14/01/2015 - A well judged day
I'd had two more zander sessions before Christmas, one on the Trent and one on the Soar, that had both ended in blanks. On the Soar I'd been plagued by what I'm 99% sure are chub picking up the deadbaits (one of my roach deadbaits had come back crushed after an aborted run), so I was keen for a change of direction. I therefore planned on getting a few sessions in for the grayling in the New Year. However, the weather and in particular the wind seemed to be having a different say in the matter. I was therefore quite excited when I saw a brief window of opportunity, albeit the calm before yet another fast-approaching weather front off the Atlantic. Sure enough, I woke up to find that the wind had dropped off significantly and a bright, sunny day was promised, so I was soon heading off down the A50 into Staffordshire. Had decided to look at a club water on a tributary of the Dove. The catch reports pre-Christmas had been good and I thought I'd have a better chance of staying out of the wind than on the main river. There was nobody else in the car park when I arrived about 10 o'clock, so I had a leisurely wander up to the top of the section, taking note of any likely looking spots. The river was tiny - I'd come armed with my 13ft float rod and in places I could touch the far bank! However, it was full of features. Started fishing right up against the upstream boundary, running a small stick float down into a pool no bigger than my dining table and only about 18 inches deep. Second trot down - fish on!
Little fat hen
Had a couple of smaller ones before hooking a better fish, a male of 1lb 8oz that gave the run around before I netted it, the long rod proving a bit unwieldy in the confines of the swim.
Took nine fish in total out of that little spot before it died and I had to move on - not very far as just 'round the corner was a really nice run along some alders. This time the rod was a benefit as it meant I could keep well back from the edge.
Again it only took a few maggots and a couple of casts to establish that there were some fish in residence. Bumped the first couple before catching half a dozen small ones - little bars of silver and like peas in a pod.
Managed twelve in total from this run, including another nicely marked male over the pound mark. It already appeared that they were shoaled up quite tightly but, happily for me, also well on the feed.
Moved another small distance downstream, this time to where a riffle dropped into a nice pool.
Grayling des' res'
Sent the float down after a few maggots to see it bury first time in the middle of the pool. The strike was met by a good thump on the rod tip as another nice fish did its best to shed the hook. I'd forgotten how well they use the current to their advantage, even on a tiny river like this, feeling every thump and twist through the bent rod, whilst at the same time trying to keep the rod tip out the trees over my head.
Took a few more from here before again moving a short distance downstream to where the banks steepened and the river narrowed and deepened. I could easily touch the far bank with the rod tip in this spot and had to take a few paces back upstream in order to guide the float into a hole at the base of some alders where it obligingly disappeared. It appeared that I had dropped on a pod of better fish as four out of the five I took from the swim before it died were over the pound mark.
Last but not least
Was feeling a bit chilly now and had started shivering despite all of my layers, so decided to call it a day. Was pleased with the first session on a new water. I'd landed 34 fish, including 9 over the pound mark. However, I'd only managed to cover a fraction of the river in the 6 hours I'd been fishing, so plenty more to go at next time. Let's hope that the weather obliges!