There’s no way I could possibly ignore heading back to the river. One that had helped me achieve a long standing ambition of catching a pound plus roach from a river just the week before. Of course, I didn’t expect to relive that day again, not for a while at least, but I did feel full of confidence. That I may find a few dace, roach or chub before the day was over. The river was still extremely low and clear, it was late afternoon, and I couldn’t wait to begin fishing.
As on my last visit, the first two swims I fished seemed quite devoid of fish, though I think this was purely due to the time of day and the water conditions. If I had stayed in the first swim and plugged away, until the sun began to lose its potency than the fish would have arrived, I was sure. But with so much river to explore staying in one place for too long was really unnecessary. I hope that with a more coloured river and the onset of the shorter days, the fish may become more obliging earlier on in the day, it’s something I am looking forward to finding out either way. Taking the sting out of Winters’ tail somewhat.
The third swim, which I started fishing well after six o’clock, offered much more pace than the first two. I remembered my abundant yet misplaced confidence last week, in predicting just where the dace would be hiding, a confidence that was ultimately battered and bruised by a lack of silver darts. I hoped that my predictions would fare a little better this week. And they did. After just a few casts, and a generous feeding of casters, I began to put together a net of dace. Some good ones were mixed in too, up to around ten ounces, though the majority were six to eight. They are striking fish, sleek lines, subdued but glistening colour. Get it right and they are easy to catch but feed wrong and they can be very frustrating. Shelling the caster without so much as a dip of the float. As began to happen after I’d took around twenty or so fish. A modest but worthy opponent for any angler.
Bites dried up soon after and as I wrote earlier, with much river to go at, it was simply a case of returning the fish and moving on. If no further fish came my way then I had already had my fill. As I wandered slowly downstream, in a tree just ahead of me, I spotted a small, fluffy bundle of brown with two eyes. A Little Owl, bobbing his head, unnerved by the presence trampling clumsily toward him. I froze. A Mexican stand off between us. Dare I reach for the camera and the zoom lens? Of course, I thought, and quietly set about doing so. I got the correct exposure, zoomed in and focused, finger on shutter button, just as the bugger took flight and glided across the river and out of range. I’m sure he knew what I was up to all along.
The last swim I fished, with the time now fast approaching eight, was a classic roach swim. Steady, much less pace than the last, and offering a good depth. I fed it with a generous helping of casters and hemp and enjoyed a cup of tea. My mouth was parched. Time for the swim to settle and thoughts of monsters to form. When I began fishing some time later I caught roach, the biggest a pound fish, with the average stamp being 10-12oz. They were much easier to make contact with than the dace and fought brilliantly on light tackle. Double caster once again proving to be the best bait. With the daylight now decreasing, by quarter past nine I was struggling to see the float and ten minutes later, it was pointless trying to carry on. Time to pack up. Begrudgingly of course. Where does the time go? I’d had another cracking day though and left for home a satisfied angler.
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