6 September – Fish Pass

The BBC weather forecast was for bright sun in the morning and an overcast afternoon. The forecast was correct but the weather was three hours late. The morning was too hot for fishing which was just as well as I spent most of it walking around the lakes and along the river chatting with other members. I found time for a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit at Great Springs. There were lots of small Roach and Rudd swimming just under the surface but no signs of any Trout. I shared my seat with a dragon fly, a Red Veined Darter, but there were no other flying insects.


There were three members at Keepers Bridge and I didn’t want to share a Beat even though a Sea Trout had been caught there the previous day. I drove to the end of the railway line and had a leisurely lunch while listening to the mewing of a Buzzard. The bird sounded close but although I searched the sky all around me, I couldn’t see it. I walked to the bridge and was surprised by the colour of the water. It was very muddy. The water at Coultershaw, Rotherbridge and Keepers Bridge was clear. I thought one of the Sussex cattle had fallen in so I walked to the top of the Beat looking for a swimming cow. I didn’t find anything and returned to the Landrover, hot and annoyed that I couldn’t fish.

I remembered the big Chub I had seen in the fast water below the Fish Pass. I took the rod apart and drove to Coultershaw. Since my first sighting of the Chub I had waited for the nettles and balsam to thin out and for the streamer weed to die back. The time had come to present a fly. I peered over a clump of balsam and the fish was still there, tucked under the far bank. I had been very careful with my approach but the fish became nervous and drifted downstream into deeper water. Several gentle casts later there was a splash and I hooked a Chub. A small one, not the monster. I returned the fish and left the pool for later.


The bushes around the main weir pool provided good cover and I settled down on the grass covered gabion near the bottom of the pool. I used a long tippet and the heaviest Copper Nymph in the box. As I high-sticked the nymph at the end of a cast a Trout swirled around the fly but didn’t take. A few minutes later a fish rose in the centre of the pool, I extended the fly line, dropped the nymph into the ripples and it was immediately grabbed. As I was landing the fish another trout rose to my right, near the lip of the fish ladder. After I had released my fish, which was about 1lb 4ozs, I covered the other fish but it had gone, probably frightened off by the splashing.


I fished the pool where the river divides and then returned to the weir pool. A fish rose very close to the far bank but the wind prevented me from reaching it. A big fish jumped clear of the water in midstream, it wasn’t feeding. The clouds were gathering and the blustery wind was making it difficult to cast. I went back downstream to see if the big Chub had relaxed. I missed a take from a small fish, probably another mini Chub. I left the river but the late evening was overcast with a fine misty rain and I probably should have stayed.