2 July – River Itchen

As I arrived, just after noon, it started to rain. I sat in the car and laughed. The soaking on my previous visit was fresh in my memory. The light shower passed over and ten minutes later the intense sunlight pierced through the fast moving clouds. I tackled up my Southwell “Blagdon” and walked to the top of the Beat in shirt sleeves. A couple of casts later I decided that the rod was not right for the river, it was too powerful. Another shower sent me scurrying back to the car for a change of rod and a jacket.

I returned to the river as a weather front passed over. The air temperature soared and it became very humid. The blue bottles drove me mad and I was grateful when the air freshened and the wind increased. I had not fished “The Bends” before and it was good to explore a new stretch of river and admire the scenery. I found a group of fish in a deep pool and thought that one would soon be visiting me on the bank. For about an hour everything was a shambles. I hooked every piece of greenery, rod wrapped and splashed the fly down. As I became more frustrated the problems deepened. I knew that I needed a break and returned to the car for a late brunch. I abandoned the jacket.


I resolved to keep calm and take my time when I returned to the fish in the deep pool. A Trout rose and turned to follow my fly downstream but sheered away and disappeared. The wind made it difficult to present the fly in the channel but on the odd occasion when it drifted over a fish there was no response.


I moved up the Beat and found a couple of lone fish on the shallows but they were very spooky and drifted into cover. A deep run under my bank held a fish and my spirits lifted when a good Trout took the fly. They were dashed a few seconds later when it flashed it’s flank and came unstuck. I moved on and made a note to return to the run later.


I worked hard for six hours, walking up and down the Beat, creeping around behind cover and only resting a few minutes between pools to relax my back and shoulder muscles. The wind was strong and flukey but the nature of the Beat ensured that I could find situations where I could present a fly upstream with the wind behind me.

I returned to the deep run and a nice Grayling took the fly. It was nice to catch something towards the end of the day, it was a suitable reward for my efforts.