Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Trotting at the Backend

A heavy downpour was forecast for three solid hours this afternoon so I planned to be camped before it set-in. Given that I've managed to rip my waterproof bib and brace in four places this winter I even carted the umbajig the quarter mile plus to the armchair peg imagined in the minds eye

I counted about 15 spots of rain.

Since the year that Mr Fish was blamed for the hurricane that turned Sevenoaks into Ratherlessoaks they have been so cautious haven't they?

The air has a feeling of impending excitement about it at present though...

All manner of rustling, squeaking, singing and tweeting in the countryside, and a preponderance of bugs, unseen since October, crawling over me and the gear

Just on the off-chance the trotting rod was slotted into the bag. Bought some weeks ago, it hadn't yet produced so much as a bite, so out of sorts has this little river been until the past few days. If last weekend was peak winter fishing for the Leam there was the slim chance of a bit of action today too with air temperatures likely to be 8degC all afternoon and into dark. The prospect of the first fish on the rod was unavoidable

I headed for a distant swim. A gully with over-hanging bushes around six feet deep and through ran the avon float, the flow was a touch too slack but the slower the bait was eased through on the 'pin the better the fish liked it. Alternating this with a light 2AAA link leger fish came steadily in the clearing water until about half an hour before dark when things reached an abrupt end, coinciding with panicking moorhens under imagined or real attack by an assailant upstream

First trot through with flake was immediately taken by a small Chub and the immediate impression of the rod was just that...impressive. I've written before about the twelve footer I bought for bigger canal fish which could surely not be bettered and this, a 13' specialist trotting rod with a useful two foot extension, is equally perfect for its task. On the third trot the float sunk down that hole again and this time a better fish was on. It took a while to tame and the tip action of the rod extended to the middle as a chub, I initially underestimated at 1-8-0 but weighed-in at 2-2-0, tested it considerably more in its attempts to get under the near bank and then into some branches overhanging to my left

I had been searching for this discontinued model of rod for many months after reading some praise of it and it's been more than worth the wait

Only two fish were below six ounces in weight and I honestly don't think any of them had seen a hook before. Very few bites were missed with the enthusiasm of the fish for feeding much greater than had been the case since around November as water temperatures continue to creep up
A lovely catch just one more fish short of seven pounds, there were fourteen though the photo shows thirteen, their friend found his way back in rather too quickly! Roach to ten ounces and three chub to go with them

Tackle-wise, since rebuilding the set-up on returning to the sport, I am very pleased with the range of rods collected, all of which perfectly suit their applications it seems. In terms of reels however I am still struggling a touch, apart from the centrepin which, as Parps would say, is 'epic'
Birds came into the upward-straining plantation to roost. Fieldfare in their crashing chaotic manner sought the most dense bushes, woodpigeon at high speed whooshing with air brakes locked into the trees and pheasant, accompanied by ear-bending and shocking crowing, at close range to the hawthorn

Jackdaw, buzzard, blackbird, redwing, robin, reed bunting, skylark; long-tailed, blue and great tit; wren, treecreeper, moorhen, mallard,  kingfisher, chaffinch and bullfinch completed the set for the afternoon
Very, very enjoyable indeed

Three days to go...


  1. I'd recommend an old Abu 506, George. Perfect for trotting slow waters where pins struggle to let out line. The line just peels off without having get a spool turning. Nice catch of roach there. Shame the long, long break approacheth!

  2. Funnily enough I bought a 506 when I restarted but sadly it was mildly wonky and a bit knackered so there it sits, unused. I used to use 501's back in the day but I don't think they had an anti-reverse, from memory, though that suited me at the time, and many of the 506's had that facility removed too

    The Shakespeare Match International mark 1 was the closed face to end them all but not quite the quality there so they didn't last long and the mark 2 was a backward step as the pin pulled fine lines into the housing

    Maybe I should enter the good old e-market again, at least there's time between now and the cold weather returning!

    1. I took mine apart and cleaned it. It wasn't working as smoothly as I thought it should. After learning how the damn thing worked by breaking it in bits and reassembling I made a fine reel of it. It's controlled plenty of big chub. I had six four pounders from the Wye one day trotting single red maggots down a fast rocky flume. I was wading, which was fun, but the reel performed its nads off. I have to say that fighting big fish with it is a rather strange experience — that backwind thing to get the clutch working is not exactly what I'd call, natural, as it is with a pin. You could probably get one down at Cov market from that guy who sells vintage tackle. He always has them in stock.

  3. Nice bag George. Perhaps we should combine our collective brains and formulate a bloggers challenge for 2015/16 season? Might be good fun. I used to enjoy reading the record weight challenge posts.

    1. Yes, I've pondered that sort of thing a few times but I don't have time to organise anything with what I've got going on at the moment tbh.

      It would be engaging though for sure.

      What would the challenge be though?...if it's who can catch the tiniest orange fish nobody could compete with you ;). Do you have any specific ideas?

      I was toying with setting myself and the littl'un a challenge to see what big canal fish of various species we could muster from Sunday for the year (in between our other interests)

    2. I don't think it would require a great deal of organisation as I think we could rely on honesty, but we just need an idea.

      Maybe some sort of scoring matrix for each species from each type of venue. A point for catching one, 5 points for one over a certain size, 10 for the biggest caught by the entrants (but has to exceed 5 point size). Could the. Just supply everyone with the matrix and get them to submit it every month so we can keep track.

      Just brainstorming at present...

    3. Apologies for terrible grammar - trying to write this on the mobile, bloody thing. What do you think you might get from the canal?

    4. I'll contact you outside the blog Russ

    5. Count me in. I really miss those challenges. The record weight percentage one was the best. Everyone involved broke at least 5 PB's that year and often by big margins. I broke no less than eight! What was so good about that particular one was that you went fishing with targets but abandoned them when other possibilities beckoned. It made you think on your feet.

    6. Fear not Mr Hatt...all is well into planning now

  4. A nice bag there George. I'm planning to give the Leam a go for my final session. Definitely going to be a stick and pin day.

    1. Bit of rain forecast prior which might perk things up a bit as it was a touch too slow yesterday

      I look forward to your update, good luck!