Arlington Reservoir is a very picturesque reservoir located in East Sussex near Eastbourne. Surrounded by rolling hills, gently sloping grass banks and woodland, it was a surprise to learn the whole area was man-made in the late 1970’s by South East Water to serve the local area with water. Arlington Reservoir is now a site of scientific interest and a major bird spotting location.
Even though Arlington Reservoir is only a few hours drive away it’s never really been on my radar. Bewl is the main reservoir near here so I have to travel some distance for fishing on larger waters hence I tend to stick to the smaller venues, unless we’re going for a weekend trip. Fishing new places a little further away can be tricky to fit in alongside work and family life so quick trips to my local small lake are my normal escape. So it was a nice surprise to get invited along to the press day at Arlington Reservoir this year and an opportunity we jumped at. Unfortunately Beardy Neil was off to Wales so it was left to me to go along.
Arriving at Arlington you can instantly see the appeal of the place. It’s a beautiful location with amazing scenery, great bank locations, a dam and small electric powered boats. Unfortunately the day was a little bit on the windy side and so boats weren’t allowed out. Never mind, plenty of great bank areas to try!
After a quick hello, a bite to eat, some history about the reservoir and a heads-up on how it was fishing we were off. Myself and Peter Cockwill headed down to the windy end while must other fishermen headed up to the damn end for some shelter. Fish can normally be found on the windy side this time of year so it was a good place to start. Unfortunately the wind had other ideas! It wasn’t easy to get a line out but as it turned out the fish weren’t far out and after a few casts I’d had my first fish (and before Peter Cockwill as well! Sorry Peter!) on an orange tadpole lure. Ten minutes later and a few missed plucks I’d got my second. While not the biggest fish they were really very strong and rocketed off like torpedoes! I didn’t want to catch my 6 fish limit too quickly and with a whole 120 acres of water to explore I decided to have a walk round to the damn end. The grassy banks are lovely to fish from with some perfect wading areas and the damn end is huge giving access to some very deep water perfect for booby fishing on sinking lines. While the walking and trying different areas was very nice it wasn’t producing many fish, even a good hour or so at the damn end fishing deep didn’t produce any fish.
After lunch and a chat with the other fisherman I decided to go back round the windy side but further round than my first session to try and get the wind a little my over my shoulder. On this side of the bank the trees come quite far down so casting behind was a little tricky and a few flies were lost in the trees. But again, the fish weren’t far out and by 3pm I’d caught another 4 on the orange tadpole and a black Apache. All bagged up I headed in for it to be weighed.
After 4pm most people had gone off home, I’d been handed a bottle of booze as the winner of the biggest bag of fish and the wind had started to drop. After photos were taken myself and Andy Lush (The friendly fisherman) decided to take out some boats for the last few hours as Christine and the rangers had kindly allowed us to carry on fishing. With the wind dropping nicely we decided to try anchoring in the home Bay Area and fish into the bank with some nymphs. With still a little bit of a wave it wasn’t as productive as we’d hoped but I did manage to pickup 3 more fish on black Diawl Bachs with an orange head. Orange really did seem to be a good trigger colour today as Andy found out picking up more fish on orange blobs in the last half-hour.
Thanks to Christine and all the rangers at Arlington Reservoir for a brilliant day out fishing at a truly lovely venue. Speaking to Andy throughout the day it was clear that Arlington Reservoir can be an amazing dry fly water so I’ll definitely be back again soon when its a little warmer and less windy!
So thank you again to Christine, the rangers, Andy and Peter Cockwill for tickling the back of my head with his rod while I was trying to undo a knot!