It’s fair to say my recent trips to the river have been pretty dire to say the least. On the odd occasions that I have been I have struggled. It’s easy to look for an excuse why you’re not catching. Rivers too low, rivers too high, too hot, too cold, too bright the list is endless. Generally I don’t take any notice of the weather because otherwise I would never go fishing if I waited for the perfect day. At the moment though it really is an effort to go fishing. I keep waiting for the frosts to come and for the perch to move to their winter holding areas but it just isn’t happening. The fish still seem to be spread all over the place making locating them very hard.
So, earlier this week after checking the forecast I decided I was going to have a couple of hours before work with the lure rod just to try something different. For anyone that knows me they will know i’m not exactly in love with lure fishing but I just had the urge to give it another go. My lure fishing generally consists of a few casts before sitting down for half an hour, having a coffee and repeating the process. I arrived at the river just after 6am and setup in the darkness although there was just enough light to see that there were fish topping everywhere. It was incredibly mild with not a breath of wind. They were just the kind of conditions that would hopefully spur a big Perch into taking my lure. The river looked ace and after fumbling around for 10 minutes I was setup and ready to go. I made my way to an area where there are patches of lilies in the summer. Second cast in and I snagged onto an unseen log. I quick flick of the rod to try and dislodge the lure and there was an almighty crack. The rod had snapped at the spigot. Standing there in disbelief I couldn’t comprehend what had happened. I didn’t have a spare rod as I was travelling light. I stood there for a moment while I tried to make something of the situation but what can you do? I’ve broken the only rod I had on me and it wasn’t even 6:30am and I didn’t have to be at work until 10am. I toyed with the idea of fishing with just the butt section before realisation kicked in that it wouldn’t be feasible. Why couldn’t this have happened the previous Saturday when I had 5 rods with me?
Gutted I walked back to the car got changed and went to work arriving 2 hours early. In hindsight I should have had a wander to find some likely looking swims for another day.
While at work I started the search for a new lure rod. It’s easy to get carried away when buying new gear and just as I was about to hit the “Buy” button on some zen like Japanese lure rod when I remembered I had an unused lure rod at home that I bought last year. The reviews suggested it is more of a dropshot rod and I have to say it is “a bit tippy” but it would do me for the amount of lure fishing I do. So instead of making a purchase I made plans to head down the river another day.
Today that day arrived although my enthusiasm wasn’t the same as a couple of days back. Driving down the motorway just after 5:30am in the rain I really couldn’t be bothered to go. The conditions didn’t seem as good as the other day and my mind really was in turmoil. Because of my lack of enthusiasm I’d managed to half convince myself that the days when you can’t be bothered to go can actually turn out to be the best sessions. Then the other part of me was telling me to drive past the junction for the river and head on straight down to work because i’d probably blank anyway. I can’t tell you what convinced me to flick the indicator on at junction 24 of the M1 at the very last minute but before I knew it I was pulling up next to the Trent.
I’d already made the rod up the previous day so I didn’t have to mess around in the dark. I gave the spot where I broke my rod a wide berth and started fishing near some old landing stages. In my limited lure fishing experience i’ve found the Kopyto shad to be really good for Perch and if the water is clear then white seems to be a really good colour. After a few casts I was into my first fish which turned out to be a little Pike around 3lb in weight. I was off the mark which was a good start. What surprised me was how shallow the water was. I was expecting it to be a lot deeper but I kept getting caught up on bits of streamer weed. I kept making my way further downstream a couple of steps at a time before I had another savage take. I cast to the same spot and the same thing happened again. By now the heart was really pumping and on the 3rd cast the shad was nailed. I could tell it was a Perch and was delighted to get it in the net. It was a right fatty and she weighed in at 2.7. I took a quick snap on a new unhooking mat that I was sent by Trevor Gunning at Cotswold Angling. It has a measuring scale printed on one side which is a really good idea. I’m rubbish at estimating lengths etc… so it’s a god send for me and it also shuts up any doubters out there in the social media world that claim photo’s are photoshopped or that you might be a little untruthful when it comes to the weight of your fish.
I quickly returned the fish and cast out again. By now there was enough daylight to be able to see in the water and on the next cast my lure was followed in by an even bigger Perch only for it to turn away at the last minute. Repeated casts failed to entice it, not surprisingly, and on another cast a half decent Pike followed the lure in. Felling that I had exhausted that spot I moved further downstream where I managed to catch another small Pike. What was interesting is that in 3 different spots I had tiny pencil sized Pike follow my lure in which shows how Pike are thriving in the Trent.
After a couple of hours on the Trent I decided to go and fish a stretch of the Derwent that I haven’t fished for years. It used to be fantastic for Barbel and Chub and one particular spot in particular was thick with them. You could catch them by freelining boilies or pellets and when they were on the feed they would come up and take your bait on the drop. Sadly others found out about it and the fish moved out of that area. On arrival I couldn’t believe how overgrown it was even though the Balsam is dying back with the onset of winter. It didn’t look like it had been fished in months. It’s not the most ideal place for lure fishing as it is mostly shallow and a bit fast. There are one or two holes that you can drop into though and it was in one of these that I had a good take on the white kopyto. I couldn’t buy another take after that though and time was ticking on so I figured I ought to go to work and plan my next outing.