24 May – Heavy Rain

I thought about taking two coats but decided against it, the BBC always exaggerate the weather forecast. As I drove towards Petworth the air was moist and there was a chilly north east breeze but the roads were completely dry.

I visited the lakes and chatted to a new member at Great Springs. I suggested that he fish under the trees and keep a low profile. I advised him to wait until a feeding Trout came close to the bank before he cast. I made a cup of tea in the clubhouse and when I emerged he was into a Trout. His first ever fish. On a dry mayfly. As I drove away he was targeting another Trout. An excellent start to the day for both of us.

I walked upstream from the Fish Pass looking for any signs of Trout. Nobody had fished the Beat for over a week. The scenery looked lovely but the river was grey and lifeless. I spent a few minutes looking through the bars on the bridge at Rotherbridge but I couldn’t see anything moving, it didn’t inspire me. I decided to start at Keeper’s Bridge, fish had been caught on both Beats and that encouraged me.


As I walked slowly upstream a light drizzle fell, hardly enough to warrant a coat. As I was creeping past the straight stretch, just below the sandy pool, a good Trout leapt out of the water and crashed back. It was a stock fish, not a Sea Trout. It’s jump was not that of a feeding fish but as it was the only sign of life, I decided to try for it. I moved slightly upstream and worked a nymph down and across for about twenty minutes. The rain got heavier and it was difficult to see where the fly was landing. Mayfly continued to hatch, the rain knocked a few into the water but they didn’t entice the fish to rise. I used a nymph that I had tied with a blend of seals fur, it was lighter in colour than a GRHE nymph and was a better imitation of a Mayfly nymph.


I gave up on the jumping Trout and walked on, exploring the usual places on my way to Perryfields. The rain poured down the sleeves of my Barbour, I should have worn a longer coat to keep my legs dry. I sheltered under an Alder tree and when the rain eased off, walked slowly upstream looking and listening for rises.


The rain and debris falling from the trees made it impossible to detect a rise. I had been walking for two hours. I was cold and wet, there was no point continuing to fish, I wasn’t enjoying myself. I turned and walked downstream looking forward to a sandwich and a drink at the Land Rover. I had a few casts in the pool with the jumping Trout but the river was rising and the fish would be seeking refuge in the tree roots anticipating another flood.

I turned the heater up to ‘max’ on the drive home, I should have taken two coats. The river will be high and coloured for a few days. The small spate should trigger the Sea Trout to run upstream.