Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Small River Obsession - Awakening Of The Water Wolf

It was sunny and late afternoon, peering into the Lobworm tub, its populace was low,  I counted fourteen, "why not" I muttered and a spontaneous trip to the Blackwater was about to begin.

I can't seem to get this waterway out of my mind, the beautiful pools, slacks, overhanging trees, thick weed with the odd brown trout basking inbetween it, I have not fished it long, yet I feel as I have known this river forever, water and angler converging as one, a timeless feeling. The heady smell of Himalayan Balsam, the vibrant, pink flowers being rapidly replaced with bulging seed pods as Autumn begins to take a firm hold, as I nestled between the foliage, waiting a bite from a Chevin or two, I could hear pods splitting open, catapulting forth seeds, all so hopeful in becoming the fresh generation of plants and in doing so, sporadically showering me with their offerings.

I tried a few swims, only to find them very quiet, a light trickle of maggots and a bite was eventually forthcoming, the quivertip thumping round, upon striking I was met by an odd fight, what felt like a small Chub changed into something heavier and with more purpose as the centrepin crackled excitedly. A richly dappled, chunky Pike had grabbed the Chub and sped by under my feet, before eventually releasing its unsuspecting victim, the poor chap was looking rather the worse for wear, cut  deeply down both flanks, I placed him back into the landing net hoping he might be ok and he eventually swam off, should it survive, he will have a tale or two to tell his friends, along with some distinct scars.

I logged the spot in my memory for future reference when Pike fishing and then decided a move was in order. Moving upstream I passed by numerous Oak trees, abundant with acorns. Every so often one or two would drop, followed by a rustling sound, sure enough a Squirrel was out and about collecting for his winter larder, stopping every so often to have a snack whilst on the go.

A swirl appeared every so often in a spot nearby to to these trees, a Chub was appearing every so often on the surface, before vanishing back down, a chance cast was made and I waited, watching the rod tip for the tell tale signs, the slight vibration and lightest of plucks began, before the tip slowly bent round, and it was not long before a nicely conditioned Chub of 2lb 8oz was resting in the net.

This spot, soon turned deathly quiet, I found out the reason shortly after, as a small Pike not much larger than a Jack, cruised by three times. I figured it was time for another move, the Pike were seemingly very active. Just down from me a group of horses, who I had taken to petting earlier in the day and most friendly they are too, were stood near to a lower part of the riverbank having a drink, one of them looking on in bemusement when a swan appeared, stopping to pick its way through the weed.

So there I was having a drink and just minding my own business..
Patch as he has become known to me, seems to be the leader of the herd, the look on his face said it all,  a most questioning one at that. For the remainder of the evening I tried numerous likely areas. But in many it seemed the fish were not home, perhaps having a vacation away from the Pike activity, who knows.

The sun eventually set and the breeze was feeling cool, I was considering calling it a day, but instead decided for that one last cast, as us anglers tend to do, I moved up to one of the tree lined swims, and placed a lobworm just to the back end of an overhanging tree, a nice spot, with an opening inbetween the streamer weed, debris clogging sunken branches, perfect.

Twitch, twitch, jerk, I struck half expecting to see a Pike sprint off, the reply was one of a sprint and stop affair, a welcome Chub eventually broke the surface, a slightly larger fish (2lb 14oz).

Not long after slipping this fish back, and no more than 10 metres upstream, a loud and deep lunge was heard, a Moorhen lifted off like a rocket from its resting place on the weed bed and in one movement ended up in a nearby bush, it had nearly become dinner for what seemed a sizeable Pike. I took this as my cue to leave, the water wolves had been very voracious all afternoon and just like the squirrel, perhaps they too knew that autumn was here.


  1. Hi Mark
    The blackwater sounds like a cracking little river, not surprised you keep returning, im off chubbing this week, hope I get a few.


    1. Hello mate,

      It really is and I cannot get enough of it, peaceful surroundings, some lovely spots and some beautiful wildlife.

  2. The way you describe it...I wouldn't be able to stay away either...
    Lovely stuff, Mark.

    1. It's a lovely waterway Erin and one that is a real beauty to behold, hard to break away from its grip.

  3. Time to put the lure rod in the bag maybe?

    1. I'm very tempted to Dave, given how active the Pike were, not so sure how well the lure fishing will go given how weedy the river still is, I was actually considering doing some deadbaiting at some point.

  4. Hi Mark

    This sounds exactly like my own little patch that I came across a couple of years ago. I find it intoxicating, beguiling and hypnotising all at the same time - like a drug, and needing a 'fix' very frequently. Very hard to explain to nn-fishermen (my wife thinks I'm hilarious!).
    When I caught my first chub from my stretch I felt like crying as I had somehow 'proved' that I was right and that there were indeed fish here!

    It's quite easy to get drunk just thinking about these type of moments.

    Keep them coming, Mark - all the best

  5. That's exactly how it is Russ, it is totally absorbing.

    I have mainly been doing afternoon roving trips and absolutely enjoying it immensely. There is something very special about diminutive waterways, it pulls at your soul.

    I was exactly the same as you, I remember taking my first look at this river and falling in love with it. The first fish was very special, a lovely looking Perch and since that day, the Blackwater and I have become very much inseparable.