1 April – Little Bognor

The sky was Wedgwood blue, cleared of clouds by a stiff BBC East wind. From the North. As I drove through the country lanes I planned my day. Tea at the hut, a walk around the big lakes and a relaxing afternoon at Little Bognor in the shelter of the valley.

Thousands of small Roach were shoaled on the surface of both lakes at Springs. They were mainly last year’s fry, about three inches long. No Trout moved on either lake but it was good to sit in the sun with a cup of tea and wait for a sign. A Grannom and a lone Olive fluttered past, both evaded my attempts to catch and photograph them.

I knew that Little Bognor had been fished earlier in the day but the clear, spring fed lakes were a better option than the other lakes on the Estate. A member was fishing the bottom lake so I walked up the slope and found a sheltered seat beside the Willow tree. Buzzers were hatching and fish regularly slashed through the ruffled surface to snatch a morsel. The breeze swirled around the top of the valley like the downdraft from a helicopter, disturbing and flattening the water. It continually shifted direction and let me drift the line across different parts of the lake. I caught a small Trout on the third cast, close to the bank. An unweighted black spider worked just under the surface was a good choice.

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The fish continued to feed despite the disturbance from landing the little wriggler and I had several takes, all missed, before they moved to the other side of the lake. I changed fly and rested my arm. Several times. Another member arrived and fished the deep end of the lake. The wary Trout moved towards me and I caught three fish in three casts. The fish moved into the centre of the lake and kept rising for buzzers. I swapped to a cut down dry fly that hung under the surface film. I missed a few takes, mainly because I’d lost concentration.

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I decided to have a dabble in the bottom lake before I left. I spent half an hour trying to drift the fly to a fish under the branches of the Chestnut trees. It moved away to the deep water by the stone steps. I crept along the bank and flicked the leader into the margins. The line twitched and I lifted into a small trout that had been caught before. The tip of its nose was marked.

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It had been a relaxing afternoon with no pressure. The Trout had been difficult but not impossible. The weather had been kind to me and as I drove home, I thought about the river. Showers were forecast but it should be in perfect condition for my first visit on Wednesday.

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The unacceptable face of farming. Courgettes under acres plastic sheets, all of which will be sent to landfill when it’s removed from the fields. I drove home behind a giant tractor, third gear from Billingshurst to Clemsfold.

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