Friday, 27 September 2013

A Quest for Mini Monsters

Ok, I wasn’t going to break the gudgeon record this afternoon, but it doesn’t hurt to angle with such confidence. In fact, confidence can be your greatest ally when angling. And although no claim to fame can be made, it was a delightful afternoon angling in a proper fashion.

I arrived at the mill somewhere around 12:30, parked in the lay-by and headed over the gate and downstream. I was travelling light, creel, rod and net, just the way it should be on small rivers. The Wallington is a splendid river with lots of fish to angle for. There are shallow gravelly runs, deep slow glides, bends and straights giving something for everyone.

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The day was about gudgeon, the ones Robbie told me about, gudgeon that were huge beyond your wildest dreams, and I’d dreamt about them alright. Purchased scales that measure up to 4oz, created a makeshift sling to weigh them in and generally thought about nothing else for days leading up to the trip. Those little bottom dwelling fish needed to show, I had so much hope riding on it.

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The first deep bend I came to was around 300 yards from the gate. I set up the Avon Perfection, small Aerial and one of George Lockhart’s small quill floats. After setting the depth I loaded the size 14 hook with two white maggots and lowered it into the flow. It didn’t take long for the first bite to come, and the bend in the rod made me think for a minute that I’d caught a decent gudgeon straight away, but it wasn’t to be. I was, however, connected to a wonderful bristling perch.

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Two more casts and two more similar sized perch came ashore. These were closely followed by minnows, loads of them, signalling time to move o to the next spot. The next place I stopped was very similar in appearance, but shallower and slightly faster. This spot produced only minnows and a couple of spotty herberts. The little brown trout were so perfect, like freshly minted coins.

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Zoom in (real dimensions: 799 x 530)Image

I fished three further pools with similar results and found myself almost two hours into the session, at the end of the stretch and gudgeonless. Perhaps they were upstream? I gathered my things, walked back to the gate (avoiding countless cow pats) and crossed the road. Heading into the field worked my way along the newly constructed fence and looked for a suitable spot to climb over and begin fishing.

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The area I liked the look of looked as though it might have been a cattle drink at some stage. There was a fairly large bowl with narrow channels running in and out of it. I started at the head of the pool trotting through and began receiving bites from the off. Perch were first to the bait, all fabulous looking fish, followed by minnows, some of which were of specimen sizes themselves. The species number four came to hand, a super sparkly dace.

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I was hoping to find some more dace, but this one proved to be alone. I continued catching minnows, small trout and the odd perch and moved on in search of that elusive gudgeon. The next spot had pads. I had heard recently of a 3lb tench coming from this stretch, and imagined the pads below me to be just the place. I plumbed the depth next to them, attached a pair of red maggots to the hook, and gently lowered the rig next to the pads just where the slow was causing a slight crease in the water. The float darted under almost instantly, the rod heaved over and whatever was hooked tried to gain sanctuary under the pads. Half expecting to see the tench surface I was rather surprised when a perch of little more than 8oz popped up.

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After a handful more minnows and two more perch I looked at the time and realised I had ten more minutes before I’d have to head home. The next slow trot through resulted in another slow pull on the float, although the fish hooked darted around in a manner unlike anything else I’d hooked. The first glimpse made me smile, at the same time pray the hook would stay in, for a gudgeon was finally on, and it looked to be a good one too.

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Not taking any chances I slipped the net into the water and guided my prize over the mesh. On the bank the fish looked impressive, wonderful iridescent colours and a huge paddle. I’d never weighed a gudgeon before, but this was certainly bigger than any I’d caught before, a real monster. I removed my scales and makeshift sling from the creel, checked they read zero and lifted the fish up. The needle settled a little less than 2oz, a veritable leviathan, I was dead chuffed.

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Zoom in (real dimensions: 799 x 530)Image

I took a few snaps and released the fish into the stream. I was smiling for a good while after the capture. I never did measure the fish as I had no tape measure with me, but upon returning home I measured the bait box I photographed it on and estimated the fish to be somewhere around six and a half inches long. Robbie had told me of 8inch monsters, so I had little doubt that bigger ones existed somewhere along that stretch.

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Once the fish was retuned I had three or four more trots hoping perhaps a shoal had arrived, but only two more minnows were landed. With that I packed up my things and headed back to the car. With a half of my pint of maggots left I think I might return in the morning… rude not to.

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5 comments:

  1. What a great day you must have had! I haven't caught a Gudgeon for years!

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  2. Chaps

    It really was a day to remember. I enjoyed it so much I went back this morning. More words a pics coming shortly.

    SK

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  3. Thanks Shaun

    I'd love to say it was reliving my childhood, but that was spent catching crabs and little else from the creek. The enthusiasm I feel is still as strong today, that'll never wain.

    Regards
    Stu

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