19 March – Little Bognor

Heavy snow and a cruel North wind spoilt the chances of most members hoping to fish the opening weekend. The lakes hadn’t frozen but the roads were too risky to venture far. Yesterday afternoon I de-iced the door locks and brushed the snow from the Land Rover but within an hour it was covered again. Browsing the Hardy catalogue over a warming brew was almost a substitute for fishing. I ordered some hooks and copolymer leaders but refrained from viewing the rod section.

I avoided the 9:00am school run and drove South, hoping that the forecast sunshine would reveal itself before I arrived at the lakes. It didn’t. Little Bognor looked like a Christmas card. The snow hid the mud and leaf mould and reflected the watery light like nature’s version of an LED strip.Β I wandered around the lower lake, keeping off the skyline, watching the Trout rising under the leafless tree branches. They were feeding, not just splashing about. I surprised the Heron as I approached the top lake. There were no fish rising, the water looked cold and lifeless.

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I drove to Great Springs and walked around the lake, it was nearly full and looked good, plenty of fishy corners. Lower Figgs also looked good. After a chat and a coffee with fruit cake, I returned to Little Bognor. After my failed attempt at left-hand-casting I was determined to try again. My style was that of a beginner but after a few casts from the platform the line drew away and I hooked a trout. I hadn’t reversed the reel handle and it was therefore not entirely a left-handed-trout.

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I returned the Trout and walked up the slope to the top lake. I interrupted the Heron again and found his lunch on a stone, a half dead frog stabbed right through. After ten minutes a fish swirled at my Black Spider. I fished above the Willow tree and a good fish followed the fly but sheared away, looking confused. I lined it with a poor cast and it dived out of sight. I returned to the lower lake but a lady member walking her dog was of the opinion that I was “quite mad“. I had to agree with her and packed up. As I left the sun broke through the overcast. It would have been nice to sit in the sunshine and tempt another fish but I was tired and very cold. After only a few days of catch and release the fish were quite spooky. Over the weekend 21 fish had been returned, none were retained. It’s going to get very difficult if that continues.

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