Sunset would be at 18:36, a civilised time. ‘GuageMap’ showed that the river level at Halfway Bridge was up. That would encourage the Sea Trout to climb the fish ladder. However, the water might be a little coloured. Perhaps too coloured for a dry fly or nymph.
When I arrived at Rotherbridge I had a look at the river before deciding which Beat to fish. While watching the water from the bridge, I was pleased to see that the level was normal and the water was clear. Upstream I saw a good Trout holding station behind a stone. Downstream several fish were rising under the trees. I decided to stay at Rotherbridge.
I cast a Black Neoprene Spider to the fish above the bridge. I tried a few other dry flies and a nymph but there was no response. I resolved to try again later. I moved upstream opposite the big Alder tree where a fish was rising. I flicked out a weighted nymph which was grabbed but the fish came unstuck. I rested the pool for fifteen minutes and cast downstream, near a clump of streamer weed. A Trout took the fly and fought hard. I released it into the pool and was about to walk upstream when another fish rose under the Alder tree.
I worked the fly under the tree, the fish followed but it wouldn’t take. I swapped to a small shrimp pattern and that was successful. The fish was a good size and it took a while to get it in the landing net. The cool water meant that the fish was not too stressed and it swam away strongly.
I moved upstream to the shallow pool above the Alder tree and cast ‘up and across’ where I had seen a fish swirl. I searched mid-stream and the weed clumps but it wasn’t until I put the shrimp under the far bank that I had a take. The fish raced off downstream and eventually escaped in the weeds under my feet.
I walked up to the new riffle to take some photos and to find out if the Trout had set up home there. The sun was setting and the tail of the riffle looked like it might hold a few fish. I cast ‘down and across’ and let the line swing round to the near bank. I had a double tap from a wild fish. I cast again and fed the line downstream. I was expecting a take but I couldn’t connect with the tug on the line.
As the sun dipped below the horizon I walked back towards the bridge. I saw a fish rise in the middle of the pool above the Alder tree. It took within seconds of the Black Spider landing and I had an audience while I fumbled with the line. Luckily the fish stayed out of the weeds and I landed it with congratulations from the opposite bank.
The light was going, I picked up the landing net and I thought it was time to re-visit the fish at the bridge. Just as I walked past the Alder tree a fish swirled under the far bank. I put the net down and cast the mangled fly into the ripples from the rise. Again the Trout took the fly without hesitating. This was a much better fish and I was glad I had chosen 5lb bs fluorocarbon. I bullied the fish into the net and released it, this time without applause.
When I got to the bridge I sat on the grass and tied on a new Black Spider, the other fly was too tatty to use. My first cast landed in exactly the right place and a good fish slammed into the fly. The position of the take convinced me it was the fish I had seen a couple of hours earlier. Another member watched me land the fish and return it. The light had gone and I packed my tackle away in the Land Rover. It had been an evening to remember and I celebrated in the usual way at The Badgers.