I imagined the car would be understandably bemused when I didn’t take the usual exit on the motorway this week. It was time to head for somewhere a little further afield. Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band were keeping me company on the journey and I simply couldn’t wait to get to my chosen location. It has been a good few months since I last ventured onto a river and it felt like it too! Much, much too long. The conditions haven’t been great for weeks though, and from talking to friends and reading reports online, the rivers are in desperate need of some rain and a good flush through. Today however, the expected low conditions and warm, bright sunny day did not bother me one bit. Neither did the idea of catching. I was simply looking forward to once more being sat by moving water. Fishing for the unknown amongst the currently subdued currents. Even if that ‘unknown’ meant not catching. It really didn’t concern me one bit.
I settled into an inviting swim, positioning my chair on a small mound, that ordinarily would be a foot or more underwater. A chance to walk the stretch and look for features not usually obvious in normal or flooded conditions? You bet, and thats exactly what I did, straight after I had a quick lead around the swim. In doing so I found an interesting depression in the river bed and deposited a few bait dropper loads of bait. I was in no hurry to fish just yet. Time to give any willing fish plenty of time to settle. I was already finding the place absolutely stunning. It’s funny how we become immune to places we visit often. Sometimes it takes a jolt to make us realise that just because they become familiar they shouldn’t be allowed to lose their charm. I once read a book by a famous architect who said that if you find your journey to work boring then you aren’t using your eyes. What a very fitting observation and one that I find myself taking stock of when I feel a place doesn’t have the ‘magic’ it once did. Anyway, enough philosophical rambling, back to the fishing.
I left the majority of the tackle in the swim and I had a wander around the stretch. Up the bank, down the bank, up the bank and down once more. I took with me my rod, landing net, unhooking mat and a few pieces of meat. Should the opportunity arise for some freelining in amongst the fronds of ranunculus. Although I was looking for any features, I wanted to be prepared for the chance of catching my first fish from the river. I found lovely looking shallow glides and areas where the river was noticeably deeper and slower. I noted a few obstructions worth remembering for when the river returns back to its usual level. I didn’t see any fish on my travels but I did have a few exploratory ‘blind’ casts in some likely looking areas none the less. Nothing fancied my offering so I returned to the swim I had baited an hour or so ago. When I returned I set up a light running rig with a fairly long hooklength and smallish hook. Bait would be a small pellet or whittled down boilie and for an hour I watched a motionless rod tip. I also watched a vast amount of wildlife coming and going. Still an abundant amount of insect life zooming about, trying to evade the attention of the hungry birds. As the light began to fade I could hear small mammals making their way through the undergrowth. No way to see them but I found it strangely comforting to be surrounded by a place so alive. Time for one final top up of the swim with the bait dropper. Then it was a case of waiting for darkness to set it. Slowly the isotope became more apparent until this tiny dot of fluorescent light was the most obvious thing in the landscape. The sky had clouded over and became a deep Prussian blue which in turn transformed the bank side trees to a dense blackness.
I watched the isotope for a further three hours. It remained more or less stationary the whole time, apart from a few tiny plucks made by small fish. Well, thats what I’m telling myself. The river conditions were against me and I didn’t manage a fish, but as I said in the opening, I wasn’t really expecting anything. It’s an easy thing to say but I really wasn’t. For me, like all of my fishing, the wild water of a river is about so much more than simply catching. But fishing a river seems to heighten this somehow. Maybe its because they are ever changing. From day to day, season to season, and year to year. A place where you don’t need to use your ‘fresh eyes’ to find something different.
Thanks for reading this update. You might like to head over to my Facebook page. Once there if you ‘like’ the page, you will get all the blog, twitter and Facebook updates in one place! You can click the link at the end or hit like to the top right of the home page. Don’t forget to share this with anyone you know might appreciate it using the social media buttons below.
Until Next time tight lines