The morning was damp but the forecast was for sunshine with a strong south westerly wind. I drove south along Stane Street and stopped in Pulborough for some essential supplies; pies and chocolate muffins. I visited Little Bognor and saw a fish rise on the lower lake but I was not inspired and decided to fish the river. The water level gauge at Halfway Bridge had gone mad again and I ignored the reading. As I crossed Coultershaw Bridge I glanced to my right, the river looked beautiful with a slight green tint and was at its normal summer level.
The fields had been stripped of their crops, a sandy brown desert had been left behind. Devoid of all wildlife. The cereal had been ferried away and the bales of straw built into stacks the size of small houses. The stacks looked traditional, they were part of the rural landscape. The rows of black plastic bales along the old railway line were alien. The contrast was marked, the plastic spoilt the rural idyll.
I signed in at Taylors Bridge at 2:00pm and stood in the centre of the bridge looking for Trout. The river was shallow and very clear. It was also devoid of any fish. The wind was very strong and I decided to fish from the south bank. Shadows would be a problem but casting would be easier. I walked down to the Monster Pool and sat among the balsam and nettles watching the water for signs of a Trout. My confidence was high. I’d had two six pounders there early in my first season on the river, hence my name for the pool. I always had high expectations of that pool. I rolled the nymph into every corner but there was no response and after thirty minutes, I wandered downstream to the iron gate.
I systematically explored the shaded water under the trees along the far bank. The wind was tricky, occasionally it helped guide the fly under the branches but more often I caught the twigs. The tree tunnel above Perryfields looked good, I took risks exploring its depths and eventually lost a fly in the trees. The pools below Perryfields were unusually shallow, a lot of the water had been extracted to water the crops north of Ladymead.
I found a deep pool and worked the weighted nymph for about twenty minutes but the trout were not impressed. I returned to Taylors Bridge and watched the water again, tiny Dace were feeding on midges but the Trout were not. The hot sun and strong wind were too much for me and I left the river earlier than planned. I should have arrived in the evening.