8 June – River Walkham

A gentle breeze, showers and sunny spells were perfect conditions for a walk in the woods. With a rod. The privacy of the River Walkham middle reaches would ensure solitude and unspoilt countryside. I parked the Defender and locked the gate behind me. A barrier to those who would drop litter and throw rocks in the best pools.

I found a rising trout under the near bank. It rose continually while I set up my rod. That’s probably why I missed the first ring. The fish had moved upstream a little by the time I had sorted out the rod and selected a fly. I hid behind a tree trunk and presented a small badger-hackled pattern which was ignored, as were several other dry flies. I tied on a tiny partridge hackled nymph and had a take first cast. Too slow. I was in ‘Sussex-mayfly-slowly-lift’ mode.

I walked upstream and found a few fish rising under a tree branch. Each time the breeze shook the bough, debris dropped into the water and the fish rose. Perhaps they were vegetarian. I tied on a midge and flicked it downstream, the fish moved away. I followed but the fish retreated even further and eventually stopped rising.

I walked down the Beat, through the beech wood and fished the fast, rocky water with a weighted nymph. I didn’t see any fish but the pristine, ancient woodland bordering the river was uplifting. A storm drowned the garden shortly after I arrived home. Perfect.