After attending the Northern Angling Show on Saturday and helping out on my clubs stand there, I was eager to get some fishing done on the Sunday. I had it in mind to head off in search of big roach on a local canal and, although conditions looked ideal weather wise, I decided to head back to the river for a few hours roving and trotting. There was another motive for this decision. That week I had, eventually, received my new rod that had been ordered a fair few weeks ago. I was itching to try it out and the idea of sending a float down the river seemed a good way to christen it. If I happened to catch a grayling or chub, then that would be even better. I had some old maggots in the fridge and these would be my only bait having forgot to get fresh ones on the Friday. I tell you, I’d forget my head.
By the time I arrived at the river it was early afternoon and a quick walk along the length revealed one or two other anglers already resident. In the distance I could see another angler arriving too, so my roving plans went out of the window. Instead, I decided to find the longest, straightest part of the river and stay there until dusk. I hoped that with patience and careful feeding I could build a swim and draw fish towards me. Making the fish come to me for a change instead of me finding them. Swim selected, I assembled the rod and quickly set the float to a ‘guestimated’ depth and began feeding. Six maggots at a time for starters, roughly every minute. The river was at its usual winter level but very clear with just a tinge of colour. I was confident that my 2lb fluorocarbon hooklength and size 18 hook wouldn’t put any fish off but only time would tell. On my first run through the swim at the end of the trot, seconds before I was about to reel in, the float sank from sight and I was into a fish. Brilliant! First cast with new rod and a fish! I couldn’t believe my luck.
At 4lb 1oz the above chub was a great start to the session. It certainly put the rod through its paces and I’m glad to say it handled the fish beautifully. After the picture I returned the chub well upstream and headed back to the swim. Time to feed some more maggots and run the float through. Nothing that time. I eased back on the feed, still as regular but just three maggots now. Nothing again. I persevered for half an hour, changing the depth several times, and changing the pace the float was put through the swim. Still no signs of any more fish. The water was very clear and the more I looked at the end tackle in it, the more I became concerned. Those split shot stood out quite a lot. So I changed the larger shot for groups of smaller ones and spread them out, shirt button style, and the very next run down the swim I had a bite which I bumped. Probably a grayling and not the wisest thing to do when the fish are being finicky. Maggots changed, I ran the rig down once more hoping to prove this wasn’t a fluke. Once again I bumped another fish! After this little flurry of action the swim went quiet again, and for another hour, all my efforts were in vain.
Two small trout were my reward for keeping at it and proved at least that the feeding and rig was working. I just needed to hope that this rhythmic feeding drew up some better quality fish in the last two hours of light. At this point I was a little worried that my plan wasn’t going to work. But I needn’t have been. A few casts after the two trout, I hooked into my second chub of the day, which turned out to be a lovely conditions three pounder. Single white maggot being its downfall. The next cast produced another chub, this time a larger fish of 3lb 12oz, again in lovely condition. Things were hotting up a treat.
Over the next hour I took thirteen chub, ten of which were over three pound and the other three were two pound fish. Once they arrived the fishing was fairly easy. So much so in an attempt to catch the fish quicker I started feeding further upstream. This moved the shoal toward me so there was less time spent waiting for the float to get to the ‘killing zone.’ As long as I kept the bait going in, once just before I cast and at the end of the trot or whilst playing a fish, I was certain of a bite the next trot down. Eventually, and inevitably, the chub bites dried up. And thats when the grayling moved back into the swim. The first two were tiny; less than two ounces but eventually I connected with a bigger fish. Typically, it fought very hard, using its dorsal to hold in the flow. Weighing in at 1lb 10oz, it was a lovely fish to end the session with. No photo unfortunately as it decided to return itself before I had a chance to get the camera. They are lively fish for sure. With the light now all but gone it was to be the last fish of the session. I packed away slowly, taking in the atmosphere and the brilliant red sunset behind the trees. I had caught over 34lb of pristine chub, had another lovely sized grayling and a couple of brown trout. Not bad on a few handfuls of old maggots and a bit of perseverance.
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Until Next time tight lines