River Welland (19)
Arrival time: 10.45
Weather: Bright cloudy.
Moderate westerly wind.
Tackle: 12ft Korum multi-feeder, Shimano bait caster, 8lb line, 6 hook tied direct. Three SG shots on a short link.
Bait: Luncheon meat.
Fish: Three chub, best fish 4lbs.
It’s been nearly two months since my last visit, although the lead up to Christmas accounted for the best part of December.
The river had obviously overflowed the meadow during the last deluge. There was a lot of flotsam laying around and the bank-side trees were decorated with various litter that had washed down with the flood water. Considering the banks are normally about six feet above water level, there must have been a lot of water!
I decided to make my way up the stretch and then back down again, dropping into likely spots. I started where I had caught a chub during my last visit, but today the water was in fact a bit lower and it seemed that the chub had vacated that particular spot.
Moving upstream I tried a few likely slacks under the near bank but I think the regular pedestrian traffic (dog walkers) probably makes the chub wary of such spots. I reached the swim where I had a nice fish last time. A tree was hanging partially into the water and I cast out into the stream such that the bait could roll under it. At this point a chap stopped to chat. While he was there I missed a pull because I hit a bush on my right as I struck. I then lost my terminal tackle by getting too close to the submerged tree branches. I retackled and the chap left. The next cast again went a bit too close to the tree but didn’t snag. However, I wasn’t sure if the line was catching the sunken branches so I tightened to check, only to find a fish on. I think the branch had masked the bite.
It was a good fish (photo above right) and I thought I may lose it as it thrashed about around the semi-submerged branches, but luck was on my side and I extracted it from danger. A nice fish that was a shade over 4lbs.
Moving up the stretch I tried a number of slacks including the large pool where I have caught a number of fish during the summer months. Just above that pool is another spot where you can allow the bait to run under a partially submerged tree, and where I’ve had fairly consistent success in the past. But today I blanked.
I tried the pool below the footbridge but I haven’t had much success there during the winter, and today was no exception. There’s a spot above the bridge that is extremely tricky to fish and again involves getting the bait under trees. It has been consistent in the past and sure enough after missing one touch I landed a nicely conditioned fish of 2lb 3oz, which got into the central current and fought well.
I carried on upstream trying a few more likely spots, unsuccessfully. Making my way back downstream I decided to try where I had taken the two pounder, more in hope than expectation as I thought the fish may still be spooked. I was proved pessimistic as I soon got another firm pull and hooked what felt to be a better fish, which again used the central current to good effect. Landed it weighed 3¾lbs. It was extremely long and slender and I reckon it could make a five-pounder if it filled out. Like the other fish it had very washed-out colouring. Whether this is because of the heavily coloured water during the winter, I’m not sure, but the summer fish had, I think, more coloration. All of the fish were also quite slim, possibly reflecting difficult feeding conditions during the recents floods. Lets hope they fill out during the spring.
This actually turned out to be my last fish. I retried the same spots on my return downstream but didn’t get another touch. Still, three fish from a river that was recovering from severe flooding was a good result and I’m certainly not complaining.
While fishing the last spot before packing up, a woman dog walker actually didn’t see me until she was about ten yards away, and then only because I turned around. She remarked on how well camouflaged I was. I was sitting on a stool so was hardly hiding, but it goes to show that by wearing the right clothes you can effectively disguise your presence. Whether the chub are as non-observant as the woman dog walker I can’t really say.
The outfit: a really decrepit Barbour jacket, well-worn and motley over-trousers, khaki woolly hat and a olive-green jumper underneath. You will see from the photos that the colouring bears more than a passing resemblance to the background.