By now the mist had long since cleared up and the sun was shining down. The high sided banks of the river seemed to lessen the effect though. Some of the runs would never see the sun, eternally stuck in a dark, cool shadow. For the sections that ran in a different direction the complete opposite could be said. Here the water looked much more inviting. The river cast in a warm, orange hue. Partly from the peaty looking water and partly from the rich gravel underneath the ripples. In stark contrast, tendrils of green weed still clinging on this late in the year, waved mesmerisingly in the current. A reminder of just how mild Autumn has been. Today I was fishing with a friend. Although ‘fishing’ I use as a lose term. At least for me. I was to spend a fair chunk of the day simply watching and talking. Quite happy to take a back seat. It really was going to be refreshing to be out with a like minded angler, sharing stories and whetting our appetites for future conquests. Grayling were to be our target but with a healthy number of solidly built chub present, this was not an exclusive target by any stretch of the imagination.
I had arrived before dawn. A chance to soak up the atmosphere, watch the mist rise, and see the sun break from below the horizon. I had begun by having a good search around and found some new swims by fighting my way through balsam and nettles. Having found an inviting run on a corner, I hurriedly set up the tackle and proceeded to feed the swim. The first trot through a new swim is usually a memorable thing. For the wrong reason in this one. A hook lost on an unseen snag. Oh well, I thought, lets avoid that area. My next trot through I sent the float on a different line all together. Halfway down the swim the float tip once more sank from view. Hook number two lost and for now time to move on to familiar territory. By this time my fishing partner for the day had arrived so I went to meet him. Back across the field I trudged, watching a hare charge at some ludicrous speed in the opposite direction. With the pleasantries exchanged, a plan was formed to make our way to the head of the stretch and work our way back down. Waders donned, we explored previously un-fished areas of the river, and with good results. Shaun taking a number of sizeable grayling from the first swim we fished, two of which were well over the pound mark. Certainly fish befitting of the glorious autumn day and certainly ones to be proud of. I myself fished a little downstream and had to make do with a procession of little minnows. Some of them, not so small, at least for minnows. Very pretty little fish if truth be told but a devastating interceptor of hookbait intended for bigger species. It was time to move on to more familiar territory where it would be hopefully my turn to catch something bigger than my finger.
With the water still quite low and clear we were looking for swims offering a little depth. We were also looking for swims with a little pace too, where the water would be more oxygenated and food more readily available. With these features ticked off, and the addition of a overhanging tree, I felt this was a near perfect swim for a chub. Shaun made himself comfortable with a cup off coffee and I had a few exploratory runs down the glide. After a good five minutes of feeding the float deliberately sank from view. My strike locked up to a unmovable weight. At first I thought it was goodbye hook number three but thankfully this ‘snag’ then began to move toward me. On light line chub really fight well. Using their huge mouths and weight to great effect. A deeply coloured fish due to the clear water. I was very happy with my reward. A few casts later and I was into my second, a slightly more washed out example but another chunky fish.
It was a real treat to see these fish swim off in the shallow and clear water but the return of these fish ultimately spooked any others present so it was time to move on once more. Over the next few hours I did a lot more talking and watching than fishing. It was great fun though. Lovely to share and appreciate the surroundings with a fellow angler who I kew would be doing the same. I had to leave well before Shaun (it might have had a little to do with hooking the only stump in a swim and losing my rig) but it had been an enjoyable day none the less. Shaun caught a good amount of grayling, the odd trout and dace, before informing me via email that he also added a good chub to his tally just before dusk. Well done that man! Each fish landed, cared for and returned to give another angler as much pleasure as they had given him. The true spirit of angling.
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Until Next time tight lines