Last week’s extreme weather kept me away from the river. The tail end of a hurricane, red dust from the desert and a rain storm heralded the arrival of half-term week. The river level had reached 0.130m on Sunday, the highest level since March. I looked at the river as I crossed Coultershaw Bridge and as I suspected, it was unfishable. Zero visibility and a strong current.
After visiting the lakes and the river to collect the catch returns, I drove to Little Bognor. The Hunt had passed through the woods earlier and the hounds had used the lower lake as a swimming pool. Despite the disturbance a few Trout were rising. Not splashing about or leaping but slow head-and-tail rises. A few tiny midges were buzzing around in the damp Autumn air. There were just enough of them to be annoying. As I’d seen several rises at the southern end of the lower lake I decided to fish there, in the corner near the overflow.
After only a few casts I snagged the leader and it snapped off. Completely. That’s the third time I have done that this season. Rather than mess about with an improvised needle knot I walked back to the Land Rover and changed my reel. I hadn’t used the Cortland line for several months and I was interested to compare it with the Rio line I am testing. I tied the leader to the door handle and stretched the first fifteen yards of the fly line. It felt crude and stiff but I could see it in the air and on the water. I stood well back and fished the deep water close to the wall, gradually working further out. A fish swirled but ignored the fly. I changed my small Black Nymph for a small GRHE nymph and cast to several rising Trout but they ignored that as well.
I moved to the other corner, under the Chestnut trees, where I had seen a fish move. The water was crystal clear and flat calm. I had the feeling that fish were inspecting the fly but we’re spooked. I changed to a 2lb bs tippet but it made no difference.
I walked up the slope to the top lake and saw fish rising amongst the floating Chestnut leaves. They seemed to be feeding underneath the leaf rafts. I started by dropping the fly close to the clusters of leaves. A Trout followed the fly but sheared away. I cast across the leaves and let the leader sink through them. There were several Trout close to the fly and I was confident of a take but nothing happened. I saw a good fish close to the weeds near the inlet stream and flicked the fly in it’s path. There was a big swirl but the leader didn’t move. I pulled the fly and induced another swirl but no take.
I worked the area around the Willow tree but without success. It was damp and chilly, my arm was hurting and I decided to leave. I think the Rio line has the edge. Presentation is good and it has no memory. The Fox Illusion fluorocarbon is a good leader material, it also has no memory and sinks like a stone. A good combination.