24 June – Buzzers

I visited all the river Beats and was surprised to see that the water was still coloured. The heavy rain last week had run off the fields dragging more of the sandy soil into the river. I saw a fish rise at the tail of the Fish Pass and another just below Taylors Bridge but the heat and humidity were unbearable and I decided to fish at Little Bognor. The shade and breeze in the valley would help me concentrate on the fishing.

There were fish rising all over the bottom lake and I thought that it would be fun to try and catch a few using buzzers. I had deliberately switched my focus from buzzers to nymphs a few years ago. I had become bored with fishing static flies. It was too easy. The fish at Little Bognor were very fussy and I was curiousย  to find out if they would respond to a new approach.

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I sat on the Beech mast behind the wall of ferns and watched several fish taking buzzers within a few feet of the bank. The ferns had grown high enough to completely hide me. I started with a fine tippet and a size 18 black buzzer but the fly was too dark and too small, the fish couldn’t see it. I scaled up to a size 12 black buzzer with white Neoprene breathers. I flicked it into the margin and after only a few seconds, the tippet drew away. I was surprised and lifted too soon. I delayed my reaction on the next take and the first fish was hooked. The floppy rod soaked up the lunges of the Trout and I guided it into the shallows to avoid spooking the other fish. I released it from the landing net and returned to my seat under the Beech trees.

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The next cast produced a take and I repeated the process, releasing the second fish from the landing net in the shallows. I was pleased that the method was producing results, it showed that the fussy Trout could be fooled with a realistic imitation and stealth. The third fish was not so easy, it went on a powerful run down the lake and the drag from over 25 yards of fly line enabled it to escape. It could have been a monster or just foul-hooked. The third fish took very gently and after a short fight, was also released in the shallows. The disturbance finally spooked the fish and they moved away.

I went around the lake and sat on the grass near the brick wall. There is always a fish under the tree beside the outflow and I allowed the breeze to slowly move the line in that direction. The line stopped moving, I lifted the rod and a small fish was hooked. It felt like a wild brownie but as I reached for the landing net the situation changed. It charged away to my right, all the way along the bank and into a small clump of lily leaves. I think the hook had pulled and reconnected with the tail of the Trout. It escaped. I had a couple of takes in the corner of the lake by the stone quarry but didn’t convert them.

I enjoyed the brief session with buzzers. I had proved that even the ultra wary fish could be caught. The black buzzer with white breathers and the light tippet were crucial. I’ll tie a few more for use in emergencies.

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