It was quite clear early on that Chris Yates and Bob James had nothing on Peppa Pig. Jessica was staring at the big box of toys in the corner and Corrinna spotted me peering out of the window watching the sky clear and the sun begin to break through. She offered to look after Jess and told me I’d better get out before the showers come back. I didn’t need telling twice.
On the way to the river I stopped at Manning’s for half a pint of maggots. The guy behind the counter asked where I was off to. I told him I was headed for the Wally, to which he said “Jeez, that will be tonking through with the rain we’ve had!” My heart sunk ever so slightly as I knew he was probably right, but I felt sure I could find somewhere fishable.
I pulled up just before Cheeseman’s bridge and walked to the river before changing into my boots and grabbing the rod. It looked fast and up, but by no means unfishable. If anything, it might improve things, and those wary chub and dace could well be in the mood. I wasted no time fetching my things and getting into position.
Just below my position was a tree with a deep channel very close to it. There were a few low spindly branches which were set to cause one or two hairy moments, but soon enough the rod was put together and I was angling. I opted to bring the old Wizard out of retirement and matched it with old Ron’s Young’s Seldex that was given to me by his son.
At first, the crow quill Avon I was using was far too light and was being pulled all over the place. I upped it to a 3 AAA perch bobber which coped much better. I was so much trotting the swim, rather searching out the eddies that were swirling in front of me.
The first fish I caught was a beautiful roach, sparkling in the low winter sunlight. It was a pristine fish without a scale out of place. A great start although the bites didn't come thick and fast, I had to work out where they were at which state, the swirls were coming from everywhere being just the other side of a bridge, one minute there was slack in front of me, the next a surge of water.
The next fish to grace the bank was a sparkly dace, and quite the specimen too. I’d hoped they would put in an appearance. When only a couple of hours previous it seemed as though fishing was the last thing I’d be doing, to be out doing it and catching such marvellous fish was superb, the feeling of euphoria was amplified.
The far bank was much slower than my own bank so a cast with the float shallowed up was made, but produced five minnows in as many casts. As pretty as they were five was enough and with the float raised a foot I continued to search out the deeps before me.
A small roach was next up, each and every fish made a good account of themselves in the increased flow, and that included this little fellow too, very spirited indeed. Next cast produced a much better roach, with classic deep red fins and flanks of sterling silver. I held it in my hand, a thing of such perfection I was truly blessed.
Although none of these fish were record breakers, they were still very special fish, to me anyway. The river is tiny and on my doorstep. There are rivers not a million miles away where there is no doubt that I could quite possibly catch fish five times the size of these, and one day I’ll make that journey, but for now I was quite happy doing what I was doing, angling on my terms. Another wonderful dace jagged away in the current and was scooped up in the crabtree net.
The session was a short one, they all are at this time of year and with me arriving at 2pm I was only ever going to get a maximum of two hours fishing. As it happened I caught my last fish at 3:30, another cracking freshly minted dace was landed which signified the end of proceedings. With minimal tackle I was packed away and in the car in ten minutes.
On the way home I stopped at Buckwell’s Butchers, bought two nice fillet steaks and treated Corrinna to a slap up tea for making the suggestion in the first place. She enjoyed her meal so much she said I could go tomorrow. Now, I might just take her up on that!