Seeing a window of opportunity on Saturday and before the offspring of hurricane Nadine was forecast to hit, I decided to spend the afternoon on the Blackwater again, chancing my arm for a few more of those Chub. It was a brilliantly sunny day and perhaps I was expecting too much after my previous trips, given the bright conditions and and low water levels I thought it would be a bit of an uphill struggle and I wasn't wrong, starting in a few spots where I had some success on previous trips I was finding an instant lack of action from the off, almost as if there was no one at home in any of them.
I made my mind up to head much further downstream, as I fancied the look of a few swims, the first one being on a slight bend in the river with tree coverage and some weedy rafts, this spot looked perfect but it was very shallow and the water clarity was like crystal. Not to be put off I decided to place the bait as tight as I could to the edge of the weed rafts, in hope that I could tempt any fish that might be skulking about underneath.
But alas nothing, the only twitch being provided by a crayfish that scuttled under the weed rafts to intercept my lobworm. I moved further downstream, finding another nice compact area, with plenty of coverage.
|Home sweet home, or is it?|
The swim looked spot on for a fish or two and I was feeling a lot more confident as I lightly cast the hookbait to the edge of the cover. There was no doubt the spot was giving off the right vibes and looks, but alas nothing showed, I was starting to wonder just where these chaps were hiding.
I moved on to an area partially seperated by a fence, the river widens at this point and it has some nice gravel runs, but it is also very shallow, I spotted a couple of nice looking Chub, patrolling up and down every so often and this was enough to tempt me, although I can't really say that I was feeling that confident, twenty minutes after casting I watched the Chub as they came back to the gravel run, they showed their intent by taking a wide birth around the area before coming back, only to skirt round the area for a second time, having tried a fair few swims I was beginning to scratch my head, whilst begging the sun to ease off of the water a little. Below this area the river narrows into a bottleneck, becoming very overgrown but with enough room to place a bait.
A sumptuous looking spot and as I cast into it I said to myself, "this looks perfect". Sure enough I was soon receiving taps, the rod twitching and jerking every so often, but only chublets were forthcoming, by now the time was getting on, the sun looking tired, giving off an autumnal watery warmth, now I had past a spot earlier on but had not fished it, a massive bed of matted weed one side and a nice tree covering the water, providing shelter, with just a couple of gaps where a bait could be placed between the streamer weed.
On the way back upstream, I placed a bait there, doing so I noted something in the swim, I looked again, almost doing a double take and sure enough it was a toy duck, bright yellow, replete with cartoon eyes and orange beak. I grinned, I was deep down hoping it was perhaps a sign of good luck. I chuckled at myself for that thought.
After twenty minutes a few plucks began, I was thinking to myself that it was perhaps crayfish once again homing in on the lobworm, but the plucks began again, this time with renewed conviction, could there be a cheeky chevin at home?
The bite never developed into a full blooded one, but as I struck, all hell broke loose, the quivertip replied by arching round urgently as the fish made for the safety of the overhanging tree, opting to try and keep as tight line on it as possible, I let the rod soak up as many lunges as I could, in the end I had no choice but to give the fish a bit of line, at this point the line twanged as it caught one of the nearby branches, many possible outcomes were racing through my mind at the time, all of them ending with me losing the fish, eventually and after too many heart in mouth moments, the fish was slid into the waiting landing net.
A chunky fish, the scales settling on 4lb 12oz, the largest Chub I have been lucky enough to catch from this wonderful little waterway. I tried for a couple of hours into darkness in a swim a few metres downstream, hoping to tempt another one, but only crayfish were willing to preoccupy themselves with my bait.
By 9pm it was feeling cool for late September, I decided to pack up. It had not been an easy afternoon roving about, but it had been a very enjoyable one and with a very welcome reward, on leaving the river I took one last look at the swim, thanking both the river and that lucky rubber duck.