Friday, 7 January 2022


                                  Memories from the River Test


I was working one day at the Nyth when John Robinson, my employer, asked me if I would  like to go with him to fish on the river Test. Obviously I need no persuading and it turned out that although I had worked for him for several years he never mentioned that he was in fact a member of the Houghton Club, the holy of holies.

A couple of days later I drove him down there end of course ended up at The Grosvenor Hotel where the club had it headquarters.  I was taken up to see the members clubroom and it was all you might expect of a gentlemans club .A pretty hallowed place in trout fishing history.

Anyway the following morning I was in the hotel foyer waiting for my boss when down the stairs from the clubroom came a frail grey haired old guy.  He stopped about three steps from the bottom and said “Hello young man, could you do me a favour please.”   I replied of course  if I can.   He pointed to his lower reqions and replied, ”please can you do my flies up for me my old fingers are not much good these days.   Well how could I refuse. It was a bit of a fiddle though with buttons, not a zip.   God knows what anyone appearing whilst I was doing this would have thought I shudder to think.   He thanked me and went on his was though how he ever tied a fly on his cast I have no idea.   Mike Lunn was the river keeper then so perhaps he helped the old guy out.  He was a retired rear Admiral so I was told.

  My boss arrived and we made our way to our allotted beat on the river. It was Mayfly time too and flies were hatching  in big numbers and fish were rising well.  We watched and waited until we could see what we thought  might be a good sized fish. There was one rising steadily in an eddy where stacks of mayfly had collected.  It   seemed doubtful if an artificial fly would hold any appeal amongst so many naturals but up the fish came first cast.   There followed a long dogged fight but eventually the fish rolled on the top.  I looked at the standard sized folding trout net I had and thought “it’s not going to fit in there.”   Eventually however it was netted and there lay the first Stockbridge trout I had seen   All 9lbs 8ozs of it.  We fished on trying to select the better fish and landed two more of 6oz and 6lb 8ozs  All brownies.   I set the biggest fish up in a case and it may still be in the |Nyth bungalow now .  Have some photographs somewhere too if I can did them out..

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