Every angler can expect and will certainly enjoy a particular moment when everything seems to go right and a personal-best fish ends up in their landing net.
Such a red-letter day happened to Ian Duffy, a new member of Petworth & Bognor Angling Club. He had heard about the barbel being caught on the club’s stretch of the Rother and spent some time anxiously hoping to catch one.
Having visited one of the club’s favourite barbel haunts, he moved to another part of the river further downstream and caught an 18lb 9oz barbel... an amazing fish.
His catch was verified by fellow club angler Tom Beirne, who photographed it. Duffy hopes it will be a contender for the club’s Specimen Trophy.
Barbel can be found almost anywhere in the Rother, although they do have their favourite spots. A few years ago I hooked a very large barbel, not as large as this one but large enough to charge downstream and round a bend with me in pursuit bank side until that fateful moment when I slipped and we were as one in the river.
At that moment my priorities changed and getting out was rather more important. Having done so I realised that there was nothing at the end of my line – but at least I was still alive, if not soaked to the skin. I stood and looked and wondered if that would have been my red letter day; alas it was not to be.
It’s not only the Rother that hold barbel – the club’s stretch of the Arun at Watersfield continues to provide members with some really large fish. These barbel are strong and many of them, together with other coarse fish, find their way into the Rother as a result of a fish passage that the Environment Agency installed at Hardham.
This two-way flow of fish is certainly having an impact on the fish population in both rivers, while the silt traps installed with the aid of the Arun & Rother Rivers’ Trust (ARRT) are slowly reducing the silt in the Rother.
Last February the fields were flooded and anglers were anxious to discover if our valuable fish stocks had been washed away. Certainly some found themselves stranded in fields and ditches but for some strange reason this year the catches have been really very good and the club have enjoyed one of their best years.
There’s been plenty of rain lately but the club’s match anglers have been braving the elements – and they have a lot of fun.
At the club’s annual meeting, Vince Herringshaw won so many trophies he could hardly carry them. He certainly needs some stiff competition. All details can be found at www.sussexangling.co.uk
At this time of year, those desperately trying to find something different for a loved one, especially youngsters, could consider membership to an angling club. Together with fishing tackle, it promotes an interest other than gazing at a computer screen.
Getting out into the countryside to go fishing is something that stays with you all your life.
BOGNOR Amateur Angling Society are holding the Pagham Christmas open beach competition this Sunday (Dec 7).
Fishing is from 8.30am to 1.30pm on the beach at Pagham. Booking in and the draw for pegs is from 7.30am at Pagham Yacht Club, West Front Road.
Entry is £8 for seniors, £4 for OAPs and juniors and there will be cash prizes, subject to entry.
For more, call John Small on 07799 762377 after 5pm.
The society are looking for new shore and pier members. Membership is £7.50 per year and anyone wishing to join should call John Small on that same number.
A club match at Bognor Pier was won by Dan Ottoway.
Three undulate rays were caught and released back into the sea. Two members hooked conger eels. Both got to the surface but got away.
Results: 1 Dan Ottoway 2 undulate ray, 2 dogfish, 1 whiting, 29lb 2oz; 2 Steve Middleton, 12 whiting, 1 dogfish, 1 undulate ray, 20lb 11oz; 3 Tre Hart, 9 whiting, 5lb 5oz. Heaviest fish: Dan Ottoway, undulate ray, 15lb 6oz. 9 people fished.
A beach match was staged at Pagham.
Results: 1 Tre Hart, 9 whiting, 3lb 9oz; 2 Wayne Hart, 6 whiting, 3lb 8oz; 3 Steve Middleton, 8 whiting, 3lb 3oz. 9 people fished, 8 weighed in. Total agg weight: 12lb 1oz.
Another club match was held at Bognor pier.
Results: 1 Steve Middleton, 8 whiting, 2 dogfish, 5lb 9oz; 2 Derek Carr, 9 whiting, 1 dogfish, 4lb 1oz; 3 Tre Hart, 1 dogfish, 7 whiting, 3lb 13oz. Heaviest fish: Derek Carr dogfish, 1lb 7oz. 9 people fished, 6 weighed in. Total agg weight: 15lb 15oz.