Even a steady breeze can convert the comfortable cold to an eye-watering blast. Someone should invent a hat with racehorse style blinkers.
In the second angling life it has often been a struggle turning from autumn into no winter with any degree of success. It's easier on the canal, with the fish always so obliging and confidence always high, but lakes, apart from Rocky Res, and rivers, are another...kettle of fish, but there's more to like than hittable bites (I'm told)
The last 3 or 4 trips have been brief, often super-local and eye-opening
THURSDAY - R Leam - New stretch - Early:
Smattering of snow, hard frost, - 1°C.
River, clear with steady flow, iced shallow margins.
Swim scalloped by overhanging trees opposite.
15g cage feeder with liquidised bread and flake.
Not so much as a tap.
There was a big swirl 10m upstream. A bit splashy so probably not an otter and, in the moment, I plumped for a chub.
Then, noticing movement downstream, I glanced to my right on a river narrower than Sir Jonathan Edwards could jump to see the most brazen of cormorants looking sheepishly at me out of the back corner of its yellow circled eye
SATURDAY a.m. - R Leam - WBAS 3rd field - early:
Biting West wind, just above freezing, no cloud.
River clear, nice flow.
15g Pole feeder + liquidised bread and flake.
1st swim one that always looks good but hadn't yet produced anything of note.
Dropping the feeder off the edge of far bankside grass beds resulted in the usual clear water tentative bites from small fish.
Second drop in, the, "peep, peep", of the king of fishers approaches.
He lands on the pole not 1.5m from my bulging eyes, bobs his head 2 or 3 times and, to my amazement...starts fishing, looking, apparently, at my float! Desperate to pick up a camera, I twitched, causing the pole to jerk at the very moment he flung himself into the water and came out with a small fish only to departed upstream to render it senseless on a branch before swallowing it, head first.
"The little bugger!", the exclamation.
1 small dace came to hand.
2nd swim, same area but one which has thrown-up decent roach in the right conditions previously.
Similar outcome. This one a roach.
SATURDAY p.m. - R Warks Avon, PH stretch - late:
Stiff westerly, 4°C, some sleet later.
Clear river, good flow, tinge of colour.
Bread mash to right + link leger & flake on a 2'+ tail. 15g cage feeder upstream to downstream edge of rush bed + crust on a 3" tail.
Quiet start then a proper wrap-round bite on downstream rod. The fish was substantial and kept deep chugging upstream close in. A short burst took line from the clutch and then it reverted to chugging, this time downstream. Suddenly though it decided to take off toward mid-river and 'ping' off it came. Swinging the line to hand revealed the biggest scale I'd ever extracted from a foul-hooked fish, almost as large as a typical shot box.
WhatsApp discussions concluded in a stalemate, chub or carp? One thing is certain, if it was a chub, it was biiiiiiig.
Two little grebe twittered to each other upon meeting downstream and paddled out together to quarter the bay opposite me.
Next cast the upstream rod goes round and the bite is missed but a decent fish is hooked within 5 minutes. It felt like a chub but approaching the net it pulled out.
3 or 4 further bites of varying ferocity ensued but no contact was made in a frantic 20 minute spell around dusk, typical of a clear river.
As is typical of early and late sessions, rarely are they without incident, even when the fishing is less than remarkable. It's just great being out there but I did manage a nice chub to round the weekend off this evening