Thursday, 19 July 2012

A New Jigsaw Puzzle

Waiting, watching, for signs of the Thames red board warnings to abate, no sooner were yellow signs posted on the enviroment agency site, only to be replaced yet again by red. Enough was enough, time and tide wait for no one, my gear was gathered and with one thought on my mind  I headed to a stretch of Thames that was virgin to me, carp and barbel my target, the plan being to try to fish as slack area as I could find and for 48 hours. On my arrival the morning was a damp one and frisky bullocks and calves met me as I made my way to the river.

The Thames was tea coloured and the nearby weir whispered to me, each vortex telling me of what may become of my tackle should I make folly of casting in this area, I surveyed my options and decided to head on further downstream, in search of some reprieve from this fast paced maelstrom.

Eventually I settled for a bend in the river the flow not seeming as violent, stinging nettles barely poked through the watery surface, showing where the bank originally should be, I had marginal bush and tree cover to either side of me and eventually opted for a 6oz watch style, gripper lead on one rod and a normal gripper lead on the other. Casts were made,  a smile of wry amusement passed my lips as the current swept the lead aside even in this more slack area, as I had no other heavier weights with me, I decided to test the current off the edge of the main flow with two weights combined (10oz), on hitting the deck the river laughed mockingly, lifting the weights up, bouncing them across the river bed, I reduced my cast to a metre only and the weight found purchase. Not the most ideal of conditions to be testing the water on a stretch I hadn't much understanding of,  but I was eager to understand, although perhaps a fool to fish more than one night, at least in the same swim. The day passed suprisingly fast, with regular passings of bits of flotsam and broken branches, some of which caressed my lines and others which made full blooded, unseen, u-boat esque contact.

During the day I was kept company by Kingfishers, a pair of Grebes busily worked the far bank and Coots squabbled, making that high pitched, semmingly dysfunctional fuss as only Coots seem to do.

I noted with interest how they were spooking when moving across some areas of the water on the far bank, a sure sign that something of interest was lurking beneath and sure enough as night time fell, a suck was heard and not long after two jumps, the latter sounding like a mid double Carp. Apart from one very half hearted bite, the night remained a very quiet one.

The following morning I decided to bait more regularly throughout the day, the water level had dropped a good 5 inch or so, this did little to calm the current and its malicious undertow, a similar pattern as the previous day occurred, daylight hours were quiet and apart from two half hearted bites, including one dropback during the night, the only other activity was once again on the far bank, jumping was heard yet again and during this time I spent the last half of my final night rueing and psychologically kicking myself for having not packed longer banksticks, as I felt sure if I could have got a bait to this area and rods kept high enough, then maybe I would have stood a chance of some better interest.

Such trips are never negative though and there is always something positive that can be taken, the fact that I managed to spot fish activity in an area that they felt confident to move and show themselves and during such a flooded time on the river, was without doubt the biggest positive. The other being that I have burnt into my mind the image of long banksticks and being a fool to not have taken some with me, does admitting to idiocy count as being a positive?

A new puzzle has been placed in front of me and piece by piece I hope to uncover more of the whole picture on this area of the river, after all this is a part of what makes the journey for us anglers a very compelling one.


  1. A jigsaw has a final piece, if only angling was the same :-)

    Great tale and I suspect, just the first of many I the subject.

  2. That is actually very true Dave and that is what makes it so enjoyable. I have a lot to explore on this new stretch and I think a fair few more twists and turns yet await.

  3. Great shot of the kingfisher Mark.
    Had a similiar experience recently on the Wye recently. Couldn't believe the amount of weight which was constantly failing for purchase on the bottom as the current ripped through. Adjusted rod to 'rocket launch' in the rests and was then able to manage to scale down the lead.
    2 days and you didn't fashion a rest from a suitable branch?! Tut Tut ;-)
    Good read and I wish you success.

  4. Thanks Richard, lovely birds aren't they? You simply cannot grow tired of watching them, their fishing prowess is wonderful.

    Agree about the rod height mate, won't make the same mistake again and as for fashioning a rod rest from a suitable branch, I see what you did there, as I have just noticed a suitbale shaped branch in the second picture lol!

    Cheers, glad you enjoyed the post chap.