The river level had dropped and the weather forecast was good for fishing. Warm, overcast and a west wind. Everything looked good for a walk along the river. Last season, in late October, I was picking ripe blackberries at Perryfields and there were lots of fish about. This year, in early October, the blackberries have all gone and the Trout are hard to find.
I went to Rotherbridge and had a look through the bars on the parapet of the bridge. I could see the bottom of the river and a few bits of yellowing weed hanging in the current. The water had a nice greenish tint and looked great. A fish rose amongst the bushes below the bridge and I decided to stay there and try to catch that Trout. Very ambitious. I tackled up beside the Land Rover and crossed the bridge to fish from the north bank. I remembered ‘The Incident with the Trout in the Bush’ last October and didn’t break any of the dead stems. I saw a small trout circling around under the bush on my side. I flicked a weighted Black Nymph upstream and let it drift. The leader started to sink very slowly and I resisted the urge to lift the rod. It sunk a little more and I tightened into the fish. It fought downstream and I got it in the landing net without a problem. As I released it another Trout rose under the bridge.
I walked back across the bridge and cast down and across to the sandy shallows. After a couple of casts the leader dived under and another small Trout dashed about amongst the sparse weeds. It became snagged on a bit of weed close to the bank and I thought it would wriggle free. I managed to net the fish, unhook and return it without any problems. I had caught two fish in under thirty minutes. I fished from the south bank below the bridge for a while but didn’t get a take. A rain cloud rolled over the Downs and across the field towards me. I could see the rain advancing so I retreated to the Land Rover and had a can of Coke.
The sun came out and I walked upstream to the New Riffle. The banks had been strimmed and the gap in the trees above the riffle was open again. I rolled the fly line across the pool, being careful not to hit the trees with the rod tip. As the line drifted downstream I saw a Trout rise just above the gravel ridge. I drew the line towards me and steered the fly over the fish. To my surprise it came up, took the fly and spat it out before I could react. I tried to roll the line out again but the cast was splashy and the Trout disappeared.
I saw a large Sea Trout jump in the middle of the riffle and worked the pool for thirty minutes but there was no response. I moved downstream and found another Sea Trout just upstream of an Alder bush. That fish ignored the nymph. Rain clouds were building and I walked back towards the bridge. I couldn’t resist one last cast in the pool above the last Alder tree. A good Sea Trout took the fly, jumped and slipped the hook. My shoulder was painful so I wandered back to the Land Rover and left the river. I had caught two small Trout but it should have been four. Nevermind.