8 October – Great Springs

The Autumn gales and heavy rain had subsided and the countryside looked beautiful, clean and uplifting. The leaves on the trees were just starting to turn and there was a liberal scattering of acorns and conkers everywhere. The North River was high and coloured, there was no point in visiting the Rother, it would be unfishable.

I was hoping for a peaceful day in the sunshine, a leisurely lunch and not too many showers. The freshly washed sheep at Stag Park were nibbling the close cropped grass and hundreds of crows tumbled in the breeze as the Defender rolled down the track towards Great Springs. I’d forgotten about the Tuesday Club, a long line of parked cars and a smoking barbeque changed my expectations. I toured the lakes looking for signs of fish but although the distant lakes offered peace and quiet, they looked barren.

After a cup of tea, a chat and a hot sausage sandwich, it was time to wet a fly. The wind was flukey and a bank of clouds in the south west threatened rain. A few fish were moving in the corner of Great Springs, I expected great things. Twenty minutes later, working a nymph around the edges of the weed beds, I was just going-through-the-motions. Another cuppa and a biscuit renewed my enthusiasm and I returned to the lake. Around the corner, beside a recently toppled Willow Tree, I found a group of Trout aimlessly finning about.


A roll cast or two moved the fish further out into the lake. The overhanging Oak tree claimed three flies before I rested the fish. A little later the shoal moved closer and I finally had a chasing take. The line screeched off the reel and then stopped, I assumed the turns were jammed. Not so, I had chosen my Hardy Duchess with the ‘Weight Backward’ river line. It was only fifteen yards long, I’d run out of line. One more worrying tug and the fish came towards me, knocking the tippet. A sure sign of a foul hooked fish. The hook had pulled and re-hooked near the Trouts tail.

A shower of rain and a rest on the bench interrupted the afternoon. I renewed the tippet and presented a black spider to several fish in the opposite corner of the lake by the big fir tree. I hooked two fish, briefly. The Trout wandered around, ignoring my offering, not even glancing at the fly.

A heavy shower was the last straw and I drove away. I’d caught a fish in difficult circumstances but I felt that I hadn’t made the most of the day.