Come June 16th I was looking forward to my first river trip of the season and planned to fish overnight on the Loddon, unlike some I have never really felt the urge to be on the riverbank ready to cast out at 12am, rather preferring to venture out on the opening day itself.
It was a pleasant day and as I made my way to my swim of choice I took note of a wheelbarrow in one of the swims downstream, the occupants of a bivvy, rod pod, bed chair and everything bar the kitchen sink, seemingly sound asleep. I guessed they had been there for the start of the season although part of me can't help but think they were there before this too..
Now I have nothing wrong with this style of fishing and many times have done similar on the larger rivers, such as the Thames and Lot in the past, but on the smaller waterways I do wonder why the need for it. Granted I do fish at night, but an umbrella, seat and small rucksack is all I have ever felt the need for.
I took my time setting up whilst watching the kingfisher speed up and downstream and a family of swans and cygnets paddle on by. Ten minutes later the water was abruptly disturbed, by not one but two Cormorants erupting through the surface and taking flight. I was not too happy and decided to let the swim rest for an hour before making my first cast of the season.
The afternoon and evening were a quiet affair, the rivers surface peppered by the movement of smaller fish and a rapier like bite to the pellet rod which seemed to come from a chub was the only activity. By now the occupants of the Alamo downstream had finally gone home, I find it odd to bivvy up and then pack up on opening day, I think you might agree?
I decided to wind in, take a carrier bag with me and take a look at what damage may have been done in the way of litter left behind. On reaching their swim I was grateful to find no rubbish whatsoever, instead a large fire had been left behind, "could be worse" I said to myself.
On taking a look right next to their swim it was a lot worse, shit laden toilet roll and the contents of their bowels had been dropped right in their own swim, all uncovered and strewn in and around the surrounding area, fuming was not quite the word to use, I was bloody livid with anger. With so much better areas to dig a hole and then cover it should you get caught short, why the hell you would take a dump in your own swim beggars belief and to leave it uncovered too, worse than animals.
Thirty minutes later and having collected all the faeces covered toilet roll up using a stick and then covering it all with two kilo of soil I was still fuming. Worse than scum and it now comes to light that they are both local, so perhaps I have more of this to look forward to in various swims? Well we shall see, I will take great pleasure in rubbing both your faces in it should we ever meet again.
I walked back to my swim, the feeling of such a beautiful place being sodomized by people like this, the term "angler" not something I would use to describe such vermin. The night was peaceful, but partly ruined by the thoughts of what had occurred and how often it might in the future, I took consolation in the fact that she can be a moody and mysterious river and how that might put such people off from ever returning.
Both rods were cast back out into likely areas, one on a pellet soaked in anchovy plus, being a pre-drilled pellet I always prefer to plug either end with a piece of wood and then glug them, as this slows down the ingress of water some what which can normally hinder drilled pellets quite badly, the other rod placed out on a Thames baits TB1 boilie chop.
Now this is the first time I have put them to use this season and I'm quite interested on finding out how they will perform, they however look and smell great.
Crayfish spent the night teasing off my bait stops and chipping away at my bait, I figured the fish were still very much into spawning and at first light I had a slow bite on the TB1 boilie, resulting in a lovely looking Bream (7lb 15oz), it was covered in spawning tubercles and partly milting, a very welcome fish and a nicely conditioned river slab at that.
Back home I considered my next trip out and whether I should perhaps venture to a new area of the river, a land of stinging nettle and mosquito, a place where not so many anglers tread, no sign of use and abuse or litter louts and those whom only concern themselves with targets to achieve and little love for much else.
Come the following weekend I had made up my mind where to angle, this was to be a short trip of around 4 hours, to rove or not, I decided to opt for the latter, but surrounded with so many features I began to wonder if it would have been wiser to rove instead.Getting to the swim at 6am, I settled on a shallow area with an overhanging tree and a couple of sprigs of reed mace, this area also near a run of cabbage patch, not too deep at around three to 4 feet in depth. The rain that was forecast was on and off, the sun playing hide and seek between the clouds.
About two hours into the fishing trip, my rod wrapped round, fish making a surging dash upstream, after a very energetic and spirited fight, the first barbel of the season was recuperating in the net. A short fish (7lb 2oz), bearing some distinct red spawning marks on its belly and tail, this fish falling to a Thames baits TB1 boilie.
I was overjoyed, a new stretch and the first barbel, although I was apparently keeping the local mosquito populace happy too!
In the four hours that I fished they managed to rack up 50 bites on various areas of my body, at least not on my gonads this time! Unfortunately I am allergic to deet based repellents and usually go the garlic route, sadly not this time, Instead thinking I would try and get away with it, not the best of ideas and I am surprised that I did not require a blood transfusion by the end, but along with the stinging nettles and mosquito hoards there was a most welcome reward at the end, I went home lumpier than usual and rather itchy, but very happy.