It’s a cruel month. February. I think out of the other eleven its the one I least look forward to. Cold, grey, and usually very hard to tempt a bite. Expectations are certainly lowered during this period. But I admit I enjoying a challenge. Tempting lethargic fish to feed with just the right amount of lose offerings. They make their way closer to my hookbait. A bait fished delicately enough to tempt them to take. Then if a bite occurs its time to hope that the lighter than usual lines, that have helped you get this far, will see the job through.
Time to return to the river I had my first session on last week. Once more after chub. Arriving at the venue around midday, for the first hour I explored upstream and downstream. Plenty of tempting and interesting swims. Conditions were polar opposite to last weeks stillness and mist. A glowing sun beamed down and the blue sky stretched on and on. The wind was much more noticeable this week. Gusting quite strongly at times and putting a real ripple on the water. Speaking of which, the water itself was still very clear, prompting me to start my session on small baits.
Having not been able to get a supply of maggots I opted for some small three and four millimetre pellets. Because of the water clarity I didn’t fancy using a swimfeeder so the PVA was dug out of my fishing bag. In front of me, the river pushed heavily towards the far bank, the nearside much steadier as it dropped off into a deep pool. It was here I concentrated my efforts. I cast every 45 minutes or so as I didn’t want to overfeed, or spook, any fish present. On my second cast I had a knock on the rod tip. Quickly followed by a savage pull forward. The rod was grabbed and the hook set. What felt like a reasonable fish nodded in reply. I was most pleased to have had such an early result. The fish wasn’t on the bank yet though. On the other end of the line, the suspected chub had come close into my own bank and was making for the only obstruction in the swim. An old tree branch. For a second I could feel the line grating on it but luckily the fish swam free. A few seconds later I was admiring a brassy sided, clear water chevin.
With my confidence levels on the up, I recast the rig and sat back in expectation of some more action. The river continued flowing. The wind carried on gusting. But a bite never came. I’m at the bottom of a steep learning curve with regards this river, and I knew that my earlier ‘expectations’ were not really rooted in anything more than my excitement and ambition. I was simply happy to be sat in such a wonderful setting. Being well wrapped up against the elements, it was actually a fairly pleasant day. I spent an hour or so watching the birdlife and appreciating in the textures and colours of the swim. I spotted an old swimfeeder not far from where I was sat, half buried in the sand. I wondered if the feeder had been lost on a snag. Or if a large fish had dashed an anglers hopes of PB, as an unseen monster found sanctuary, and the line gave way. Fish and angler parting company. However the feeder had been lost the river had already started to claim it as its own. Another flood would see the feeder gone forever. Buried from view. A time capsule. A record of how someone had fished circa the year two thousand.
The fishing remained hard until the light began to fade. Half an hour before dusk the rod tip started to show signs of feeding fish. Little knocks and taps. It was only a matter of time before these taps became more positive and gave me something realistic to strike at. The culprit a small chub of about a pound. The next cast produced another chub of a similar size. There was then a little period of inactivity until the darkness well and truly took over. I then caught another three chub in succession. The only problem was that their size had decreased. All three fished cumulatively weighing no more than a pound. Good news for the rivers future but not for my hopes of a monster. It was time to head for home. Those bigger chub would have to wait for another day.
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Until Next time tight lines