26 April – Little Bognor

The south westerly breeze spread the orange bud scales over the surface of the lake. The Trout were cruising just underneath the debris looking for pond skaters and the occasional Olive. There were lots of Alder flies hatching from the grass but the breeze was not strong enough to knock them down onto the water. Fortunately there was a clear stretch of water under the high bank on the east side of the lake.

I had tied some imitations of the pond skaters that the fish were feeding on. I had confidence in the pattern. It would be great to get a couple of the fussy Trout on a custom designed fly.


I crept over the wet moss on my knees until I was beside the little seat. I used the Rio line and a twelve foot leader ending in a 2lb bs tippet. Good presentation was essential. Several fish were feeding close to me. I fired the pond skater imitation onto the water with a bow-and-arrow cast. I twitched the fly to mimic the real thing but although I thought it looked genuine, the Trout did not.

I swapped the fly for a Black Neoprene Spider and after several casts changed that for a palmered dry fly. As I sat watching, a natural Olive fluttered across the surface towards me and was immediately snatched by a good fish. I dragged my fly into the widening ripples but the Trout had moved away. I lost the fly on a branch and moved down the bank to the steps.


Two good fish were patrolling under the branches only ten feet from me. There was enough room for a side cast. I offered the fish a selection of flies but they just swirled underneath the fly and disappeared. I moved further down and stood next to the trunk of a big Beech tree.


I was close enough to the water to be able to dap the fly and shake the rod to give it a realistic buzz. A big fish took a natural less than a foot from my imitation, I twitched the fly to induce a take. There was another swirl but it didn’t convert into the thump on the rod that I expected. The wind suddenly increased and a hail storm forced me to shelter in the hut.


The storm moved away but I was cold and wet. I didn’t want to crawl around on the ground under the trees anymore. I went to the top lake and presented a variety of dry flies to the Trout. They were not impressed. Black clouds were building and another storm loomed over the woods. I signed out and left the lakes. Early morning or late evening is probably the only time I’m going to catch a spooky Trout at Little Bognor.