26 May – A Perfect Day

It was a dewy, misty morning that promised to burn off and reveal a roasting hot summer’s day. The Mayfly would rise at midday and I would be there to see them. That was the plan. Preparation is everything; P20, Jungle Formula, lunch, camera charged. It would be a perfect day.

I like the drive to Coultershaw, the country lanes and sleepy villages set the scene for a peaceful day by the Western Rother. As the Land Rover swings on to the old railway track I can look down from the embankment and see the swiftly flowing river as it leaves the weir and fish pass. It always looks promising.


I parked under the Hazel Tree, signed in and walked down the lane to Keeper’s Bridge. I sat at the top of the pool and had lunch; bacon and egg sandwich and a beer. Yummy. While I was setting my rod up a fish rose several times about half way to the bridge, in mid-stream. I marked it down and searched the fly box for inspiration.


I chose a dark hackled Mayfly on a size 10 barbless hook. I crept down the pool and flicked the fly out on a short line. The trout rose on the third cast, circled the fly, came back for it and took it confidently. The Trout was on briefly. Rats !

I rested the pool and about twenty minutes later another fish started to rise. I put it down with some clumsy casting. A fish rose once at the very top of the pool but I couldn’t present the fly properly, there was too much drag.

I wandered downstream to the straight pool below the Alder tree. It looked so inviting.


I watched the pool for about an hour and saw a few Mayfly hatch but there was no rise. I tried some exploratory casts at the tail of the pool but there was so much debris on the surface the Trout probably couldn’t see the fly.

I went back to the bridge and drifted a nymph through the pool, a fish swirled at the site indicator and ignored the Amber Nymph. I should have persevered with a Mayfly.

I visited Jacksons Lake on the way home, it was full of millions of tadpoles. I saw a couple of carp but no trout.