With a West wind and over 70 Fahrenheit it would be a waste of time fishing in the afternoon. I’d tied a few flies while I was waiting for the sun to drop below the top of the hedge. I used size 18 barbless fine wire hooks which are suitable for both dry flies and nymphs. The fish had been taking small flies just under the surface so I tied some emergers. The flies are semi-buoyant, they will float if presented gently on a nylon tippet but sink slowly with fluorocarbon. Everybody raves about CDC emergers but I can’t see the point of a fly that is useless when wet. I tied mine with Partridge hackles or a blob of white foam.
When the tippet sinks it is less obvious, the surface film is not disrupted. No shadows are produced. Fluorocarbon is slightly thicker than pre-stretched nylon but it’s refractive index is close to that of water. That makes it almost invisible under water.
I arrived about 4:00pm to find a hint of Autumn along the river. Some of the Alder leaves were yellowing and falling into the water, drifting slowly downstream. The Balsam was starting to topple over and seed pods were popping as they knocked together in the wind. I’d planned to walk down to the site of the new riffle as I had seen several fish there during my last visit. As I was setting up my rod, a fish rose just upstream of Keeper’s Bridge. I tied a black spider on a 2.7lb tippet and cast gently. About thirty minutes later another fish rose close to me. At least I hadn’t scared them away. A dry fly skated around and twisted badly. A weighted black spider fished down and across, alongside the streamer weed, was followed but the fish veered away as I lifted off.
I peered into the water where the fish had swirled, it was still there. It was in about two feet of water just under the rod tip, holding it’s position near a small clump of weed. I flicked the fly under the bridge so that it would have time to sink before I twitched it back past the Trout. As soon as the fly landed it was grabbed by another fish. I lifted gently and after a long tussle the Trout was in the landing net. As I lifted it out of the water I saw a group of about five fish near the net. They had remained in a shoal since being stocked. I released the fish below the bridge and had a toffee to celebrate.
I thought I would rest the fish and walk up to the riffle above the Sandy Pool. The grass had been cut and there were hundreds of young Pheasants poking about in the stubble. Many more than last season. The improved riffle looked good. At the tail end of the riffle a small tree had been pushed over to cover the gravel. That would provide shelter for young fish. A croy had been built on the North bank and a deep channel dug to increase the flow. The bank had been graded and fenced. The biggest improvement was immediately above the ripple. A tree had been removed and the entire pool opened up. As I was watching a fish rose in the middle of the pool. I searched the pool with a nymph but the Trout was indifferent.
As I strolled back to the bridge I saw a deer jumping about in the field occasionally browsing the grass. Very odd behaviour. I crept towards it, when it lifted it’s head I stood still. I got quite close but it saw me and bounded away into the tree line.
When I got back to the bridge I put a weighted Amber Nymph on and cast under the rushes on the far bank. The take came immediately but the fish made a long run down under the bridge and broke the tippet on the streamer weed. I fished below the bridge to a rising Trout, it swirled angrily at the nymph but I couldn’t entice it.
The wind was getting stronger and I needed a pint. The Badgers was very busy with people from the Goodwood Revival.