Obviously Royalty in this instance means the famous Royalty fishery, the very last fishery on the Hampshire Avon before Christchurch Harbour. September saw us finally hit the Avon for our long awaited trip to target the river’s famous fish. The first port of call, as always, was Davis Tackle to pay for our day tickets (followed by a cheeky coffee and bacon sandwich) before heading off down to the river to check out the conditions. The early morning mist made for some fine views of the river and so we all rushed back to the cars to set up the trotting rods ready for action.
The mist gradually wore off and we were left with a day possibly more suited to lounging around on Bournemouth beach than fishing, making the fishing extremely tough with clear water and unbroken sunshine. Still, there are fewer better ways to spend a beautiful early autumn day than fishing on a river.
September is renowned for producing big barbel, with the fish feeding up before the cold water slows their metabolism down. Unfortunately for us that meant a very busy day with more anglers fishing there than I’ve ever seen before, meaning we sought out the quieter areas in the hope of fishing a few fish. Some set off to the tidal stretch in search of sea trout, but even they were conspicuous by their absence – only a few were spotted jumping – but the large numbers of mullet at least gave something to cast at. Theo found a shoal of dace that were keen to snatch his dry flies off the surface while the rest of us set off in search of some of the Royalty’s famous perch.
We did find some fish and those trotting were rewarded with some great sport, with Duncan catching a great perch on his old cane rod and Will even catching some salmon parr.
My own perch fishing didn’t quite go according to plan with just the one fish falling to my rod, although I did lose a big fish that pounced on a dace as I was retrieving it and also missed a few bites before a pike decided to take my bait and kill the swim by jumping through a tree.
A good time was had by all in some very challenging conditions (we even found a shoal of large bream just lounging on the surface, ‘sunbathing’)- we’ll be returning next year, hopefully a bit earlier in the year to do battle with those famous Royalty barbel.