8 June – Little Bognor

The river level hadn’t dropped since yesterday. I visited Little Bognor, then checked the river and ended up at Great Springs. I was tired of fishing in high winds so after a cup of tea and a chat I went back to Little Bognor. The lakes are deep in a valley and are surrounded by mature Chestnut and Oak trees. There was an occasional gust of wind but for most of the time the water was still. Both lakes were covered in leaves, twigs and petals. There were lots of terrestrial flies falling into the lakes from the trees. The trout were rising and splashing, mainly in the shallows by the inlet stream.

I had seen this before at Little Springs. The feeding fish head-and-tailed, like Dolphins. The fish that crashed out of the water and splashed back with a slap were reacting to the high water temperature. I ignored the splashes and concentrated on the feeding trout. I used the #2 weight rod, I hoped that the slow action would improve presentation.


I started with a suspender buzzer but had no takes. A dry Pheasant Tail was ignored, the trout could see the leader. There was so much debris on the water that it was difficult for me to see the fly. I thought that it would help the fish find the fly if it was sub-surface. I tied on a size 14 ginger buzzer with a palmered hackle and a tag of foam to keep it afloat. It was ignored, the tippet sunk but the tag was too big. I trimmed it but that didn’t help. I cut the tag back so that it looked like the breather filaments on a buzzer. The fly sunk very slowly, the leader twitching occasionally to mark it’s progress. I cast into the ripples from a rising fish several times and eventually the leader drew away slowly and I lifted into a small brownie. It was a wild fish so I slipped the barbless hook out and returned it quickly.

A fish rose under the willow tree, just next to a sparse lily bed. It was only ten feet from the bank. I flicked a side cast under a branch to my right without snagging anything and popped the fly in exactly the right place. The trout took and dashed around in the lilies but freed itself.

I moved around to the opposite bank with the intention of fishing across the weeds but the back cast was restricted and the weed bed denser than I had expected. There was no way I could drag a trout through it with a short floppy rod.

The evening was warm and still. Midges started hatching all over the lake and the trout responded. I had two takes and each time I lifted the rod very slowly, just taking up the slack. I played the fish gently and coaxed them into the landing net. Then everything went downhill. I lost a couple of flies in trees, tangled the fly line and knotted the leader. Time to leave.

The #2 weight rod was not helpful when I was hiding behind the marginal ferns. It couldn’t handle a long leader and it’s too slow for fancy casting. On balance, I prefer my ten foot, tip action #4 weight.