Well, here I was again. Clambering down the high banks of my favourite small river. Banks that were even more treacherous than usual owning to the fact of the extra water the river had been carrying a day or two before. From the look of the land the water had been quite high. Layers of sediment and dead leaves lay where the extremities of the water had ceased. The current seemingly less fierce here allowing nature to form new sculptures. A piece of eroded wood here and a deposit of sand there. The early winter sun caught the outer edges of yellow and rust coloured leaves. A pretty welcoming sight in all honesty. Digging my feet into the ground to make sure they wouldn’t slip across the water logged surface, I made my way to a favourite swim for a few hours trotting after chub. And grayling. Or trout. Yes, I really was’t bothered what took my hookbait. Anything would be appreciated.
Bait today would be casters. I fancied a change from my staple of white maggots though I did have a few with me for a change of hookbait. I proceeded to, as I usually do, feed the swim whilst setting up. All the time any fish present are feeding their natural caution diminishes. I could imagine chunky Chevins or a territorial trout intercepting mouthful after mouthful of crunchy casters. Soon enough my hook would be hid in two of them and I was confident of a bite or two. A river fining down, carrying a tinge of colour, and quite a mild day. Perfect conditions. Well the first trot through seemed to prove this as the float was pulled under by a two and a half pound chub.
With the fish returned I upped the feed a little. Not in terms of how much I was feeding but in the frequency I fed. One helping at the start of the trot through and one at the end. Next I began to take a few grayling. Not huge fish but certainly very enjoyable fishing. Slowly but surely their size increased until I managed two fish of around 10-12oz before promptly losing two others. This seemed to spook the shoal as the swim went through a short lull in activity. I persevered with feeding the casters though. I was sure that there was still some chub to be had. Probably skulking in the snags downstream.
Eventually I did hook another chub. This fish felt bigger than the first and began to kite strongly across the current. I had hooked the fish almost at the end of the trot, some 30 yards away and because of the length of line and the narrowness of the river, the fish made it to the sanctuary of a far bank snag. That wasn’t part of the plan but I tried to remain confident that the rest of the shoal would’t have been spooked by my schoolboy error. Indeed they hadn’t. On the very next cast I hooked another chub. Which nodded gently before coming free from the hook, a few seconds into the fight. The air turned blue for a second or so. Remain calm. Remain calm, I told myself. I fed more casters and sent the float through the swim. Half a dozen times without a bite. You’ve done it now, you can’t keep losing chub like this but with a vanishing tip, it appeared I had talked another chub into feeling a little pity for this ‘unlucky’ angler. I played the fish with a little more caution this time. But even this didn’t work as once more, after a few seconds, the fish managed to slip the hook. These chub were feeding very finicky.
After losing three fish in a row I thought it best to leave the swim for a few hours and return later in the afternoon. I wandered the banks, visiting swims fished previously and also exploring areas where I have never fished before. Six swims I tried in vain. I couldn’t tempt a bite. I did have a privileged fifteen minutes in the middle of the afternoon whilst enjoying a warm drink and a snack. Sat on the bank, I watched a kingfisher hunting tiny fish from an overhanging branch. Time after time the fish dived sub-surface only to return with a beak full of silver. Eventually he, or she, made its way downstream in a blur of blue and orange. I too decided it was time to make tracks back to the first swim where I planned to fish until dusk and hopefully not lose any more fish.
This time I made fewer mistakes. With the light levels dropping the chub fed with much more confidence. I took five fish in just under an hour with a few small grayling mixed in. The best chub weighing just over four pound. A great fish to take on the float. All too soon the sun sank and the tiny valley where I stood became too dark to see a float. Its a good job really as I could have easily spent another hour or more there. Once again I had been treated to a brilliant days fishing. I think this river likes me.
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Until Next time tight lines