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real challenge of the Wandle will be to outwit the spookiest trout I am ever likely to fish for. The Wandle flows through south London, a hidden gem amidst the concrete jungle. This truly is a river reborn. As recently as the 1980's parts of the Wandle were classed as an open sewer. But today she has been cleaned up, restored and is now much cherished. Sure, there are the inevitable intrusions of the urban metropolis that surrounds, but look past this and you will discover a really charming little river. Its current state of health is thanks in no small part to the hard work of the Wandle Trust and its volunteers who work tirelessly to improve and safeguard the water and its wildlife habitats. My good fishing buddy and guide for the day is Paul Williams of Cannibal Flies. Paul has worked hard before my visit to scope out good marks for us to try, and we fish every likely spot but without even getting close to those super-spooky trout. My hopes are waining a little as reality bites. "My first tenkara salmo: a city trout."

I had two outcomes in mind for today. Firstly to catch my first tenkara salmo. Secondly to realise my ambition to catch a native brown trout within London. This is my first trip to running water with my tenkara rod, and fish or no, I am enjoying the experience of drifting my nymph along the margins of the emerald green weed rafts. I am really loving my new esoteric rod which is so light in the hand it feels as if all I need to do is think and the fly lands where I wish it. The presentation that tenkara allows is so delicate and precise, I just know I can catch one of these fish if I can get close enough... Paul is keen to show me an industrial looking pound that marks the uppermost reach of this stretch of the river. Upstream from here the river was covered over long ago and now runs beneath factories before tumbling out into the basin beneath us. The water slides over a concrete sill to boil and swirl like a cauldron below us. As my eyes becomes accustomed to the patterns on the surface I can see the fish Paul is pointing out. There are some roach, some chub - and yes trout! I can see by the posture of the trout that they are 'on the fin' - alert and on station just outside of the heavier flow, ready to intercept food items that pass within reach. I think the turbulent surface could help to mask our presence and I can at last creep up and select fish to cast to. The current is chaotic and it is purely by perseverance that my brass head PTN eventually passes in front of one of the trout I can see deep below. There is a butter coloured flash as the trout darts at my fly but fails to connect as the current swings the fly out of its window. I can see the fish is agitated and aggressive and I manage to get another drift past. This time it connects, briefly, only to come

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Profile for Tenkara Angler

Tenkara Angler - Summer 2016  

Tenkara Angler Magazine chronicles the tenkara lifestyle through entries about community, destination, tactics, gear, and creative essays. A...

Tenkara Angler - Summer 2016  

Tenkara Angler Magazine chronicles the tenkara lifestyle through entries about community, destination, tactics, gear, and creative essays. A...

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