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River Great Ouse - Offord (11)

First day of winter and a temperature to match! Fish were not obliging at all.

Arrival time: 10.00
Weather: Sunny and cold with a very fresh wind.
Tackle: 12' Korum Multi-feeder, open-ended feeder, 6lb line, 8 hook.
Baits: Cheese paste.
Fish: Blank

Today had promise, the weather being particularly inspiring after all the rain we've had recently, although it was cold. The water level was also good and it wasn't too coloured. But despite all the favourable indicators the fish were proving to be elusive.

I started on the mill stream and didn't get a bite in what is quite a reliable swim. Not a touch. I stuck it for about 45 minutes and then moved to the head of the stream. I met another angler who had been fishing the weir pool, catching only gudgeon. The omens weren't good.

At the head of the stream I at least had some bites, but I suspect that these were smaller fish wrestling with my fairly large chunk of cheese paste. I certainly couldn't hook any.
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River Great Ouse - Offord (10)

Back on the chub quest but this time I decided to try using an open-ended feeder to improve my chances.

Arrival time: 10.00
Weather: Overcast and very breezy but not too cold. A bit of weak sun later in the day.
Tackle: 11' 6" Hardy Marksman Specimen Avon, link leger/feeder, 8lb line.
Baits: Cheese paste.
Fish: Two chub

I've been suffering a bit from what I suspect is a pulled tendon in my thigh and this has made walking a bit difficult. So it was with a bit of trepidation that I set off today. But fortunately it didn't bother me too much, although it certainly slowed my progress.

Having arrived at the mill stream I first tried my usual light link leger but there was no interest shown. The stream was in good shape, the level being neither too high nor too low. So I swapped to the open-ended feeder and started getting knocks on the rod top. I had brought my Hardy Avon because of the heavier weight of the feeder but it seems that perhaps it was a bit too stiff in the tip for good bite indication.

After many missed bites I eventually hooked a chub, which felt like a good fish, but it shed the hook after only a few seconds. I think I might have struck too earlier having been conditioned by all the earlier missed bites.
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The Chubb Stream (5)

Back to the Chubb Stream after a gap of a couple of months. The water level had dropped considerably since my recce visit a few days earlier.

Arrival time: 09.30
Weather: Beautiful autumn day. Mild and no wind. Perfect.
Tackle: 10ft Fishtec Compact Float, link leger, 6lb line.

Baits: Cheese paste.
Fish: Two chub

I had had a look at the stream at the end of the previous week and was encouraged by the fact that the level was up, creating some more attractive glides and slacks. But when I arrived to fish the level had dropped considerably. This ruled out some swims.

I set up at the pipe bridge swim but with the level so low wasn't over confident, and indeed I didn't get any takes. After trying a few other overgrown swims I arrived at what I call the tree swim where I have had success in the past. It was easier to access with the bankside vegetation having died down and after a couple of poorly placed casts I managed to get the bait where I wanted it. Following my slight movement of the rod, which might have provoked the fish to take as the bait moved, I hooked into a good chub.

At 3lb 3oz it turned out to be my best to date from the stream and gave me quite a tussle. I was, of course, anxious not to lose it once I saw how big it was.
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River Great Ouse - Offord (9)

After limited success with chub recently, today I decided to try lure fishing for perch. Unfortunately this was less successful than my efforts after chub. But it was an interesting diversion.

Arrival time: 09.00
Weather: Breezy with a bit of light drizzle.
Tackle: 10ft Fishtec Compact Float, link leger, 6lb line.

Baits: Fox Spikey lure. Cheese paste.
Fish: One chub

On Tuesday I had had a good look around the fishery with a view to trying some lure fishing for perch. So today (Thursday) I tried the various swims that I had identified, with some degree of confidence that I would at least pick up some small perch, even if I didn't tempt any big ones. But it wasn't to be. I had one snatch that could have been a fish, but equally it could have been that I snagged on the retrieve.

I was lucky not to lose the lure on a number of occasions as I tried to cast close to reeds but I did lose it in the end, although only after trying all the spots that I had previously identified. It was, however, an interesting couple of hours or so and I shall certainly try again. Having lost the lure, and exhausted my ideas, I moved to the mill stream to try my luck for chub.
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River Great Ouse - Offord (8)

Having blanked at the Alconbury Brook earlier in the morning I drove over to Offord to try my luck in the mill stream.

Arrival time: 11.00 (approx)
Weather: Very breezy but earlier rain had cleared.
Tackle: Hardy 11' 6" Specimen Avon, Shimano Exage 4000RC, link leger, 8lb line, 8 hook

Baits: Cheese paste.
Fish: One chub

Arriving later than normal I was pleased to see only one other car in the car park. I made my to the mill stream and was doubly pleased to see that the water level had returned to normal and that there were no other anglers there. I had high hopes.

But as usual with fishing, one shouldn't get too excited as things rarely turn out how you expect. I concentrated on the two swims part way along the stream that are, I believe, generally thought to be the hot spots for chub. But not today. Perhaps the water level was too low for the autumn conditions.
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Hinchingbrooke Park (1)

My first visit to Hinchingbrooke Country Park to try my luck on the Alconbury Brook.

