Monday, 30 January 2012

Last fishing trip before the imminent freeze?

I have been closely monitoring the weather forecasts for our area for the past few days and things are definitely expected to take a turn for the worse over the next few days. True, last week's forecast said it might snow today, but it hasn't. Nonetheless, there are now severe weather warnings in place for much of the country and snow has fallen in our most adjacent counties. So on that note, I thought it was just about possible to sneak one more trip in before this weather hits. Afterall, we have had no rain since the end of last week and so the rivers might actually be fining down - many would say this is the perfect scenario for winter fishing.

Unfortunately I don't have much bread and could only make up a half bucket of mash, but the river looked perfect when I arrived. Definitely down a little bit (white water has appeared at the ford again), but still coloured. So six handfuls of mash into the raft swim below the long crease, some in each of the "three swims", six handfuls in "swim 4", then the same in two new spots just before Shifford lock where the water is a little bit deeper. Time for a hot chocolate while I waited for the bait to do its work.

First cast into "swim four" and a bite straightaway - so rare that this actually happens, but entirely a sign that the conditions are so good. Instead of heading for the snags under my feet, this fish set off into midstream where there was little danger of losing it. At first glance, I thought it might be over 5lbs but it was 4-15. I tried taking a self portrait, but then found after one shot that the camera's battery was empty. So just one picture of this year's biggest chub.

The best chub of the year so far, 4-15. Not the best fishing photo ever, but it was intended as a first go, just to check focusing. Sadly, there was no photo number two.

Down to the first of the new swims. The main flow is noticeably slower here and I wondered if there might be bigger fish in such swims. My first cast was a little short of where I had intended, but I left it in place for 10 minutes and, rather surprisingly, got another bite. Very rare for me to have two bites in consecutive casts in different swims! But this was a smaller fish and I was just drawing it upstream when, for some inexplicable reason, it fell off. I assumed that this might not have disturbed the swim, but no further bites occured, so it was up to the next new swim, for another blank 30 minutes.

For the next few hours I circulated between "swim four", where I was regularly topping up the bait, the "three swims" and the two new ones, but no more bites. So just as the sun was beginning to go down, I made the long trek back to the first swim, the raft below the crease, where I had caught the 4-09 the other day. The last of the bread mash went in and I settled in a swim slightly upstream, planning to fish lobworms for half an hour while the raft swim settled.

Back there at 4:45pm and initially enough light to not need the betalight. Just after 5:00, there was a little tap, followed by the good pull of the typical chub bite. A very solid fish on the other end. Mindful of the many snags, I was keen to bully it upstream, but initially was hardly able to move it. But gradually I made some progress on it, though I did make rather a mess of netting it. I initally thought this was another high 4lber, but it did have a deep tummy and so with some careful weighing, I was able to claim 5-02, a new biggest of the year.

I don't have the best camera on my mobile, it must be said.

Definitely much colder by 5:30 and by the time I was back at the car, there was a frost well in progress. So maybe this will be the last trip for a little while. But two chub for 10-01 is excellent stuff.

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