22 March – Little Springs

Beer, pizza and a shop full of expensive fishing tackle. Excellent. The launch of the Fly Culture magazine Spring issue at Farlows had drawn fly fishers from far and wide. I met an angler turned author, an author who’d become an angler and lots of other friendly people. It was a great atmosphere and the evening passed too quickly. I resisted the temptation of a Sage 10′ 6″ #3, I’d already bought myself too many birthday presents.

The train journeyΒ  from Dorking to Victoria had not been a good start to the evening. It brought back memories of a decade of commuting. Four hours a day wasted. Time I would never get back. Arriving in London Europe was depressing and by the time the black cab arrived at Farlows I needed a beer. Farlows was an oasis of calm, a portal to the real world.

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I learnt a lot about the many different people in the Fly Culture family and their motivation for this wacky, left field publication to succeed. The journey home had been slightly more bearable because the south London landscape was hidden in darkness. The Working Dead zombies, condemned to the infinite loop of commuting, had lurched off the train and disappeared. A Chinese meal at our local restaurant had earthed the high tension of the return journey and helped me sleep.

I’d planned a relaxing trip to Petworth and when I woke at the crack of 9:30am, I was pleased to see a grey overcast and no wind. The radio and clock in the Defender stopped working before I’d left the village and I entered a timeless, news free world. I tried to remember the colour coding of the wires behind the dashboard and which fuse would need cleaning but gave up at Billingshurst, resolving to fix it over the weekend.

I met a couple of members at the fishing hut and took up too much of their time chatting. Little Springs had lost some colour since my last visit and as I was enjoying a cup of tea, I saw a fish chasing roach fry near the first point.

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I set up the 3oz Hardy 10′ as my arm hadn’t recovered from the previous trip with the 10oz Sharpes ‘Aberdeen’. I tied on a black spider with a yellow tag and wandered down to the seat on the point. Occasionally I saw faint shadows. I was not convinced they were Trout but I flicked a fly towards them just incase. I short-lined with my left arm and watched the tip of the fly line. A fish moved, I covered it and a few seconds later the line tightened. It dropped the hook in the net and I released it unharmed. As I moved around the lake I saw a distressed fish on the surface, Cormorants or bad handling ?

After an hour wandering around, taking photos and chatting I was cold and hungry. I drove home and celebrated the end of a very memorable week with a bottle of Yalumba ‘The Cigar’ Cabernet Sauvignon. Perfection.

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