These types of river also make perfect winter venues for the roving angler, so you could perhaps have called this a bit of an investment toward winter time,but then garnering knowledge on any new river is always an enjoyable affair.
The weather was windy and mixing itself up with a dashing of rain, the choice of swims and features staggering, each spot looking likely to produce a fish or two, missing a couple of good bites as I made my way downstream and then catching the odd chublet along the way, lobworm, maggots and cheese paste my main choice of baits.
Water clarity was wonderful and you could clearly see the gravel runs in some swims, thoughts of chub, perch and dace were never too far away and by late afternoon on my second trip I had settled in the swim pictured at the top of this post, it proved fruitful, I picked up many small perch and a rather feisty brown trout that did try to wreck the swim a bit.
It was most enjoyable and just as the sunset I moved further downstream, finding a deeper area of the river, my first casts were met by the unenviable claws of crayfish and by now the wind was howling, pieces of debris and well worn branches dropping into the river at regular intervals.
I eventually had a sweeping bite, one you could not mistake, the quiver thumping round and fish surging off downstream toward the security of undercut bank. A perfectly formed chub was soon nestling in the net and had given a very fine fight.
My most recent trip was back out on the Blackwater, a river that is rarely far from my fishing thoughts, it is as beautiful as the Loddon and equally alluring, plentiful in features and swims where one might forget the meaning and importance of time.
I had planned to target perch and chub, but it became evident on arrival that the recent rain had made the river swollen and very coloured, I decided to make my way along the bank slowly in search of a slack or two, the river was lapping over the banks in many places and made me did wish that I had brought my waders instead of normal boots, never mind..
I settled for one particular area, a bend in the river, a nice slack with a reasonable amount of flotsam but the ground in the spot itself was another matter altogether and akin to something from the Somme, I decided to chance my arm and see if I could still pick up a perch or two on worm, I did manage to pick a couple between a few small roach and chunky gudgeon, the larger being a fish of 14oz's which was in perfect condition with resplendent markings.
By evening time it was a tad chilly, the ground where my feet rested was partially submerged and it was evident that the river level had reached its peak, I had changed bait to a thumb size piece of cheese paste, the smell of crushed garlic, cheddar and blue cheese lingering on my fingers, I joked with myself that all I needed now was some crackers. An hour past and I had packed most of my tackle up and sat back down to slowly drain the flask of its remaining contents when the quiver tip plucked once and then buckled round, it was evident that I was into a very lively fish and one that had different plans to the angler above.
Powering off downstream, I could feel the line frequently clipping against snags, keeping the rod tip low so as to avoid this unwelcome tour de débris, I finally slipped the net under a very frisky chevin.