Saturday, 29 June 2013


I arrived at the bridge over the river this morning to find it had risen 18'' overnight and once again was choked with suspended weed. The colour wasn't too bad and with my confidence high after all my recent success I decided to have a couple of hours. The fish had moved out of the main flow and I managed to winkle half a dozen out of the back eddies and slower water.
I had planned to spend the morning targeting them on the fly but the extra colour and flow can make wading tricky and I opted to stay on the bank and fish with lures. I'm hoping the river will drop sufficiently over the next 24 hours for me to try it tomorrow.


Thursday, 27 June 2013

A New PB

Had a lazy start today after my early session yesterday and managed to get to one of my favourite spots before the slamon anglers have spooked all the chub. The first was a modest specimen but great fun on the ultra light gear.

The next fish gave me the best fight I've ever had from a chub - I think it had a personality disorder and thought it was a barbel! At 4lb 8oz definitely punching above its weight.
The next fish was a new personal best of 5lb 6oz. I thought I'd lost this fish as I was netting it there was an almighty splash just beyond the net and I thought it was my fish that had shed the hooks and bolted. It turned out to be another big fish that had followed mine in and made a splash as it turned away in the shallow water. 

...and a front shot that illustrates the sheer bulk of this fish.
A few more nice fish around 4lb and upwards mixed in with half a dozen 2-3lb fish rounded off another fantastic days fishing before the rain really set in and sent me home in search of some dry clothes!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Feeding Time

I fished a couple of evenings after work this week and only managed one fish on each occasion and was thinking I maybe need to rest this particular stretch as maybe they were wising up to my lures. I have a couple of weeks coming up when I might struggle to get out at all so decided I'd try another early session. I was at the river by 5am to find they were feeding voraciously. I'd had one around 3lb and then lost what looked to be a really good fish when it buried itself in a raft of weed. I thought I was bringing both fish and weed in but the fish managed to shed the hooks and free itself leaving me with a football of weed! I soon got over it however as within minutes I had another just over 5lb and then one at 4lb 10oz. This was the best of the bunch at 5lb 1oz

.. and the 4lb 10oz

I went on to bag a string of fours with a few twos and threes in between.

I'd love to know what these fish would weigh at their pre-spawn maximum.

Managed to get a shot of the heron that has been keeping me company off the bridge.


The fishing was definitely better very early and although I caught fairly steadily all morning it got progressively slower until dinnertime when the sun had burned off the last of the morning cloud and they became very finicky. A bit early to say I've discovered a feeding pattern but first light has seen them really on it  a few times already this season.


Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Mink and a Bar Of Gold

I spent half an hour watching a mink hunt tonight. I've only ever caught fleeting glimpses before. I'm not sure how I feel about these animals as they are an introduced species into the river ecosystem.

The fish didn't want to know this evening, normally even when I can't get one to stick I get the occasional strike or see a boil as a fish turns away. I couldn't even spot them rising to take off the surface which often helps with location. Eventually found this fish just off a fast piece of water and saved a blank.
Like a bar of gold.


Best Fisherman On The River

I've been tying to get a picture of this fella for a while, but he's obviously camera shy as every time I stop and get the camera out, however stealthily I do it, and he's off. I had to use the digital zoom to get this and the result is a bit grainy.

I waited ages to try and get a shot of the heron in flight and came close with this shot. A combination of  zoom and motion means it's blurred but I came close! My mission is to get a nice clean shot of it in flight.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Dichoso Umiushi

The forecast for today wasn't good, strong winds and squally showers. Coupled with yesterdays rain lifting the river a foot overnight I wasn't very optimistic about the conditions. I decided to make the effort to explore a new area based on a tip from two bait anglers. I'd looked on google earth and there appeared to be at least one area of promising water. The path was very overgrown, and every bramble and hidden log had me stumbling along. Every little side stream and drain which had carved deep grooves in the bank meant a detour up the steep bank and around. By the time I got to the piece of water I wanted to fish I was exhausted! The steep banks and deep water close in also meant it was impossible to fish it! So I turned round and headed back downstream in the hope of finding somewhere I could get to the water. I found one spot on a fallen tree where I could make a cast and duly landed my first fish of the day around two and a half pounds. I'd struggled to get into my precarious position and slipped this one straight back. The river was pushing through and the rise in water had lifted tonnes of weed which was making fishing almost impossible. I couldn't get more than a couple of turns on the reel handle before the crank baits were festooned with weed. Half an hour later I was back on familiar ground at the head of one of my favourite pools and after five minutes, most of which was spent removing weed from the lure I was ready to give up and sat down to have a coffee. As I was removing the flask I noticed a couple of Dichoso Custom Baits Umiushi worms that had fallen out of their packet so I rigged one on an offset worm hook that I found in another compartment in the bag. The lure was just heavy enough to cast a reasonable distance. I was casting across the river and trying to dead drift it to allow it to sink down to where I figured the fish would be hunkered down on the river bed in the strong flow. A few minutes later at the end of a drift as the worm lifted I had my second of the day.

The weed was still proving a problem as it was clogging the line and catching on the trace swivel and clip even though the lure was rigged weedless and the hook point nicked into the skin of the worm.
I kept going despite my frustration and eventually had a solid take which resulted with this nice 4lb fish on the bank.
With the fishing being slow I decided a move was in order and drove to another area a few miles downstream. A salmon angler was fish at the head of my favourite pool on this stretch and with the difficult conditions I decided to call it a day and set off back to the car. Like many anglers I find it hard to walk past a likely looking piece of water and I couldn't help myself so I dropped into what has been a productive swim. The weed was even worse here but a few casts produced another reasonable fish.
It's nice to finish a session with a fish so decided that was it and went home satisfied that I'd made the best of near impossible conditions.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Before The Storm

Lots of rain forecast for today so was out early again, didn't catch anything huge but found some really pretty fish in an area of the river that looks like it doesn't see much pressure - there are no obvious, trampled swims and no anglers litter. It was blue skies very early on replaced mid morning by bursts of torrential rain. It was strange to be fishing in waterproofs after all the recent sunshine!

