11 September – Luffs

The river was muddy, racing along and still rising when I got to Rotherbridge. The weather forecast was bad. The strong southerly wind blew huge storm clouds over the Downs and they dumped their contents on the Rother valley. The rain was torrential until 2:00pm when the sun came out. It became a lovely Autumn afternoon. It was warm while I had lunch at Great Springs. It reminded me of a day in August last year when I fished at Luffs and blanked. It was unfinished business. I parked at Luffs and walked around the lake to the shallow end. I watched a good Roach sunning itself close to the footbridge over the feeder stream. It darted away as I crossed the bridge. The marginal weed was patchy and I decided to start in the shallows on the south side of the lake.  Casting alongside the remnants of the weed beds. The wind sprung up as I started to cast and it was so blustery I couldn’t get the fly line in the water. Just like last year I had to shelter under an Alder tree until the wind and rain stopped. It was the same tree as last August. When I emerged from under the Alder the sun was shining and a gentle breeze ruffled the water.


I cast the weighted Black Nymph across the ripples, a good trout immediately grabbed the fly and surged out into the middle of the lake. It flashed several times and then came off. The hook point held a scale from the foul hooked Trout. I was conscious that the afternoon was becoming a replay of my 2016 visit to Luffs. Spooky. The conditions were ideal and I felt confident that I would get another take. As I prepared to cast I flicked the nymph into the shallow water at my feet and a Roach took the fly.

The breeze dragged my fly line around towards the top of the lake and the weighted nymph worked a big area. After thirty minutes a few Trout started to rise. They were feeding not jumping to remove the irritating lice. I thought the nymph was fishing too deep so I swapped it for an unweighted version. A couple of casts later I saw the leader start to move away from me and I slowly lifted into a Trout. The fish didn’t escape, it was properly hooked in the lower jaw and weighed about 1lb 8ozs. It was in very good condition.


I moved around the lake covering as much water as possible but I didn’t get another take. The wind was a problem on the north bank. The front taper of the Rio line and the long leader of Fox Illusion fluorocarbon were too light. After several tangles I walked back to the Land Rover and signed out.

The sun was low and threw a golden glow over the hills as I left Petworth. I was pleased to have caught a Trout, unlike last year.