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.  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.


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.