staying, and get something to eat (and drink!).

Saw two members by the river yesterday. They’d fished the same stretch that morning, but saw no rises and caught nothing. At one point, I heard what I thought was probably a pike or very large trout slashing at a smaller fish in the margins. Whatever it was, it was definitely a fish, and it certainly wasn’t taking a fly!

Today was slightly better, although I ended up blank. When I arrived there were a few olives around. I didn’t bother to check, but assumed they were probably spinners left over from the previous evening. By 1030, though, there was precious little sign of fly life apart from the odd crane fly in the bankside vegetation. During the next couple of hours, I managed to find and cover three rising fish. The first showed no interest in anything at all. Same with the last one. I spent some time on the middle fish, though, resting him every now and then to make sure I hadn’t put him down. He ignored my Red Quill, but rose (short) to a size 14 Little Red Sedge. I tried him with a Hare’s Ear Nymph, but he wasn’t interested. An interesting couple of days. The river looked absolutely lovely in the September sunshine, and I didn’t really mind the slightly awkward cross breeze.

The Red Quill dressing is one I discovered nearly 40 years ago on the Derbyshire Wye, when it was the only pattern to succeed in September with the wild Rainbows on the stretch near Bakewell. Since then, it’s proved reliable at the back end of the season, particularly when the fish are rising short to other olive patterns. It’s meant to imitate an olive spinner.:-

Hook: 14
Tying silk: orange (but not Hot Orange – it should turn a sort of mahogany colour when waxed and wettened)
Body: Undyed peacock quill from an eye feather
Hackle and whisks: Dark red or even dyed maroon cock.

Looking forward to next season.