14 June – Dress Rehearsal

It was a dress rehearsal for the big day, nothing could be left to chance. I arrived at Little Bognor at 1:00pm and was relieved to see that I had the lakes to myself. The grey, miserable morning had developed into a bright afternoon with a gentle breeze. There was a bit of leaf debris on the surface of the lake and the swirling breeze moved it around which must have been very confusing for surface feeding fish. There were a couple of fish rising close to the west bank. Very close, less than a foot from the rushes. I crept around the Yew tree and sat on the grass, well back from the water. I could see a good fish in the margins but it was not interested in a dry fly. After twenty minutes I gave up on that fish and moved to the opposite side of the lake. I sat on the crunchy Beech mast under the trees in the dappled sunlight. The bank was warm, dry and comfortable. Very relaxing. Several fish were moving under the trees, cruising along the margins feeding on buzzers.


I flicked a Neoprene Spider under the trees near the little seat, a bow and arrow cast dropped the fly about a yard from the bank. I was patient but the Trout were rising further along the bank. I shuffled further along the bank towards the stone steps and found a comfy patch of moss. A Trout swirled under the Chestnut tree. I catapulted the fly under the branches and it was taken immediately. The fish went on several long runs but eventually found the back of the net. It was exhausted so I kept it for dinner. I moved along the bank and sat straddling the trunk of a Chestnut tree. It was a very comfortable seat and I was in no hurry to catch another fish. I watched the midges buzzing around just above the water. A fish took a fly as it swam past me. It was patrolling under the branches. I dropped a fly in it’s path and it took but I was too heavy handed and it escaped. I was surprised to see it rise again and take another buzzer.


Once more I moved along the bank towards the shallow corner of the lake. I sat high up on the bank, hiding behind the leaning trunk of another Chestnut tree. There wasn’t much room for casting so I trimmed a few sprigs of Holly and moved the dead twigs. There was a thin slot in the branches above me alongside an overhanging bough. A roll cast from the hand put the fly where I wanted. A big fish cruised past taking a couple of buzzers, turned around and returned to the debris in the corner of the lake. I positioned the fly under the branches and waited for it to return. The Trout came back and gulped the fly down. I lifted the rod gently and the fish protested. I played it gently on a 2lb bs tippet and the fish didn’t get too excited. Then it went on a long deep run into the corner of the lake stirring up the mud and leaving a trail of large bubbles. I slid down the bank and put a good bend in the rod. That made the Trout angry and it screamed out into the middle of the lake. I didn’t panic and after a long tussle it was ready for the landing net. The net was leaning against the Chestnut tree, up the bank behind me. The Trout was exhausted and bleeding and if I had returned it, would not have survived. It weighed 4lb 8ozs on the scales in the hut. It will be tough to better my day.