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The Wands in Wales: 2009

Fired with the fever of fish camps in the Wild West style of John Gierach, AK Best, Ed Engle et al (not to mention the unreasonable conviction that the UK’s island climate might just be replaced by the continental-scale stability of US weather-systems for the weekend) an intrepid party of Wands hit the highway to Wales, and the wild, wonderful waters of the Wye & Usk Foundation.

After breakfast in Usk, and a visit to a famous trout-candy shop…

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… we pitched camp quickly and rolled out to the Breconshire Fishery

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… where the trout kept us busily switching between dries, nymphs and streamers, but the rewards came to hand:

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This early in the season, the night was cold under canvas, but sun and coffee combined next morning to revive the spirit of Gierach…

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… and while Duncan went solo on the Llynfi Dulas

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… Rich and I plunged into the gorge of the Clettwr: according to the guidebook, “a challenge to the most hardy”…

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… where our 2- and 3-weights were bent by feisty little mountain trout, and balloon caddis flies were the dish of the day.

Sunday found us at Rockfield in the Monnow catchment

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… a notoriously difficult beat where haystacks sometimes roost in the tree-tops, and Rich resorted to climbing one to tempt a trophy 4lb chub with a mayfly…

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… and Duncan triumphed with the only trout of the session (like last year, the photo’s somewhere, honest!)

On our last morning, with both barometer and wind direction veering wildly, Beacons Reservoir proved a surprising bust… but not before we’d fished one final, unforgettable, red-spinner sunset on the Usk…

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… suffice it to say, we’ll be back.

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