A good time of year for anglers? Of coarse it is...

Fishing the River Arun at Watersfield
Fishing the River Arun at Watersfield

While river trout fishing started in April, coarse fish angling began last Monday (June 16) – at last a chance for anglers to head to their chosen swims on our two main local rivers, the Rother and Arun.

Described as chalk and cheese, both offer good varied species of coarse fishing but in very different aspects. The tidal surge is challenging in the wide fast-flowing Arun – it requires stronger tackle and patience, but there are large fish.

A whopping double-figure barbel was caught last year from Petworth and Bognor’s Angling Club stretch at Watersfield, but there are lots of equally-good fish.

If you happen to find the bream expect more than one: they shoal in numbers and if you happen to fish with bread, you can be in for some fun – strange though because suddenly they move off and it’s time to change baits and seek roach and other fish often found just a few feet from the bank.

Views vary on whether an incoming tidal flow is better than a receding one.

The smaller winding Rother joins the Arun at Hardham and some good news is the Environment Agency have installed a fish passage on the weir at Southern Water’s Hardham plant.

This is most welcome and it’s often the case the Environment Agency’s hard work and effort is overlooked – and despite having reduced resources and staff they continue to invest in projects and support river improvements without which anglers would not see fish moving throughout the river.

This happens because land owners, farmers, the Arun and Rother Rivers Trust, the Angling Trust and angling clubs recognise improvements can only continue if everyone works together.

Let’s hope the silt and sand that’s a major concern on the river moves through quickly during flood conditions. The Rother Valley is mainly sandy but changes in farming have led to more of it finding its way into the river.

There are silt traps in place, but a lot more are needed; it is not easy to solve, but studies are being carried out and let’s hope things will improve, but there’s no quick fix.

For those who prefer lakes and ponds, these are available. All clubs need to survive, and joining and supporting a club will ensure angling continues for future generations – youngsters need weaning off screens. For news and information, see www.sussexangling.co.uk

ROGER POOLE