8 May – Barbeque

The club barbeque had a vintage atmosphere about it. The marquee, the club house and the somewhat ornamental lake made a quintessentially English country scene. It was reminiscent of ‘The Shooting Party’ by Isobel Colegate but with Trout instead of Pheasants.

The grass had been mown, the marquee had been strung up by the lake and the weather was lovely. Wine, food and fishing. A perfect Spring day in good company, surrounded by glorious Sussex countryside.

Generally I like to fish alone but this was a social occasion with a fishing theme. A chance to chat to other members, exchange fishing stories and sit in the 72 degree sunshine by the lake. After the club AGM formalities there was an auction of tackle, most of it by Hardy and Sharpes. My favourites. The catalogue was full of nice things. I took my cheque book but restrained myself.


Eventually the time came to set up my rod. I had changed the design of my leader. I’d been suffering from the butt of the leader and the tip of the fly line sinking. This is not a problem on the river because the cast is usually fished out in less than thirty seconds but on a lake the duration of the cast can be five minutes. Too long for a slowly sinking leader, it drags a dry fly under. So I chopped eighteen inches off the butt of a Leeda 5lb tapered leader and superglued it into the fly line. The butt of the leader had been considerably reduced in diameter and floated nicely in the surface film. I used a longer tippet to compensate for the shorter leader.


We walked down to Lower Figgs and I started with a black neoprene buzzer, size 14, fished just under the surface. On the first cast a fish slammed into the fly and fought like a tiger.


The water was very clear with a slightly brown tint. I could see the cruising fish ten yards from the bank and about a foot under the surface. I waited for a bigger fish to come within range and put the fly down about a yard ahead of it. It took the fly, jumped and threw the hook.


My ghillie captured the exact moment the fish escaped. Good photography. I caught two more fish before the sun and wine took control of me. We had a siesta on the edge of the lake before the long walk back to the club house. A very enjoyable day out.