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Jim Brown is the learned author of Fishing Reel Patents of the United States 1838 – 1940 (1985) and the American Museum of Fly Fishing’s authoritative and highly-collectible A Treasury of Reels (1990).

He’s also an avid collector of chalkstreams, having fished most of those we’ve heard of and some we certainly hadn’t.  So when Famous Fishing’s William Daniel put him in touch with us to ask if we’d help him add a uniquely urban chalkstream to his collection, the only possible answer was let’s do this on Saturday

Starting at the café in Morden Hall Park, we enjoyed a leisurely coffee before walking upstream to Ravensbury Park: a chance to talk even more fishing-writing as well as examine the Wandle Trust’s recent eel passage work on the tilting weir at Ravensbury Mill, and the coir rolls and flow deflectors installed by a merry band of Piscators at the lower end of the back carrier on World Rivers Day 2010.

On the hottest day of the year so far, few fish except big carp were evident in the shaded main channel of the river, and none seemed interested in eating (maybe that was a good thing, since any one of those carp would have shown our guest a real party on his little vintage Scott 2 weight…)

Nothing daunted, we changed the game and headed back to the more secluded stretches of the carrier…

… where a deep little run produced a quick-fire sequence of chub and dace to a dry terrestrial pattern, and Jim reckoned he’d successfully added yet another chalkstream to his list!

Following the recent pollution incident resulting from the fire at Beddington sewage treatment works, we believe that the middle Wandle is now safe to fish again.

However, there may still be a risk of a continuing low level fish kill for a week or more, due to secondary gill infections caused by exposure to ammonia, and we’d like to ask any anglers noticing fish in distress to report these sightings on the Wandle Trust live blog of the incident’s aftermath.

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