As forecast there was a frost overnight, but it wasn't a hard as it could have been - maybe an overnight low of -2C perhaps. And the rain yesterday might be soaking into the river and that might have helped keep the river temperature up. So regardless of the frost, I was off to the river at 7:00 this morning to try and catch a four pound chub from the long glide that I had pre-baited with hemp and corn yesterday.
Tackle for the day was a John Wilson stepped up Avon rod in its 13 ft configuration, 4lb line straight through to a size 14 Drennan sweetcorn hook, plus a 3AAA Avon float. First cast landed short of my target on the edge of the main flow, but I let it continue down. Control wasn't bad once the float had got downstream of me a bit, but I am really out of practice at long trotting. About 30 yards down, adjacent to the next swim, and in the calmer water, I got a bite and with a slow and steady pressure was able to slowly bring the fish upstream, always remembering that I was on much lighter tackle than my "heave and haul" usual chub tackle. A slight scare when it tried to just into the roots under my bank, but it was soon in the net. So my goal of a 4 lb chub on the float took just one cast. The fish was 4-15 and perhaps the largest chub I have caught float fishing. Sadly no photo today - I had left the camera at home after transfering the pictures of yesterday's big chub.
While sorting out this first fish a swan and 6 of last year's cygnets swam up my swim on exactly my taking line, and I had initially thought that might be a very big negative. But two casts later and another very gentle take at the far end of the swim and a second chub, this time of 4-08. It shouldn't be ignored that both these fish came from the extreme end of the trot down, in the slower water inside the main flow. And moreover, it was open water, the sort of spot that I wouldn't have bothered with if I were legering. So quite a bit to note from that.
Six or so casts later and 9 swans came charging down the swim taking off as they did so. A huge disturbance for the swim and, as one might expect, no more bites subsequently. An hour or so later and I did change over to ledgered corn in the area where the swim shallows up at the end. But no more bites and I was done by about 10:30.
So this does show the value of pre-baiting, it does show that I can catch decent chub on the float, and it does show that decent chub are out in the middle of the river but in the slower flow.
My new plan for tomorrow afternoon is to fish a crumb and mash feeder setup with either flake or crust as bait and to focus on near bank slacks. I also intend to try some new spots below the lock - hopefully a couple of dozen new spots. The search for a Thames 6-lber before the end of the season is well and truly on - maybe 10 more trips before the season ends.