Fishing for trout in London’s River Wandle is always fishing against the odds. This urban chalk-stream is my closest fishing location, so it was worth chancing a few hours fishing on a sunny Sunday afternoon. But once again, the river’s rare wild brown trout have eluded me.

A few trout darted between the weeds, but coarse fish – out of season, of course – were more visible. Large shoals of dace, and what I took to be roach and chub were relatively plentiful. Some of which were interested in files with a bit of red on them. In gin-clear water, I saw fish follow the fly, but none were bold enough to actually take it.

The river runs fast and surprisingly deep in places. Even with lead-bodied flies like a stalking bug and an intermediate fly line, I had trouble getting the lure down to the fish. The bank-side vegetation, however, had no problem taking the fly. I snapped off several new Fulling Mill flies on the trees overhanging the water.

I moved to another stretch of the river and chatted to a chap throwing bread onto the surface. Trying to get the trout to rise he told me. His suggestion on was to add some small lead shot six-inches above the fly. Not one for the purists he admitted. A regional byelaw allows lead weighs of 0.06g or less (size 8 “dust shot”) , so I might try this out next time.