The weather forecast was good and the river level gauge at Halfway Bridge read 0.12m, which was 4cm lower than my last visit. Two inches in old money. Things looked promising. However, when I arrived at Keeper’s Bridge I walked down through the wood and saw the water was still quite coloured. Nevermind, the Bluebells were at their best in the morning sunshine.
I thought the shallower water of the Top Beat would be clearer so I drove up the old railway track as far as I could and parked the Land Rover. I took my time setting my rod up and went to the Monster Pool. I fished it methodically for an hour but it was too murky.
I crossed the bridge and wandered up to the big pool at Ladymead and fished it for half an hour. There was too much drag to get the fly deep so, after a rest in the sun, I moved further up. The weather was glorious, a soft Southerly breeze and high clouds. The Bumble Bees were buzzing loudly in the tops of the Willow trees and I saw my first butterfly of the year, a Peacock. The trip had turned into a walk by the river. I lost my fly in a snag and took that as a sign …. ‘Stop fishing, go to the Pub’.
So I went to The Badgers and planned my next visit to the river. I knew the early part of the season would be difficult. The Monsters in the top Beat are thinly scattered over miles of river and they are hard to find. Mr Knight had entered a lost fish in the Beat Book but he didn’t say how big it was. Or which pool. Over my pint I resolved to persevere for another 2 weeks. After that the newly stocked fish will make it impossible to find a Monster.