31 July – Great Springs

There wasn’t much rain over the weekend but the level of the river had risen a lot then fallen a little. I crossed the North River at Billingshurst and saw that it was quite coloured. The Rother would be unfishable. I stopped at Riverhill to look over the Rother valley, the rain had knocked a lot of the wheat over. I visited the river at Taylors Bridge to walk Beat B and to take some photos. A new cow drink and some access points were being dug out. The landscape looked fresh and colourful. I didn’t see any signs of fish, the water needed to clear. Heavy rain is forecast for Wednesday and the river will probably not be fishable until next week.


I went to Great Springs and had a leisurely cup of tea. The lakes looked very inviting and a few fish were splashing on the surface. I was puzzled about the poor catch returns, how hard can it be? The water temperature was 20 degrees, still a bit warm. I waited until 5:00pm before settling down on the oak bench. I had the soft warm southerly wind behind me which would help turn over a long leader. As the water around me was clear of weed I tied on about ten feet of 2lb tippet and a size 16 black buzzer. Second cast the leader twitched and I lifted into a small roach. A few minutes later I caught another slightly bigger roach. The shoal moved away and I started to experiment with different depths and flies. I caught another roach on a trimmed down Coachman. I swapped to a lightly weighted GRHE nymph and allowed it to sink. At 6:00pm the leader slid away and I gently lifted the rod. Nothing. I could tell from the movement of the leader that it was a trout, I should have given it a bit more time.


I walked around Little Springs and on the south bank a huge bow wave approached me. I saw the fish turn, it was the monster Brownie that I had seen earlier in the season. It was nice to know it had survived the heat wave. I had a few casts but the water was too murky so I returned to the top lake. Fish were starting to show around the point but the wind was against me. I sat on the bench again and persevered with a deep nymph. At about 7:00pm the line paused in it’s drift across the ripples and I lifted very slowly. The Trout didn’t know it was hooked. It was about 1lb 4ozs. It had taken the nymph about four feet down, the water temperature was a bit lower at that depth. I had proved to myself that Trout could be caught with the right tactics. Next time I might try and repeat the experiment at Luffs. The sun was low over the river valley as I left, I should have started later and fished into dusk.