Saturday, 11 February 2012

Too cold to play

I left home at around 9am, not an early start but I just didn’t see the point of getting there at the crack of dawn what with the frosts and sub zero temps we’ve been experiencing recently. The outside temperature was minus three, not conducive to good fishing but with no fishing the previous weekend I just had to get out on the bank. I wanted to fish a water local to work but due to it having a solid lid I turned to the river, and a river I’d heard good things about. Conditions were far from ideal and any thoughts of barbel had to be erased from my mind, although I still went tackled up to fish for them if I thought there was a chance.

On the way I was mesmerised by the amount of buzzards flying around over the motorway, one group of four in particular caught my eye. The fields on either side were a patchwork quilt of many shades of white; the frost had really taken hold and was still there even though the sun had risen. I pulled into the pub car park and a quick check of the outside temperature was still minus three, thoughts of a bumper day couldn’t have been further from my mind but just to be there was enough for me.

I started off at the mill, upstream of the pub car park, I fished here once before, didn’t catch but the guy who jumped in after me had some lovely chub, I just had the tactics wrong that day, this time I had every angle covered. I started by setting up a 13ft waggler rod and a centrepin, but before threading the line I applied a little tip Thommo gave me. Last winter I tried to trot whilst it was below freezing and had trouble with the line freezing to the rings. Thommo recently told me that Glycerine smeared onto the rings would eliminate this, so, on the way to the river, I stopped at Morrisons and purchased a mall bottle for 75 pence. Once the rings have been given a liberal coating I tackled up, sprayed a few maggots into the swim and proceeded to search the swim for chub or anything else that wanted double red maggot.

Mill Swim
The glycerine did its job brilliantly, unfortunately the maggots didn’t and after an hour it was obvious that it would be a difficult day. With the waggler rod perched against a hawthorn I went about tackling up the barbel rod and started to spray a few small pellets into a slack area where I thought the barbel, or indeed the chub, may be lying. The rod was fished with a basic running ledger, knobbly lead to hold in the flow and double 11m Spicy Sausage and Hemp sonubaits pellets. If you’ve not seen these hookable pellets I suggest you do, they are £2.99 per tub and are excellent for all species, oily, smelly and continue to release flavours for hours and hours, just the ticket for sending a scent trail downstream to bring the fish up. I sat watching the rod tip a while and was joined by a wagtail who feasted upon some spilt maggots. I reached for the camera but he flew away. I sprinkled a few more maggots just along the path and sat, with a coffee in one hand and the camera in the other. Within a few minutes the lovely little bird was back and I managed to get a couple of half decent shots.

Another hour passed and the lack of attention was starting to make me think of a move, a swim just to the left of the pub has seen a few captures in the past and I could sit in the back of the car and fish was the first that came to mind. I was also getting annoyed by a constant flow of week drifting through and catching my lines every few minutes, some of which actually made me strike!!  So with the rod reeled in I headed back to the car and onto the pub. When I got there it was almost lunchtime, I could smell the aroma of Sunday lunches drifting though the pub window, I was upwind and this made me hungry, but I resisted the temptation of entering the pub and tucked into a cheese and onion sandwich instead.

Pub Stretch……
The first thing I did once in the swim was to flick the bottom bait out into a slack on the far bank and spray a little pellet over just upstream hoping it would settle just about where my hook-bait was lying. I watched the tip and drunk some more coffee whilst wondering if the wagtail would be back. It was then that a friendly robin came to say hello, he landed on my rear bumper and looked at me with a “what ya got?” kind of gaze. I moved and he flew onto one of the posts I had my rod leant against. A few maggots made him smile for the camera.

Another hour passed without much more than a few clumps of weed and once again I started to trot the 3g Avon float through the swim, only this time it dipped on the fourth trot. The lack of resistance told me it wasn’t a big fish, but to see a super little hand sized brown trout was very welcome indeed. One more of the same came to the float and after another hour with numb finger tips I decided to call it a day.

It had been great to be back by the waterside, and although the fishing could have been better, the river couldn’t have. There was colour and depth and I do believe that if it wasn’t so cold it could have been much more productive. But I’d spent most of the day doing what I love, took some nice pictures and, on another day, the outcome could have been so different.

When I’ll be back I don’t know, my hope is that the lakes and pools start to thaw and that I can get back on them next weekend. The water close to work is on my mind all the time, Headlands also with those monster perch on the live-baits, and Dryad lake where fun can be had in all weathers with scrappy little carp. So once the thaw begins I’ll be spoilt a little ad undecided on where to go, but wherever I do end up, I’ll be sure to tell you all about it.

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