24 September – Little Bognor

The Autumn equinox brought gales and heavy rain. It was mid-morning when I arrived at Little Bognor. I cleared the outflow of the lower lake and the water gushed over the sluice dragging leaves and grass cuttings out of the lake. At Coultershaw the river was high and a dark grey colour. I looked down into the fast flowing water at Rotherbridge and decided that it was unfishable.Β  I drove to Stag Park and as I crossed the brow of the hill, I disturbed four Buzzards and a solitary Red Kite. They were sharing a patch of stubble, searching for crane fly larvae.

Little Springs seemed to be coloured which I thought strange as Great Springs was clear. The ditch supplying water to Great Springs was dry. Luffs looked good but I eventually found myself back at Little Bognor. I may have been influenced by the presence of my Southwell rod in the back of the Defender. It suits my style of margin fishing.

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Since I’d cleared the outflow the lower lake had been transformed. There was no dust or tree debris on the surface which was like a mirror in the early afternoon sun. The North wind had helped guide the rubbish towards the sluice. The ground under the Beech trees was a little damp but I ignored that and sat down behind the ferns. My trousers would dry on the way home.

I started with a dry fly but it was immediately obvious that the 4lb bs tippet was a problem. I browsed my fly box looking for inspiration and chose a size 14 Partridge and Amber. It would sink slowly and looked vaguely like a drowned midge. I had a good take on the second cast. The fish stripped most of the fly line off the reel and went deep, leaving a line of bubbles in the centre of the lake. It felt like a three pounder. I allowed the fish to move into the shallows. The Trout surfaced and revealed itself, it wasn’t a monster. It wasn’t foul hooked but put up a spirited fight. As I unhooked it I noticed that it had a deformed left pectoral fin. The fin had split and looked like a pair, I would recognize the fish if I caught it again.

I was about to move along the bank when a fish rose only a rod length away. I covered various fish as they cruised past me in their search for buzzers. I continually teased the fly towards me and shook the rod occasionally to give it life. After an hour a bow wave followed the fly towards the bank. I paused then lifted the rod. The fish was surprised and thrashed about on the surface for too long, frightening its companions away. I drew the fish into the shallows, netted and quickly released it. The disturbance put the fish down and after another fruitless hour chasing spooky fish under the trees, I wandered back to the Defender and packed up. The rod had performed well, it is perfect for short line work.

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