I must admit I have become some what distracted of late, the sight of this small waterway and its gravel beds, multitude of different types of weed, creating various habitats, numerous nooks and crannies which could hold any species of fish, I was fully transfixed by it. My thoughts started racing, each criteria in my head being ticked, good vibes were being sent from the river back to me.
My grin was a childlike one, I knew where I wanted to wet a line and could not wait to do so.
During the week I chatted to Rob Thompson asking him a few questions regarding his tactics for Perch and he was most helpful and forthcoming (thank you again). With thoughts of luring a new pb in my direction, I headed off at the weekend, twin tip rod, fixed spool reel and centrepin at the ready. I planned to rove about, but at the same time, making sure not to forget one of the points Rob had said can prove critical and that was even though I would be roving, to make sure that I had a decent spot to give a go into evening time for the Perch. The day before, I raided our compost bins and a plentiful supply of redworms were gathered, enough for hookbait and groundbait alike.
The first sight of a river that you have never fished, bursting with vibrant colour and life in each and every twist and turn that it makes, is something that can gladden the heart of any angler and I felt almost light headed with excitement as I arrived at the first swim, greeted by dense patches of streamer weed
On seeing a few nice openings in the weed, I decided to feed the area with maggots and then trundle link ledgered worms through the area, after a few runs through the area and some timid plucks, the line eventually tightened and rod tip thumped round savagely, a distinctly coloured Perch was on. As I slid the net under it, I thought there was a chance of it being a pb and sure enough it was.
Weighing 1lb6oz not a leviathan, but given that my previous best Perch was a miniscule (12oz), I was over the moon with this lovely creature and in such brilliant condition, blood red fins and distinct tiger stripes, I can see myself being engrossed by these beautiful fish. After a few Chublets in this swim and some smaller Perch in the next, I moved further downstream into a tiny sloped swim with a moorhen and infant walking water, suspended by the dense surface layer of weed.
I decided to switch to maggot and placed my bait to a nice area on the left hand side of the swim, near some overhanging trees and weed rafts, it did not take long for fish to start intercepting the bait and and the hard tugs began in earnest, the powerful bites that only a Gudgeon can give, full blooded thuds, always punching above their weight, I caught 13 from this swim, along with numerous small Chub. I remember many years ago when I use to catch a netful of Gudgeon on the Loddon and Thames, a most willing fish, their numbers have declined a lot in my opinion.
I couldn't help but think of the other fish that might be lurking beneath the watery film, my mind thinking of anglers who would appreciate and truly love these little spots, thoughts of Jeff Hatt perhaps tempting some Roach from it crossed my mind on more than one occasion. I think you can probably tell that I have fallen head over heels into this river and I'm needy of more.
As the day moved past, I Changed to centrepin and quivertip trying many more spots, a bait lowered here, cast there, held back at the edge of the weed beds and then allowed to move slowly through. Some spots I fed with a light amount of groundbait, containing maggots casters and chopped redworms, others none at all. Late in the day in a spot that I would not be suprised to throw up a good Barbel or two, I was getting regular timid bites, little knocks and twitches to worm and very finicky ones at that, I wasn't to sure what to expect and from what fish.
When the quivertip eventually hammered round, line zipped off the pin and I was fighting to stop a bullish run downstream to some very thick, coarse weed. After a very lively fight, a stocky Chub of 4lb8oz was slid into the waiting net, a superbly conditioned fish from a wonderful little ecosystem. As daylight faded away I opened my flask of tea and tried to reason with myself over a few things, going over them numerous times.
1) Why had I not fished this river before now?
2) I simply must do this again.
3) Where does the time go when fishing?
After mulling over point 1 the most, I slowly made my way for home, only to be distracted at one of the last swims on the way back to the car, I pondered "mm isoptopes already on, why not?".
A light scattering of maggots and remaining groundbait were lightly placed into the swim and worm cast, leaving my chair folded I perched myself on my landing mat, eventually a few taps began, then all went suddenly quiet, deadly so.
I muttered to myself "just another ten minutes", as I got to the last few minutes, the rod tip angled round, lurching alarmingly, quiver folding round as I lifted in, a powerful sprinting run took place torpedo like, as the fish made for the far bank repeatedly, it eventually tail walked and I caught a glimpse of it, a Pike, by now the centrepin was getting a solid work out as I tentatively played the fish, hoping that the line would hold out.
Thankfully the fish was well hooked in the side of the scissors. A Nice healthy fish of 8lb1oz. Yet more food for thought come winter time and some Pike fishing, this suprise package really rounded off the days roving and it was really enjoyable and one I intend to repeat again soon.