I was kindly invited to travel down to Brighton for a couple of days fishing by Ian Pinder. I am going to split the trip over two blog entries as the fishing was varied over the two days. The first days fishing was to be at Arlington located in east Sussex. I did not research any of the fisheries we were going to visit but Ian did say to bring a boat seat. I was pleasantly surprised by the size of Arlington @120 acres there was plenty to go at. The water was like a giant mirror when we turned up and fish could be seen splitting its surface, there was every chance of a good sun tan!
The fishery opens for boat fishing at 0900hrs so it was a relaxed start. The season at Arlington runs from the 26 Jan to the 29 Jun and there is a small modern fishing hut on site with tea and coffee provided. They have various ticket options available with different membership levels. Ian and I opted for the 6 fish ticket with a boat and an electric engine. I was a little dubious when I saw the size of the engine and had visions of rowing us back from the other side of the reservoir, and me with a bad back!
Remarkably the engine was outstanding and must be commended for shuttling two old fatties around all day in a quiet efficient manner. As we were getting ready to cast off I heard another angler chatting to the bailiff and could have sworn I recognised their dulcet tones. It was none other than Hugh Frew who was out on his own for the day. I have known Hugh for many years from matches at Bewl, that fishery has changed to any method and is no longer the exclusive play ground of the fly fisher. Anyway, I am in danger of digressing so will move on from that can of worms!
Ian had command of the boat and motored us out to the small caged area where I assume they rear some of their own fish. There are four buoys surrounding the cage to depict the no fishing area, a decent cast can see your flies nearly on the cage especially in the flat calm. My fishing over the years has revolved around the competition circuit and I have either been match fishing or practicing for an upcoming event. This year though I am determined to try different things hence the visit to these new venues. Not only that but I want to try different tactics so after a very short time fishing nymphs on a floater I was soon sticking on my DI3 and attaching a 4” snake fly to my 15’ leader.
After Ian had finished slagging my fly choice off I eventually managed to cast the muckle big fly out towards the cage. With the banter still flowing between Ian and I we were rudely interrupted when my line started shooting through the rod rings. A very respectable looking fish breached the water attached to my fly and smashing down onto the mirror like water. Laughing I explained to Ian that it was all about the pause and the fly dropping through the layers….lol. I can’t remember his exact words, but it was along the lines of *u** off you *wa*! The fish was not hooked properly though and promptly fell off…..oh well never mind.
More was to follow casting the line as far as I could and then employing a fast roly poly retrieve, soon had us both catching plenty of fish. The quality of the fish was very impressive and that is saying a lot coming off the back of fishing at Rutland! No brown trout but they stock with blue trout and rainbows. The blue trout are pound for pound the hardest fighting fish I have come across and it seemed a real shame to have to knock them on the head. The fishery has a strict catch and kill policy, luckily Ian had a stack of folks that were keen to take the fish for the pot.
We wandered around the water and regardless of where we went the sport followed. There was always some kind of interest, a follow or take and robust banter was making for a great day out. The sun was shinning, and life was good it was only 1430hrs when we had reached our limit. Time to go home? Not a chance it was back in for a quick brew and another ticket. The wind had picked up a little and a good cloud base was coming over. I said to Ian that the fish would be up on the dries and backed up my statement but changing to two small dry flies. The wind was cold though and it seemed to have chilled the upper layers of water as well as us. Fleeces were being pulled on as the wind began to bite with a cold edge to it.
After two fruitless drifts without even seeing signs of a rise it was back to the tried and trusted snake! The change made an immediate impact and the sport was fast and furious at one point in the drift I could not get my fly back to the boat without interference from fish. Just brilliant fun all day, Ian had the best fish of the day a cracking Rainbow that would have been in the 3-4lb bracket. The star of the show though would have to be the blue trout they were stunning to look at and fought like Spartans. Time was getting on and we had a bag full of fish to gut so we called it a day.
It was back to Ian’s for a barbecue and a couple of beers it had been a long day and I was fit for my bed. What would the fisheries Ian had lined up for the following day bring? Time would tell, but I could barely remember my head hitting the pillow! ………. TO BE CONTINUED.
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