I’d been looking forward to today’s fishing trip. I wasn’t going to let the gales put me off. I was desperate to get on the river. When the alarm went off though at 5am I was starting to have serious doubts though and for a minute I thought sod it. I kept thinking of all sorts of things to put me off going. The exposed area I was going to fish, the river was higher than I really liked, the 60mph gusts and the fact that I’d caught bugger all of note just recently. To satisfy myself I decided to get up and check the river levels and the weather again. The river had dropped enough to make my mind up and before I knew it I was on the A38 heading south.
The original plan was to fish the Dove but I didn’t have a full day so decided to drop onto my local river instead and fish the marmite swim. It’s a bit of a trek but I only managed to take one wrong turn in the dark whilst walking across the fields. When I arrived at the swim it was still pitch black but I know the swim well enough now to put my baits out in the required spots. The swim is directly facing south-west which was the direction the wind was coming from so it was going to be a bit of a blustery session. I set the rods up with the tips as low as I could get them, which is difficult as you are quite high up on the bank, and the rod rest as far forward as possible to stop the rods bouncing about in the wind. At least the air temperature was high for the time of year so I wasn’t going to get blown about and be cold.
With everything setup I cracked the flask open and watched dawn break. There was no spectacular sunrise but just a drab greyness which is perfect for fishing. I didn’t have to wait that long for a bite. At first I thought my mind was playing tricks on me in the dawn light. I thought I saw the rod jag down sharply but I wasn’t paying proper attention, and then it did it again. It then went quiet and just as I looked away again the rod hooped over before springing back. Bugger. I reeled in to find the worm had been snatched. At first I was thinking it might have been a pesky Pike but generally they don’t behave in that way. Maybe it was a Chub? Who knows, but whatever it was it had gone.
Marmite really is a cracking swim when the river is up but today it was proving a bit tricky. I checked the time and it was just after 10am and normally I would have had a fish by now. Just above marmite there is another swim that I tried briefly at the back end of last season. I didn’t give it much of a chance as it was quite overgrown but today I decided I was going to hack my way through and make a clearing. A quick ten minutes was spent clearing away the balsam and it was just good enough to fish, although a little tight for casting. Not to worry, I only needed to fish close in and an underarm lob would suffice. I left the swim for an hour to let the disturbance die down and continued to fish marmite. As the newly created swim was the next one up I decided to name it “son of marmite” and from now on that is how it will be known.
I spent another biteless hour in marmite and then decided to move. I didn’t have a lot of stuff to shift which was good as the wind by now was relentless and proving to be a real pain in the arse. I setup in my new swim and just sat down when I decided I needed a pee. What I wasn’t expecting at that time was to see my chair come flying past me while mid-pee.
Chair retrieved I sat back and relaxed and tried to concentrate on the rod tip for any indication of a bite. Today definately wasn’t the day for looking for little knocks on the tip. It would be a question of just waiting for the bite to develop into something positive. A couple of hours passed with nothing to show before I decided to re-position my rods again. I picked the right hand rod up only for the feeder to get blown into some tough balsam by the waters edge. Desperately trying to free the hook I saw my left hand rod knock quite viciously and I had to look to see if I had knocked it with my foot while messing about trying to free the other rod. Thinking I hadn’t I then saw the rod tip pull round so I quickly threw the other rod down and struck into a lovely solid thump thump of a decent Perch. I can’t tell you how delightful that feeling is and then to see the fish roll just under the surface in the coloured water. There really is no better feeling and this fish was a good un too. It looked like it could be a 4 and I was praying it didn’t come off. I managed to slither down to the waters edge whilst all the time the wind kept trying to blow the net into the undergrowth and thwart me in my attempts to net the fish. Luck was on my side though and I can’t tell you what a relief it was to get the fish in the net. It was a right lump of a fish, broad across the shoulders and thick set. More like a bulldog than a Perch. I zero’d the scales and she came in a few ounces short of 4lb at 3.11. I took another look at her again before returning her upstream so as not to disturb the swim anymore.
Feeling satisfied, my confidence was sky high. I put both rods out again with chopped worm, one to the left and one to the right. There was quite a bit of depth a couple of rod length’s out and really did expect a Chub or two. Every so often I’d reel in to change the baits and find the end of the worm had been bitten off. The bites never registered in the strong winds or should I say I never saw them.
Just as the 3.11 was becoming a distant memory the right hand rod jagged round, then round again before settling back. Then it pulled round for a third time before I struck into another thump thump of a fish. Again it was a decent Perch although it didn’t look as big as the first. More jousting with the net and the balsam ensued before she was safely in the net only for the hook to come out at that point. What is it with Perch? They either nail the bait or it is hooked in the tiniest slither of flesh. A quick weigh and the scales settled on 3.2. Not a bad brace in a short period of time. I was in two minds whether to pack in there and then on a high but I still had another hour of fishing time to spare so I figured it would be rude not to continue.
No more bites came in that last hour so I packed up vowing to return to the son of marmite as soon as possible although i’m not sure when that will be as all being well I’ll be heading down into deepest Bedfordshire next weekend to look at a river i’ve never fished before. Let’s hope the weather gods are kind and another lump or two come my way.