Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Where the gravel path leads

It was a cloudy and breezy Saturday morning, single rod ready with a tub replete with liquidized bread, bird seed and krill mixture.

Today was going to be a slightly different day to my normal lone ranger fishing trips, as I would be playing host to two very welcome guests, Carl and Alex Smith, a pair of very keen anglers who share a burning passion for fishing and make some wonderful videos which can be viewed on their website at Carl And Alex Fishing.

I met up with them at around 11am, their trip down from Sussex had been a very straight forward one and they had made good time in getting to the Berkshire/Hampshire border. Having not seen them in ages it was nice to finally meet up again, setting eyes on Carl I commented on how much he had grown as he towered over me, although that doesn't take a lot when you're as short as I am!

We eventually made our way to the river, the Blackwater was running low and rather clear, but I felt confident that we might pick up the odd fish by roving about and being as opportunistic as possible. Carl and Alex had decided on a combination of link ledger and cage feeder approach and settled in a swim downstream of me, a nice bend with some far bank coverage, an area where I have had many chublets and the odd dace in summertime. I moved upstream and settled in a spot where the boughs of a tree sank beneath the river, debris hanging on to each and every tendril.

I had taken quite a few smaller chub here in the past, the majority falling to maggots or lobworm, this time I decided on the latter as bait, lowering a well filled cage feeder and juicy lobworm into the water just above the sunken bough, the river is marginally deeper here and there is also a slightly undercut bank, a perfect place for fish to rest up and food to collect. I must have lowered the bait right in front of a waiting chevin, as a bite was forthcoming instantly, the rod tapping a couple of times before bending round, on striking I was met with a rather powerful run upstream, the fish trying to get into the tangle of branches and debris, keeping the rod tip sunk low, letting it absorb each and every lunge I carefully gained line and after a few more surging attempts to make for the snags, a handsome looking chub was resting in the net.

It was a well formed chevin 1oz from being a 4 pounder and most welcome. I have to say though since fishing with other anglers and being the guest on my trip to Essex with Fred Phillips and George Basham, now being a host and catching, don't get me wrong it was nice to have caught, but it didn't feel right at all. Especially as I wanted both Carl and Alex to experience the fishing that I have had on this wonderful little river. I suggested to Alex to have a go in this very same swim, as where one fish can be caught, sometimes another is not always far behind.

We ventured further upstream, trying a few areas where I have had success in the past, in one of these Carl had a very good bite, the rod tip thumping round as he held the rod, a typcial chub bite, alas the connection between fish and angler was not made, the maggots looking very sorry for themselves and showing every sign that a chub was the culprit.

Carl link ledgering
Meanwhile Alex was trying his luck in one of the swims further downstream, where the river takes on a smooth and steady bend.

Alex trying his luck downstream

As is the case with a river such as this, there are so many beautiful little features each and every one which has an angler wondering just what might be waiting to pick up their bait. Every bend and glide with a new story just waiting to be told.

At around 4pm we stopped for a late snack before heading further downstream, I was so dearly hoping that one of the chaps would connect with a fish here, as it is a very good area, with swims that I would almost call bankers.

Time really is the fire in which we burn and it had certainly sped by rapidly today, it was not long before we was all being treated to a wonderful sunset, by now the breeze had dropped and it didn't feel too cold, you could almost be forgiven for thinking there was a hint of spring in the evening air.

It had been an enjoyable days fishing with both Carl and Alex and if I could have given one of them my chub then I gladly would have done so. Alas there is no set script in fishing, there are no guarantees, the unknown is what makes it such an enjoyable pastime and to be able to spend a day in such very good company meant a lot to me.


  1. Its funny how the local often catches the fish Mark, the river will be more obliging on their next trip I'm sure.

    1. True Dave, didn't make me feel any the better though, I felt rotten catching, as I live only a few miles from many areas of this river and the other chaps don't.

      But they enjoyed the day on the river and we shared quite a few fishing stories, hopefully next time they will catch a few.