I had been hoping to fish a certain area of the Blackwater, but given the heavy rain, this option had to be left out of the equation which was a shame. But on such things other areas are found and plans are made to fish, heading further downstream than I have fished before, I found a lovely long bend in the river, the pace slower here, with lovely marginal tree coverage upstream and some nice gravel areas downstream, I planned to fish from lunch time to late evening, this time with no particular species in mind, just thoughts of catching a mixed bag of fish on maggots and worms.
The river was tea brown in colour and clarity conspicuous by its absence, the smell of fallen leaves surrounded me, autumn colours dotted along the bank. It was not the most straight forward of days fishing, lots of debris sailing by, catching the line at regular intervals, a light mixture of maggots and groundbait was placed downstream along my near margin, an area that I thought would give some protection from the course the debris was taking and to some degree it did.
Bites were very slow to begin with and at one point I was actually wishing I was trotting a float along the river instead of ledgering. The first of many hard rattling taps signaled that the Chublets had moved in and I began to catch one after another of these chaps at regular intervals, until their activity seemed to wane, only to be replaced by faster bites, which sent the quivertip round swiftly, until it sprung back like a diving board, strike miss, strike miss, strike miss, this went on for a while, to the extent I was beginning to question my sanity, whilst also thinking minnows had moved in, after what seemed like twenty more connections with thin air, I finally had the culprit a Dace, this brought back enjoyable memories of some of the large Dace that myself and a friend used to catch in the Loddon many years ago.
After more missed bites I managed to add seven more Dace and then I got a bit ahead of myself, thinking that I was perhaps in for a glut of them, my estimate was very wrong and their activity ceased abruptly, as did most of the fish activity, there was a good chance that a Pike might have been tempted to the area with the groundbait, I decided to rest the swim and open my flask of tea. Now I don't know about all of you and I like a cup of tea most days, but the warmth and taste just seems that much better on a cool autumn day.
As I drained the last drop of tea from my cup, I could hear the calls from Red Kites in the field behind me, I decided to take a look and I have to say what I saw was wonderful, two of them sat on a dead tree, I popped back to my swim and tried to get my camera ready as fast as I could whilst hoping they didn't leave, luckily they didn't and I managed to get the following shots
I have to say it really made my day and it was with a cheerful smile that I cast back out, this time with lobworm and in hope of perhaps picking up a few Perch, after a few light knocks followed by a long pause, the quiver thudded round and a nicely formed, small Perch of 12ozs was landed, this was to be the only Perch of the day, I have to admit given some of the features in this stretch I was expecting a few more, but seemingly it twas not to be.
This has got me thinking and I do feel that with the likes of the Thames and Kennet local to me, as well as the Loddon, that I should really be considering targeting those rivers for the chance of a specimen Perch this winter and it is something that I will most certainly be doing.
I spent the final part of the evening in the company of those hard biting fish, the ones that always punch well above their weight, giving Barbel style bites and numerous of them, I am of course talking about Gudgeon. I can clearly say that I have not caught this many since I was on the Loddon as a child, it was refreshing to see so many of them, replete with their irradiant, mother of pearl esque scales.
By 9pm it was getting chilly and I decided it was time to pack up, I had caught around 4lb of fish, predominantly made up of Chublets and Gudgeon along with Dace and the single Perch.
As I made my way home, my imagination was filled with thoughts of kites gliding effortlessly in the infinite sky of my mind, nature affords us anglers some wonderful sights, how truly lucky we are to see and be able to share them with others.