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Fly fishing: One perfect beck

The Becky fly.
The Becky fly.
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First things first; Cod Beck does not have any cod swimming about in it. It’s original name was probably Cold Beck and if you are familiar with North Yorkshire dialect and pronunciation, you can easily understand how Cold Beck became Cod Beck.

Olly Shepherd tends, nurtures, protects and syndicates two miles of this lovely little river not far from Thirsk and kindly invited Steve and I along for a dabble.

Cod Beck, the epitome of everything about small, intimate streams with riffles, glides and deep holes.

Cod Beck, the epitome of everything about small, intimate streams with riffles, glides and deep holes.

Right until the moment we had our first sight of the water, I thought Little Gem was a kind of lettuce; not necessarily so. As we crested the bank, it was clear that this accolade could rightfully be applied to this splendid lowland river, and continuing downstream, the charms and character of the beck began to unfold. It is the very epitome of everything I love about small intimate streams. Riffles, glides, pocket water and deep holes wherein leviathans lurk all began to cause my rod hand to twitch.

Though it was a late April morning, a lazy north-west breeze went through, not round us. An occasional gust ruffled the surface, persuading the invertebrate life to stay sub-surface.

Steve and I started by trundling weighted nymph flies along the river bed. We thought it appropriate to use a fly specially created for this water. The Becky was devised by Derek Stratton, who, on Cod Beck, first taught me to cast a fly properly.

I had it all planned out, I would write you a story about how a bloke called Beck caught the first fish of the day on Cod Beck with a fly called The Becky. However, within minutes of his first cast, Steve’s rod began to bend as he landed a lovely wild trout on The Becky. Foiled again!

I fished my way upstream, catching the odd fish on the “klink and dink” method before I reached a minor bend in the river, significant enough to offer shelter from the breeze. There, in a sheltered corner, a handful of grannom flies braved the air; they skittered over the water as their new, soft wings experimented with the notion of flight. One of them, caught by the gentle current, drifted within inches of the opposite bank. There was a very slight disturbance below the surface and the little sedge disappeared.

Off came the bottom scratching kit to be replaced by floating sedge imitation. I cast it a yard upstream of the ambush point; another swirl, another sip and a very chunky grayling briefly graced my net.

In the shelter of the trees, there were half a dozen fish surface feeding. We managed to briefly extract a few of them. This spoke volumes about the potential of Cod Beck; on a warmer day, I have no doubt that the hatch of fly will be notable. This includes a significant showing of mayfly, I’m assured.