My first glance of the river was less than welcoming. On the double take, so the feeling remained. A turbulent, chocolate coloured, watery artery that sent my heart sinking. I should have, at that very moment, turned around and headed for home but I wandered on. Desperate for something to inspire. Fifty yards later, I certainly found something. Or should that be someone. It was a friend, and WordPress comment-leaver extraordinaire, Cliff. Leaving my gear up the bank I slid down to have a chat with him and see how he was fairing. Not good was the verdict but he had at least caught. A good sized brown trout before on the next cast hooking something that just didn’t move. One of those annoying snags that make a river anglers life a nightmare. We mused over the state of the river and concluded that it would be another 24 hours or more before it became its more familiar self. To pass the time we wandered the stretch, exchanging information and sharing stories. Stories about big barbel and chub, from different rivers, far afield. But our thoughts were always drawn back to the monsters that called this particular stretch of river their home. In the end Cliff did the sensible thing and headed for home. I could’t leave though. Especially with his parting words echoing in my head. What are you going to do? You’ve got a blog to write! How right he was. I’d better hurry too; it was fast approaching mid afternoon.
As I set up the rod I began to feed a few maggots in a swim I have fished previously. Anything for a little extra confidence. Another plus point, although I didn’t want to admit it to myself at the time, was it looked like the colour was starting to drop a little. No, I kept telling myself, it’s just wishful thinking. But as I tied on the hook and fed a few maggots preceding my first cast, I was sure I could now see the bottom where once I couldn’t. My confidence levels rocketed skyward. From nowhere I felt sure I was going to catch a fish or two. Call it anglers intuition or memories and experiences from previous session resurfacing. Either way, as the float pulled line off the reel at the pace of the current, there was no way I was leaving here without a fish. I don’t say this in a big headed way. If you had asked me an hour before what my chances were I would have replied simply with a screwed up face. But now? On the second run through I hooked into my first fish. A very solid chub that, in the increased current, fought very well indeed. Parts of the fight saw two equal forces opposed. Meaning that neither fish not angler gained any ground. A stalemate. I certainly didn’t want to lose this fish. Precious on any session but even more so given the conditions. It might be my only one. Eventually, I managed to tease the chub ever closer to a waiting landing net. I was in all probability shaking somewhat upon scooping up a wonderful chub. Truly exciting fishing.
Over the next thirty minutes I had a run of small grayling. None of the fish were more than ten ounces with the majority being around five or six. But again their fighting qualities were heightened in the speedy flow and they provided some great sport. I also managed a small, but beautifully marked, brown trout. Jumping and thrashing on the surface as it fought. I feared, as I took a picture, that the swim might have been spoilt by all the commotion. And so it turned out to be. Whether it was the trout or that I had simply spooked the small shoal of fish that was in the area, I’ll never know. It was time to move on. With only twenty or so minutes left of daylight I headed to another known area to fish on until the light faded.
And fade it did. Far sooner than I wanted it too. Although it did call an end to a day that I was very lucky to catch on. I never had a sign of a bite in my second swim. It was’t a problem though. Once more this lovely river had not let me down. Though I fear I have been riding my luck of late. One day she will frown upon my presence and I will leave fish-less. When that happens I guarantee I will still enjoy every second. Fishing method I adore on a captivating stretch of river.
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Until Next time tight lines