25 May – Keepers Bridge

The roasting hot weather kept me off the river until 5:00pm. I checked Rotherbridge but it looked lifeless. When I arrived at Keepers Bridge there were already three cars parked in the shade and I was tempted to fish the top beats. I wandered down through the woods and watched the river. I saw a couple of fish rise and that made up my mind, there was no point in fishing elsewhere.

The Mayfly hatched sporadically and most of the duns made it to the trees. The rises were not consistent. A fish would rise a couple of times and then disappear. There were a few female spinners depositing eggs, rising and dipping to the surface on a slow journey upstream.


I sat on the grass and peeped over the marginal fringe of weeds where I had seen a fish rise. I waited for twenty minutes but it didn’t show. I heard a splash and saw a good fish rise just below the bridge in the shade of the rushes close to the far bank. I moved downstream and waited for the fish to rise again but the surface remained unbroken.

After about thirty minutes the fish took a Mayfly dun in the shadow of the bridge. I flicked a detached body imitation slightly upstream of the swirl. Several gentle casts later it slashed at the fly and I lifted into a good Trout. I kept it out of the the tree roots but when it was ready for the landing net, I discovered that the telescopic extension would not lock in place. I climbed down under the bridge to water level and netted a very annoyed looking fish which departed with a determined flick of its tail. It was my first fish from the river this season. I modified the landing net handle under my right wellie so that it would not extend.


I found a fish in the pool by the broken gate, recently mended, and adopted a sit-and-wait approach. I covered a rise but there was no response. The angle of the sun and the coloured water made it difficult to see if the fly had been rejected. I found several other fish in the pools upstream but none of the fish could be tempted.

The Barn Owl was hunting in the water meadows and a young Buzzard drifted low overhead from the woods behind me. I was tempted to wait another hour to see the sunset but I was too tired and dehydrated. I had also eaten all my toffees. It had been an interesting evening and I was relieved to have caught my first 2020 Trout from the Rother.