Saturday 25 January 2014

The eye of the storm

Last weekend's outing had whetted my chub appetite,  not withstanding the news of a good fish of the stretch in the week. Despite the rain the river was well within it's banks and much clearer than I had been expecting. Into  the boily swim, and with a little more lead presentation much better. Worked hard to search the swim but no indication from a fish.

Dropped into next spot, which was the dace aquarium from last week. Fished  quite a good sized lump of cheese paste which had matured a little over the week. Kept the same lead on as the bites last week had come on the crease down to the edge of the  trailing fronds  rather than tucked into the bank. First cast  and the tip did the classic two jags then into a healthy curve. Strike resulted in thin air..perhaps the point  hadn't pulled through the water hardened paste? At once thrilled by the chance of what clearly was chub take, and painfully aware that the chub on this stretch can be quite serious fish. It was 3.40 and I had been fishing since 3. Decided on 10 more mutes in the swim before  the next move, getting dark just after 5 now so a couple of swims to get into.

Decide to flick the anti-reverse on, with a little clutch to hopefully connect better with  next take. Also held the rod though still using front rest to give a slightly quicker response to a take. Which did not take long  to materialise. A more pronounced jag and then pull and in truth it was probably pricked already but the anti -reverse measure worked and I was into a fish, which by the darting fight was probably a chub.Once it bored to the near bank and made for a small tussock I was sure it was a chevin  and sure enough a silver/gold flash confirmed it. The rod, a Des Taylor 12 footer does  not transmit much feeling for some reason and it is quite hard to gauge size by pull etc but at the net a deep flank was a good sign. In first time and it was clearly going to be over 5 as I pulled it up on to the bank. The size 4 was well in the mouth but not in very deep and came out with the slightest of pressure. Slightly protruding lower jaw and quite a small head but apart from a red spot  above the ventral fin  a very clean, plump fish. Into the placcy bag and the Waymaster's read a very healthy 5lb 9oz.

Probably a better barbel hold than a chub pose but that's quite a healthy size paddle.

Decided to drop straight into next swim which is a longer glide with a more even paced far bank area and lightened down to 2 SSG on the link. I was studying some bubbles in the far bank glide which actually started to move and missed  another take.  Not sure what was moving under the surface but an otter didn't exit so possibly a water vole. Certainly some fish movement too and I have my eye on it for a sardine next time out. This swim actually would suit trotting very well so that's another plan hatched. I thought I heard some fast jets rumbling over the coast, unusual for a weekend but a flash and it was a winter thunderstorm approaching.

Heading back to the car in the increasing rain headed round the bend onto the meadow below the mill and it suddenly felt very mild, despite the rain. Must have been in the proverbial eye of the storm. The light show was rumbling round the valley  but almost as suddenly was lighting up the white weather boarded mill frontage and the storm was right overhead. Felt a bit exposed out there holding a wet carbon rod.. A huge crash and what felt like tons of very cold rain was dumped on me, and simultaneously setting off the car alarm and it was with some relief I was inside and tuning into the final minutes of FA Cup 4th Round day.

Sunday 19 January 2014

Danish blues

Saturday was bright and blustery, but with a lot of rain promised  for today and  an unexpected afternoon pass out I dropped in just below the noddy gauge train bridge at Buxton. A small bucket of mash deposited in 4 likely looking swims I settled down with a cup of hot chocolate to watch the white painted  tip of a Des Taylor 12 footer take on  a pleasing arc. And begin a dance of gust aided twitches and judders. Would have been a lot worse on the long cyanide straight above the bridge. Either way, nothing decide to sample the cheese paste.

Next swim a very tight spot that in retrospect was just too boily. At times I think the bait was probably just under the surface rather than tucked ever closer into the undercut bank as in my imagining. I have had pike from this spot so more lead next time. Did have a couple of indications of interest though which always quickens the pulse...There were also indications of plenty of dace moving in the far bank eddy and a couple of more trouty  type slashes at something coming off the river.

Next spot down I had jags on the tip from the first cast. This was on quite large lumps of paste on a 4. It seemed that were certainly plenty of dace down there and I mulled over  toughing it out with much larger lumps of paste and hoping a chevin would have something left to go at or scaling down to at least get a hook into a fish, but the smallest hook I had was a 10. I chose this option for some reason which with further retrospect was  a compromise too far and ended up with lots of activity but nothing on the bank and the light had gone and my curfew was calling..

It really hasn't become winter yet despite it being the 19th of January today but when I first started back on the non-tidal Bure in the early 2000's you could have fished down large sawthes of the river with flake in the winter and almost guarantee that it was only a chub  or a hungry pike/stupid brownie that would move the tip but the rebirth of the river now is evidenced by just how many spots do have plenty of varied year group dace and roach and it's a good problem to have to consider using larger baits such as meat to be more selective. The chub are still there despite the otters as early in  the spring the Environment Agency  survey showed a good head of chub up to a very good size from this beat.

Back to today and in my weekend perambulation stopped off at Stalhnm Staithe and two older  chaps turned up, second job after setting up their octoplus type seats was unfurling the obligatory white towel to drape over their knees. A further tour round the boat yard and somewhat amused by the unshipping of 14 metres of very expensive looking pole for a roach that was at the most an inch and a half in length, straight to the white toweled knee....

Sunday 12 January 2014

Easing into 2014

First outing of the year today. Had considered chub, and frozen pastry/blue cheese ready but on top of a lot of rain  glass is rising and first hard frost for a while and clear blue sky, and biting wind. That, and the inevitable quagmire footpath meant pike instead.

Crossed the Ant at Wayford Bridge but no sudden urge to pull in so onwards to Stalham Staithe. For once, fishing virtually from boot of car had a certain something about it. A couple of hours to work some deads around the quay headings. This duly done. One sharp rap on tiny joey being inched back  under one of Essex Scribbler's poly balls  to show for it. That and the scuffed, puncture marked if only...

The two chaps either side of me had some of the usual on the pole, ever present white hand towel as de rigeur
 Elastic and take apart to hand. Ended with his intended skimmer  as a bonus
Flicktip  to hand. 3-4 lb to show for his work

Monday 6 January 2014

Reading material

Still got this little lot to look forward to:

Best settle down with a bottle of Pedro Ximinez and some strong cheese (saving some for chub paste).