23 May – Hurrah !

It was a glorious morning, bright sunshine, fluffy white clouds and a gentle breeze. I got to the river at the crack of 11:30am and had a leisurely lunch resting against the parapet of Keeper’s Bridge. The water level at Halfway Bridge was 0.045m which is the lowest it’s been this year. The water was coloured but the streamer weed was visible in mid river. A few Mayfly were coming off, the swallows were catching most of them before they could reach the safety of the trees. A couple of noisy Buzzards spiraled along the edge of the wood and a small plane from Goodwood spluttered across the sky.

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I browsed through my box of nymphs and chose a light coloured, size 10 Mayfly nymph with added weight. The tippet was about four feet and I used fluorescent orange putty on the knot with the leader. I cast across and down and worked the pool above the bridge carefully. After about thirty minutes I had a take as I was lifting off at the end of a cast but the fish wasn’t hooked properly.

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I walked downstream on the South bank until I saw a fish rise. It rose a few times in the same place and was obviously feeding. Mayfly started to hatch and three or four fish repeatedly rose all over the pool. I couldn’t see any adult Mayfly on the surface, the Trout were probably taking the nymphs or emerging flies. To confuse matters, the water was covered with tiny white seeds from the willow trees. I tried a size 10 Mayfly but the Trout were not impressed. I swapped to a large Mayfly Spinner. A Trout rose, sneered at my imitation and turned away. I changed to a size 12 short hackled Mayfly and this was taken by the first fish that saw it. Hurrah ! My first decent fish from the river this season. The disturbance put all the other fish down.

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Size 12  short hackled Mayfly

I walked down towards Rotherbridge but I couldn’t find any rising fish. The river had been stocked earlier in the day but the new fish were not showing, they will have settled down by Thursday. I made my way back to the Land Rover and drove to The Badgers for a celebration pint.

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