The cool, bright morning quickly developed into a hot Summers day. There would be no fishing until the late evening. I resolved not to become impatient and leave the house too early. Moreover, I needed to recover from the previous afternoons extended liquid lunch with Fullers at Elstead. Yesterday I had watched the streamer weed swaying in the mill stream on the River Wey, just below the stretch I had been invited to fish earlier in the season. The fish were cruising over the sand banks and occasionally rising but I had been distracted by the free beer and Premier Grand Crus Chablis, my favourite white wine. The family celebration continued into the night.
A very late breakfast, a long siesta and a Red Bull revitalized me for an evening at the river. I visited Little Bognor and was grateful for the cool breeze and the shade afforded by the mature Beech trees. There were Trout rising everywhere and I was tempted to catch a few but I stuck to plan A and after a leisurely stroll around the lower lake, I departed for the river.
The Fish Pass looked beautiful but lifeless, there was little shade and the Trout would be buried deep in the tree roots until darkness fell. Similarly, Rotherbridge looked promising and I marked several likely pools between the Alder trees. I investigated a rise near the springs but the culprit crept out of the water and sat on the grass. Mink are not good fishing companions so I walked back to the Defender and drove to Keepers Bridge.
At 7:00pm I started the long walk upstream towards Perryfields Barn. The stretch had just been fished by another member who had caught three and lost two. If I had arrived a little later I would have been unaware of his success and would have fished all the usual pools. My strategy was to fish the impossible places, the weed beds and gaps in the trees that everyone else ignores.
While walking across the sheep strewn field I saw a fish rise at the top of the Sandy Pool, in open water. It rose again. As I sat and watched the pool a few Olives hatched and I decided to fish a GRHE nymph upstream. If I had approached the fish from upstream, the setting sun would have thrown my shadow across the top of the pool. Despite my careful approach and methodical casting, the fish went down. I had probably lined the Trout as I lengthened the cast. Fishing down and across from the opposite bank would have been a better tactic.
I continued upstream to the tree lined stretch just below the barn but could not resist the pool above the Old Riffle which always contains a Trout. I had good cover and the pool was dotted with small clumps of streamer weed. Perfect. I dropped the nymph close to each clump of weed along the far bank and allowed the fly to pass under the branches. An anti-pigeon gas gun exploded in the field behind me and as I flinched, there was a swirl behind my fly. Unfortunate timing.
I rested the pool and then started exploring all the likely lies. Eventually there was another big swirl as the fish turned away. It looked about 3lbs. I found the fish again, between two clumps of weeds but it flashed gold, deep down and was obviously not impressed by my nymph. A change of fly to an olive seals fur nymph and a long rest, produced an immediate take. It was not the same fish, it was about 1lb 8ozs. I released the Trout in the riffle after resting it in my landing net. The pool was trashed so I went upstream to the Wide Pool and the Cattle Drink but they were quiet so I turned around and went back to the Sandy Pool.
I saw a few fish rise but they were only Dace or small Chub, my evening on the river ended at about 9:15pm with just one Trout. I was pleased with the result, I’d had several opportunities to catch a good fish in beautiful Sussex countryside. As I drove towards Wisborough Green on high ground, I could see the moon glowing red during a partial eclipse. It was a fitting end to a lovely evening.