No overnight frosts for the past two days so the temperature trend should now be stable to up. I only have the morning for fishing today so decided to do the same as Sunday and float fish sweetcorn in the long glide at the top end of the stretch. Bit of a shock to get up at 6:15, but it did seem a mild morning and I was down at the river before 7:00. Yet again the river is down a little and the water is a little clearer. Two newspapers ran with drought stories on their front pages yesterday. Some rain is due this week, but not much. Fishing would definitely improve if we had a day or two of steady rain.
Five catapults of hemp and three of corn went in at the top end of the swim, slightly less in the next swim down. Sunday's tackle was slightly altered by the use of a slightly bigger float, a 2 1/2 swan loafer, just to give slightly easier casting and more solid control. My main query remains the depth to fish at. I started at about 6 ft but gradually inched upwards from there, ideally so I reached a point where I started to snag the bottom occasionally. But the swim does shallow up towards the far end to around 6 ft, so I can't fish too deep.
A huge red kite flew overhead no long after I started fishing - these really are incredible birds.
After 30 minutes or so of steady fishing, depth changes, constant baiting, etc, I finally had a bite at the very far end of the run, perhaps 30 yards below me. The fight developed oddly. I could feel the fish, but couldn't seem to get any pressure on it. It turns out that the fish had run across stream and settled in under by bank - the lack of pressure was due to it having run towards me. The float was stuck round some vegetation, but the fish was lying quite still under a weed clump. I was nearly able to reach it with the net, but that woke it up again and as it set off back to mid-river, the float came loose, much to my surprise. A new personal best chub on float tackle, 5-06.
But then I discovered that there is some sort of problem with the camera, it is not saving images to the memory stick. That could be a memory stick problem, or maybe the battery is low, or maybe it is more serious. The camera is 7 or 8 years old afterall.
I moved down to the lower end of the swim and legered for the last hour or so, my thoughts being that this might be the best chance to get a barbel. But I have also noted that all the chub I've taken on the float have come from the lower end of the swim. Maybe this is due to the shelving up of the river bottom at this point.
I actually packed up around 9:30, so only fished for 2 hours. But I have now taken 6 chub over 5 lbs this year so far.
As I write this, it is actually raining. Hopefully it will rain hard for the next 24 hours or so and Thursday, Friday and Sunday will give me good opportunities to get a barbel, if there actually are any in this stretch. So a change is planned for my strategy next time. I want to try and fish in a manner that could get barbel in addition to the chub I have been catching, so I will be moving over to baiting with hemp and fishing with corn/meat/boilies. I plan to fish three swims, baiting reasonably heavily with hemp to try and ensure that any barbel in a 500 yard stretch will detect the bait. If it could just rain enough to colour the river and raise it a couple of inches . . . . .