On the river by 10 today. Must have been cold last night, despite the stiff breeze there was ice in the tractor ruts and a sprinkling of powder snow. Ground was dry as well. River noticeably up, but through sluices being closed rather than run off. Walked up to confluence, saw barn owl, egret and heron on the way. A bit later saw a jay and a woodpecker fly over. Wind dropped but gloomy and regular snow showers. Kept being drawn to an area slightly further up toward the confluence but by the time I had moved the river surface was covered in debris, a farmer clearing a ditch way upstream.
Eventually I was able to put baits where I wanted, rather than just where it was clearer and this float with a smelt on the bottom was showing some movement.
After a reasonable pull I had this one on the bank. No otter damage which is good to see and a little plumper than it looks in the picture.
Now river surface clearer dropped down a hundred yards and the sardine float scooted across the river, baitruner purring. A much heavier fish but dour rather than spirited. I was very surprised to see the scales (plus net weight) go round to 18.10 so did a re-weigh with a weigh sling and both times got 16.15 after taking off the net/sling weight.
Have a look at this first. Chunky yes. Long enough for just under 17?
Now look at her on the net and you will see where that "extra" weight comes from. Well in spawn. Came to the net with some gill damage but not ottered at all.
Off the river by 1pm. .A good morning I think.