Arrival time: 9.00
Weather: Overcast with a fresh breeze. Drizzle soon arrived.
Tackle: Hardy 11' 6" Specimen Avon, Shimano Exage 4000RC, link leger, 8lb line, 8 hook

Baits: Spam, cheese paste.
Fish: None

We were chatting with the manager of Bella Italia in Huntingdon and it transpired that he was a fellow angler. During the course of our conversation he recommended the lake at Hinchingbrooke Country Park. I checked it out on Google and noticed that there was a small stream that was also covered by the club ticket. Preferring to wait until next summer to try the lake I drove over there to have a look at the brook, which on the face of it looked quite inviting. So I bought a ticket and today was my first fishing trip to the brook.

Despite it's very 'chubby' look I didn't get a sniff after trying a number of what looked like typical chub lies. A conversation with a chap walking his dog, who was a keen angler, suggested that perhaps I was wasting my time. Also, at about this time, the drizzle turned quite heavy.

As the forecast was for the weather to improve, I decided to cut my losses at the brook and drive over to the mill stream at Offord. See my next report for what happened there along with my video covering both venues.
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River Great Ouse - Offord (7)

My hopes that the water level would have receded were misplaced since although the level was down, it was still way above normal. Once again I blanked.

Arrival time: 9.00
Weather: Quite chilly but not too windy. Bright spells but clouds were gathering.
Tackle: Hardy 11' 6" Specimen Avon, Shimano Exage 4000RC, link leger, 8lb line, 8 hook

Baits: Spam, cheese paste.
Fish: None

The car park was unusually busy when I arrived, partly due to a number of contractors' vehicles. But there were also more cars and a number of anglers could be seen on the main river. A chap I had met when I was last there was unpacking his gear and had already scouted around the water. He warned me that the level was still high.

I made my way to the mill stream followed by a chap who had pulled in the car park shortly after me. The stream was still looking very difficult to fish. With him following me I had to make a decision on where to pitch and I chose a spot about midway along the stream where I had caught on previous occasions. He went on to fish at the head of the stream.
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Fields End (104)

After disappointment on the Ouse on Tuesday I took advantage of a break in the weather to visit my local lake.
There wasn't much action!

Arrival time: 08.30
Weather: Dry and bright start after a wet night with a strong freshening breeze.
Tackle:
Hardy 11' 6" Specimen Avon, Shimano Exage 4000RC, link leger, 8lb line, 10 hook
14ft Shimano Speedmaster match rod, Rapidex 2400 centre pin with 5lb line, 4lb bottom & 12 hook. Insert waggler.

Baits: Spam, bread past.
Fish: Three small roach

I was hoping that Fields End would be quieter in October with the peak holiday season over, but anglers are a hardy bunch and there were quite a few around the lake. There were also some bivvies indicating some serious carp fishing in progress.

I couldn't get my first choice of swim so decided to set up in what I call the tree corner. This is a peg that is enclosed by trees and shrubs, which had the advantage of protecting me from an increasingly strong and chilly breeze. You fish off a platform, which I hate as every indiscrete move results in a noise amplified by the boarding. A bit like a drum. Originally the pegs on this lake were formed by timber sleepers infilled with gravel but as these deteriorated the owner opted for the easier platforms. For margin fishers like me this was unwelcome.
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River Great Ouse - Offord (6)

After two days of rain it wasn't surprising to find the river high and coloured.
I wasn't hopeful and my feelings proved to be correct.

Arrival time: 08.45
Weather: Dry after a wet night with a strong freshening breeze.
Tackle: Hardy 11' 6" Specimen Avon, Shimano Exage 4000RC, link leger, 8lb line, 10 hook

Baits: Spam, bread past.
Fish: Nothing today

After days of rain I was keen to get fishing but was weighing up whether to go to the local lake at Fields End or the river at Offord. The Fields End lake is very exposed to the wind so in the end I opted for the river. I wasn't greatly surprised to find the level up with a forceful flow through the mill stream.

I made my way to the head of the stream as I thought that there might be a chance of slacker water near the edge where I normally fish. The rest of the stream offered no real opportunities as it is basically a straight channel with no features to moderate the flow. Where I normally sit at head of the stream was under water.

I tried dropping a piece of spam in a couple of runs near the bank where reeds were slightly interrupting the flow but this didn't yield anything. On reflection, I should have perhaps tried placing the bait in the area were I normally sit since, although being probably less than a foot deep, it was the only truly slack water along the entire stream.
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River Welland (30)

My first trip to Stamford for quite a while.
I decided to make another video, which probably tempted providence too far!

Arrival time: 08.30
Weather: Early rain but brightening later.
Swim: Roving.
Tackle: Hardy 11' 6" Specimen Avon, Shimano Exage 4000RC, link leger, 8lb line, 8 hook
Baits: Spam and bread flake
Fish: A blank!

Having had some reasonable success in producing videos of my fishing trips I decided on a visit to the Welland at Stamford. It's always been a very reliable venue for me. I had only previously blanked once when the river was in flood. But today was to prove fishless despite conditions seeming to be good.

The forecast was for early rain that should have stopped before I arrived. But it didn't, and I got very wet. My 'moderately rainproof' boots soon let water and I had wet feet for the remainder of my stay. I also left my stool at home so had to either stand or squat. These were no doubt portents of what was to follow!

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