It rained over the weekend and everyone was happy ! What an odd situation. The lakes at Little Bognor looked fresh and clean, the dust had been washed away. The Trout in the bottom lake were feeding and the water temperature was only 18 degrees. The tranquility was shattered by a chain saw and I left. As I drove to Coultershaw the drizzle eased off and the sun came out.
The river was roaring through the fish pass and the Sea Trout only had about a foot of foaming water to clear. The water was dark grey from the dust and road washings. It didn’t look promising. I visited the other beats and the lakes to collect the catch returns and it was 2:00pm before I pulled into the Badgers car park. Over a pint my Guest and I agreed that it would be nice to visit Ladymead as it is a pleasant place to walk even if the fish are sheltering from the spate. We therefore drove along the old railway line to Taylors Bridge where we had two Beats to ourselves.
I went downstream on the south bank, mainly to avoid the Sussex heifers, I can’t concentrate when they are about. They stare at me. I fished the first pool carefully with a couple of different coloured flies, trying to establish which colour was best in the murky water. There was no response. I moved downstream exploring the usual pools and runs, casting the fly close to the streamer weed where the fish were sheltering. I expected the leader to draw tight at any moment. I walked and fished as far as Perryfields without a take, there were no fish rising. I covered one of the pools below the bridge, a long pool which normally holds several Trout. Nothing.
As I walked back upstream I stopped several times to look at the cloudscape and the sunlight on the fields of stubble. The river sparkled and looked inviting. I arrived at Taylors Bridge earlier than we had agreed and I decided to spend a few minutes fishing the pool where I had started. I cast a white fly across the top of the pool and was surprised by a big swirl which was magnified by the fast water. It was a good fish. I cast again and the fish swirled aggressively. I wondered if it was a Sea Trout. I rested the fish and changed to a black fly. As I was about to cast I noticed the fish surface close to the far bank, directly opposite me. The fly landed perfectly but was ignored. A few casts later the leader drew away from me and I lifted into the fish which I could see was a brownie about 3lbs. It did a series of Trout cartwheels across the pool and came off.
I was pleased to find that my Guest had caught a Trout in the main pool at Ladymead. As we were standing on the bridge chatting, a Trout rose for a fly just upstream, near the bank. If we had stayed for another hour we might have caught a couple more but we were both tired and adjourned to the Badgers for a celebratory pint.