12 July – Keepers Bridge

The weather had changed, the morning was overcast and the wind was cool. Perfect conditions for fishing. I didn’t want to leave the house, I was impatiently awaiting the delivery of a Very Important Parcel. I dragged myself away to visit the lakes and river Beats. I found a big grey shadow under a clump of streamer weed below the Fish Pass and a huge Trout at Rotherbridge. I eventually arrived at Keepers Bridge about 2:00pm. I had the river to myself and hoped for a relaxing stroll along the river without the pressure of catching a big Trout. A small one would be fine.


I sat on the grass opposite the first Alder tree and watched the river. It wasn’t long before a fish rose under the tree. I crept towards the fringe of nettles and gently cast upstream of the ripples. I gradually extended the length of my casts and after a few minutes the fish swirled and was hooked. It fought long and hard, up and down the pool. I released it from the net and wondered which way to go, upstream or down ?

I had a toffee and decided to walk upstream but as I was about to leave, another fish took an olive or damsel fly off the surface under a nearby Alder tree. I didn’t have to crawl far. I checked the tippet and hook before flicking a thickly hackled fly into midstream. With each cast I extended the line a little, the Trout came up but I failed to connect. I quickly flicked the fly out again incase the fish was circling, looking for a missed meal. It rose again but I missed. I rested the fish for ten minutes and trimmed the stiff hackle on the underside of the fly. On the next rise he was firmly hooked and dashed downstream into the weeds on my side of the river. The Trout kept going, pulling the line through the overhanging plants and I was forced to follow. After much rod bending and untangling the line came free and the fish dashed back upstream to where we started and where I had left the landing net. The fish took a while to recover but eventually swam away, back into the weeds.


I walked up to the Old Riffle and saw a fish swirl. The current in the smooth water above the riffle was strong and a dry fly dragged within seconds. I changed to a black spider and hooked a good fish close to the lip of the riffle but it shook the hook. I moved upstream to the Wide Pool hoping to avoid the embarrassment of hooking the tree. I had a few preparatory casts into the middle of the pool without hooking a tree and then had the confidence to cast upstream under the bushes. A wild fish about 6ozs took the nymph and was quickly returned. I wandered upstream but I couldn’t find a rising fish. I returned to the Old Riffle. There were several fish rising to olives so I switched to a size 16 Olive and allowed the leader to drop loosely to minimize drag. A fish looked at the fly but rejected it. I changed back to a black spider and hooked a fish which charged all over the pool, seeking out the tree roots on the far side and then dashing into the weeds under my feet. I bullied it into the net and released it carefully. It was about 2lb and in very good condition.


I had enjoyed the afternoon and ambled back towards Keepers Bridge. The pub was calling but as I walked towards the bridge, I saw several fish rising. The rise forms were aggressive. The fish were attacking thousands of damsel flies hovering just above the surface and settling on the weed fronds. I couldn’t ignore the rises. I tied on a small black dry fly and flicked it into midstream. It was taken immediately but the tiny hook failed to hold the fish. I caught a Trout on an Adams and then another on the fly I had trimmed earlier. The last fish took all of my fly line and pointed me. I had to run along the bank to avoid a break. It was about 1lb 8ozs and was foul hooked under the jaw. If I had lost the fish, it would have weighed at least 3lbs.

It had been a very enjoyable afternoon. When I got home the Very Important Parcel had not arrived.