Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Blown Away

 Acorns crunched underfoot,as I made my way to the river and after the first frosts of recent weeks,I was greeted with a very windy,but mild morning. The plan was to do some feeder fishing and try to tempt some of the large Chub that populate the Thames tributary,I eventually decided to settle on a sheltered area and one that had a real aura which screamed Chub,replete with overhanging foliage,wood rafts and faded streamer weed.I usually use live maggots for a lot of my Autumn and winter fishing,but given how tenacious the Crayfish can be on this particular stretch,I decided to go the artificial route and fish a combination of floating artificial casters along with artificial red and white maggots on the hair.The feeder was filled with a mixture of vitalin,maggots,casters and seed,as well as being flavoured with anchovy.

I really love these types of days,which will no doubt become rarer the later we move into the year,blustery,but not too cold and a real mixed bag of weather. Squirrels were scampering about above me,dancing acrobatically from one branch to the next,their minds set on stocking up their larders.

 Bites were forthcoming more or less straight away,but rather hesitant plucks and subtle taps,nothing that would commit angler or fish into doing something rash that they might connect with one and other,as the morning turned to lunchtime a young swan sped downstream,still wearing immature grey plumage,to all intents it moved as if its life depended on it,a few minutes later that turned out to be pretty much close to the truth,as an angry adult Swan,with wings locked in battle mode,surged past me and carried on,only to reappear heading back upstream giving me what seemed quite a resentful glare.

 Not long after this incident,the rod tip started receiving a bite that indicated more serious intentions,every light pluck met by a harder one,until the rod tip eventually smacked round and a sprinting battle commenced,after a short,but spirited fight,a Chub with a broad back was resting in the landing net,I could not help from cracking a very contented smile as the scales settled at a very pleasing 6lb 5oz.

That was to be it until the early evening darkness,when the weather changed again and the it rained hard and solidly for a couple of hours.This seemed to have the desired affect on the Bream and they got their heads down,a couple of smaller fish in the three and four pound bracket,were later followed by a nicely conditioned fish of 6lb.

By now the time was getting on for 11pm and I decided to not stay into the small hours as I would normally do,I was content to have caught a nice Chub by design and it made for a rather fulfilling feeling,one which I would like to repeat again soon,as I don't wish to waste this influx of rain and cloudy conditions.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Indian Summer

Would someone like to enlighten me as to what happened to Autumn? The weather the past few days was something akin to an Indian summer,with temperatures hitting the balmy heights of 29c,with that in mind I cannot say that the conditions looked very favourable on any of my local rivers,but  I was certainly not going to miss the chance to get down the river.

I had planned on fishing an area I had not fished in many years,but like everywhere on this river,it was full of wonderful features that screamed "fish me",such is the flow of this very alluring temptress that it has brought many an angler under its spell,but its ever changing moods are all part of its very seductive charms and I am one of those whom has fallen for it.

The spider webs were heavily laced with the  morning dew,which hung like sparkling crystal chandeliers,across the bramble strewn margins and the insect life was in full swing,the hum of bees,diving in and out of the balsam accompanied by the popping sound as the seed pods split open,catapulting their content everywhere in hope that they might find somewhere to grow.

I decided to pick two spots to fish,the first a very small area which would only be suitable for one rod,the hand of indecision plucked at me as to which spot to fish first and I was stood indecisively for a good twenty minutes,trying to decide which out of the two spots to wet a line in first.Eventually I went for the smaller area and quietly lowered in my rod close to some marginal surface foliage.

It was to be a quiet and overly sunny morning,save for the movement of the Kingfisher,who regularly paid a visit to my swim for a quick snack,I was beginning to kick myself for not having brought any maggots with me,as I could have caught some nice silvers and given the bright conditions I think a maggot or worm would have picked me up a better fish or two as well,hindsight is a  wonderful thing though.

I remember many years gone by that this use to be a good spot for Pike as much as it was for Barbel and Chub,in fact many was the time when after Barbel,you would end up being bitten off by the Pike that resided here.It was late afternoon when this memory became reality,as my rod tapped lightly  and the line gracefully moved to some cabbage patch downstream,before immediately falling and sagging limply,a rye smile broke across my face,I lifted the rod,nothing,no rig no weight and on closer inspection the line had teeth marks on it and was cut off sharply,the Pike had given me a warm greeting and some food for thought when the weather gets cooler.

I noted more small fry scattering repeatedly,when the Pike are on the feed,this swim although a very good one for my sought for quarry,would probably result in more Pike activity.I decided to move to my second swim,a pacey spot with streamer weed aplenty and some nice glides as well as an area just off the main flow,it looked sumptuous.

There was room for two rods here,so I placed one into a clear patch in the main flow and the other into a slower deeper glide.It was not until the sun had long disappeared and the owls began their calls, that I had my first bite,a slow stumbling affair,the rod tip plucked round,nodding a few times,before bending round in a steady fashion,I was into a slow resistance,that kicked sporadically,a Bream of 4lb+,it was most welcome,alas once I got it into the net,I saw it did not look in the best of health,in fact it looked rather the worse for wear,with sore looking growths around its fins and black plating all down its flanks,despite this it swam off strongly.

It was around 3am when I had my next bite,this time a thumping bite,but one which seemed in the style of a Chub,the rod tip smacked round three times and baitrunner ticked off in an alarming fashion,I struck and connected with nothing but thin air, "I bet that was a Chub" I muttered to myself,it would have been nice to have at least felt some resistance,so that I could have more accurately guessed what species had just eluded me.The remainder of the night was a very quiet one and as the early morning sun filtered through the mist,I was making my way home,hoping for some cooler weather and a drop of rain,as I really wanted to return to this area of the river,there were some hidden gems that had remained unearthed under the rivers watery blouse,she had brought me down to earth with a bump,but in doing so had just caused  more fascination and enticed me deeper into her loving arms.