There was a hard frost last night, the top of the car was frozen and the lawn was white. It hadn’t altered the temperature of the water. It takes several days of very cold weather to make even a small change in water temperature. My diary for 2016 showed that on this day last year, the river was six inches higher and coloured. The lack of winter rain had left the sandy soil parched and the river low.
The hedgerows by the Fish Pass and Coultershaw Bridge had been heavily trimmed during the winter. The overgrown banks around the feeder streams had been cleared and access to the river had been made a lot easier. I waded across the river and walked downstream. The water was crystal clear and the streamer weed had grown a lot. The water was too shallow to hold a good fish so I went back to the weir pool. After a few casts with a Black Nymph I had a ‘rattle’ from a wild trout but it was too quick for me. A little later I had a serious ‘nip’ on the fly but again I failed to hook the fish. I left the pool and fished the Coultershaw Bridge arm of the river. I hadn’t fished this part of the river before and expected great things. Unfortunately it was shallower than I had hoped and after a fishless hour I walked back downstream and crossed back onto the north bank.
I wandered slowly upstream looking for signs of fish. I stopped at Wasp Bend. That was the pool where I had caught a small trout on my first ever visit to the Rother. The entire stretch looked lifeless but I decided to concentrate and cover every pool on the way back to the Fish Pass. Nothing happened until I got to the top of the long straight. I drew the fly alongside a bed of streamer weed and there was a big thump on the rod as a good fish seized the nymph. It managed to wrap itself around the weed and came free. Disappointing but it spurred me on.
I moved along the bank twenty yards and worked the fly down and across, taking several steps at the end of each cast. Halfway down the straight I had a gentle take and the trout stayed on the hook. Success. It started to rain and I could see The Badgers across the field. It was calling me. The pub was nice and warm.