Water levels on the Rother are as low as they were last season and the rain in the past week has had little or no effect.
We have had some minor incidents with canoeists over the last couple of weeks, if you come across canoeists on our stretch of the river please make a note in the venue log books. It is only through regular incident reporting that we can hope to do something.
We have been told by the EA that they will be carrying out their annual survey of the Rother towards the end of July. They will be at Coultershaw on Thursday 21st July and Fittleworth on Friday 22nd July. They are happy for members to go along and watch if they are interested. At Coultershaw they will be working downstream from the cattle drink by the first fence and at Fittleworth they will be working downstream from the bridge.
Our Coultershaw bailiff – Martin Cornish and his team are still carrying out the barbel scale survey that was started last season so if you are lucky enough to catch a barbel on the stretch please check if one of the team are present so that they can take samples.
The season seems to have started particularly well for chub with plenty of fish from 2 – 5lb coming out. There are plenty of smaller fish such as dace, roach, gudgeon and perch coming out to the stick float and maggot or caster and I know that they are a bit of a pest but you will get plenty of minnow from some swims! On the larger fish front barbel between 7lb 15oz and 13lb 12oz have been reported and a superb carp of 17lb 7oz.
There has been some good silver fish bags from Shopham with good sized dace being reported from virtually anywhere you can trot a float. Shopham down is also producing some good chub with quite a number of fish around the 4lb mark being reported. These seem to be falling mainly to static tactics with a number of baits proving successful.
The top end of Coates is obviously very similar to Shopham. Those that go further down are reporting similar catches. There do not seem to be as many trout around this year.
Silver fish catches at Fittleworth are a bit variable with some anglers reporting good bags of dace whilst others have caught a few and have then struggled. The most notable story I have from Fittleworth is of the one that got away! An angler fishing a fairly light bomb rig with the hope of picking up an evening chub or two had a big wrap round bite and after quite a while got a carp of around 8lb to the surface only to lose it when it took a last gasp dive into some weed on the inside!!
The grass is a bit tough to get through at the moment especially if you are thinking of taking a trolley. All the favourite swims have been well trodden down and fairly well defined paths have already been created by angler traffic.
There have been a number of very good fish from Watersfield, notably a barbel of 14lb 4oz and a carp of 15lb 12oz. There are good silver fish catches to be had on the long rod or pole from virtually every swim. Feed groundbait and loose feed via a bait dropper to keep the fish in your swim.
I’m very surprised that there are no reports from Stopham, although the water is difficult to get to in places this fishery is well worth the effort with some excellent mixed silver fish catches and some big perch, bream and roach as well. My only other comment is – beware the bleak, unless you get your bait down fast you can be plagued by them.
Because of very low water levels, he have increased the dye level at Hurston to help keep the weed down. Hopefully the rain over the last week will have freshened up the water and increased the levels. We recently had an inspection from Cefas, who are very happy with the water and how we have been dealing with our KHV problems from a few years ago.
The tench pond has been fishing well with up to 17 tench per session as well as plenty of rudd. The middle pond is getting more established as a mixed fishery and plenty of good mixed bags have been coming out. The match pond is also producing reasonable mixed bags, there are plenty of small fish (where do they go in the winter?) and if you fish big baits you are likely to be getting carp and bream in roughly a three to one ratio.
Stemps & Cart
Excellent catches have been reported from Stemps Wood with up to eight carp in a session. I have been given a little tip that you might have to wait and hour or so for your first fish but if you have baited and fish the same spot you will often find them lined up and further fish come in rapid succession. The angler that told me this had to wait almost 2 hours for his first bite and then had seven in the next hour. That was enough and he packed up for lunch a happy man!
There have also been some good silver fish catches with some quality roach, the best being in excess of a pound.
The canal has been somewhat maligned over the last year, however decent nets of silver fish can be had on light tactics using either bread punch over liquidised bread or pinkie over a little bit of groundbait. The odd perch and small skimmer also turn up. The other fish of interest is gudgeon, these have not been seen for a few years but one or two are turning up nat the moment. Gudgeon are of particular interest as they are always considered to be a sign of good water quality, so it could be that conditions are right for a resurgence of fish in the canal – let’s hope so!
There have been some bumper bream catches from Petworth Park and the general worry about the bream population over the last couple of years seems to be unfounded. Anglers are reporting up to 70lb bags of bream in a session. Scattered among the bream have been some excellent tench and crucian carp among them a new club record crucian. The pegs around the middle of the roadside are as always the favoured spots and fishing is always best when there is a moderate westerly.
The Granary has been fishing particularly well with anglers reporting good bags of carp up to double figure fish. If you don’t want to catch carp then there are loads of rudd to go for and the perch that were stocked 18 months or so ago have packed on the weight and are now worthwhile targeting, although it is difficult to find a bait that is not going to be picked up by either the carp or the rudd.
Please don’t forget to fill out the log books at our venues, it really helps us in compiling these reports. If you have any photographs of your catches that you would like to share please forward them to us HERE.