West sussex anglers have to wait for river action

Fishing the rivers has come to halt for the annual close season, which lasts until June 16. Then, once again, the early birds will be honing their skills on the Rother and Arun.

It’s a wonderful time of the year – providing the weather is seasonal for June. Climate change appears to be with us and the recent warm spell has brought drought conditions that are having a devastating effect on our rivers and their tributaries.

Water levels have been at an all-time low for months and fish stocks are struggling for natural food, most of which is provided by river basin plant life, home to a variety of insects.

If the recent lack of rain is not enough to worry about, we now have a problem along the riverbanks to control a whole range of invasive plants, like Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam and giant hogweed. And the slower flowing of the Rother means there is water fern and floating pennywort to contend with. These seem to be taking quite a hold and need to be controlled.

Take advice on the proper way to deal with these plants as both the timing and method of removal varies considerably.

Petworth & Bognor Angling Club have finally re-opened the Hurston Lane Fishery at Storrington and further work will continue over the coming months at a popular spot to go fishing with a wide variety of species to suit all coarse fish anglers.

It is owned by the club, who are enlarging the car park where new disabled anglers’ swims are adjacent to the tench ponds. All three ponds have benefited from a re-stocking programme.

Chichester Canal is popular at this time of the year and roach, tench, perch are found spread all along its length - although during the winter the larger fish, including pike, head for the canal basin at Chichester.

There are plenty of places to go fishing during the close season and the club’s website – www.sussexangling.co.uk – gives full details.

The coming season may attract more match anglers, something all clubs are keen to promote as a way to improve your fishing skills. This should interest youngsters who often surprise their elders when they show them a thing or two. Why not try coming to a few matches? It’s fun and you could end the season with trophies and cups to prove how good you are.

ROGER POOLE