Yep, you’ve guessed it.

I really didn’t fancy it last night.  The weather was due to change around 7pm with a mild southerly turning to a cold northerly and temperatures plummeting bringing rain with it.  I never feel confident with a sudden change of conditions but I was hoping I had a small window of opportunity.  Besides, I wanted to try out my new Drennan umbrella.  I’ve made a few purchases recently.   First impressions on the umbrella are reasonably good.  What I like about it is the fact that you can tilt it without unscrewing the pole and then screwing it back in again.  When i’m on the river the last thing I need is faff and this thing is simple.  It comes with a guy rope and a couple of tent pegs and has the ability to use storm poles with it if needs be.  The pole feels a bit flimsy though (hence the storm pole attachments I guess but more faff) and the fabric is a bit thin.  So not perfect, but better than the two i’ve just had.  I do wish I could find a good sturdy umbrella that can stands the winter elements though.  They just don’t make them like they used to.  It’s all about them being lightweight these days.  Balls to that though, give me something heavy duty any day of the week.

Another recent purchase was the Drennan Mega Carp net pole.  It sounds like i’m an advocate for Drennan but i’m not.  They do some things very well and i’ve always liked their landing net handles.  This thing is sturdy and has a 30cm detachable head so you don’t have to cart the whole handle up the bank when you’ve got a fish in the net.  Just be careful though if you’re fishing above the water because if you lift the fish up in the net the detachable head could come off with your fish in it.  You don’t have to use the detachable head though, you can just screw the net head onto the main shaft.  Great piece of kit.

Thirdly and finally I wanted something to keep my Zander and Barbel rigs on.  I ended up buying the Avid zig box.   I got one for my Zed rigs and one for my Barbel rigs.  Not cheap for a bit of plastic but it’s the right size and it fits neatly into my tackle bag and has made storing hooklinks a piece of cake.  Previously I was using a piece of pipe lagging and some map pins.

Avid zig box – Perfect for storing pre-tied hooklinks

Anyway back to the fishing.  I arrived on the river a bit earlier as I wanted to check out a couple of new spots.  One spot I’d really got my eye on but it had been at least 5 years since i’d been down there.  If I could get to it then I really did have high expectations but the key word was “if”.  Well I battled my way through the dying balsam and nettles.  Just to make it more hazardous it was all bound together with bind weed.  I did get through to the river though eventually and it did look seriously good.  The problem was, there was no way to fish it as it is on a high bank.  Years ago there was a swim there where you could get down to the river but that had been washed away in the floods.  I may go back in the close season though and dig a peg out.  I probably won’t though in all honesty.

Eventually, I settled on a spot where I have fished once this season and blanked.  Not to be deterred I thought I’d give it another go.  I was a bit sneaky and fished three rods.  My rod licence covers me to fish three rods but the club rule is two only.  But if anyone was going to walk all this way and reprimand me then fair to play to them.

I stitched the river up all the way across with the three rods and kept the bait going in on a regular basis.  Straight away two of the rods started giving littles rattles off Chub.  The one close in remained static but that’s fine as it was more of a sleeper rod really.  Eventually the rod furthest out yanked round and then yanked round again.  The strike met with nothing though.

The river was exceptionally quiet as it got dark with no fish rising other than a couple of little bits close in.  The weather forecast was spot on as is usual these days.  The wind got up and changed direction to a more northerly direction and with it came the rain.  Not heavy rain thankfully.  As time ticked on I could feel my enthusiasm ebbing away.  I don’t know what it was but I just wasn’t feeling it.  I was tired, I was in a spot that wasn’t my first choice and that change in conditions from mild to cold did not fill me with confidence at all.  I checked the forecast on my phone and heavy rain was due to set in around midnight and wasn’t due to let up so I wanted to make sure I was out of there by then.  Looking at my watch it was just gone 10pm so decided to stick it out until 11pm.  The river does fish well between 10pm and midnight so I was giving myself a bit of a chance of a fish but in all honesty as I sat there with a coffee I felt like the session had “blank” written all over it.

I finished my coffee and 11pm came so made the decision to start packing up.  The rain had just stopped so it made perfect sense to get out of here while I could.  I always leave the rods until last which on this occasion was a good job because no sooner had I stood up to start packing up, than the right hand rod sleeper rod went into meltdown with a one toner.  It was about 5 or 6 yards down the bank from where I was so quickly, I ran down and picked the rod up and felt a heavy lump on the end.  It had screamed off across river by the time i’d got to the rod.  Everytime I hook a fish now my knees turn to jelly as I keep thinking, is this the one?  I could see this one wasn’t though and although it was a long fish it came in at, yep you’ve guessed it, 11.4.  Another minter though and what an epic battle. It seemed like the weather god’s or the fishing god’s had been kind to me after all.  That fish was a confidence booster and the after a quick photo the rain came back and the weather took a turn for the worse.

11.4 – Just as I was packing up.

I let the fish rest in the net while I packed up.  The fish really are in tip top condition at the minute and fight like demon’s.  Yes i’d like that pb and yes I can’t say that i’m not disappointed when I know it’s the not the fish i’m after.  But, having said that, the fact these fish never get fished for or possibly caught makes catching them really special.  I might have a change of river next week though.  A change is as good as a rest apparently.

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