At 7:00am this morning I went down to the river and deposited a gallon of hemp and half a gallon of sweetcorn in a 50-yard section, which I plan to float fish tomorrow. I haven't caught a fish on a float for years, and my newest target is to get a four pounder before the end of the season. That done, it was off to Witney where I bought huge amounts of canned meat, canned sweetcorn, frozen sweetcorn and bread for the coming few days, then spent another £45 in States Fishing tackle shop, mainly on leger weights, line, swivels, and so on.
I got to the river about 11:00. On Wednesday last week I badly bruised one of my toes and today's long walk to the downstream end of the fishery was not pleasant - sort of a slow shuffle. And just as I got there, I was initially disappointed to spot another angler moving spots in the distance, just at my two hotspot swims. I dumped my stuff in a new swim and went down for a chat. Apparently he and two friends fish this stretch quite a lot, despite being from Windsor. Indeed the other two had a 5-15 and a 6-10 just two days ago, one of which was from the last deep swim where I had the 5 lbers on Valentines day. He recommended the stretch at the downstream end of tghe fishery and spoke of the occasional 7-lber caught there. I definitely have to take this information seriously. He was planning a very mobile approach and soon set off downstream leaving me to my half dozen swims.
After baiting the swims, my starting point today was the "inside crease" swim. First cast I had a pull in less than a minute which I missed, then second cast, another bite which I connected with this time. A fine scrap before I managed to haul it over the dead reed bed, and a slight shock to find it is a perfect fish of 5-10, a new record for this year and closing in on the 6-lber of my dreams.
A decent enough self-timer picture, despite the twig in the way.
And a not so decent picture!
I moved from there up to the raft swim and had another decent bite which I also missed. Then up to the hawthorn bush swim. I have been thinking about this swim alot over the last few days and decided to fish it initially with a very light weight, trying to hug the inside of the river, under the bushes. Then I had the idea of just using the single swan shot. I managed a cast of about 15 yards downstream and as intended, the bait swung into the near bank, probably just around the point where there is a small raft under the bushes. This produced another nice chub a few minutes later of 4-10. No pictures this time as it had started to rain, and indeed rained quite hard for the next hour or so.
Next stop was the two deep swims, but I didn't get a bite there. Back at the first swim, I had another bite from just inside the crease which I missed, then I lost a fish in "swim 4" which seemed to snag me and then throw the hook. Things then went quiet for the next couple of hours, but again, the inside crease swim produced a bite, which again I missed.
Just as it got dark I was joined by the angler I had met earlier. He had caught four in the end, including three from one spot far downstream. His theory was that the fish were all in slack water. And you know, that could well be right. That was where I caught my two fish and I couldn't get a bite in the main flow swims. So perhaps I need to pay more attention to near bank slacks. And I have to investigate well downstream.
It had just about got dark by now. My eyes were well accustomed to the dark and as a result, I could see far more stars than normal, especially around Orion and Taurus. Just before I finished a barn owl flew across the river just above me - the first I've seen for a year or two. Lots of foxes about tonight as well - barking at each other across the fields.
So overall, a really excellent day, for my new best fish of the year and for the stuff I found out from the other angler. Tomorrow I am floating fishing for chub, and Monday might be my investigation of further downstream, toe permitting.