Angling column: Whitehouse and Mortimer doing so much to promote our sport

Gone fishing...
Gone fishing...

Watching BBC2’s Gone Fishing programme featuring Paul Whitehouse, the angler, and Bob Mortimer, the apprentice, makes me laugh out loud and speaks volumes about the kind of banter and friendship that cam come from going fishing, something I have enjoyed and continue to share with most fellow anglers.

The programme is all about the fun that fishing with a friend adds to our lives if we give it a try. The locations and stretches of water they visit are not readily available to everyone but it’s not that difficult to find open waters close to where these couple of comedians try their hand.

Whitehouse is a pretty good angler and his advice is worth taking on board. Probably this lovely series does more to promote angling than some of the more serious dedicated television programmes.

Are we now experiencing climate change, or were summers always like this when I was a lad? The heatwave will eventually come to an end but when the rains come they will be most welcome.

The Petworth and Bognor club’s still waters have held up rather well due to the heavy rainfall in the spring but the feeder streams are starting to run dry.

The Rother now needs topping up and licensed water extraction is taking its toll. Why we don’t build more reservoirs is a mystery to me. With a growing population and the need for further housing something needs to be done – taking more water from our rivers is not sustainable. The impact on our precious wildlife, fish and the environment will affect future generations, and they won’t forgive us unless we stop the easy and cheaper option of draining our watercourses.

Well, what about the fishing? So far it’s been patchy, something I struggle to understand, and as chairman of a fishing club I’m hearing it more and more throughout this hot weather.

The carp love a bit of sun on their backs and often prefer the sun to what’s offered as bait. The bronze tench remain on the bottom, only the bubbles give their presence away – I’ve watched all this going on during a recent visit to our Hurston Lane fishery in Storrington.

Only the rudd seemed hungry but once the tench realised food was on the way down, provided it wastn’t grabbed by the rudd then they provided some good fishing. Tench and warm summer days go hand in hand.

I still wonder why a really good catch on either the Arun or the Rother one day is followed in high expectation the next day with a complete blank.. same bait, same swim but the fish have gone on strike.

That’s fishing for you and even Mortimer and Whitehouse have had their bad days, but angling wouldn’t be the same if we caught every time, in fact it would get boring.

Although having recently sat by a river all day in the searing heat without even a bite, and my only sighting some red ants, a small dace could have a least put in an appearance.

We ‘e still getting some cracking good barbel being caught on the Rother and the Arun. Some smaller barbel have been caught as a result of the riffles installed on the Rother at Coultershaw and below Shopham Bridge where spawning has taken place.

The downside is that we have had a number of canoeists sadly destroying these precious spawning grounds by using their paddles in the shallows – they probably don’t realise or understand this river is environmentally threatened.

Putting a boat or canoe both in or out of the river from private land is in fact trespass unless permission in writing has been granted.

Want to know more? Then wwwsussexangling.co.uk will tell you where to fish and how to get a fishing licence.

Roger Poole

Chairman, Petworth & Bognor Angling Club

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