13 August – Rotherbridge

I had lots of chores and it wasn’t until 2:00pm that I arrived at Rotherbridge. There was no plan, I just had a hunch that I would catch a Trout there. The water was a little coloured but I could see the Dace flashing silver on the sand below the bridge and I was confident that my flies would be seen. I decided to start on the north bank and then work my way up to the New Riffle on the south side. I walked across the bridge towards the farm and through the field to the first pool below the bridge.

I stood behind a shoulder high wall of nettles which hid me perfectly. I had the sun in my face and didn’t have to worry about shadows. The wind was downstream but the bushes around the bridge sheltered my cast. As I was choosing a fly a fish swirled in midstream in the shadow of the bushes. I started with an amber spider but after half an hour with no response I swapped to a black spider. Then I tried a small shrimp imitation. The fish rose again but it was not impressed with my carefully chosen flies. I was running out of ideas. The fish was returning to the river bed after each rise, I needed a heavier nymph. I tied on a copper nymph and a couple of casts later the leader drew slowly away from me. It was nice to catch a Trout on a fly that I had designed after reading an article on Frank Sawyer.


The wide sandy stretch below the Alder tree looked inviting. The grass had been cut short but I stood next to the tree, behind some Himalayan Balsam which I thought preferable to stinging nettles. I fished down and across with the copper nymph, running it close to the sparse bunches of streamer weed. I saw a flash of gold where the fly should be but the leader didn’t move. I raised the rod gently which induced another golden flash so I continued to tighten the line and the fish was hooked. It was a much larger Trout and I was glad to see it slide over the rim of the landing net.

I crossed back over the bridge and trundled the nymph down the margin into the shade of the bushes. I expected a take any second but the wind upstream of the bridge made controlling the line tricky, the fly was moving too fast.


I sought the more sheltered pools but despite working hard and concentrating on the tip of the line, I didn’t get any takes. I was sure the fish were feeding but the wind made presentation too difficult. When my tippet wrapped around a branch I decided to leave. It had been an enjoyable couple of hours.