A Lake In West Sussex

Note And Photo From :- Kelowna Trout Angler.

A Lake In West Sussex.

Whilst in England in April, I was invited to fish a small, day-ticket water in West Sussex. It was a pleasent experience to drive through the lanes of my youth and I was surprised at the lack of traffic. Perhaps it was to early or maybe the threat of a shower had made everyone stay indoors.

I had to stop off at a tackle shop in Pulborough as I didn’t have any floats. Somewhat strange considering the amount of tackle purchased over the years. However it was a simple matter to choose a few bodied wagglers and a small tube to protect the purchase. I even bought some maggots, haven’t done that for years. It was to be a relaxing day with an old friend ( not age wise in case he reads this ). We had planned to fish elsewhere, but the day had taken another direction and for two committed game anglers this was to be different.

There was a breeze which had an uncomfortable side in that the air was damp, but it made a change from 3 months  of temperatures down to -30C so there were no complaints. It is always strange to arrive at a new lake or complex and not know where to start. Worse for me as I’m not used to pay as you go fisheries. In British Columbia & Alberta there are probably over 100,000 lakes of over 10 ha and they are all free. Never mind, a fishing trip is always to be enjoyed.

We chose the pool to fish and settled down. T fished in the next swim to me, pitched at the corner of the lake. I’m sure we made the choice through some deep angling knowledge gained from years of experience, but older bones suggest we may have opted for comfort. T lit his customary cigarette and I tackled up the old John Wilson rod.( that dates me ).

Using a 4lb line and one of the new wagglers, the depth was checked. It was like going back years and memories flooded back of early mornings, tackle assembly, grounbait smells and all those essentials that are hard for the non angler to understand. When all was ready I put on the bait, maggot to start with, and cast out to await the action. For some time nothing grabbed the bait so I changed to corn. A few grains were put out for feed, but still no interest. I  must be losing my touch was an obvious remark from T. You must be getting soft with all that fishing on your door step. Two fingers seemed an appropriate gesture.  T came back with the suggestion that I might have more luck if I embraced the past and changed the JW rod for an old cane Kennet Perfection from B James of Ealing. From his bag he pulled an old rod sock which contained just such a rod.

Now, all cane users will understand that this was a definite improvement and the fish would now come dashing to my bait Couldn’t fail. Not quite that easy. I had to get used to slower action and the weight of the rod, but T needed humouring and he was catching fish. In fact the result was strangely positive. The float sailed gracefully out and settled purposefully onto the water, the bait was corn and a few grains were thrown in as encouragement. Disbelief, the float shot under and I had my first fish a Crucian carp. Haven’t seen one of those for years. Throughout the day I continued to catch fish, crucians, bream, roach and even a carp of about 4lb. It seemed like magic, especially when I tried to use my old JW rod and the fish just shunned the bait.

The Kennet Perfection

Kennet Perfection

And here’s the little crucian carp.

Crucian Carp

By lunch time I had amassed a good tally of fish. They were all released as I don’t own a keep net. I travel as light as possible.

Whilst we chatted over tea and sandwiches an angler on the other side of the lake suffered a slight loss. Actually it was possibly expensive. The chap had been fishing with two rods, one leger rod, but the other was a pole. Now all went well for a while, but he hooked a fish on the leger gear and when he went to net the fish he had a bite on the pole tackle. Unfortuneately the pole was sitting loose on the top of his tackle box and balanced on what looked like a large paint roller. We heard the slithering noise as the fish towed a few quids worth of gear into the lake. I expect the fish took it down to show other members of the shoal saying " look what I found lads "

I’m always amazed when this happens and often wonder why we bother to fish with more than one rod. Many old and talented UK anglers have raised such concerns down the years. Some have suggested that we fish better if all concentration and effort are bestowed on one set of gear.  Over the years I tend to lean toward this reasoning.

Well, we fished on into the early afternoon, but the weather became damper and the day started to lose some of it’s urgency so we decided enough was enough, time to head off. As we drove  away we reflected upon the day and compared the experience with days spent on other waters.

I do miss the English countryside and the rivers and lakes of my youth. Anglers understand that there is a distinctive smell and character which greets you as you pass through a gate to get to your fishery and there is an expectation which often fails to be fulfilled but never wains.  Perhaps it dies at the end of the day, but it will resurrect itself tommorrow for the next trip somewhere.

I hope to have a few more trips with T and others in the UK and perhaps I can show them the sturgeon and our fishing over here.

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1968

Note And Photo From:- KelownaTrout Angler.

1968

1968 was a great period in the lives of many. We had pop music and the world was changing. That’s a discussion for elsewhere, along with the price of petrol and how many gallons we could get for a pound.

I went to Arundel Castle in West Sussex and spent a lazy afternoon drifting in a boat on Swanbourne Lake. It was a glorious day and the water in the lake behind the castle was crystal clear. As an angler I was captivated by the ducks diving for weed and chasing eels. It was so easy to let the boat drift and watch the show.

Arundel Eels

Arundel Eels

On another outing to view more water for fishing I spent some time walking around the lakes of Sheffield Park, West Sussex. This swan seemed to follow me everywhere. It would paddle along the bank without any sign of aggression and did not want to take any bits of bread from passing strangers. Somehow I had found the only ‘canine’ swan in existence.

Sheffield Park

Sheffield Park Swan

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Short Story – “One Morning in Early July”

Here is a short story, submitted by one of our readers.

Enjoy!

“One morning in early July” by Kelowna Trout Angler (Canada)

One morning in early July I rowed an old punt out onto the estate lake.

This old lake had no footpaths around it and was surrounded by trees and reeds. As my friend and I pulled out of the boathouse, which smelt of over 100 years of maintenance, creosote, pitch and tar, we got caught up in the damp webs made by a great many spiders.

Mornings are always full of promise and as we whispered quietly to each other we were able to take in the sounds of the lake and the morning. There were the ducks and other birds flapping wings and arguing as we gently slid across their domain. On early mornings you can rarely see far. There always seems to be a mist rising from the water as you await the sun.

We pulled into a bay and tied the ends of the punt to the reeds. Hopefully nothing had been disturbed and so we settled to fish.

“Hello,” said my mate, ” someone’s coming.”, and sure enough there were the sounds of oars gently dipping into the water and the occasional knock of the rowlocks as the oars turned.

The sound came upon us but we could not see the angler in the mist. He had pulled in behind us and we heard the reeds rustle to the distinctive sound of the punt being pushed into the reeds in preparation for tying.

Soon after we heard the splash of groundbait and then the tapping of a pipe on the end of an oar.

At this I called “Hello Fred”, but as usual the reply was only a grunt of acknowledgement.

We fished hard and caught many fish until the sun had cleared the mist and our bay was gradually becoming a heat trap. During our session we had heard many a splash from Fred’s side of the reeds, but the old fellow was a solitary character and rarely disclosed his catch.

Time to go I felt and we packed and called a last farewell to Fred, but no reply was forthcoming as expected.

“What a miserable sod” said my mate as we left the bay and I had to laugh.

“What’s so funny?” came the retort.

“Well he’s dead” was my reply, “he died 30 years ago and everyone on the lake should pay their respects to Fred when they arrive and leave. You’ve been lucky you have heard him and fished with him.”

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Tight lines!

The Fisherman

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