30 August – Last Cast

No Trout fishing for the last three weeks, I was chasing Chub and Barbel in Herefordshire on the River Wye. I fished on the Red Lion stretch at Bredwardine which is primarily a Salmon fishery. There were quite a few Salmon and Sea Trout showing and a local fly angler caught four brownies in one evening.

I became engrossed in the big river and didn’t miss the much smaller and peaceful Rother. Now I’m back home the hot weather has broken and after the madness of the Bank Holiday, it is time to head for Petworth. A delicate nymph is much more satisfying than a lump of luncheon meat.


The River Wye

The bad weather might have discouraged some members from visiting the river. The water won’t have risen as the long hot dry spell left the ground parched. The stubble fields are full of huge round straw bales. The salad crops in the dry sandy soil have soaked up the light August rain.

It was a lovely Autumn morning with a clear blue sky. The lawn was white with damp spiders webs. I drove down to Petworth wondering where to start. I went to Rotherbridge and watched the water, it was shallow and clear. There were no Trout moving but it was interesting to see the contours of the sandy river bed. It was level with a regular dimple pattern, just like the sand on a beach at low tide. I didn’t like the look of the Beat, it was lifeless and I decided to go further upstream.

I checked the log-book at Keeper’s Bridge. I was surprised to see that a few fish had been caught over the weekend despite the Bank Holiday wind and rain. I signed in and walked down the slope to the river. I stood and watched the river while sipping a beer; it was a beautiful evening. Two members arrived and walked upstream, well away from me. A couple of fish rose within casting range. I decided to concentrate on the pool immediately above the bridge. I set up a long leader to fish an Amber Nymph but fish were still rising to a hatch of small Olives. It didn’t make sense to fish a nymph.


I switched to a size 10 bushy dry fly and worked it under the Alder trees on the far bank. Every fish I covered stopped rising. A good fish just above the bridge, came to the fly, inspected it and disappeared. The fly or leader were spooking the Trout. Probably both. I swapped to a lighter leader but it twisted with the ‘helicopter effect’ of the fly. I chopped the hackle square under the fly and the lopsided fly didn’t spin as much.


Fish started to rise along the stretch above the bridge just as the sun went down. They were feeding on something tiny. I changed to a size 16 Adams on a 4lb tippet, chopped the hackle and cast ‘up and across’ to a rising fish. It took immediately and fought well. Bill happened to walk past and netted it for me, a bright coloured fish that swam off strongly. Success on the last cast. Bill had caught two fish on a large Grey Wulf, what a contrast to my approach.

We adjourned to the Badgers for a pint and a chat. It had been a hard session but rewarding. I had re-learned a lot. Why can’t I remember these things? Writing about it might help.