From the water’s edge

June 2015 - Stings, bites and hay fever.....

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..... then it must be a new river season.

We had stumbled through the long, and surprisingly wet grass; through myriad buttercups dancing in a cold and very mean wind, all the way to the far end of our club water. Obviously with it being June, we had our coats on and our hoods up as that miserable breeze poked and prodded its way around our unseasonably weatherproof clothes. We were and always wanted to be optimistic, although it would have been nice to have been comfortable as well. But there it is, it was June 17th and we had to be here.

The plan was to be more patient this year. You may remember that this stretch has been reluctant to offer up much in the way of worthwhile fishing but it is a lovely spot. We both gave our first two swims time. I sat down and got a wet bum, while I changed my canal rig for something a little more subtle.

Off came the 9 lbs fluoro, on went some finer 4 lbs stuff. Off came the split ring , a nice, shiny and new red size 8 Dragon V point fine wire hook on a 2.5 gm jighead was tied direct. I meant to give every swim a rest and then fish it slowly, carefully and thoroughly. That was the plan at least.

So I did all of that. It took a few minutes as I worked my way methodically about the swim but sure enough there was that magic tap on the line and I was quickly lifting my first river chub of the season from the water. Not big to be honest, maybe 12 oz or a pound, but I don’t care, it was a match for Pete’s first that he had shown me a few minutes before.

It’s hard to say why this once legendary water is so crap these days. The few fish we can find are immaculate and healthy, There are a few minnows so food can’t be non-existent, maybe there just isn’t enough of it to support any more, who knows.

There was a shout from up the bank and I saw Pete returning a small jack, so he was already 2 - 1 up. It didn’t look like today would be a high scoring affair, so we counted it anyway.

Too true. For the next hour and a half we laboured under an increasingly hot sun with little success. Just what are we supposed to wear for this sort of fishing?? We walk off under a leaden and freezing sky and as soon as we are a mile from the car the sun comes out and slow roasts us. Heavy duty overtrousers are essential if only to keep the stingers at bay, but they soon get hot and sweaty, no matter how breathable the makers claim them to be.

My socks are too thin for my boots and in moments all the skin is off one heel, The sweat runs down my back and the more hot and bothered I get the worse my casting becomes. Before you know it, clouds of pollen are rising, nearly as fast as my temper, from the long grass and my nose is joining in a frustrating chorus of first trip of the season misery. When I think back, nothing has really changed. This has been happening to me since I was 12, plenty years ago.

The longed for never-fail swim failed when we got there, but after moving downstream of it and casting back up , I was in. My turn for an interfering jack. Annoying they may be, but I have to take my hat off to them all the same. Look at the wounds on this one and still he had the decency and spirit to help me out on a hard day.

It wasn’t even lunch time and we were running out of opportunities on this reach. There was just time to dump the coats and go downstream from the bridge for an hour. Maybe we should have started there.

I walked into the first swim I could find, Kindly opened up by a speccy hunter the previous day. Definitely a serious angler, he had left a good rod rest behind with a proper top on it rather than the more usual bent coat hanger job. I left it for him to pick up and flicked a curly tail across the faster water.

As it came into the side the rod tip pulled over, there as a decent swirl and a nice big golden flash rolled off the hook. It looked deep and perchy, and when I missed a distinct rattle on the following cast, I was filled with hope. The third cast proved that hope to be false as my second one pound chub of the morning whizzed around in circles before trying to hide in my outstretched landing net.

There was just time for one more cast, and there was that perchy rattle again. Not so perchy really , my season’s tally of secondary species was stretched by a fat old minnow. I suppose that is as definitive as an anti-climax ever could be, but we had fun and a few fish. Maybe next time we will try another stretch, but to be honest my mind is still back on the cut testing out my new pole experiment. We shall see, we have plenty of options.


artificial lite



journal 2015.


journal 2015.