Monday, 22 December 2014

More time. Less fish?

Two trips down the river this weekend, both p.m. and both in swims I has fancied from previous visits but at ten minutes door to gate it ain't no hardship

Saturday was spent trotting bread under a balsa in what appeared the perfect smooth water glide, up to and beyond a bush, and then a link-leger into dark under the bush with two reasonably decent bites, one missed, one pulled-out, and therefore no fish

Ever-present family of swans slip past backwards in the dark...why?
The seed was sewn however and with the river falling to inversely reflect a contrary increase in air temperature predicted on the Sunday all seemed to point to an unavoidable opportunity. Shopping was pulled-in early with Parps and I waltzing into the shops as soon as they opened and Sunday's first gentle indoor net as he builds up for next cricket season between ten and eleven this would leave a good slot after dropping The Old Duffer and The Old Trout for a show and then night out just after lunch

Having enjoyed running a float through with the centrepin, but sadly not having anything to show for it, I decided to revert to the new pole method which had been reasonably successful a fortnight ago tempting a nice chub first put on the pole and then a sequence of roach

Slowly the tactic is starting to evolve into something worth using regularly and, if anything, it seems slightly more productive than the standard techniques, largely because, in a river dominated by 3 to 12 ounce roach hitting their bites on the 'tip is a recipe for certifiable frustration

A peg was chosen at the end of a mid-river crease where a glide started and I intended to pole-fish that line. The river was still two foot six above normal and nicely coloured with a few smaller roach topping from middle to far bank. An added bonus was a nearside slack downstream of the peg behind a rush bed which I would drop a link leger into as a sleeper option (wit' lobs on't t'hook)

Somehow I wasn't quite 'with it'; the wind was painfully awkward, despite not hitting the water as such, and I was easily distracted. Fifty fieldfares flapped their staccato randomly undulating flight overhead and buzzards mewed as the rode the gusting breeze over the paddocks off the far bank with an eye out for the local bunnies. Other things drew my attention. Dog walkers, wrens, car headlights in the distance, anything but the fishing. On dropping in however a sail-away bite resulted in another first cast chub on the hook, probably around a pound and a half, and in taking one too many joints off the pole too quickly I allowed it to bury itself in rushes under my feet before I had it beaten!

A series of nice hand-sized and just swingable roach followed, and maybe during the forthcoming holiday I may just ditch the effort to seek slightly larger samples and try maggot under a waggler just to see what is in really in there

While the breeze subsided I decided to have a hot drink and triangle of pork pie, only a Pork Farms  jobbie but welcome none the less. Head and tail of lob meanwhile were lowered into the slack while the pole was rested in the field for the time being. As I tightened the rod tip dived toward the surface and a good fighter was on. Ten feet of murky water and a light avon rod helped and hindered the prey but soon it was at the surface and what I thought to be a guaranteed 2.8.0 perch, angry with its erect dorsal flagging capture (and later stabbing my index finger) was netted.

This was one a chubster of a perch, very wide for its length, but it must've swallowed a tennis ball as it went 28.5 ounces on the scales; which was on the one hand disappointing and on the other quite brilliant as it beat the river p.b. by around six ounces and was the second Leam p.b. from the stretch in around three weeks

A veritable pig-perch but quite a beauty nevertheless
At the close the local barn owl screeched just once as it left to quarter the river margins and rough grassland further afield in its massive winter vole-producing range. The net was lifted and three pounds ten ounces of quality fish were carefully returned to the cold water in this the shortest of days, though without a photo as I was rather keen to get away on this occasion

The quite incredible, nay delightful, annual display of Christmas lights in the local village made the single track lanes akin to motorways in weight of traffic with every under twelve, and quite a good number over, visiting to absorb that festive feeling. I however, wishing to avoid the melee, comforted myself in the prior sunset


  1. Nice perch George. Looking forward to seeing the 2lb barrier broken soon!

    1. Hopefully one of us will do it Sean, as you seem as possessed by the place as me!

  2. That a right lump...nice one George.

    1. It sure was Mick.
      I must confess to a slight -upside down smile when the scales stopped at 1-12-8 but it was a beauty regardless