10 May – Mixed Bag

The weather had changed, a warm breeze, some high wispy clouds and bright sunshine. No need for the Barbour jacket. I knew exactly where I was going to fish. On the last trip I had pulled a dry fly out of the mouth of a good fish. I checked the signing-in book at Keeper’s Bridge. The fish had not been caught. I walked down through the woods, the bluebells were just starting to fade but the wood anemones and wild garlic were in full bloom.

I walked downstream keeping an eye on the river but not casting. The sun beat down on the water and there was only a slight upstream ripple. Just enough to help me position the fly. I crept around the Alder tree and peered over the marginal nettles. No sign of life. I decided to start with a nymph. I thought the trout would be hiding under the bushes. There was a long branch across the river about three feet off the water. The other side of the branch the main flow ran alongside a bush. Petals from the Hawthorn trees floated past the bush. I cast sideways under the branch and flicked the rod tip to curl the leader around. By a miracle I consistently avoided the branch.

After twenty minutes a trout swirled at the nymph just as I was lifting off for the next cast. I changed the GRHE nymph for an Olive nymph and cast again. The fish rose close to me and took a small fly off the surface. Ten minutes later it rose again. I persisted with the nymph and eventually had a take. The trout charged around but I lead it downstream and netted it. It was about 1lb 8ozs,  not the fish I had seen on the previous trip !


The pool was trashed so I walked down to the riffle. I had a ‘rattle’ first cast, probably a small wild fish. As I was casting I heard a good fish rise and turned to see the ripples in the deep pool above the riffle. I sneaked through a gap in the bushes and saw a shoal of about ten big fish under the far bank. They were quite deep and I thought they looked like sea trout. I had to roll cast the nymph. It landed near one of the shadows, the shadow followed but then turned away. I changed to a Black Nymph and managed to roll the line out so the nymph plopped down amongst the shoal. One of the smaller fish charged at the fly and grabbed it. I expected fireworks but when I lifted the rod, the fish struggled a bit and then gave up. It was a chub. Three others followed it to the net. It was in stunning condition and weighed about 3lb 8ozs. Some of it’s companions were double the size.


I moved upstream about fifty yards and worked the nymph down and across alongside a row of trees.  After a few casts there was a solid take and a small fish dashed around like a Mackerel, the silver flashes and skittering fight suggested a sea trout. It took several yards of line but when I got it in the net it only weighed about 6ozs. I wondered what a big sea trout would do.

The sun was very hot and I didn’t have the energy to carry on. It had been a short but productive day. I had hoped a lot of Mayfly would be hatching. I will return one evening next week and wait for dusk.