In what I call euphemistically, my ‘Drive Down’ fishing tour, to deliver our poser car to our CdA bolt-hole for the Summer, the Correze was to be my first of three departments where I hoped to ‘net’ a French brownie, for the first time.
The six hour drive from Calais found me at my overnight stay in Chateauroux in Indre, before a further three hour drive to my meeting point with my guide for the next day.
The drive to Argentat on the morning of May11 was lovely and the weather and the scenery on that three hour drive distracted me. I found myself in terroir where my O2 system failed, which is not why I got lost around the pretty town of Tulle. It was the absence of decent signposting!
After nine hours of French roads, an overnight, then lack of telecoms, on arrival in Argentat, I found the meeting point where I hoped to meet Gregoire (Ribert)
but the setting seemed little to resemble the web picture upon which my hopes depended, and I had limited means to connect with my guide du jour!
But he did arrive anyway and quite quickly, and looking at the flows beneath us, after overnight rains, suggested we drive a way to fish a stream in good fettle, the Maronne.
A narrow river with sandy, muddy and soft margins, a few rocks in the shallows, and streaming weed in the flows, and easy wading beneath the leafy overhang of a tree lined beat, which reminded me of the Teign in southern Devon.
There was an amazing hatch suggesting prolific insect life and the nymphal forms probably provided the food the residents needed for few were rising. But Gregiore introduced me to downstream dry fly fishing. Cast across, then strip out line, waggling the rod tip to release this onto the water, and after a couple of tries I got it right and sure enough, and with a bushy caddis to tempt, his method worked for me!
I have fished the Dordogne before. Benoit (Canon) took me onto it near his home, at St Cyprien, many miles downstream in Aquitaine, where my success was limited to a couple of whitefish. Up here, the Dordogne was monstrously wide,
and the winds were blowing clumpy seeds onto the surfaces disguising where my clumpy March Brown was drifting!
But the trout found them…
Gregoire is a helpful and engaging guide, and very good company…