Tuesday, 11 September 2012
By the weekend I had more or less decided where I wanted to spend Sunday afternoon and that was back on the Blackwater. Catching that larger chub on my recent trip had got the cogs in my mind turning. Thoughts about winter time and chub fishing came to mind.
So I thought to myself, why not go for a spot of chub fishing and check the the river out further downstream. This part of the river has some very dense weed growth, coverage created by a variety of different weed. But there is the usual deeper areas and holes in the weed, parts shielded from sunlight, where weed growth does not have so much of a foothold. A small box of tackle packed, along with, maggots, bread, luncheon meat, redworms and lobworms, I was all set.
The afternoon was clear and very sunny as I made my way to the riverbank, coming upon it through rows of Balsam, there it flowed elegant and beautiful, looking even more of an aquatic jungle than it was further upstream. The first spot I decided to settle on was a shady spot, one where the sunlight could not permeate so easily, a nice spot with holes dotted about in the streamer weed and tangled tree roots on the opposite bank, all perfect spots for chub. Given the water was also low and clear I decided to not put any loose feed in, so as not to spook any wary fish, the swim was fairly quiet save for a few small, ravenous perch taking the lobworm, on my final cast I was contemplating a move to another swim when the quivertip plucked round and I was met by a darting fight from a very lively fish, which turned out to be a lovely conditioned brown trout.
I really did feel there was chub in this swim but they weren't being to forthcoming. So I decided to leave a scattering of maggots as well as a few bits of pinched bread in the swim and come back a lot later on. I moved further downstream, the weed getting even more dense here, like an underwater fern tree, thick and should I hook a fish would prove rather perilous to say the least.
Eventually I came upon a nice opening with some extra depth and cover to the left, this was a spot I was certainly not going to pass by, a cast alongside the grass fronds on the opposite bank was made. Nearly all of a sudden the quivertip bent round and I was met by a solid fight as line ticked off the pin, the fish seeking an area of safety upstream where there was a tangle of weed, after a couple of attempts at making for this sanctuary, I slid the net under a lovely looking Chub of 3lb 3oz.
Taking no chances, I released the fish well away from this swim and made another cast, this time allowing the link ledger to trundle further downstream along the far bank, the spot had gone quiet, presumably due to the commotion caused by this fish, I was beginning to get the feeling that the fields had eyes, when I noticed a couple of deer making their way across the opposite field, ears rotating like radio masts, one of whom spotted me, whilst its friend carried on grazing, seemingly unperturbed.
Eventually they made their way through the fence and disappeared, it was around this time when I had my next bite, the rod tip plucking round heavily but not in a full blooded way, I struck and the response was instant, strong and not wanting to stop for nothing, it surged off to my right, I felt a grinding, the feeling of line against an unseen underwater snag, I bullied the fish away from this, but it did not take kindly and made a strong run for the heavy weed on my left. After I managed to get it away from there, I started to see the water swirl and boil in front of me, yet I still could not see the fish, this battle was far from finished and another surge toward the underwater snag was made, whatever the snag was, I was not willing to find out and be parted of line, I decided to apply some more pressure to the centrepin drum, in an effort to halt it.
Those moments of adrenaline, only to be cut short and replaced with anti climax, where the fight is over, won by unseen adversary, my heart was still racing.
My mind began chatting away to me with thoughts of what it was, "be quiet" I said, but would it? Of course not. "no no let me finish Mark, I was simply going to say it could have also been a really nice perch". I pretended I hadn't heard that, but no it wasn't working, it was creeping in, lodging there along with a rye smile.
Should I cast again? Deep down I knew it was folly, the swim was ruined, but I still did, some vein hope of reconnecting with my lost prize, the swim was as expected very dead, so without further ado I placed some free offerings in the swim and headed off to a prime looking spot, one with a few sunken bits of wood and numerous weedy rafts.
I was trying to remain as opportunistic as possible and I offered a few casts alongside these woody rafts, on the second run through with the link ledger, the rod smacked round and a steady fight began, fish wanting his seemingly free lunch and angler at the other end wanting to say a quick hello. After a few hairy moments where the fish tried to go under the wood rafts, it was in the net, another Chub of 3lb 4oz, things were going well.
Much river to explore, I left this swim and tried some more further downstream, one of which seems a much deeper area on a bend in the river and whilst I only had a few light plucks there, I really do fancy it. As the sun began to go down, I considered my options, deciding to give it a go back in the swim where I had lost the other fish, by now the swim had been well rested for over two hours and I was hopeful that things may have settled back to something akin to normality.
I moved slightly upstream of the swim, trickling in more maggots as I went, before coming back and lowering my bait into the near margin, check on the pin switched off, the bait began its search for those grey lips and cavernous mouth. A bite was soon forthcoming and I was into another bullish tug of war fight, chevin taking line and me responding by being non to willing to give too much.
This fish was a nice dark, brassy coloured chub of 3lb, with hints of orange on the tail and a dark blemish to its left cheek. By now I was feeling rather happy about what this water could produce come winter, especially given that the weed will have died back a bit by then too, opening up more spots. This fish was soon followed by a smaller chap of 2lb 12oz. I eventually decided to backtrack on myself and head to the tree lined swim that I had began in, in hope that the free offerings I had left may have given any chub some added confidence. By now a light mist had formed and rolled in, occasionally clearing, only to be replaced by yet another wave.
I was on my fourth cup of tea when the isotope plucked round a few times, ever so lightly and then began to quiver, almost as if it was shivering. I decided not to wait and struck, thud thud thud came the reply, fish kicking, trying to make for the overhanging tree, it was another fighting fit chevin of 3lb 7oz.
To say the chub were on form would be a gross understatement, they were really on the feed. I cast back out, this time alongside the tree and waited, the rod began to tap lightly, I stared and blinked again, thinking the isotope was playing tricks on me, but no there it was again, tap tap tap, followed by the rod tip moving round delicately, I lifted in striking lightly, the fish responded by swimming off most casually, as if it didn't realise it was hooked, in fact it was not until this fish was brought alongside the bank and about to be netted, that it then decided to bolt off along the near margin trying to repeatedly bury itself in streamer weed, once in the net, I could see this fish was larger than the others, it looked stocky and in great condition weighing 4lb 5oz.
Before the swim fell silent, I slipped the net under one last chub of 2lb 5oz, this fish a more lively chap than the 4 pounder.
As I sat to drink what remained of my tea before packing up, I did so with a rather large grin, one I'm still wearing, the Blackwater really is chevin heaven.