Well I have not been able to keep as up to date as I would like with the written side of my blog, however I now have time to put finger to keyboard and catch up on on a couple of trips I have had on the Blackwater, you may have seen the video of one of them, I always enjoy writing a blog entry to accompany my videos though, as there is something you just cannot convey through the use of video alone.
I really cannot get enough of the intimate waterways this season, small in size and absolutely grand in character and features. A couple of trips on the Blackwater were planned and some roving about, perhaps the odd perch and chub might fall for a lobworm or two. At least that was the plan.
My first choice was to take a short trip to the same area I had caught that plump 2lb+ perch and met that rather placid snake which had been leisurely decomposing in a nearby tree. The river was more coloured than what I had expected it to be and after missing out on a few wary plucks early on and repeatedly striking into thin air, it was evident that the perch were going to be a bit of a test today and it seemed as if they were mouthing the worm lightly as they moved off with the bait.
Changing from lobworm to red worm with maggot sprayed over the top did eventually give me a more confident bite and I soon had a vividly marked, Blackwater stripey in the landing net.
over 1lb smaller than the one from my previous trip, but nonetheless perfectly coloured and a most welcome chaser of minnow and gudgeon. Despite adding a few more smaller perch and chublets to the tally, I decided that a move upstream was perhaps in order.
Now this area is a tangle of sunken trees, cabbage patches, streamer weeds and carrier streams, an anglers smorgasbord of features, the choice not being when to cast but just where to cast first.I have to admit the first thing on my mind was that it looked a perfect pike and chub spot too. This fact was further cemented when my link ledger was chased on the retrieve and a pike that looked around 10lb grabbed it and made off with it into the nearby weed beds before eventually letting go.
A few more casts were made, but it became apparent that Esox had perhaps frightened the life out of the other fish as all was silent and it was some time later when a cast to the far bank margins was made and eventually the rod swept round. On striking, I was met with a dogged and lunging run, the quiver tip bending round as this fish tried to swim to the safety of some tree roots and it was very nearly successful in this attempt, my line just lightly clipping the mixture of roots and sunken branches.
A welcome chevin, blunt headed, short, very plump, dare I say not too dissimilar in description to the angler whos day it had gladdened. The perch had been a tad perplexing but I felt red worms had picked me up a bonus fish when the lob worms were being treated with a reasonable amount of apprehension.
The following weekend I headed out late afternoon to one of my favourite areas of the river, in hope of tempting a chub or two. It was a perfect day, cloudy with a touch of wind, but mild, the odd droplet of rain pattering down and threatening to become more, but kept in check by the steady breeze.
A link ledger cast to an undercut bank here, a rod tip slipped under a bush there. After a few small perch and chub I eventually connected with a very nice looking fish of 3.12 and a rather feisty fight ensued. This fish making every effort to dive for the sanctuary of the snags on the opposite bank.
I so dearly love this form of fishing, stripped down and an almost back to basics feel, it brings out more of the hunter instinct and the rewards never fail to make me smile. A little rest was given to the swim and I chanced my luck for another fish, not always a wise move in this river, but sometimes you get the odd bonus fish that may not have been spooked.
On this occasion it proved to be the case, as barely had I rested the rod on the bank side foliage, when it thudded round and I was into a very heavy fish that plodded left and right. One run too far to the right hand side of this particular spot and I knew that I could more or less consider this fish lost, as there is a rather nasty sunken snag which I have lost the odd hook to in the past.
Once it slid over the landing net cord, I could see it was clearly a lovely shaped fish, large grey mouth and replete with that typical bullish look that chub have when over a certain size, I knew that I might have a new venue personal best and the scales settled at a very pleasing 5lb 7oz's, a new Blackwater pb chevin. Happy? You bet!
As the sun set I tried many different areas including a nice pacey bend where I spotted a rather nice trout breaking the surface between the weed beds, alas this fish did seem very skittish and headed off upstream in a hurry.
By now that "one last cast" voice inside my head had well and truly set in and I was near to a spot I had fished a long time ago. The chub like to hold up around this area, a very shallow spot with streamer weed and overhanging tree. Not usually the best spot in bright sunlight, but by now it was dark and I just had to have a cast, a juicey lob worm went out into one of the weedless pockets beneath the tree.
As I sat happily recounting how the trip had gone, the isotope twitched once before the rod buckled round, apparently this fish had either had its weetabix or had been training with Usain Bolt as it decided to peel line off the reel and head downstream at a rate of knots. After a few moments where this cheeky chevin had me wondering if I was going to end up with either a hook pull or leave me snagged in weed, I eventually slipped the net underneath it.
Not a large fish at 3lb, but try telling it that, I could have sworn it had secretly been popping steroids by the way it had surged off downstream....
I have yet to visit the Thames this season and will no doubt do so at some point, but with such beautiful rivers like these in my locality, I will be no doubt be very hard pressed to tear myself away from them.