21 July – Rotherbridge

I took my time driving to Petworth, it was a lovely morning and strangely, there wasn’t much traffic about. The weather forecast was hopeless, the only thing I could be sure about was that it was going to be hot. I stopped at Riverhill to look over the gate and to see how the harvest had changed the landscape. The breeze kept the humidity down and I stayed at Riverhill for a while admiring the scenery.


I checked the lakes at Little Bognor, the fish were feeding on buzzers under the trees. There were a lot of damsel flies around the margins of the top lake but I couldn’t find anything in the surface film except buzzer shucks. At Rotherbridge there were several Trout feeding both above and below the bridge, I decided to return there after I had visited the other lakes and had lunch.


The water temperature at the lakes was high, 23 degrees and the fish were distressed. The pond life was thriving, a few days of rain and the water temperature would drop. In the meantime it was a relaxing place to have lunch and watch the buzzards. On the way out of the estate I stopped on the crest of the hill and looked back over the Rother valley towards Midhurst. The view over the stubble was enhanced by the clouds welling up over the high ground.


I parked at Rotherbridge and decided to fish below the bridge on the North bank. I had seen a few Trout under the bushes and it would be a challenge to extract a fish from the tangle of Willow and Alder. This was not the time for my slow action split cane rod, I needed a rod that could fire a nymph under the branches and up the tree tunnel on my right. I stood behind the shoulder high stinging nettles and balsam, being careful not to spook the fish. I started with a few gentle casts into mid stream and gradually extended the fly line to cover a wider area across the river and downstream to my left. I used the Cortland 444 line so that I could clearly see the extent of the cast before it touched down. I lost a couple of black spiders in the bushes opposite. After knotting a new fly to the tippet, I flicked the line into the water and prepared to lift off for a longer cast. I saw the line tighten and lifted into a Trout. It came off after a few seconds. I persevered but although I saw a good fish swim past, I didn’t have another take. I lost several more flies in the tree tunnel where the Trout were feeding, too far upstream, way out of reach.


I crossed the bridge and worked a small shrimp imitation down the side of the streamer weeds and across the sandy patches. There were hundreds of Dace on the sand but they were not interested in my fly. I saw a Carp about 12lb cruising downstream and put the shrimp infront of it but it continued on its way without a glance. That was probably a good thing. I stood on the bridge and watched the Carp swim back upstream, occasionally dipping down to disturb the silt. It was a fully scaled common, not the mirror I had seen last year.

It had been a relaxing day and although I had not caught anything, I was content.