You know things are going to be “difficult” when the first thing you see on the riverbank is some sort of freaky mask. An omen? Maybe. Unfortunately that only tells half the story. This past week the fishing has been challenging to say the least.
Last weekend The Perchfishers had arranged an outing on Grafham in the hope that one of us might connect with a monster perch. The day started off well enough with a few small perch to the boat followed by a small zed. Then as the rain poured down and the wind got up it appeared to kill off any hope we had of connecting with some good fish. Then at the end of the day I arrived back at the car to find I had a flat tyre. Just what you need when you’re over 100 miles from home and it’s getting dark.
Wednesday saw me back on my local river. It was a mild enough day but the previous few days had seen the river over the top of the flood bank. I wasn’t worried though as the level had dropped enough to make the long walk to marmite with the expectation of getting a couple of fish. What I didn’t bank on was how much the floods had altered the swim. What was a nice area of slack water was now pushing through at a rate of knots that I hadn’t imagined. The snag upstream had a large limb snapped off in the floods and rather than the water be diverted away from the swim it was now running through it. I fished on for half a day and never managed a bite. It’s only the second time i’ve blanked in that swim and the first time I’ve fished it without a bite of any kind. Will it produce again? Well surely the fish have to be there somewhere so maybe it’s time to leave it alone and let the fish adjust to their newly adapted home. I’ll be back there before the end of the season though to give it another try.
Today saw me back on the river in search of Chub and Perch this time. I really fancied a crack at the Chub even though there aren’t that many these days but what are left are of a good average size. I’d made some nice smelly, garlic cheesepaste that no self respecting Chub could resist. The river was still on the high side but I figured if I fished down the edge with one rod using the cheesepaste and the other with a big lobby then surely i’d be in with a shout. What a disaster. The river was pushing through much harder than I anticipated and even in the edge debris was getting caught on the line making it impossible to fish with any sensitivity. Not only that, there now appeared to be a snag in one of my usual swims and each cast resulted in annoyingly getting caught up on something in the depths. After half an hour I made a long walk downstream to another area that I have always fancied trying only to find this unfishable. I needed to cool down after the long walk so decided to fish for a short while just so I didn’t have to walk nearly 2 miles back upstream. I could clearly tell it wasn’t going to be productive though and after ten minutes I packed up and walked back to the car.
I seemed to be making one bad decision after another although in hindsight I knew my chosen places wouldn’t be fishable but I went anyway. I know fishing is all about exploring and experimenting but I went against everything that my head had told me when checking the river levels.
By the time I got back to my car, time was ticking on. I decided to take a gamble and try an area that I haven’t bait fished before. I have fly fished that area a few times and had quite a few Pike but I was really hoping a Chub or Perch maybe in residence. I settled into my new swim just after 11am. Rather than faff about with the cheespaste I fished worm on 2 rods. Within 5 minutes the right hand rod tip flicked before slowly knocking a couple of times and then pulling round. I struck into something fairly solid and it wasn’t long before I knew I was into a Pike. Although gutted that it wasn’t a Chub or Perch it was sort of alright to put a bend in the rod. Another Pike followed a short while later before it went quiet. I was hoping they were the only two Pike in residence but unfortunately in the afternoon I had 2 more. One of them wasn’t a bad size but even so 4 Pike on worm is taking the piss slightly.
I fished on until dark with no more fish coming my way. I suppose I should be thankful that I didn’t blank today although in all honesty it still feels like a blank. Let’s just hope the fishing gods are kinder next time round.