29 July – River Rother

The Sussex countryside had been burnt to a crisp. Devon had two days of rain just before I left, enough to raise the rivers an inch. In the rolling Sussex fields the straw had been bailed and lifted leaving a uniform camel coloured corduroy carpet of stubble everywhere.

I stopped at Keepers Bridge and watched the river for thirty minutes. Nothing moved. No birds. No flies. The river made little effort to continue its journey. I decided to fish further upstream where the river narrowed and where there was more streamer weed for the trout to shelter.

I stood on Taylors Bridge and waited for a sign. The noisy campers, swimmers and loud music limited my choice to the north bank, downstream of the bridge. I wandered down to the end of the Beat, the deep runs alongside the willows and streamer weed failed to produce a fish. After rehydrating I drove back to Keepers Bridge, happy to pause for a few minutes in the air conditioned car.

I hadn’t given up hope. The sun was setting and a few upwing flies were emerging. A fish splashed in the first pool and I explored the area thoroughly. Another splash further upstream caught my attention. Yet another disturbance upstream lead to the realisation that it was a sea trout and that it was a waste of time chasing it with a nymph.

I waited another hour with high hopes that the trout would switch on as it got dark. They did not.