7 May – Luffs

I was keen to fish the river. The level was dropping quickly and the colour was gradually disappearing as the fine silt from the lettuce fields settled. I visited Little Bognor on the way, it was sultry, quite oppressive. There were fish moving under the Beech trees but I’d had my fill of margin fishing.

At the river another member had already signed in for the Beat that I intended to fish. The stretch below the Fish Pass looked inviting but I thought Rotherbridge might be more productive. I could see the riverbed from the centre of the bridge or was it my imagination ? The streamer weed was visible in the shallower water along the edge of the river but the main flow looked barren. The weed was probably uprooted during the winter floods.

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After discussing the weeks catch returns I headed North, Petworth was clogged with tourists but the Defender soon cleared a path. I had a leisurely lunch at the fishing hut and sat in the sun listening to the Cuckoo and watching the trees move in the gentle breeze. The air was hardly moving and seemed to change direction every few minutes. The temperature was 82 F and there were no clouds to interrupt the suns rays. Thankfully, I’d stopped at Pulborough earlier and bought some factor 20. I parked under the tree at Luffs and walked to the far side of the lake, the overhanging trees provide cover and shelter for the fish. The breeze ruffled the surface of the water and occasionally a Trout rose to snatch something off the surface, probably tadpoles. I started at the shallow end but there were no signs of fish, it was too exposed. I moved along the bank and fished close to an overhanging  Oak tree. The tree was cover for some nice Roach which chased my fly but wouldn’t take it.

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I moved down the bank a bit further and fished beside the Willow tree. Fish were moving in the centre of the lake, way out of range. I walked around the lake to the dam end and stood in the shade of a big tree. The breeze was blowing towards me and the margins were covered with bits of algae and tiny leaves. A fish moved on my right, just within range. It was circling around, rising every few minutes.

Several casts later the leader twitched and started to move. I lifted into a fish which skittered around half heartedly and felt small. I encouraged it towards the net while wondering if it might be a big Roach. Then the fish woke up, it went on a screaming run up the centre of the lake. A Trout, no doubt about that. It fought long and hard back towards the landing net. It spooked again and shot away from me. I let the reel spin freely until there was a sickening tug. I thought the line had jammed. Not so, I had reached the end of the fly line. I thought that was the end but held tight and luckily the fish turned. It made several more long runs before I saw it clearly, it looked about 3lb.

I weighed it at the hut, it was 2lb 12ozs. A beautiful looking fish, all muscle. I poached it gently with a little lemon juice and ate it with thinly sliced brown bread accompanied by a glass of beer. A meal that brought back memories of trout suppers at my Grandparents.

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