6 November – Lakes

The river season ended last week. I planned to fish the lakes a few times before they close at the end of November. The Trout in the lakes have seen hundreds of flies and disappear as soon as a fly line floats overhead. Time for a long leader, a fine tippet and small flies.

Last night there was a full moon, a clear sky and the first heavy frost of the Autumn. The morning sky was bright blue and the puddles were frozen, a bad combination for fishing. There were clouds of midges under the trees which made fly selection a lot easier.

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I had an excellent lunch. A mug of coffee, chocolate cake and Christmas cake. I drove to Great Springs and looked around. While I was admiring the Autumn colours and chatting, another member arrived and started fishing Little Springs. Two is a crowd and I decided to spend a couple of hours at Little Bognor with the ultra fussy Trout. The Oak trees along the lanes had retained their leaves and the fields had been harrowed revealing the pink sandy soil. Reminiscent of Herefordshire. The ground looked very dry. I arrived at 3:00pm and as I parked the Land Rover, a fish was feeding a few feet from the bank at the shallow end. The surface of the lake was covered with Beech and Chestnut leaves which gave the Trout shelter and confidence.

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I quietly set up my rod and stood well back from the water. I had a twelve foot leader and a 2lb tippet. I chose a size 14 parachute buzzer and flicked it towards the corner of the lake where a fish was swirling around. Only the leader landed on the water, the fly line rested on the short grass. I hooked a leaf with the first cast and a twig with the second. The fish was not impressed and moved away.

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A good fish swirled under the far bank of the inlet stream. I cast gently and hauled out another twig. Things were going badly. I stood and watched the water, a small fish was rising frequently, taking buzzers just under the surface. My cast was a bit short but the leader moved and I lifted into a spirited wild Trout. It was a perfectly formed, dark coloured fish which weighed about 12ozs. It recovered quickly and dashed away from the landing net. I moved away from the lake and rested the fish.

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After twenty minutes a fish swirled under the trees in the corner on my right. I stayed away from that corner and put the fly about ten feet from the bank. Nothing happened so I slowly lifted the rod, it felt heavy. There was a tug, a big swirl and the Trout bow-waved into the middle of the lake. Unfortunately it was not attached to my line. The fish had seized the fly gently and I hadn’t seen the take. I had just annoyed it. Bad luck, it was a good fish.

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I had been at the lake for an hour and my casting arm was painful, the cold air and rising mist were unhelpful. I stopped at Riverhill on the way home and watched the sun drop below the South Downs. It had been a lovely day of Autumn colours, clear skies and rising fish. The sunset was a fitting end to the day.

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