Fishery Management Report

Shopham Work Party May 2023

Report From Steve Gray

On Sunday the 14th of May,  a good turnout of six met in the layby, after a briefing of the long list of jobs I had lined up, everyone set to work.

The week before I had built an addition step platform for the up section making it easier for the older anglers or some of us ‘shorter legged anglers’. Either way access is now a lot easier there was still a few repairs to do on the old platform so David Gibbon laid some new decking pieces across making it a lot sturdier.

Ian Roberts and Vic Shepard went off to the riffles to open up the swim again they also worked upstream cutting back any overhanging branches in swims to make a cast easier.

Steve Roser kindly washed all the Petworth and Bognor signs.  He cleared some willows downstream on the south bank then moved over to the north bank to cut back swims and limbs from trees that had been washed up in the floods.

A while ago I spoke to Roger Poole – our Chairman about installing a bench next to the bridge, a reflection bench as I like to think of it. Somewhere you can sit and watch the river flow, maybe think about past anglers and friends that have fished the Rother. Or somewhere to sit in mid-winter for a quick tea in between baiting chub swims (hmm that one sounds like me!).

Roger agreed it was a good idea and got permission from the landowner. There was one guy in mind to build this and that was Chris Exall.

Chris built a fantastic looking bench in his work shop and he brought it with him, we cleared the area found a little toad which we gently put to one side and got the bench secured in the ground. I think a few more anglers maybe fishing this swim now! Cracking job Chris!

A couple of views of the reflection bench

I was on my normal strimming duties downstream on both sides also cleared the public footpath area too. I cut back the brambles where you walk and also cut them back along the river’s edge as well.

View from the bridge of the strimmed path
Strimmed bank

We finished off by pulling out some snags from the bridge swim and we gave the willow a good prune back so you get a good view when you sit on the bench, but knowing willows it will all be grown up come the start of the season!

Willing helpers take some of the strain away from myself, we always have a mixture of jobs to suit everyone and it would be nice to see some more of the Shopham regulars turn up. It’s good to chat about the river and the fish and get to know fellow anglers a bit more.

Thank you once again for the five that turned up; Chris Exall, Vic Shepard, Ian Roberts, Steve Roser, David Gibbon and myself – Steve Gray .