Everything looked absolutely perfect. The river had a little warm rain in it a few days before my trip. The levels rose and began to fall the day before I was due to arrive, leaving the river at normal winter level, just a hint of colour. The weather, although blustery, was mild and with a fair amount of cloud cover predicted I couldn’t believe how everything had fallen perfectly into place. I was certain that the big chub would be willing to feed.
I had decided to try something a little different on this visit. Something I have never used before for chub. Even before I had started fishing, however, I had serious reservations about the choice I had made. In fact I was regretting not bringing my usual set up. But I was here now and I was going to give it my best. If nothing else I would learn something by the end. I settled into a lovely swim, offering me a defined crease, plenty of cover in the form of overhanging trees and a good depth of water. On went a small baitdropper and I proceeded to feed the swim. In total I put five loads of maggots into the swim. Quite a lot for me. The reason being I was hoping for a big fish and there are plenty of smaller species in here, minnows, dace and small chub. I wanted to make sure that there was some bait down there in an hour or two. I also felt that the conditions could potentially throw up a barbel so this was always in the back of my mind. I tied up the rigs on both rods whilst the swim settled.
And this is what I tied. One I have never used for chub before. The Mag Aligner. Borrowed from the carp fishing world, and indeed, the tench and bream fisherman. I had read in the past about successes other anglers have had on the method when used for wise chub and barbel. I thought it worth a go. Simply involves a fake maggot threaded onto the rig, and positioned so the curve of the fake maggot ever so slightly kicks the hook at an angle that will help flip the hook into the fishes lip. One or two real maggots are threaded onto the hook before a large PVA bag filled with a generous helping of grubs is attached both to the hook and the lead. Seemed like a good idea when I was day dreaming about the session at work. Less so now I was on the bank. The rigs were tied, PVA bags made up, and the swim had been rested for an hour. At the head of the swim I cast the first rod. The second rod, which had smaller sized PVA bags, was cast downstream into a deeper hole. Everything settled cleanly. I sat back and watched the tips. Two hours later I wound in. The maggots were fine. I re-cast both rods and for another two hours I watch the tips gently nodding. I wish I had brought one rod and some cheesepaste now and tried any likely swims. Still, I was learning. By now it was dusk. I wound in a recast the rods for one last time and waited for the blanket of black to envelop the surroundings. Of course I ended up blanking.
Now the stretch I am fishing is no pushover but it does offer a realistic chance of five pound plus chub with the odd fish over that magical six pound barrier. When the stakes are high I guess you have to expect times like this, especially when trying a new method. There are so many variables in fishing its sometimes impossible to say why you haven’t caught. Today, I think it was just poor angling; a certain lack of experience with the method. Or maybe the conditions were just too perfect? We’ve all had days where things are ideal, at least in our minds, but the fish think otherwise.
I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy christmas. Thanks to everyone who has been reading these updates and indeed those who have followed or liked the Facebook page. Your support means a lot and I hope the new year brings you wet net nets and big fish.
Until Next time tight lines