25 March – Little Bognor

I was a glorious Spring morning. The bright blue sky held a few fluffy white clouds encouraged along by a chilly north-westerly breeze. I wanted to sit in the sun, watch the water and absorb the atmosphere at Little Bognor. If a Trout or two interrupted my afternoon that would be a bonus.

I visited the river at Rotherbridge and smiled when I first saw the water. It looked perfect. A slight green tint couldn’t quite hide the starwort in the slack water near the bank. Fresh debris hung in the trailing Willow branches giving over-wintered fish somewhere to hide. The high pressure system settled over the country for the next few days should ensure a couple of days on the river before my trip to Cumbria.

Little Bognor was deserted except for a Woodpecker and a serial pigeon killer banging away with a 12 bore in the woods above the old stone quarry. The sun illuminated the steep bank under the Beech trees and for once I knew exactly where to fish.

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Trout were occasionally rising to buzzers and a few Grannom were fluttering across the surface and along the bank. I tied on a skimpy Pheasant Tail nymph with extra copper wire which I thought was a good compromise. I could swing it round in the breeze and search along the bank in the deep water under the trees.

On the second cast the line tightened and a fish raced out into the middle of the lake. As I readied the landing net it shook the hook. Nevermind, it was time to rest the water and relax in the sun. The beech mast was crunchy and in thin trousers, was slightly uncomfortable to sit on. I slumped to my left and lay on the moss while watching the water under the trees.

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I waited patiently until a fish rose within easy casting range. I flicked the nymph upwind of the rise and let it blow round. As the line swung close to the bank the tip hesitated and I slowly lifted into a fish which gave a good imitation of a waterlogged branch. The Trout was unaware of the situation but eventually woke up. It was a plump little fish that shot away from the net, lesson learnt. A lot of Grannom were skittering across the lake so I changed the fly to a weighted, shaggy green nymph that I had tied for the Derwent.

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I moved along the steep bank to the stone steps and hooked two large twigs in successive casts. Dragging them from the water ruined the chances of another fish and I moved to the southern end of the lake. I cast parallel to the bank and let the fly sink while I took a few photos. Lifting the fly vertically close to the stonework produced a confident take. I repeated the process along the wall and caught three lively trout. They all swam strongly away from the net having returned the barbless hook to me. As the sun dropped behind the Beech wood on the western side of the lake, the air temperature and light levels plummeted and the fish stopped rising.

It had been a very relaxing and enjoyable couple of hours.

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