01/03/2017 - End of season struggles
Okay, I admit it, I have become addicted to certain websites. You probably know the ones I mean. Not a day goes by without me logging on, drooling with anticipation, to view the latest offerings. Unfortunately, my quest for satisfaction invariably ends with frustration and disappointment. Yes, I'm talking about xcweather and river level information, as yet again my river season has seemed in danger of fizzling out under a constant barrage of weather fronts, gale force winds and yo-yoing river levels! Any glimmer of a window of opportunity, once identified, has therefore been checked and re-checked, usually to see the door slammed by another band of rain sweeping on from the Atlantic.
Eventually a mid-week session looked like it could be on the cards, so I duly booked the day off work. However, overnight rain still sought to throw a spanner in the work. A quick check of the river levels in the morning indicated that the river had indeed come up a bit as a result, but I thought, "bollocks, what the hell!" and headed out regardless. Arrived at the venue for a "piker's dawn" having safely negotiated the track down to the river, which had been turned into a quagmire by the contractors carrying out yet more, drastic-looking tree removal on behalf of the Canal & Rivers Trust. Parked my once-white car on the only bit of dry and relatively solid ground remaining and went for a quick look at the river. Found it was carrying a bit of extra flow and colour, but looked perfectly fishable, so unloaded the car, got togged up and headed upstream.
Was soon at my usual starting point and quickly had two, float-legered dead baits, a joey and a lamprey section, out in the margins. After about half an hour with no response, I picked up the upstream rod and gave it a good twitch back along the marginal reed bed. It had only been settled for a couple of minutes before the float showed some signs of interest before waddling off. Wound into the first fish of the session - a jack that had taken the joey, just hooked by the bottom treble. Recast and repeated the same trick with another jack taking the bait, joey again, on the second twitch back. The downstream rod had remained static all this time, so I recast it over to the far margin. However, the extra flow and an increasing downstream wind made presentation a bit tricky, so it was back to the nearside margin again. Cue the upstream rod.
This time the float bobbed a couple of times and then disappeared, usually the sign of a better fish. Wound down to briefly feel a decent weight on the end, before pulling out of the fish, the lamprey coming back wrapped around the bottom treble like a Cumberland sausage - bugger! Popped it back on the same spot, but it wasn't having it a second time, so I moved downstream. Had re-baited and re-positioned one rod and was going to get the other when I happened to glance back to see that the float had already disappeared. Again, felt a better weight that turned out to be a rare double of 10 lb 12 oz - on what must have still been a mackerel lollipop! Same spot and a few minutes later, another jack, this time on the lamprey. The sun had made a few, welcome appearances throughout the morning, taking the edge off the wind and raising my hopes a bit. However, apart from one more jack taken in the middle of one of those sunny spells, it became frustratingly quiet.
By lunchtime the wind was making bite detection increasingly difficult and, if anything, the river looked more coloured than when I started, so I listened to my aching back and rumbling stomach and called it a day. A quick check on the river levels when I got home confirmed that I'd been fishing on a rising river so, whilst it had been a bit of a struggle, I was grateful for what I'd had.
Oh well, fingers crossed for what's left of the season. Goes without saying that I'll be checking out "those" websites right until the bitter end!