3 June – Keepers Bridge

It was a morning made for fishing. Blue sky, fluffy white clouds and a breeze to moderate the heat. By the time I arrived at the lakes the sky had darkened and the breeze had increased to a wind. I walked slowly around Little Springs with a large mug of tea, watching the Trout and looking for Mayfly. The gusty wind was knocking the Duns into the reeds and rushes around the margins. The cow parsley was covered in bees and various beetles.

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I found a newly hatched female Dun sheltering on the window ledge of the fishing hut, it flew away after resting for a few minutes. Martins were swooping over the surface of the lake and a cheeky Chaffinch sat high up in a young Oak waiting for the mayfly to arrive. A Wagtail perched on the little seat, flicking its tail up and down. Wagging.

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There were lots of black winged damsel flies, Banded Demoiselle, along the river but only a few Mayfly managed to get airborne. The wind had increased and the river valley channeled it downstream, not good for presentation.Ā I watched the water at Keepers Bridge for a while, a couple of Trout rose in the usual places and that made up my mind. I would start there and if the fish were difficult, I would move to Taylors Bridge.

A fish picked off the odd Dun hatching beside a Willow bush at the head of the run by the farm track. I sat and watched, it was a tricky cast between an Alder and the Willow even in still air. The branches were waving about so I waited for a lull in the wind. To my surprise the first few casts into the wind were on target but the fish didn’t rise. I walked down to the bridge crossed over and sat under the Alder with the wind behind me. I dapped a plastic winged Mayfly into the fast water by the trailing Willow branches convinced that Trout number one was a formality. The presentation was perfect but the fish had retreated under the bush. I marked it down for later.

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I walked upstream a hundred yards to look for the Trout-that-rises-vertically. I checked the tippet and tied on a new fly, a detached body Dun with dirty olive hackle point wings. I sat behind a wall of young rushes and allowed the fly to drift downstream close to my bank. An open mouth appeared under the fly and the fish rose cautiously to inhale the convincing imitation. I lifted too soon. Why did I do that ? I knew that would happen. I would return later.

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I crossed to the South bank, dangled the Mayfly over the bushes and lost a few flies in the process. Casting into the wind was making presentation very difficult and the line was blowing into the overhanging branches when I lifted off. I walked down to the bend that I had fished on the last two trips. There were no bushes to eat my flies.

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The waves sunk the fly and made it skate across the river. Hopeless. I returned to the fish I had marked down but they were waiting for dusk, three hours later. I adjourned to The Badgers and sat in the sun with a pint.

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