I was given a tip about another area that is supposed to hold some big chub and if the river is fit I'm going to explore it on Sunday morning.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Longest Day

Today being the longest day and the official first day of Summer I wanted to get out after work for a couple of hours - especially as the rain is forecast for later tonight. The sun was still high and bright at 5pm and the river is the lowest I've seen it for a long time and very weedy. The fish were being very tentative and an hour later I had failed to hook up even though a few fish had boiled underneath the lure. I'd started with a small lure thinking they may be more likely to have a go in the clear water but a change to a slightly larger one produced an almost instant response and this very lean fish stuck on, quickly followed by a couple more smaller ones. I'm now praying the rain isn't heavy enough to spoil the weekend fishing!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Bow Waves

Up early again and at the river before 6am, the fish were really on it and I watched fish after fish create bow waves as they chased a lure worked slowly on the surface - absolutely fantastic fun.
All caught in very shallow water and for every fish I caught I probably had three hit and miss or get briefly hooked then drop off. I probably would have landed more if I had worked sub surface lures but you don't get many days when they are quite so enthusiastic about taking right off the top so how could I resist?




Tuesday, 18 June 2013

£350 Chub

I intended to dash home from work today, grab my gear and get a few hours in on the river. However on the way to work this morning the brakes on my car started making a horrendous grating noise so I drove straight to the garage to see if they could sort the problem. An hour and a half later, 4 new discs and pads all round and £350 poorer I was definitely in need of some time by the water.
I'd had a few 2-3lb fish and was 'waking' my crank bait across the surface when this old warrior obliged at 5lb 2oz. It looked like it had been through the wars and whilst not the prettiest of fish it provided a much needed boost. By 8.30 I was being bitten to death by the midges and retreated home to feed myself.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Opening Day

Having enjoyed last season chasing chub in my local rivers, I was unreasonably excited about the opening day of the new season today. I spent several hours on Saturday sorting my river chubbing tackle and lures and set the alarm for 3am. As ever I found it hard to sleep knowing I had an early start and was awake at two! I decided I might as well use the time to fuel up with strong coffee and walk to the far end of the stretch I intended to start from, and fish my way back to the car.
Even having a leisurely drive and walk I was still there far too early!

There were a couple of guys fishing with bait for the barbel close to where I parked but the rest of the beat was my own. I didn't want to be fishing in the pitch black and sat back to wait for a bit more daylight. I was happily watching the bats when a splash in the water caught my attention and I was amazed to see an otter swim past. I know they are now common in some areas but I've never seen one on this river.
It was very dull and overcast and it seemed to take an age before it was light enough to fish comfortably. I had a fish slash at the lure very early on and a few minutes later was very briefly attached to a fish that managed to shake the hooks. I was half way down the pool when, at around 4.30am I had my first chub of the river season, small but nonetheless special.

I had been worried about the recent rain putting too much water into the river but I was wishing we had had a bit more, the river was choked with filamentous weed that was clogging the hooks on my crank baits on almost every cast. The fishing was slow and it was about half an hour later when I had the second fish, a little bit bigger so things were moving in the right direction.

I had carefully fished the entire pool with only a couple of small fish to show for my efforts and decided to move. As I walked passed the water I had fished the martins were feeding on an early hatch and a few chub started slashing at the emerging insects. The whole head of the pool was alive with fish. I thought it has to be worth fishing through it again. A few casts later I had an arm wrenching take and after  a few hairy moments when it dived for the reeds just below me I was rewarded with a new Personal Best of 5lb 4oz.

I rarely go fishing without a pork pie (or two) in my bag so decided this was a good time for a celebratory breakfast - 'the food of Kings'.

Just  a little further up stream I had another good fish at a shade over 5lb.


The return shot gives you some idea how solidly built these fish are - they are like breeze blocks!

I was getting lots of action with fish hitting and missing my lures, some sticking on briefly before letting go and some making it to the net. I had a good number of two and three pound fish which were good sport in the fast water before I had another nice fish at just over 4lb.

It was disappointing to see clear evidence that people had been fishing all along the bank - there were worn swims, the usual bait tins, beer cans and bottles strewn everywhere and piles of dried out weed that looked several days old. I think it's a real shame that the sense of excitement I felt about fishing for relatively undisturbed fish was tarnished by selfish anglers unable to abide by the legal close season
By 10 o'clock I had fished all the water on this part of the river and decided on a move upstream to a section on another club card. This is a bit of a drive and a long walk and I hoped it would be quiet but when I got there two roving 'stick float trotters' had waded through all the prime pools and not surprisingly the fish had been spooked and were proving very uncooperative. By now the weather was improving and the sky brightening which probably didn't help. I did manage to winkle one out from a piece of undisturbed water.

By early afternoon I had been out for nearly twelve hours and need a quick break so returned home to fill my flask with fresh coffee. I wanted to return to the scene of my big trout capture as in a couple of spots I had moved big fish. I didn't really see if they were trout or chub but had noted their address for a future visit! This small river is desperately low at the moment and like all the local rivers needs a good flush through. I did manage a nice chub from one of the spots and a few nice little brownies but didn't see the big fish I had been looking for.

At tea time I decided enough was enough - you can only have so much of a good thing and headed home to download the pictures and write the report before tiredness completely fuddled my brain.
A fantastic start to my season and I'm looking forward to beating my new personal best. I found out last night that there are fish pushing 8lb being caught in the river - I'd like to see one of those on the line.