Catch Fish with
For anyone unfamiliar with the site always check the FRESHWATER, SALTWATER and TACK-TICS pages. The Saltwater page now extends back as a record of over several years of (mostly) sea fishing and may be a useful guide as to when to fish. The Freshwater stuff is also up to date now. I keep adding to both. These pages are effectively my diary and the latest will usually be about fishing in the previous day or two. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. The Tactics pages which are chiefly 'how I do it' plus a bit of science are also updated regularly and (I think) worth a read (the earlier ones are mostly tackle and 'how to do it' stuff).
Another hard won chub.
Having caught a reasonable chub on my last trip I was encouraged to have another go. This, despite the lack of action on the spinning front recently. Sure enough the river was still very low but after a few frosty nights at least it had warmed up a bit. I decided to try a stretch that I hadn't been to for a while - it generally produces perch and jacks from the deeper slower flowing areas, trout from the fast shallow bits and chub from anywhere that gives them a spot of cover. This time it proved to be no better than any of the other sections I had fished and the fish were apparently absent. I put on an 11cm plug, larger than the one I'd used recently, partly because it fishes shallower than the small version and partly because I hoped that if I tempted anything it might at least be worth catching. There were no bites from the thin streamy water downstream of the weir and not a sign of a tiny perch or pike from the slack areas so I was getting a bit despondent.
I began to work my way upstream, wading in the shallow water and casting as far ahead of me as I could manage in the blustery downstream wind. It wasn't easy fishing as the braid tended to belly out in the wind and catch on overhanging trees and bankside weeds. Every couple of casts the lure, even though it only fished 20cm deep, would pick up a leaf or a bit of weed from the river bed. After half-an-hour I was beginning to think that it wasn't worth bothering. I was working my way along below a high vertical bank and tending to slither on the sloping bed into the deeper water in mid-stream. It became more and more difficult to keep my footing so I thought "Just one more cast!" I waited until the wind eased for a few seconds and pitched the plug straight up the near bank towards the slack water downstream of an overhanging goat willow. Perfect! The plug plopped in and I closed the bale and began to wind. I could feel the plug wiggling and it had only gone a couple of metres when the rod was wrenched round as a fish took. The clutch buzzed as the fish dragged off a metre or two of line - clearly it was a better fish than I'd been catching recently.
I tried to work the fish back towards where I stood hoping that it wouldn't come unstuck before I had a view of it. Then I saw the big rounded dorsal fin break the surface - it was a chub. Soon the fish was swimming under the rod tip and I could see that it was firmly hooked. I tucked the rod under my arm and swung off one of the shouder straps of my bag so that I could get at the camera in the side pocket. I took a few pictures and then put the camera away before reaching down and unhooking the fish, still in the water. The hook came out fairly easily and the chub - certainly well over five pounds and in mint condition - hung still at my feet for a few seconds before swimming away.
Of course I couldn't stop without a few more casts but that was that - not another sniff. It rained heavily yesterday and it looks as though the rivers have coloured up a lot as the accumulated silt of the summer is shifted by the first significant Autumn rise in water level. Perhaps next time I go there will be more fish active. It looks as though it will pour down again tomorrow so for sure the conditions are about to change, hopefuly for the better.
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A cracking chub comes into view on my 11cm plug.
Now it's tired.
My last picture shows the fish is in really good nick.