There is something rather refreshing and invigorating about not taking the known path, instead walking the one that is overgrown and unknown, my last few trips have really added extra dimensions to understanding new areas of the two rivers that I have been fishing on the last few occasions.
I found myself back out with single rod, landing mat, small rucksack and diary to jot things down in. Minimalist and all the more enjoyable for it, my choice to once again rove about, taking advantage of understanding different areas on these waterways and their winter bones.
Both waterways have a plethora of tempting features, each and every one calling out to you to try and tempt a fish from, however on this occasion the river was low and clear, the gravel runs clearly visible in many swims and the depth as low as 10 inches in some areas, but these were also complimented by deeper slacks and undercut banks.
Many spots were tried and the chub were being particularly shy and not very forthcoming. I eventually made why way into a lovely looking area, a copse no less, the river covered by trees that were shedding their burden at regular intervals, leaves creating a kaleidoscope of patterns and shapes along the riverbank. The area looked perfect.
A juicy lobworm was cast toward an adjacent, sunken tree and I sat back sipping a welcome cup of coffee. It had been a day filled with interesting sights,which included seeing a fox sat up in a tree, not something you see everyday and one I wish I had captured on camera!
What I dearly wanted was a chub though and this spot did not disappoint, this river giving me another of its perfectly formed fish, a fighting fit chub
By 3pm, daylight was fading rapidly as it does this time of year and I decided to try further downstream in an area with some nice features on both banks, the feeling felt right and the spot looked like it had the potential to throw up a better stamp of fish.
Alas it was not to be on this occasion and as evening drew in I was soon making my way home. It had been enjoyable trip though and I was sure to be returning.
My next trip took me to the sister of this river, not much wider and with very similar features, but a little deeper.
The plan being to target perch and chub, this time however I decided to take a light amount of liquidized bread mixed with bran and to this I had included a small amount of almond extract for added attractant.
It was a grey day but mild given the time of year, I had decided to settle to one spot mainly and not rove as much on this particular occasion, link ledgered lobworm being the bait of choice and the swim was given a light dusting of groundbait.
It was a nice spot, just off the main flow and with some sunken tree roots, it looked good for both chub and perch and it was not long before I had my first stripey, small but perfection in minature, this was followed by a second that was slightly larger, certainly no monster.
Later in the day I began noticing the tell tale signs of something having a root about in the swim, bubbles were slowly but surely peppering the surface every so often, the first thing that sprang to mind was bream or carp.
It was not long before I found out either as I began to receive an almost relaxed bite, pluck, pluck pluck, the quiver tip curled round and then all hell broke lose, the fish powering off downstream with myself on the other end cupping the spool as much as possible to try and eventually halt its progress. After far too many heart in mouth moments and with one very dry mouth I eventually slipped the net under a well formed common.
After recuperating from this fraught fight on light tackle and having two very moody swans gatecrash through the swim, I thought it best to give the swim a rest and try a spot upstream, an area where there was a few bushes dotted along the river, likely looking spots for perch and chub, a couple of pouches of maggots were catapulted upstream and a cast was made. After quite a bit of unwanted interest from minnows, I eventually received a more confident bite and was soon playing a very lively chub.
By evening time it was becoming a bit nippy and I had decided to return to the first swim which had been well rested. It had been a very eventful trip and as I settled down to watch the warm glow emitted from the Drennan isotope, it was with a feeling of contentment.
Perhaps it is age or just isotopes in general, but stare at them for long enough and you either go cross eyed or end up with phantom bites, the isotope was beginning to play tricks on me as it seemingly moved very lightly to the left and then stopped, I rubbed my eyes looked again and sure enough a light pluck was apparent, this ballet of plucks continued for ten minutes before the rod tip finally pulled round, me lurching forward to strike.
Thud came the reply, the blue touch paper had been well and truly lit as this fish bow waved and tore off downstream, the reel purred into life and I had a fair idea that I had hooked another very lively river carp on steroids. I don't think I have been put through the mill as many times as this fish managed to and by the time I slipped the net under her I am pretty sure that it was I who felt worse for wear, feeling truly spent.
A little look into the net revealed another common, shorter wider and with more of a stomach to it.
Back at home I mulled the fishing trips over, both special for different reasons and proof that sometimes treading a path less worn comes with it some wonderful rewards.