Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Tuesday afternoon at Duxford

Heavy rain overnight and all morning. Already I am thinking that Thursday could be a great day for barbel fishing. But my planned trip today depended on whether the rain stopped. For whatever reason, I don't like going fishing when it is raining when I get there. I don't mind fishing in the rain - just not getting wet before I've even chosen a spot to fish.

I decided on a change today and selected a number of possible swims much closer to Duxford ford. The two best were a long crease swim and a raft at the end of a long glide downstream of the crease swim. But I also baited up a couple of other spots which I tried first while the bait settled in the main two swims. At this stage, the overnight rain had made no appreciable difference. I could still see clear gravel in some of the swims. I get the feeling that the bit below the Ford is more gravelly that further downstream. Maybe this would be the place to try for barbel on Thursday, when, hopefully, the rain will be in the river and the barbel will be actively feeding.

About an hour after baiting up, I was settled in the downstream raft swim. This is an absolutely classic chub swim. The main flow was two thirds of the way across of river, and there was a steady, but not too fast current in the first third, making the raft a perfect spot for chub. So first cast, I flicked a large piece of crust into the faster water, letting it swing round into the slower water just under the raft. Maybe two minutes later, I had a clear tap and then the classic full-on chub bite. First contact and the fish wouldn't move from the raft. Clearly a good fish, clearly not a barbel though. Much heaving and the fish moved slowly upstream, just missing more snags on the inside of the bank. But once past these, it was pretty straightforward.

So the best chub of the year so far, 4-09, and in absolutely perfect condition

A classic Thames chub from a classic chub swim (and one that looks very un-Thames like).

After re-baiting, it was up to the crease swim. This was formed from a tree that had fallen in the river and was deflecting the main flow out to the far bank. I have not really fished many crease swims before, but planned to give this one an hour or so giving each cast 15 mins and then casting a further five yards down the crease each time. In part, my aim was also to assess my ledgering technique. I am still more used to light ledgering on very small rivers and the use of weights over 1/2 oz still feels strange to me. But generally the search of the swim seemed to go ok. I had one bite half way down, which I missed. Overall, I think I would have been better off floast fishing this swim - it would be really great for this I would think.

So back to the raft as it gots fully dark. Another piece of crust lobbed into the fast water and swung round under the raft on a 4 swan shot link ledger. And another decent bite first cast which I proceeded to miss. I had planned to fish this spot for the first hour of darkness, but no further bites resulted.

So overall, I was pretty happy with the trip. Now to wait and see if the rain can lift and colour the river a bit and I can focus on barbel (fishy boilies over hemp and pellets is the plan).

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