River Welland (18)
Arrival time: 10.45
Weather: Bright morning clouding over in the afternoon.
Light south-westerly wind.
Tackle: 12ft Korum multi-feeder, Shimano bait caster, 8lb line, 6 hook tied direct. Four SG shots on a short link.
Bait: Luncheon meat.
Fish: Three chub, best fish 4½lbs
Only the second time on the Welland this season. The forecast was for a mild day and they were right. About 13º C, which is good for November. The river was running quite strongly, which was good to see, as I can’t remember the last time that I saw a decent flow on this stretch. Hopefully it will clear out some of the debris and dead vegetation.
I decided to walk the bank today and had my new ‘Chub’ bag, which is a very small shoulder bag for essentials. I had my canvas bucket for bait and food. Other than this I was only carrying the rod, landing net, rod-rest and a light stool.
I started by the small stone pillar that marks the spot where it is believed that a bridge crossed the river in Roman times. I had a few casts but there was nothing doing. I moved upstream a bit and tried a spot just beyond some reeds that were moderating the flow. I happened to look around to check on a dog that was plunging in the river further downstream and as I looked back at my rod, it was bent around in an impressive arc. As you can guess, I missed the bite, which was almost certainly a chub judging by the ferocity of the pull. I carried on in this spot for a while longer and had a few knocks, but decided to perhaps return later as the fish were obviously spooked.
Moving further upstream I tried another spot where the flow wasn’t as strong, this obviously being the best bet with so much water coming through. After a short while there was a strong pull on the rod top and I connected with a good fish. After a few lunges in the strong current everything went solid. I couldn’t move it so resorted to hand-lining, and to my relief the fish moved off again. I think it had embedded itself in some sunken streamer weed. A short while later I netted a well-conditioned chub of just over 4½lbs. It was 12.30, so I had been there just under two hours.
I continued upstream trying any slacker water by the near bank. I missed another bite and there was a scale on the hook when I retrieved. It could, therefore, have been the fish brushing the line rather than a proper bite. I tried the large bay where I have in the past caught a number of good fish but there was nothing doing today. Just past this bay I tried another small slack and an almost immediate bite produced a 2lb 14oz chub - it was now 13.45.
Continuing upstream, I missing a pull in a spot where I had caught fish in the summer. I tried the bridge pool but didn’t get any touches. Upstream of the bridge there weren’t many slacks and the river was pushing through very strongly. I tried dropping in at one spot where the flow was slacker near the bank and when retrieving thought I was snagged. However, when I walked down to get above the snag a fish started moving off. I saw it turn midstream and it looked a good size but then the hook came away. When I inspected the hook it had a scale on it, so it seems that I may have actually foul-hooked the fish.
At this point I decided to retrace my steps downstream to see if I could pick up another fish or two. As it was, none of the spots I had tried on my way upstream yielded any more bites. My intention was to return to the swim where I had missed the good bite first thing. I actually got there about 15.30, giving me half an hour or so before dusk, and was rewarded with a good pull about 15 minutes later. It wasn’t a big fish but it acquitted itself well in the strong current. It weighed in at 2½lbs.
So that was it. I had enjoyed the day and, as is often the case, I had had the stretch to myself.
It was interesting how the increased flow had altered the character of the river, with spots that I fish in the summer being discounted today because of the conditions, while other places that would have been less attractive when the river is low, today being fairly classic chub haunts.