I'd checked the weather forecast yesterday, natch - west north westerly, gusting up to 40mph: Well, as usual they got it wrong, the worst gusts were mid thirties, tops.
The Churn looked good, but casting was tricky, and sighting the leader among the white horses was a tad problematic. I did, however, manage to winkle a couple of wild browns out on a pink bead head GRHE nymph. Nothing was rising, and there was no sign of large dark olives coming off, unlike a couple of days ago when I came for a pre-season amble along the bank, when there was a prolific hatch at lunchtime.
There was a bit of drama though. The farmer here puts his lambing ewes into the fields bordering the river and, skulking along the bank with the river to my right and the sounds of bleating sheep to my left, I heard a baleful bleat coming from - my right. A lamb, no more than a day or two old, had fallen in, and was standing up to his nether regions in the water on a small ledge. Throwing caution to the not inconsiderable wind, I got in and picked the little fellow up, waded upstream to a handy shingle beach, and put him back onto dry land. Although shivering a little, he felt warm and I thought he would be alright. The problem now was locating his mother. There were a lot of ewes in the field and no obvious candidate presented herself. He seemed unwilling to leave my side, and for an awful moment I thought he might now consider me his adoptive parent. Anyway, I shooed him off towards the flock and, to my immense relief and surprise, a loudly bleating ewe came running over to claim him. I watched for ten minutes or so as he fed from her, both of them oblivious of the disaster that had come so close, but for the intervention of an heroic fly fisherman. Seeing that my work here was done, I decided to move elsewhere for the remainder of the afternoon.
The club had announced some new water on the comedicly named river Dikler the previous day so I decided to give it a try. It is a lovely looking stretch, but with very little cover. The fish were not giving their positions away, so I made searching casts with the hitherto reliable pink head GRHE but with no success. Then, out of the corner of my eye, in a very tricky lie beneath one of the few trees on the beat, I spotted the first rise of the season. It was a sippy affair and I was not sure it was a rise at all, thinking that perhaps it had been something blown from the tree by the still boisterous breeze. However, I waited and watched and, sure enough, after a couple of minutes, something sucked something invisible from the film. I hastily tied on a dry GHRE and made a complete balls-up of the cast, scagging a dead reed just upstream and to the left of the fish. I managed to pull gently free, but no more rises came. I moved on.
I took and hour or so working my way up to the top end of the beat and still had caught nothing, or seen anything that remotely betrayed the presence of trout. Worse, a couple of anglers were making their way across the field to the river. I scurried hurriedly back downstream to where I had seen the fish rising. Creeping up to a position downstream of the tree I noticed two duns riding down towards the spot where the fish had previously shown itself. A flash of pale yellow, an ostentations splash, and only one dun remained. As I was frantically securing a Kite's Imperial to the tippet the blighter noisily took another. I started to count and waited for the fish to rise a third time; 40 seconds. I counted to 35 and cast, this time it hit the spot. The trout took it and put up a bit of a stink, it must be said.
I decided to take it - having returned all my fish last season - took a pic, and sauntered happily back home to dinner (with chips and mushy peas). I've booked tomorrow off too: woo hoo!