Saturday, 20 July 2013

Not just the fishing that's dried up

Before the week started I was ready for a bit of fishing. Working the afternoon shift meant I'd get plenty of time in before work. Monday came and I found myself sat watching daytime TV to pass the time. Why the hell wasn't I fishing?This happened on Tuesday, Wednesday and so on.

It's been scorchio out there this week and that hasn't really put me in the mood for fishing. Every person I've met has said to me "lovely weather for fishing" and I suppose it is if you're sat on a comfy chair behind a rod. But when your trudging along riverbanks and constantly casting it's a bit too much of a work out. I love fishing but I'm not stupid (in my opinion, others may disagree). Another reason I didn't get out was simply because of fish welfare. I tend to mainly fish for pike and they don't do too well in the hot weather and low oxygen levels that it brings. I had other options but opted for lazing around watching documentaries about sharks, volcanoes and all the fishing programs I had recorded.

I did manage a couple of short visits though. You lot know that I couldn't go a full week without throwing a lure at a toothy water wolf. I waited for my shift to end and then I had a few cheeky chucks. It was late by now and not far off dark so I didn't have long but I managed a few pike. Most were around the five pound mark with one exception and that was a fish of about eleven pounds. It got me my fix and helped me through a crap week at work.

Saturday came and it was much cooler. A bit of cloud cover rather than clear blue skies and it made me think again about getting out to fish. However the missus had other plans and I found myself wandering around clothes shop after clothes shop. It was crap, none of them had clothes for fishing just stuff you'd expect to find teeny bopper wannabes wearing. I need a new fishing T-shirt too, so someone missed out on a sale there. I finally got home and spent an hour chilling in the garden playing fetch with my dog and as the clock approached 5pm I had formulated a plan. I needed to go fishing.

I managed to keep all thoughts of chasing aggressive pike at bay and convinced myself a steady ultra light session together with a venture along a new stretch was what I wanted to do. I'd fished a new weir pool earlier in the year and today I was going to hit it again and see what else was lurking. I also wanted to go up river from the weir and fish some overhanging willows hoping I could find a chub or two. So armed with one box of lures I was off. The weir pool has a couple of pegs so I was going to fish those then move off to see what the rest of the river had in store. Upon arriving at the weir pool I was met with something I wasn't expecting. Something that would make me change my plans all together.

The weir had dried up. There was no water racing over the top. The whole weir was bone dry and all the rocks below it were exposed. I could walk all the way across the river except for one ten foot wide gully where the water was racing through. I could now fish places you wouldn't normally be able to fish, I had the whole weir pool to target and it looked too good an opportunity to miss.

Where is the water?

I covered loads of water using all sorts of small lure. Kopytos, spinners, little cranks and glide baits and I didn't get so much as a knock. I was gobsmacked. I expected a perch at least but there was potential for pike, chub and even trout here. There was the odd fish surfacing but that was it apart from loads of fry hiding in an among the rocks. Actually I did get a few follows from fish. The fry kept following in the lures even though the lure was about five times the size of the fry. Anyway, I hadn't come here for pike but it was time to put a pike lure on and at least try and get something. A small jack would be very welcome right now.

Even though I have my light outfit I can still chuck a 13cm savage gear lip lure and since I know this lure catches pike I always have one with me so if I'm out and I see a pike follow a small lure or I see one chasing fish I can have a crack at it. Third cast and a few cranks and I'm in. Smart move old lad, you've just saved a blank and got yourself a little jack. The fish thrashed on the surface a while and ripped a bit of line off as the clutch was set light. It then charged towards me and gave me a bit of a run around before eventually I got a glimpse.

Shit, it's a frigging chub get the net! I clambered across rocks to where I'd left it, making sure not to fall in. I was glad the rocks were bone dry as if they're slightly damp I wouldn't have been anywhere near here as it would be too slippery. I pulled the chub into a bit of slack water between some rocks and slid the net under. What a result, it looked a beauty of a chub, and on a big lure too. I couldn't believe I'd covered all that water with the smaller lures and nothing and then as soon as I stick on a big lure I'm in. The phone rang and so I left the chub to sulk in the net while I took the call. It was Woody phoning to fill me in on his day out on the boat. It was another half decent, but steady day on the boat but he and Graham had bagged over forty fish between them, a good day is that. I told him I had a chub of about three and half pounds waiting in the net so he left me to sort it out.

I clambered back on to the weir sill and got a few photos before putting the chub back in the net and in to a shallow rock pool for it to recover. It was ready in no time and didn't need any nursing like a pike would have done after that battle. I remembered I'm usually crap at guessing the weight and it was a chunky, wide fish so I got the scales out and was chuffed when it went just over four pound. I'm happy with that. A gorgeous, healthy chub.

I gave the area some more stick but got nothing so moved off the weir sill and the rocks and moved downstream to fish the back end of the pool. Again, it was tough and I managed naff all. It was now knocking on a bit and my original plan was to go upstream of the weir and check out the over hanging willow trees. However I decided to ditch that idea and go back on to the rocks at the weir, there had to be more fish there.

I started with my small lures again hoping for some perch and eventually I was rewarded when I started to get some fun. I took small perch on a few different lures, kopytos, spinners and one of Mark Houghtons little "chunky minnows" and it made for a good bit of fun. Finally a few fish from a spot I expected to catch. A little later the surface came alive with fish taking flies off the top. Most probably I guessed small chub but every now and again something larger would take something, though I couldn't make out what they were. Needless to say I tried every lure in the box to try and tempt them but couldn't get anything of size to take. I then managed to get in on the small chub, again on a few lures which was good. I decided to call it a day and head back to the car as I had a bit of a trek ahead of me. It was a good few hours out on the river, all by myself except for the wildlife, brilliant!

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